Art of Love

As I opened my Breviary this morning I realized that this was a sort of special Good Friday (as if Good Friday wasn’t special enough). Today, is March 25th, and if it wasn’t Holy Week we would be celebrating the Solemnity of the Annunciation, the feast of the incarnation of our Lord. As I reflected on the import of the symbolism that the day of His death is being celebrated on the day of His conception it brought me back to the early representations of the manger scene.  In those paintings and other artworks[1] you could see Jesus in the swaddling bands that also were used in death.

Here is a powerful lesson in just what our Lord came to do.  He had a mission and that mission is each of us. But I fear that this understanding and appreciation of what God did for us and what we mean to Him has been faded in the past 100 years.  Does our Lord’s passion impact us as it should? And when I say ‘us’ I mean ‘me’ first and foremost.

I pray that this year I can open myself up to the greatest act of love ever. I pray that this year I can allow the grief of what I did to our God to bring the sting it should; and the overwhelming wave of unworthiness and joy explode in my heart for His 33 year act of love for me.

I wish the same for each of us.

Adoramus te, Christe, et benedicimus tibi.
Quia per sanctam crucem tuam redemisti mundum.

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[1] Such as:
The Nativity with the Prophets Isaiah and Ezekial, 1308-11 by Duccio
Nativity by Jacopo Torriti
Nativity Scene Fresco (1310) by Giotto Di Bondone
Stained Glass at St. Denis Basilica in Paris (ca 1100s)
Madonna and Child (1319) by Ambrogio Lorenzetti

Shade of the Almighty

Yesterday evening, as I was looking at the empty cross after our living stations production, Psalm 91 came to mind.

He who dwells in shelter of the Most High
and abides in the shade of the Almighty
says to the Lord: “My refuge,
my stronghold, my god in whom I trust!”

In my mind’s eye I saw up there, on that cross, the outstretched arms of Christ; it dawned on me that those outstretched arms were the shelter of the Most High; they cast the shade of the Almighty.  It is in and under those outstretched arms that we are meant to be.  They are our protection against the buffets of the evil one; they are our strength, our reassurance.  From under those arms of love we can rest in total safety, refresh our tired bodies and souls, and feel peace and joy.

I thought that if this is so desirable for us, then it is from those arms we must go out to bring others under their shelter, to share the shade of love and help others to come to the peace and joy we receive; and it is back to them, to that stronghold, that we can go to heal our wounds and re-energize from those efforts.