Monday, March 30, 2015

Pondering the Angelus with Art: A Holy Week Annunciation

Monday of Holy Week. Today's image presages the events we will commemorate in the Liturgy later this week. For not only does Gabriel genuflect before the Virgin as he delivers the divine message; not only does Mary listen calmly and receptively; not only does God the Father look benignly down from his supernatural dwelling: a tiny, naked boy-child is running toward Mary from the heavenly realm, already carrying a cross.

The painting is by Giovanni Santi, a noted 15th century Italian artist in his own right,  but eclipsed in fame by his son, Raphael. The work is kept in Raphael's hometown of Urbino.
The Annunciation, by Giovanni Santi (1490)

Thursday noon will be the last time we traditionally pray the Angelus until Ordinary Time resumes. After the Easter Vigil Mass (Saturday evening), we burst into the "Regina Coeli" (Queen of Heaven, rejoice!), which takes the place of the Angelus throughout Easter.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Pondering the Angelus with Art

This week's Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord is a perfect occasion to promote the prayer of the Angelus (even if very soon we will be shifting to the "Regina Coeli" of the Easter season!).

On this day, a prayer by Catherine of Siena:

Today, O Mary,
you have become a book in which our rule is written.
In you, today, is written the wisdom of the eternal Father.
In you, today, is manifested the strength and freedom of all humankind.

The mosaic of the Annunciation is from the chapel of the Society of the Divine Word (SVD missionaries) in Nemi, Italy.

Monday, March 16, 2015

The St Joseph Angelus

Previously posted on March 19, 2014
For the feast of St. Joseph (Thursday), Mary probably wouldn't mind a bit if we tweaked the Angelus meditation this week to remember the important role her spouse played in the work of redemption, and the Annunciation he also received.  
Joseph was the man closest to Christ throughout his formative years. He helped "form" Jesus for his messianic vocation. The "St. Joseph Angelus" honors him for this, using (as does the more typical Angelus prayer) the words of Scripture:

The Angel of the Lord declared unto Joseph--
--And he did as the Angel instructed him.

Have no fear to take Mary your wife into your home--

--for she has conceived by the Holy Spirit.

She is to bring forth a Son--

--and you are to name him Jesus.

Pray for us, O Blessed Joseph,

--that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Let us pray.
Grant, we pray, almighty God,
that by Saint Joseph's intercession
your Church may constantly watch over
the unfolding of the mysteries of human salvation,
whose beginnings you entrusted to his faithful care.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

The Annunciation to Joseph, by Sieger Koder

Monday, March 9, 2015

Pondering the Angelus with Art

Godried Schalcken, The Annunication 
used with permission under the Getty Museum's
Open Content Program

A wingless Gabriel in Godfried Schalcken's Annunciation points over Mary's head: "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you." Mary's gestures say it all: with one hand, she indicates her own Immaculate Heart, while the other is open to the descending grace.

For more about this 17th century oil painting, see its page on the site.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Praying the Angelus with Art: This Week's Image

From St Alban's Cathedral (St Albans, England), a detail from the Annunciation window: