Wilfried Joye


Bernie Mullen

The Prodical Son

The Prodical Son
Wilfried Joye was born in Dadizele, Belgium in 1939. He was ordained a priest in 1964 in the order of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate. He has been working as a missionary in Potchfestroom in South Africa since 1966. He has often been exhibited in S A and in Belgium and his paintings often portray rural life and the human situation. His works are vibrant and appealing and he uses the fish as his symbol in most of his worked. This is because the fish represents insight (it never closes its eyes) these remain open for the reception of life and truth. The mouth of the fish is always readily open and this symbolises capacity for the 'food of life' in its purity and fullness. The paintings of Joye are often religious and he presents to the world a journey of deep faith, the sacredness of life and the joy of hope. Fr Joye was a close friend of Fr Frans Claerhout and he often exhibited with him in South Africa and internationally.

Opening Prayer:
You touch my head, You enter my heart, You meet my sorrow
In the compassion of your palm; I am constantly carved upon it.
You flute me into the sweet music of mercy. I am hooded by your arm:
It capes me in your care.
I am held in the deep sleep of contemplation; Your wide eyes of awareness
Envision, not my past, but my present.
You look with infinite wisdom,
Into my sorrow-well;
My lost control of self ...
I am in your being; defined. You rebirth me
With ardent love divine.
You sing me to the full conclusion of My being's redemption.
You are the radiance of my wounded life.
Yes, my Lord, are in truth my blindness and my sight.

Centring Music:
A new Tomorrow
Tim Wheater from CD: Mistral: The wind of Change New World Company: MWCD 224

Scripture reading:
Luke: 15: 11-20
A man had two sons, and the younger son said to his father, 'Father, give me the share of your estate that should come to me.' So the father divided the property between them. After a few days the younger son collected all his belongings and set off to a distant country where he squandered his inheritance on a life of dissipation. When he had freely spent everything, a severe famine struck that country, and he found himself in dire need. So he hired himself out to one of the local citizens who sent him to his farm to tend the swine. And he longed to eat his fill of the pods on which the swine fed, but nobody gave him any. Coming to his senses he thought, 'How many of my father's hired workers have more than enough food to eat, but here am I, dying from hunger, I shall get up and go to my father and I shall say to him, 'Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I no longer deserve to be called your son; treat me as one of your hired workers.' So he got up and went back to his father. While he was still a long way off his father caught sight of him, and was filled with compassion. He ran to his son, embraced him and kissed him ...

Pause for Reflection:

We cannot help but participate in this profoundly portrayed version of 'The Prodigal Son'. All the elements of that human saga are present. The repentant son, the pigs of his past, the rich green pastures of home, the fatted calf and the patient and compassionate father who plays the music of return. We are essentially moved. The lucid, imploring eyes of the father look with infinite empathy over and far beyond the son who has strayed. The finely and clearly arched eye-brows, the firm and straight path of the nose, seem to beckon him back to the way of Truth. The pits of shadow that well beneath the curved 'caverns' lend sensitivity to the situation. The return of the prodigal speaks of the sadness, the anxiety and the longing that separation from a loved one, engenders. We feel that the eyes of Wisdom perceive beyond the present into the future of complete harmony and fulfilment. These are the eyes of love and ultimate sanctuary. They are the Eyes of God. There is no escaping their sight or their insight. The father knows the son and loves him unconditionally. These eyes seem also to reflect, in their luminousness, the pools of baptism; the invitation to response.

Pause for reflection:

Prayer Ps 84:
How lovely is your dwelling, a Lord of hosts!
My soul yearns and pines For the courts of the Lord. My heart and flesh cry out For the living God.
How lovely is your dwelling, a Lord of hosts!

Pause for reflection;

From the eyes we are drawn to the hands and mouth that play the flute. There is nothing forceful about either: the mouth fits the instrument perfectly and we are given a sense of softness. The delicate fingers that compose the music of arrival touch the note holes lightly. They are the fingers of graceful and highly skilful hands. They press the note holes with the ease of a mistral; one conditioned to listening to and exuding life's song. Between the fingers is purposefully widened space. It is as though Joye is reminding us of the freedom of involvement. We can slip through God's fingers if we choose. It is not what God wants of us but what love allows because it does not fetter; it frees. We also notice that the flute plays its melody to the heart and hands of the repentant. It pleads for reception. The flute is blue as is the son's jacket. Joye points to the hope and wonder of reconciliation and ultimate union. The first reason for creation is that we are, as is all creation, called to belong totally in God. The blue tints used in the son's shoes, in the pigs with which he has become so familiar, the stool he sits upon and the blue hems of grass beside the father and below the stool seem to symbolise this; the unicity to which love brings us, even in and through our weakness.

Pause for reflection:

How lovely is your dwelling o Lord of hosts!
As the sparrow finds a home
And the swallow a nest to settle her young, My home is by your altars,
Lord of hosts, my king and my God. Happy are those who dwell in your house! They never cease to praise you.
How lovely is your dwelling,
o Lord of hosts.

Pause for reflection:

From the hands of infinite tenderness and invitation we are invited to the central theme of this painting. God enfolds us absolutely. This is not what we deserve but what Love celebrates in us. We are shrines of love. We are tenants in what is divine and what is total. We do not comprehend such mystery but ignorance does not preclude us from it. The father and the son share the same colour clothing: if we allow love, it inevitably influences and transforms us. We become love. The son's shoes that mingle with the same hues as those of the pigs help us to realise that we must wear our humanity with humility a'nd with faith that we cannot fail to be loved. Symbolically we are reminded that our failures, our weakness and our innate greed for self gratification never escape the healing Lover, no matter how much we may distort the truth.

How lovely is your dwelling, o Lord of hosts!
Happy are those who find refuge in you, Whose hearts are set on pilgrim roads. They pass through the Baca valley,
They find spring water to drink.
Also from pools the Lord provides water For those who lose their way.
They pass through outer and inner wall And see the God of gods on Zion.
How lovely is your dwelling,
o Lord of hosts.

Before we leave this painting we are recalled to what is at home and familiar. The calf of celebration stands waiting to be used. The village houses stand firm and tranquil. The green grass gives us the comfort of peace in plenty. Joye reminds us that if we are at home with God then nothing is beyond use. The final statement Joye makes, is of course, in the small green fish that lies across the father's cape and enters, so to speak, the cleansing water of life. Its wide, round eye is ever open to receive Light. We are left in awesome awareness of how little we deserve and how much we are given. God celebrates us. It is when we are prepared to become nothing, when we relinquish our earthly estate: our prejudice, obsession for material gain, our human pride and ambition to improve our 'success' status and when we are stripped of all our delusions that God is able to give us everything and we are able to receive God.

Pause for reflection:

How lovely is your dwelling, o lord of hosts!
Better one day in your courts Than a thousand elsewhere.
Better the threshold of the house of my God Than a home in the tents of the wicked.
For a sun and shield is the Lord God, Bestowing all grace and glory.
The Lord withholds no good thing
From those who walk without reproach. o Lord of hosts,
Happy are those who trust in you!

Pause for reflection:

Closing music:
Tim Wheater
From CD: Mistral - the wind of change NWCD224

Copyright © 2009 Wilfried Joye. All Rights Reserved.

Website design and Hosting by DE WET Software Development Studio, Potchefstroom
[ Recommended Browser: MS IE 7+ or Google Chrome 1.0 ]