Monday, February 23, 2015

Pondering the Angelus with Art

The First Joyful Mystery: The Annunciation
Stained Glass window from St Josaphat Basilica, Milwaukee

Hail, star illumined by the sun, hail:
through you creation has been renewed.

You are the heavenly stairway
through which God has descended.

You are the earth
of the fruit that never perishes.

You are the key
to the doors of paradise.

(From the Byzantine liturgy)

Monday, February 16, 2015

Pondering the Angelus with Art

The Annunciation, by Lorenzo Maitani; from the facade of the Cathedral of Orvieto.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Pondering the Angelus with Art: An Islamic-influenced Annunciation

This page from a 15th century Gospel book hails from the Lake Van region of Turkey. You can probably recognize the Islamic influence on the artist. The book was not only treasured, but actively used for centuries, as attested by the marginal notations throughout. 
For more about this remarkable depiction, see the Flickr page of the Walters Museum of Art.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Pondering the Angelus with Art

The painting by Sister Bianca Gaudiano (Sisters of St Dorothy) seems to hint at the theme of faithfulness with the mysterious addition of three visitors in the left background. That, and the green roof over Mary's head, suggests the story of Abraham and the promise he received under the terebinth of Mamre: a son would be born, despite the impossibility suggested by Sarai's barrenness and advanced age. "Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness."

On this Solemnity of the Presentation of the Lord, the 40th day after Christmas (and traditionally the end of the Christmas season), two figures join us in contemplating Mary's "yes." Simeon and Anna, grown old in waiting for the promises of the Lord to be fulfilled, witness God's faithfulness. Blessed are they who believed!

This Annunciation scene is part of a series of miniatures in the parlor of the Sisters of St Dorothy convent in Rome.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Pondering the Angelus with Art

Annunciation Window by Cornelia Rota.

Prayer to Mary, "Cause of our Joy"

O Mary, who abandoned your soul to happiness by offering it to God,
grant that in our gift to God, our joy may be complete.

O Virgin radiant with joy, grant that we may believe in the happiness which God in his love wills to offer us.

Make joy bloom again in hearts given over to sadness;
Teach us to detach ourselves from worldly pleasures and to seek our happiness in God;
Help us to radiate the witness of Christian joy.

Through your presence in our lives, be for us the font of a joy which is ever new:
Jesus our Lord,

who lives and reigns with the Father in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God,
forever and ever.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Pondering the Angelus with Art

Many of the outdoor Marian shrines in Italy depict the Annunciation. This is an example from Assisi, where the spirit of joy matches well this prayer by Jean Galot: "O Mary, who received from God the deepest joy, help us to live in true joy, the joy of Christ."

Photo by Sr Irma Cipriani, FSP.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Pondering the Angelus with Art

There's something unexpectedly modern about Nicolas Poussin's 1657 rendition of the Annunciation. Mary is seated on an elevated surface, her feet crossed, one sole peeking out from under her robes. Gabriel joyfully gestures both to Mary and to the heavenly Dove even now covering her with its shadow. Mary's open hands tell us her response: "Be it done to me."