©Michele L. Catanese
* When I use the terms ‘the first’ and ‘the last’ I am putting them in partial quotes (as is my style) so that we are reminded that I am using the definition of first and last as applied by Jesus in the gospels. He is not speaking as if we are in a race, nor is He implying that we denigrate ourselves. Rather, Jesus is implying 'the last' are those who do not seek honors and who seek to live with humility, serving with love. Those who seek to be ‘the first’ are the haughty: the true ‘first’ are the ones who God honors, that is, the holy ones.
To view the video which inspired this post, mentioned in the first paragraph, click here: https://www.facebook.com/sanctafamiliamedia/videos/863612750701716/
1. My photo, at garden at Direlton Castle, N. Berwick, Scotland: I thought that this would be an appropriate photo to begin since it was in a beautiful garden in Scotland, but also because St. Thérèse of Lisieux is often referred to as "The Little Flower" after a reference she made to herself in her autobiography in which she said that she was a little flower in the garden of the Lord.
2. My photo of a photo, taken in Notre Dame Cathedral, Paris, France (2013): I took this photo while in my second visit to Notre Dame Cathedral. It was part of a permanent collection of photos of St. Thérèse of Lisieux. Unfortunately, I do not know if those original photos survived the recent fire at the Cathedral.
3. Icon, St. Francis Wounded Winter Light, by Fr. William Hart McNichols: This icon shows the humility and chosen poverty of St. Francis of Assisi. He truly was a humble servant of God, the last who became the first, as described by Jesus in the gospels. You can find this icon at https://fineartamerica.com/featured/st-francis-wounded-winter-light-098-william-hart-mcnichols.html
4. Painting, St. Francis Giving His Cloak to a Beggar, Giotto: This painting depicts St. Francis as a young man. The event painted here shows him as his conversion was evolving, so to speak. It was one of his first offerings to the poor, taking place shortly before he left all of his family's wealth behind for good.
5. My photo, a hummingbird on a feeder: I chose this photo because the hummingbird is a tiny bird, humble in size, but amazing to behold. They are almost insignificant in size, yet they are beautiful. It seemed a fitting reminder that the littlest can be great in its own way.
6. Painting, Mother and Child, by Vincent van Gogh: I chose this because it is a humble scene of the security given through the bond of love between the mother and the child, both asleep before the warmth of a fire. There is no finery here, just love.
7. My photo, trees in a park outside of Auckland, New Zealand: I chose this because the (large) tree looked rather luminous. Just as holy people have a kind of luminosity, a radiance often depicted as a halo, so this tree seemed to have a radiance of its own.
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