Symbols of Saint Joseph in Sacred Art
Saint Joseph is a mysterious character in scripture. We know little about his life, and he never has a word recorded in the Bible. read more
I’ve been blessed to visit some of the greatest museums in the world, and I’m always fascinated by the large amounts of Catholic art on display. It makes sense to some extent, because have the greatest inspiration possible – Divine Love. No other flowery, romanticism can compare to the power of the love of God. Still, I’m most fascinated by how people often try to remove it from its context and message to only focus on the aesthetic beauty.
Exactly 9 months before Christmas, we celebrate the Solemnity of the Annunciation every March 25th. This celebration is a very big deal. Yes, the nativity is where the world got to meet Jesus Incarnate, but it was at the Annunciation where the Infinite God entered a finite world and took on flesh. This is the very moment that inspires us to bow during our proclamation of the Credo (Nicene or Apostle’s Creed).
For years, my favorite pieces of art have focused on this very important event. The other reason I really enjoy this theme is because it combines two of my favorites topics – Mary and Angels. This is truly a unique event when an angel, a very high celestial being, speaks to a humble young woman with a greeting that no other human has every received – “Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with you.”
Everyone has their own interpretation of how they envision St Luke’s account of the event. Each one focuses on different emotions, actions, and perspectives of this world-changing event. Here are some of my personal favorites.
For the last few weeks, I have been preparing for consecration to Jesus through Mary. I wrote a post in December explaining my decision to do it, but originally I was planning on waiting until next December for the feast of either Our Lady of Guadalupe or the Immaculate Conception. Although what good would it be if I did this on my terms, rather than our Lord’s?
One Sunday in January, I felt the Lord bringing it to my heart incessantly. With some quick prayers of discernment, I knew then that He was calling me to do the consecration in the upcoming feast, the Solemnity of the Annunciation of Our Lord.
It just so happened that a group was handing out free copies of the devotional prayers in the church narthex that Sunday. I hadn’t even had the chance to start thinking about what I needed to do when I was suddenly provided all that I needed for free and without real effort. There was a peace in my heart that confirmed that Our Lady was calling.
In the time before I began the thirty-three day process, I started to encounter a very difficult period in my faith. In the middle of coordinating two very large, important events for different ministries, I entered a very dry period in my faith. These are common for everyone, but it definitely tried me while trying to minister to others and stay focused.
That was only the beginning as the actual process brought even greater challenges and struggles. Although it only makes sense because the evil one cannot stand the Blessed Virgin. Mary is a women perfected by the grace of Christ that demonstrates God’s intention and goodness of humanity. She stands for everything that made them leave the presence of God. This is also why she her prayers are so powerful in combating evil.
Prayers with our Lady were a definite source of strength. Recently I noticed that I had been switching to talk to her in Spanish. I can switch into it without really thinking, but I did not really understood why I would do it mainly with her. I now that it is probably because I am used to conversing with my own mother only in Spanish. Mary wants to be present as our Mother, and I pray more people, especially Catholics, open their eyes to her presence.
Before reading that book [A True Devotion to Mary], I thought that praying to the Holy Virgin meant to hide the love for Jesus Christ. While reading the Treaty of Grignion de Montfort, I finally discovered the contrary, that is that our interior relationship with the Mother of God is but the consequence of our tie with the mystery of God.
-John Paul II
This quote from Pope John Paul II has become a very vivid reality in the past few weeks. St Louis-Marie de Montfort speaks of Mary as the spouse of the Holy Spirit, but when entering into His presence nobody ever talks about inviting her to join in the same way. As a Church, we often do neglect the Holy Spirit, but we neglect Mary even more. During a few prayers before the Blessed Sacrament in the past weeks, I called on her to join, and like any good mother would, she came.
I believe we need to talk about that more as a Church, and I will be writing more about it in the future. The communion of saints is a Biblical reality that has somehow fallen off most of our generation’s radar. It’s a terrible tragedy to see heaven be ignored.
All of this led to today’s celebration of the Incarnation of our Lord, through the Annunciation and acceptance of the Father’s will by Mary. Now that the process is complete and the mass has passed, there was no special feeling or supernatural spiritual experience. Just like many other moments when receiving graces or even sacraments, God is working in the unseen and what is not sensed. I encourage all of you to listen, discern, and decided to devote your lives to our Blessed Mother. It take just a little effort, but it is for everyone.
I only ask one thing of you:
that in every instant of my life,
I may say three Amens:
Amen to all you obtained on Earth.
Amen to that which you are currently doing in Heavan.
Amen to all that you are working within my soul.
So that Jesus may be fully glorified in time and through eternity.
-Excerpt from St Louis de Montfort’s Prayer to Mary