Joseph gazes wonderingly up at Jesus, John the Baptist points saying “behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world”, our Lady holds Jesus up as He wraps an arm around her neck. Her hand draws our gaze to His little figure, but humbly she bows her head, gazing down to the tabernacle, drawing our hearts to understand the connection between her Son and the Eucharist.
Each day the priest celebrates the Mass, by his words, through the ministry of the Church, the Host transforms into God. What was bread and wine are now the flesh and blood of God. This is the daily incarnation.
Just as the first Incarnation happened in the silence of Nazareth in the womb of a virgin when Mary gave her fiat, her yes to God, so too at the priest’s fiat and those quiet words of consecration, the elevation of the host, the incarnation occurs anew.
And then by the greatest mystery, God allows us to eat Him, bringing Him into our very bodies so that he can take up residence in us and make us temples, tabernacles holding His presence.
Remember this daily incarnation, this presence of God from one reception of the Eucharist to the next as St. Faustina tells us. He is present in us always. Do we remember?
Inspiration for this painting came from my pilgrimage to Rome. It’s in the church in the first house St. Philip Neri lived in when he started the Oratorians (they would later move across to street to the church that now holds his body). This church has his room and private chapel.
It was a side altar, not even the main one, tucked away on the right that I took a picture of simply because I was taking pictures of every altar in Rome. They’re all so stunningly beautiful. But I honestly don’t remember this altar, it didn’t strike me how beautiful the painting behind it is and how detailed the tabernacle is until I was looking through my photos.
The fun fact of this painting is the painting behind the tabernacle actually has an entire lower section with maybe St. Paul or an evangelist writing in a book, but when I cropped in on the tabernacle, all you could see was Paul. So I pulled down the painting.
And by happy accident this makes Mary’s gaze perfectly directed to the tabernacle.
Oil paint is slightly transparent, letting light bounce through thinner layers of paint to the the lower layers. The brush strokes, everywhere they are even slightly raised, catch the light, and change throughout the day as the light changes. The original painting will hold a depth that is not capturable with a print. There’s no replacing what an original piece looks like, and when you love a piece, it’s always worth it to get the original if possible.
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