Monday, August 19, 2013


© Bill Brockmeier,
all rights reserved by the artist
The San Antonio Spanish Missions are an incredible collection of history, architecture, and living faith.  While the three Missions closest to downtown San Antonio are, by far, the most visited of the five, the two southern-most Missions are remarkable in their own distinct ways and certainly worthy of investing considerable time.

The farthest south— "Mission Espada" (Misión San Francisco de la Espada) is actually outside of Loop/IH-410 and on the very periphery of the San Antonio metropolitan area.  Of the five Missions, this one is probably the smallest in size, but it makes up for its diminutive real estate with intimacy, intensity, and authenticity.

True spiritual relationship is founded upon intimacy, and the ambience of Espada is nothing if not intimate (no pretensions allowed here).  The solace and solitude that can be encountered there is almost palpable.  After entering the much-discussed portal, find your seat, enter the quiet, and wait.  The One to Whom this building was dedicated is, Himself, still waiting to visit His peace upon you.

The morning that I captured this image (ESPADA PRISM), the sunlight streamed through the tall arched window, spilling into the dim interior of Espada.  As the light tumbled through the glass, it fell upon the rugged wood benches, reflecting softly from the satin patina— polished by the generations of parishioners that have sat there.

A cross, clearly formed by the framework of the window's glazing is echoed in the small cross on the wall that signifies the "Sixth Station." A coarse woven cloth lies at the bottom of the window, reminiscent of the garment that was stripped from Jesus before He was hung on the cross. Overhead, beams of wood seem solemn and heavy with weight, as the beam that Jesus carried to His place of execution was physically heavy upon His shoulders, and ultimately, as the weight of the world's sin was heavy upon Him on the cross, and He cried out: "Lord! Lord! Why have you forsaken me?"

Brought down to earth, the beam of light finally rests upon the kneeling rails, illuminating their vividly-hued woven coverings.  The colors seem to be the very spectrum itself, the various wavelengths of light broken apart and spread out from the original white light. I reflected upon the diversity and distinction of individual Believers, refracted, as it were, as individual "colors" from the pure, white Light of the Holy Spirit Himself.

Note: this is another of Bill's very limited editions on large-scale canvas (20 copies only) from his San Antonio Missions series of photographs

On Espada Prism

   – © Bill Brockmeier

   in Truth
   and Beauty—

Streaming down,
 the Beam's divided,
   cut asunder
 by beams

Spear point,
 piercing upward,
      blood from water,
      marrow from bone,
      spirit from flesh.

 cutting outward,
   hell from heaven,
   death from life,
   dark from light,
   night from day—
The First Day.

The Light cries
 and bleeds,
 weeping great drops of blood,
   dripping down,
   streaming down
 upon the children.

Bloody drops separate,
 cut by bloody hearts
   into tongues of Light,
 resting on the Children.

 now more finely divided,
   becomes the promise-bow.

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