©Michele L. Catanese
Note: The next post will be on November 7.
† These words were spoken by St. John Paul II during an interview. The quote can be found in a book called Memory and Identity: Conversations at the Dawn of a Millennium by John Paul II. I also saw the quote in the October issue of Magnificat.
* You may have recognized the reference to the motto of St. Pope John Paul II: Totus Tuus, which means 'totally His.'
The first photo is one of mine. It was taken on the coast of Maine. I was standing on the beach and zoomed in on a rock outcropping which was sticking up in the bay. I chose this photo because while the ocean was roiling and the winds were blowing, the gulls seemed rather unfazed by the situation. Many of us would need to hear the words, 'be not afraid' at a time like that, but it seems the birds had already taken it to heart.
Next is a photo (not one of mine!) of the iconographer Fr. William Hart McNichols when he was presenting an original icon to St. Pope John Paul II in Denver in 1993. Fr. Bill described the moment as being life-changing insofar as he had the recognition of being in the presence of a saint the moment he was in the presence of St. Pope John Paul II. I chose this for a number of reasons. First the Pope put his hand on Fr. Bill's shoulder, which to me seems to be a gesture of imparting peace between friends. (They had never met before, so the gesture is incredibly telling of the grace and peace within the Saint.) Second, I use many of the icons of Fr. Bill in my posts so I thought it would be good to show the iconographer whose work my readers see so often. Finally, the icon being given was Our Lady of New Advent The Burning Bush. Our Lady is the Mother of Peace, since she is the Mother of Jesus, who is the Prince of Peace.
Third is one of my photos, this one taken in Alpine, TX. Though it is a modern scene, the photo caused me to think of what it might have been like for Lot at the end of the journey back into civilization after being rescued. In my reflection on the Scripture while choosing a photo, the clouds and the town in the distance in this shot seemed to speak of peace and security. Maybe it was the first time Lot was able to perceive beauty again after being in the darkness, surrounded by evildoers. The beauty had never left, but because of his predicament, perhaps he had lost sight of it.
The stained glass photo which comes next is one I took inside St. Ignatius Church on the campus of Boston College. This is a panel within a type of triptych in one window. You can see that Jesus is on His throne in Heaven and He is holding what appears to be the book of the Scriptures. The word Pax, (peace) is emblazoned upon it. Be at peace! Or similarly, "Be not afraid!"
Next is the icon which Fr. William Hart McNichols is holding in the second photo above. It is Our Lady of the New Advent The Burning Bush. It makes sense to chose this icon so that you can really see it, but there is another reason it is appropriate here: Our Lady is an intercessor who hears our prayers for peace in the world, for wisdom, discernment, protection and all of our intentions. There is no more perfect image to have in this post than one of Mary the Mother of Jesus and Queen of Peace. If you are interested in obtaining a copy in a particular medium you can purchase it at the following link: http://frbillmcnichols-sacredimages.com/featured/our-lady-of-the-new-advent-the-burning-bush-024-william-hart-mcnichols.html
Peruse the entire site; there are many beautiful icons of various saints, Jesus, and Mary. Christmas is not far off...you might find a gift there. (Remember: I get nothing from endorsing Fr. Bill's icons and images except for sharing the wealth of beauty in his work.)
The last photo is also one of mine. It was taken at Boothbay Harbor, Maine while eating a delicious lobster dinner outside. The sun was setting, gloriously giving the sense of great peace and beauty. Even in the midst of trying times, we should never forget to find God's presence reflected in that which He has made.