Faith becomes culture and culture encourages faith


The Perpetual Help editorial and bookshop is following an interesting path in the service of evangelization. Without compromising its fundamental task of bringing society closer to God and God to society, it does so with a very encouraging pedagogy. Evangelize without indoctrinating or preaching; it opens the thought, the research and the question that lead the person to the encounter with the one who is the original source. Within the cycle “The closed garden,” which in itself is the evocation of the privileged garden of the human being’s encounter with God, where contemplation, self-knowledge and forgiveness take place, there is a succession of authors from the spectrum interdisciplinary that are attracting the attention of the general public.

The latest of these is Eduardo Barba Gómez, a qualified specialist in art, gardening and botany. The author developed his vocation as a botanical researcher of works of art, collaborating with institutions such as the Museo Nacional del Prado, the Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza, the Museo Lázaro Galdiano and the Museo de Bellas Artes de Bilbao, as well as for numerous collections in other European countries. For each of them, he also gave lectures and published research articles in catalogues. In addition to collaborating with the newspaper El País with the column “Meterse en un jardín” (“Entering a garden”) or participating in radio programs on the Ser radio station. His profound knowledge and passion for gardening, has made him an indisputable point reference point for everything related to the richness of landscapes and the admiration and care of nature throughout Europe. He is the author of three impeccable books: Un jardín en el asfalto, El jardín del Prado and El paraíso a pinceladas . In all three, in addition to showing us an engaging erudition, he gives us a glimpse of his confident vision of humanity and all of creation.

This was the case in the latest edition of the “Huerto Cerrado,” where Eduardo, in a vibrant presentation lasting almost an hour, did not fail to refer to the constant presence of the Virgin Mary in the history of humanity through the very rich floral manifestation of the works of art from the Prado Museum and other European museums, such as The Little Garden of Paradise by the Master of the Haut-Rhin, The Annunciation by Beato Angelico, The Rest on the Flight into Egypt by Gioacchino Patinir. He also referred to other paintings such as The Garden of Villa Medici by Velázquez, The sentry-box by Carl Spitzweg and Winter Landscape by Rudolf Wacker. You don’t need to upload a doctrine text to be engaging. Eduardo succeeded with an agile and convincing exposition, in which, far from avoiding the religious topic, he made it central and transformed it into a plot.

The packed audience not only showed objective attention and interest but participated extensively with questions and comments.

The conclusion is that such events, in which faith-culture dialogue is the organizing principle, are indispensable for this moment of evangelization. The transformation to serve this time and this culture requires an approach to reality from other points of view that brings society closer to a God who has never been disinterested in the steps of men and women of every era.

Francisco Javier Caballero, CSsR.
(Spanish original)