Sunday, January 24, 2010

Mary at the Foot of the Cross

Was recently at the Cathedral of St Paul and with my new camera took some photos of what is in my opinion the very best image ever painted of the Death of Jesus. This painting is huge and is quite high upon the wall so I apologize for the angle.

I have spent many moments standing before this painting, to the point of hurting my neck looking up at it. This is a very worthy painting and I thank God it exists in a Church and not in a museum.

After some consideration, I have come to believe this is a depiction of the moment of the death of Jesus, our Lady's 5th sorrow. Notice how the face of Jesus is darkened and discolored as happens after death but yet there is a heavenly glow surrounding His Holy Face - this is rather rare in art to depict Jesus in His human death rather realistically.

Mary's face by contast in very light and starkly pale, stricken as in death by her suffering but yet she lives. Notice how the artist (I don't know who the artist is BTW) shows Mary to be deeply grieved but she does not appear by any means despairing. Even beneath the shadow of the death of her only Son, she does not despair. She possesses the strongest faith, knowing Jesus to be Lord, knowing that He suffers according to His will and she is at all times accepting of God's will.

This is quite frankly a perfect depiction of how great suffering can coincide in the soul along with great joy. Joy does not in one small part diminish her suffering, but the suffering does not take away from her joy. It is as if you can hear Mary saying "You have done it! Amen my Son, you have accomplished the redemption of Man! O how terrible! O how wonderful!"

"I will remain with You and see you through to the House of the Father. I too offer myself to the Eternal Father for the salvation of souls! I offer myself and would die for You if I could my Son. How is it that you die and I still live?" How touching the way St. John supports and cares for our Blessed Mother but does not wisk her away. Like a real man he stands by her side, with great respect and awe he assists her in carrying this great burden. He witnesses the sacrifice of the Lord in body, and also the sacrifice of Mary in spirit. What a great honor was given to St. John.
I don't even know what to say about poor Mary Magdalen giving in to her grief at our Lord's feet. We would all do well to bring all our cares, our burdens and our sorrows such as this in prayer at all times.

I place my poor soul at your feet as did Mary Magdalen Lord, in time and for all eternity. Amen


Paul Anthony Melanson said...

A beautiful post Sanctus. We must all never forget to put prayer first and humbly solicit Our Lady's maternal protection and assistance. If we think we can do things on our own we deceive ourselves. Without Jesus we can do nothing. Without His Mother, we are powerless.

What is humility but truth? But sanity? Let us all say with Saint Paul: "For when I am weak it is THEN that I am strong."

When we acknowledge our weakness, our insignificance in the scheme of things, ONLY THEN can God's power be made manifest in us.

Lord Jesus, I am small and weak; help me to do good and to give You glory in all I do and say. Amen.

TH2 said...

Sanctus Belle said: "Notice how the artist ... shows Mary to be deeply grieved but she does not appear by any means despairing." A very discerning observation.

I will say it again... there is a mystical quality in your writing. Wonderful post.

Sanctus Belle said...

Thank you Paul and TH2. May our Lady's prayers go with you always

Jackie Parkes MJ said...

Amazing post,

Paul Anthony Melanson said...

Sanctus, thought I would share this with you. It was posted at the HCCNS forum by a concerned Catholic:

Explosive New Report Documents 'The Religious Face of the New World Order: From the Vatican to the White House to the United Religions Initiative'

MEDIA ADVISORY, Feb. 17 /Christian Newswire/ -- A new report from the public policy group America's Survival, Inc. (ASI), headed by veteran investigative reporter Cliff Kincaid, explores how and why the Pope's call for a "World Political Authority" plays into the hands of those demanding a "New World Order" and increased power and authority for the United Nations. Author Lee Penn says, "The question is not whether there will be a New World Order. The question is who will control it, and for what ends." The Vatican, he argues, is determined to be a major global player.

Kincaid comments, "This report, with almost 300 endnotes, examines in detail how and why the Vatican has abandoned its resistance to a New World Order. This is a major sea change in world events and the global political order." Penn, who previously wrote the book, False Dawn, about global religion, notes in this report that "When the Pope agrees with Mikhail Gorbachev, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Henry Kissinger, the new President of the European Union, and other secular leaders on the need for global governance and a new world order, we can know that the world has indeed experienced a 'harmonic convergence' and entered a new age." Kincaid's introduction to the report goes into substantial detail about the roles being played in this unfolding international drama by the Obama Administration and financial hedge fund operator George Soros, who is pouring large sums of money into various politically active "Catholic" groups.

Penn observes the significance of what is happening:

In the past, the proponents of "global governance" have faced Papal skepticism or opposition. With the publication of Caritas in Veritate, Benedict XVI has himself come out strongly for a new world order. He might wish to put a new international system to different uses than those supported by Mikhail Gorbachev, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Henry Kissinger, or others -- but he agrees that a new international system, "a true world political authority," must come into being.

In the explosive report, Penn offers his own provocative theory of what is happening and why. World government, he argues, depends on a global religion. ASI President Kincaid adds, "On a basic level, this can be viewed as an attempt to bring together the world's Eastern and Western spiritual traditions. It is not clear how Islam will be integrated into this global system but the United Religions Initiative (URI) seems designed to accomplish this goal. As Lee Penn documents, the URI even included practitioners of Wicca (witchcraft) as well as an Islamic cleric convicted of rape."

While much of this seems inevitable, Kincaid says that opposition is emerging from traditional Christians, most especially conservative Catholics.

The 84-page report is available at

I've been warning of these developments for some time but people just aren't listening.

Cathy_of_Alex said...

Sanctus Belle: Thanks for calling out this painting. I admit I've never noticed it at the Cathedral before. I'll pay closer attention now!