Truth in stenciling

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VISION'S WEBMASTER, who is also a painter and musician, happened upon this spray-painted image on a walk along a Mexican road. He said it looked like something that belonged in VISION, and the editors agreed. We were struck by two things: 1.) The power of the image; and 2.) The eye of the photographer.

First, the man with the camera: Curtis Long was simply out on a hike, but he has the discerning eye of an artist, so he sees things others might not. It is a talent cultivated over years of practice and a reminder to all of us to pay attention—for even the stones cry out the glory of God (cf. Luke: 19-40).

Now the image: It is haunting, rough, wild, somewhat desolate, but ultimately hopeful. Like some Christian “Kilroy was here” graffiti, it reminds us that God can be found in the unlikeliest places. What possessed the artist to create that image right at that spot is uncertain. Perhaps it marks a place of death—could the red on the rock suggest a violent encounter? Yet it is also undoubtedly a sign of the sacred. Something holy happened here worthy of the stamp of the cross.

It is modern hieroglyphics that could take a lifetime to decipher. But that is the beauty of art, faith, love, and all that taps into eternal truth: It is forever a mystery but not without its revelations. Insights and sparks of enlightenment will come to us particularly through spiritual practice and prayer, and in those moments we will know above all else who we are and where we are being called.

Patrice TuohyPatrice J. Tuohy is a co-founder and publisher of TrueQuest Communications, publishers of VISION, and a regular contributor to Take Five for Faith: Daily formation for busy Catholics,, and Prepare The Word: The Complete Preacher’s Toolkit,




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