Nigel Groom: My painting, “O Lux Sapientiae”, (O Light of Wisdom) has now found its home in the entrance to the oratory at Mucknell Abbey,
Worcestershire. The Abbey is an Anglican Community of both male and female religious living under the Rule of St. Benedict.
One of the lovely things about this is that Stanbrook Abbey at Wass in North Yorkshire has a sister painting of O Lux Sapientiae
(same tones and colours) called “Lumen de Lumine” which I gave to them as a gift, and graces their Conference Room. So it seems
like a real Ecumenical bridge has been formed between Roman Catholic Stanbrook Benedictines and Anglican Mucknell Benedictines through
these two paintings of mine. For details of this lovely community please see www.mucknellabbey.org.uk
I am grateful to Abbot Stuart Burns OSB who has written a beautiful and worthy Dedication to the painting, see below. Also, an English
friend of mine who is a Sufi, he converted to Islam some years ago, sent me his own words of reflection on “O Lux sapientiae” which
I think are also quite remarkable, so here they both are: Abbot Stuart Burns: "On entering the Oratory at Mucknell Abbey it is easy not
to notice the large painting hanging on the West wall; rather, the eyes are drawn to the carved stone statue of the Virgin Mary and her child.
Jesus' arms are opened wide in delighted welcome.On leaving the Oratory, however, the eyes are confronted by the vibrant colours and energy
of the painting "O Lux Sapientiae". It hangs in the centre of the wall, just to the right of the statue, in stark contrast to its dull stone
calmness. One can imagine Mary's invitation: "Do you want to hold him?" - But who is this child who now seems to want to leap out of Mary's
arms into yours? The painting suggests that this is no ordinary baby; this is the Cosmic Christ, the Creator of the vastness of the
Universe. From the still white centre of the painting the light and colour explode, showering a wonder of galaxies and constellations
to the extremities ... and yet, even as the eyes move outwards to ponder the whole, they are drawn back to the still white disc from which
the light and colour emanate, drawn into that seemingly infinite space within the atom, the source of so much energy. The painting, given
to the Abbey by the artist, Nigel Groom, was first seen in the Oratory in the first light of the Easter Vigil, the golden discs reflecting
the light of the Paschal Candle.
I was reminded of Ann Lewin's verse; "Easter morning", when the Risen Christ speaks to Mary Magdalen -
Do not cling... Let me be bigger than your Heart can hold. Rise with me to a Larger vision.” Jeremy Henzell-Thomas
“A fitting place for your splendid painting! Subhanallah (Glory be to God) as the Muslims say - a phrase also repeated by Arabic speaking followers of the Eastern Syriac, Assyrian, Antiochian Orthodox and Chaldean churches. I was struck by Ann Lewin's verses from 'Easter Morning' quoted by the Abbot: "Let me be bigger than your Heart can hold...', spoken by the Risen Christ to Mary Magdalen. I was reminded immediately of a famous hadith qudsi ('divine saying' or words of God spoken on the tongue of the Prophet) in Islamic tradition: Neither the heavens nor the earth can encompass Me; only the heart of my believing servant can encompass Me.' So, in this tradition, the human Heart can indeed encompass (or hold) the Divine Reality. And this vast compass of the human heart is suggested to me in your scintillating painting, for it emanates from the central 'atom' or (in Islamic mystical terms, the 'dimensionless point') or, in astrophysical terms, the 'singularity' in which everything in existence is entangled and therefore intimately connected beyond time and space.”