Our Theme for this Week: The Sacred Art of Mary.
As we search for great works of art around Mary and the birth of Jesus, may these reflections help bring us closer to Him through her.
St. Anne with Mary
I am not what you would call an “artsy person”. I never cared much what things looked like, only that there is a deeper reality that looks beyond the physical. During my last year of Seminary, I had the once in a life-time chance to visit the Holy Land. There are many beautiful things there, but I cared mostly for the reality of what happened there and wanted to pray and experience the place Jesus walked, lived and died for us. The trip was great in many ways, but I lamented the way we did some of the touristy thing at the expense of time to pray at fewer places. The many sites did not speak to me as much as the pull to prayerfully encounter Jesus in the place he lived while on this earth.
I went obediently from place to place, staying no longer than 20 minutes in any one sacred site. I was grateful to spend an hour at the Garden of Gethsemane and very blessed to have the chance to be spend the night at the Holy Sepulchre. In the whirlwind of things I saw, I was honestly overwhelmed in all the places we visited and likely still need to unpack all the graces of the trip.
What struck me, in all the sites, was this statue of Mary with St. Anne. When we think of Mary, we think of Mother, of God, of Heaven and Earth, of ourselves. What I had never thought to consider is her own childhood and relationship with her own mother.
The child and parent relationship is so important in the development of the child’s understanding and growth. In Baptism preparation classes and during the Baptism of the child, I remind the parents and Godparents that it is their responsibility to pass on to their child the faith they have been given. With that, also, the child like dependence of the child/parent relationship to all of our child/parent relationship with God. To see Mary’s depicted as a child with her Earthly mother, mirroring that Divine love and St. Anne passing on her own child like dependence of God the Father to Mary, who was to be the Mother of God, was awe inspiring.
As we celebrate the Immaculate Conception this week, we know Mary was born without sin in St. Anne’s womb through a natural way with St. Joachim, human actions bless and sanctified by Divine Grace, to prepare for the Word become flesh in Jesus Christ in Christmas. We should reflect on our own call to form relationships with both human and Divine. God has call us to Himself through a human way, whether as parents, Fathers, brothers, Mothers or in any other human relationship. He has also called us through the Divine life of Jesus through Mary. As most of us will be spending time with our families this Holiday, reflect on how our human relationships have led us to come to know our God and thank our Lord for all the good He has given us, both in the human and the Divine.