So here is a painting entitle, "A Candy Heart Pierced by a Candy Arrow or A Pop Mediation on the Sweet Suffering of St. Sebastian." I don't have time or the space to tell you everything that I would like to about this painting or what the artists was trying to do but here we go:
Of course you think of heart when you think of love - think of the heart beating out of a cartoon character's chest. And the arrow is a harmless looking one like one you might find at Boy Scout Camp.
Next, we understand from the title that this is a candy heart which brings to mind the little candies passed around on St. Valentine's Day. The arrow then can be reminiscent of Cupid's arrow that, when it strikes you, makes you fall helplessly in love.
Next, because of the title, we know that this painting is connected to St. Sebastian. In his great love for God he was willing to risk all and head for Rome where the persecution against this Christian God was the greatest. It was love of God and his fellow Christians that drew him there. And if you know the story of St. Sebastian, you know that when he was found out, he was tied to a stake and shot with arrows.
Further, the colors the painter has chosen are the colors of St. Sebastian Parish in Akron. Now all of the themes of St. Sebastian, his love of God, his story, and being patron of this parish all come together to give new meaning to something as secular as a candy heart.
Here is a way to "baptize" secular symbolism to remind us of God. I would be willing to bet that in February when you pick up a candy heart it will mean more than just being a piece of mindless candy of a self indulgent sweet tooth.
What wonders we could work if we start taking control of the symbolic language of our culture.