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

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Abide with me

A co-worker of mine lost a daughter yesterday in a car accident. Please pray for the repose of this young lady's soul and also for the devastated family that remains in the vale of tears.

Abide with me

Abide with me; fast falls the eventide;
the darkness deepens; Lord, with me abide.
When other helpers fail and comforts flee,
Help of the helpless, O abide with me.

2. Swift to its close ebbs out life's little day;
earth's joys grow dim; its glories pass away;
change and decay in all around I see;
O thou who changest not, abide with me.

3. I need thy presence every passing hour.
What but thy grace can foil the tempter's power?
Who, like thyself, my guide and stay can be?
Through cloud and sunshine, Lord, abide with me.

4. I fear no foe, with thee at hand to bless;
ills have no weight, and tears not bitterness.
Where is death's sting? Where, grave, thy victory?
I triumph still, if thou abide with me.

5. Hold thou thy cross before my closing eyes;
shine through the gloom and point me to the skies.
Heaven's morning breaks, and earth's vain shadows flee;
in life, in death, O Lord, abide with me.

Henry F. Lyte, 1793-1847 Wrote this poem as he lay dying of TB.