©Michele L. Catanese
Note: Next entry March 27.
1. I found this image at a page posted by the Episcopal Diocese of East Tennessee and there is permission to use it. I chose it because this simple cross in ashes is what we receive on Ash Wednesday, and it corresponded to the content of the first paragraph. http://www.dioet.org/ashes-to-go.html
2. This is Jesus delivering the Sermon on the Mount to his followers, painted by Blessed Fra Angelico. I chose it because it captures the humility of the setting and of those who are receiving the message. It is set on what seem to be bare rocks; there seems to be nothing there except Jesus and the disciples. This emphasizes the message that all we need is offered to us by God and that we should not worry about anything, but instead trust in God for all that we need.
3. This image caught my attention because it depicts a woman feeding someone who is apparently ill, while another is assisting in holding the man, who seems to be Jesus since the halo around His head has the symbol for Christ. One woman is holding Him upright so that He might take in the nourishment. I was not able to find out where the picture is from, but I believe the woman with the halo is St. Elizabeth of Hungary. She was known for her works among the poor and the sick. It seems to be a depiction of Matthew 25 in which Jesus indicates that when feeding the poor, among other things, we are doing it for Him. I found the image at the following site which is about the Corporal Works of Mercy, therefore it is a good resource for that, too: https://www.catholicculture.org/culture/liturgicalyear/activities/view.cfm?id=1017
4. This next image is a mosaic of Jesus healing a leper which is found at the spectacular Cathedral in Monreale, Sicily. I chose this because it speaks of gratitude and humility. Jesus offered healing to 10 lepers and only one had the humility to return and offer his profound thanksgiving. Of the ten who were healed only one was a gracious receiver, willing and able to return to the Giver of the gift before he went about the rest of his life. I suspect that he became a witness, evangelizing others by telling what God had done for him and thereby glorifying God with his life.
5. This is an icon called St. Ignatius In Prayer Beneath the Stars by Fr. William Hart McNichols. I chose it because it shows what St. Ignatius taught about learning to know, serve, and love God more by following the movements of the Holy Spirit. His experience taught him that God gives us all that we need and that God knows what this is better than we do. Therefore it is important to learn how to discern the difference between what we think we want and what God knows we need. Ignatius came to the conclusion that all we need is God’s grace and love and that is indeed enough. Through the gift of The Spiritual Exercises St. Ignatius provided the tools for people to come to understand this by immersing in prayer and reflection. (The Spiritual Exercises are a 30 day retreat in which we meet with a spiritual director daily and pray daily in silence at a retreat center; or the retreat can be done in 30 weeks with a once weekly meeting with a spiritual director while we live our normal, everyday life.) You can purchase a copy of this, or other icons of St. Ignatius, or other subjects, at http://fineartamerica.com/profiles/william-hart-mcnichols.html?tab=artwork. This specific icon can be found at http://fineartamerica.com/featured/st-ignatius-in-prayer-beneath-the-stars-137-william-hart-mcnichols.html.
6. This painting is called Kitchen Table (Still Life with Basket) by Paul Cezanne (1888-1890). It is at the Musée d’Orsay in Paris. I chose it because it reminded me of the bounty with which we have received. The fruits in the basket, the tea pot, and the rest of the items on the table are in a kitchen setting, and to me the kitchen is the heart of a home. It is in the kitchen that we prepare the food which we share and in which we are nourished by those we love through the gift of family and friends. It seemed like the kitchen is a great place to be inspired to offer a humble, sincere ‘thank you’ to God. For a closer look see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_paintings_by_Paul_C%C3%A9zanne#/media/File:Paul_C%C3%A9zanne_188.jpg
7. This is one of my photos. I took this in Boothbay Harbor, Maine, while strolling the grounds at the hotel where we were staying. I chose this photo because the flowers reminded me of simple gifts given us by God. Quite often, like the buds of flowers, we have to cultivate those gifts. This means we have to let the bud unfurl, so that we can find the beauty which is hidden within.