Veiled behind the wood of the tabernacle, the Real Presence of Jesus reposes. This quiet moment reminds us how Jesus is hidden within each of us from the moment of our Baptism.
We are the temples of the Holy Spirit – the place where God dwells, just like the tabernacle.
The encounter before the tabernacle breathes life into our day. God is with us, wherever we will go. He is the vine, we are the branches.
This carved tabernacle is hidden away in the Tatry mountains of Poland in a chapel dedicated to Our Lady of the Tatras – an apparition of Mary to a shepherd girl who had lost her sheep. The old-world hand carved wood chapels is one of the greatest joys of visiting southern Poland.
After painting “Peace in the Mountains” which is a large painting in which the whole altar has highly detailed hand carvings, I wanted to do just a small detailing, and this tabernacle was perfect.
Look at the arch over the tabernacle door. This isn’t a particularly large tabernacle and the craftsman carved out 40 of these tiny points, perfectly arrayed. And even more so, there’s a tender, delicate, impressive detailing in the grape leaves and grapes.
While painting, I noticed all the history, the years this tabernacle has held the Eucharist in safety. On the left side, there are two pieces of moulding missing, and the columns are stained from the candle smoke. I decided to “fix” them in the painting, remembering what it would have looked like when it first was added to the chapel in honor of Our Lady of the Tatras.