2016-08-22 Jan Góra OP on work and inspiration

I was reading an article (in Polish) by Agnieszka Chrostowska about Jan Góra OP, the legendary Dominican friar who died last year. It is difficult to summarize who Father Góra is for people not in the know, and (not really being one of his spiritual children, and in fact not really being a huge fan of him) I won’t even dare to try. I have to admit, though, that his vision, his love for Christ, for the Church, and for the people – especially the young – is undeniable. I consider him a real Catholic: well grounded in reality and at the same time totally in love with God (in fact, the latter implies the former). Not being without his sins (who of us is free of them anyway?), I am quite convinced he is safe in heaven now, and I wouldn’t be surprised to learn the he is continuing his job of bringing the young people to God and to maturity.

One quotation from the article really did resonate with me. In my poor translation, the author says this:

He often told us that a real artist does not wait for inspiration, but gets to work at once, and only corrects when inspiration comes. It sometimes annoyed us that he seemed content with the first, sketchy versions of music, graphics, texts, and circulated them immediately to everyone in the world. But he used to say that what we had then, even imperfect, is better than the perfect we’d never achieve. He was usually right […].

(To be fair, the author continues with a lovely anecdote about how “usually” is not “always”, but that does not mean that the above rule of thumb is wrong!)

If you need or want inspiration from a person who looks like a workaholic but clearly is not (since for a workaholic, work is everything, and for a healthy person, work is a means to some higher end), Jan Góra OP might be a good candidate to read about. If you tend to sometimes justify your disobedience to legitimate authorities with excuses like “good intentions” etc., he might not be the best candidate to read about. But (even justified) criticism of his flaws (and again, I’m pretty sure mine are much worse) aside, I am grateful to God for that extraordinary man.

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