May we pray for the courage to complete the journey of Lent! May we have the eyes to see and the ears to hear so that every moment of Holy Week is a testament to love! May we cling to Mary in order to persevere on this most harrowing part of the journey! May we learn from the hearts of Jesus and Mary to love and forgive all those who try to do harm to our faith or who attempt to thwart our journey to the cross and to resurrection! May our love and care bolster one another if the journey becomes too difficult, especially for those who have lost so much and who suffer terribly! And may we continue to build community through keeping our eyes on Jesus, whose journey does not end on the Cross! Let us meet at the tomb, keeping vigil together in order to be awake to glory on Easter morning! Peace!
©Michele L. Catanese
The first image is The Entry into Jerusalem by one of my favorite painters, Bl. Fra Angelico. The original is found in St. Mark’s in Florence, Italy.
Second is the newest icon by Fr. William Hart McNichols. It is called Mother of Mercy – Dedicated to Pope Francis in This Year of Mercy. This icon actually contains the joy shared between Mary and Jesus. I find it an appropriate reminder since on Ash Wednesday Lent was referred to as a joyous season. We should keep in mind that Lent only makes sense in the light of Easter. If you are interested in obtaining a copy you can find this icon by clicking here: http://fineartamerica.com/featured/mary-mother-of-mercy-dedicated-to-pope-francis-in-this-year-of-mercy-289-william-hart-mcnichols.html. It would make a lovely Easter card or gift. (Remember I do not receive any remuneration for endorsing the work of Fr. Bill. I simply enjoy sharing the wealth.) If you are interested in Fr. Bill’s comments on this icon click here: http://fineartamerica.com/blogs/mary-mother-of-mercy-dedicated-to-pope-francis-in-this-year-of-mercy.html Also, there is a symbolic similarity with the 4th image, so read on.
The third image is a painting called The Way to Calvary by Duccio di Buoninsegno.
Fourth is an image which is an unusual choice for me since I normally use photos, iconography, and Renaissance artists. This is a Madonna and Child by Henri Matisse which is on the wall of a chapel he built called Chapelle Du Rosaire in Provence, France. (1950) This painting came to me, literally: after I had finished the text for this post, I turned on the TV so I could view as I stretched my legs on the treadmill. A show was on the PBS channel about art in France. Just as I tuned in, the Chapelle was featured, along with this image. The narrator said, “If you look closely you will see that the Madonna is not holding onto the Child. He is free!” It was at that moment I knew I needed to include this image. The connection symbolically with the icon by Fr. Bill above, is that Mary is not holding onto Jesus in it, either. She has let go there, as well. I only realized that after I saw the Matisse and saw the similarity; though the position of the hands of Mary are in the praying position in the icon, she is not holding on to Jesus. ~ Ironically, Matisse was a non-believer. However, after he finished the chapel he replied to a friend who had teased him about it suggesting that he may have had a change of heart. It is hard to know, but nonetheless he did create a beautiful chapel. For more on Henri Matisse, click here: http://www.henri-matisse.net/biography.html
For more on the Chapelle Du Rosaire, click here: http://theculturetrip.com/europe/france/articles/matisse-s-masterpiece-vence-s-chapelle-du-rosaire/
Finally, is an image also created by Fr. William Hart McNichols called Variation on Our Lady of Sorrows. You can find it by clicking here: http://fineartamerica.com/featured/1-variation-on-our-lady-of-sorrows-236-william-hart-mcnichols.html. I chose this because of the lily, which is not quite ready for Easter yet, but is a reminder that we are getting closer through the Passion of Christ. If you are interested in Fr. Bill’s explanation of this image, click here: http://fineartamerica.com/blogs/variation-on-our-lady-of-sorrows.html