Color, a Gift with Pizazz

People who encourage me to get cataract surgery say that colors will become more vivid, especially purple. This has caused me to reflect on the gift of color. Imagine if our world were only black and white. How drab! I remember watching the movie the Wizard of Oz for the first time. The film began as usual in black and white, and then suddenly the screen was alive with color. How exciting! Only after I entered the convent did my family get a colored TV. I grew up with black, white, and grey cartoons.

Similarly, we Notre Dame Sisters used to wear black habits (except for the cooks and nurses who wore white habits). We progressed to wearing gray habits if we wished. Then, thanks to Vatican II reforms, we were able to celebrate God’s gift of color by our wardrobes.

What produces color? Light radiation. At night in the dark we can’t see color. In Genesis light was God’s first creation. It follows that color was the first creation.

The wavelengths of light produce different colors. Our eyes, nerves, and brains are constructed so intricately that they interpret these wavelengths as colors. Three sets of cones in our eyes enable us to see them. It’s said that on the average a human eye can detect about a million different hues—far more than the ROY G BIV of a rainbow or a box of 72 crayons. God’s extravagance is not limited to wine, bread, and fish!

White is unique. It contains all the wavelengths and therefore the entire spectrum of colors. In the West white stands for purity, goodness, and cleanliness. Recall that in the Transfiguration the garments of Jesus were whiter than any bleach could make them.

Colors affect how we feel. Warm colors like red and orange excite us, while cool colors like blue and green calm us. Wearing a red suit gives me confidence.

Without color we would be deprived of magnificent pink and blue sunrises and orange and purple sunsets; shimmering rainbows; the aurora borealis; beautiful gardens of red roses, yellow pansies, and purple irises; and flaming autumn landscapes. God is so good to paint our world with color. I expect that heaven will be awash with colors that we can’t even imagine.

My favorite color is blue—all shades. I think it’s God’s favorite too because he made the sky and our vast oceans blue.

• What is your favorite color?

The slides in this video are not in full resolution, but it’s still worth a look…

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