The Middle Ages art around Mother Mary

It was in the Middle Ages that images of the Mother Mary, also known as Madonnas, began to pick up popularity. And specifically in Italy, in the process of panel painting.

The role of the Dominican

The Dominican and Franciscan Orders were among the first to give the go-ahead for such panels, and they were used everywhere from churches and monasteries to residential homes. Groups called confraternities met specifically to sing the Virgin Mary’s praises in chapels and were known to provide the funding for such panels.

The panels themselves, as part of the construction of churches dedicated to the Mother Mary, could be costly affairs, as they often included real gold leaf. Some stone used in the construction, including the bright blue lapis lazuli, was brought all the way from Afghanistan.

Duccio’s Madonnas

In the late Middle Ages, the artist Duccio was responsible for creating some of the most famous Madonnas. One of the most famous ones is above the altar in the Cathedral of his hometown, Siena. This is known as the Maesta and is included as part of a massive work which depicts various prophets and saints.

The unique style of the Middle Ages

The Mother Mary can usually be distinguished in these Middle Ages works due to her depiction as a young mother. She is typically wearing a blue mantle or appears in murals and mosaics. There’s a great deal of attention paid to the emotion on the face of Mother Mary, while she is holding the Baby Jesus. Moreover, this is often depicted as an intimate moment, in which the compassion of the Mother Mary can be seen.

Cross Sunset Sunrise Hill Sky Sun Crucifixion

JESUS AND THE IMPORTANCE HE SAW IN RESURRECTION

Jesus knew he had to be in Jerusalem, he knew he must be killed and resurrect. In this article, we will review the events.

Most of our knowledge about Jesus comes from the apostles and therefore we are bringing here the highlights.

Jesus is giving his disciples a detailed review of the upcoming events:

According to the book of Matthew:

“From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life”. (16:21)

After the crucifixion – Jesus was crucified and died at noon. Upon his death, an earthquake struck the area:

“And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city,” (27:52-53)

Joseph of Arimathea was keen to ensure that the corpse was buried according to the Jewish law, put the body in a new shroud and buried his body in the tomb just before sunset (27:57-60).

Women who followed Jesus had carried and prepared spices for anointing the body of Jesus Christ, and before they went to rest on the weekly Sabbath day, they made sure his tomb was sealed.

“And there was Mary Magdalene, and the other Mary, sitting over against the sepulcher” (27:61)

The Resurrection

Then the body of Jesus Christ was in the tomb for three days and nights, and near sunset, he rose with the promise of bringing salvation to humankind.

The women that prepared the spices arrived early in the morning and found that Jesus had already risen,

“And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified” (28:5).

Jesus met his eleven disciples and sent them to us, to the world, with his promise

“I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen” (28:19)

With these last words, we have the legacy of Jesus regarding our Salvation and his all-time presence.

Christianity is a religion that revolves around relationships. In the New Testament, the authors of the four Gospels go out of their way to show how Jesus interacted with humanity. To fully understand how critical relationships are in Christianity, you need to examine how Jesus related to his family, followers and his disciplines.

 

Jesus and his family

As the Gospels open with the birth of Jesus, you realize that He was born in an ordinary family and had brothers and sisters who did not always believe in Him. In one instance, his family members even tried to take charge of him thinking that he was out of his mind. Mark 3:21 says, when his family heard about this, they went to take charge of him, for they said, “He is out of his mind.” Even though his own siblings did not always believe he was the Son of God, he was very patient with them and never insulted them.  

Jesus and his disciples

Jesus had a very close relationship with his disciples. He was their friend, confidant, and teacher. In Luke 12:4 Jesus refers to his disciples as friends.
“I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more.” (Luke 12:4).
Good friends confide in each other. Jesus confided in his disciples during trying moments. Just before his arrest and crucifixion, he opened up to them about his emotional turmoil. This is how Matthew captures that moment in Matthew 26:36-38
“Then Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane, and said to His disciples, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” And He took with Him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be grieved and distressed. Then He said to them, “My soul is deeply grieved, to the point of death; remain here and keep watch with me.”
 

Jesus and his followers

Jesus not only interacted with his disciplines but he also spent time with his friends. John 12 1-2
“Jesus, therefore, six days before the Passover, came to Bethany where Lazarus was, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. So they made Him a supper there, and Martha was serving, but Lazarus was one of those reclining at the table with Him.”
In the above text, John takes the time to show that Jesus took the time to interact and dine with his followers and friends such as Lazarus, Mary and Martha.
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Mother Mary's Motherhood

Our Role Model

We all know wonderful real-world examples of motherhood, but when we seek inspiration and a figure to model ourselves upon, there is none better than the divine mother herself. A woman worthy of emulation, we can find inspiration in her virtue, and in her unconditional love towards not only her son but humanity as a whole.

Our Mother as well

You see, when Mary agreed to bear God’s son, she also made a commitment to become our mother too, for we are each united with Jesus in the Mystical Body. Though taken up to Heaven millennia ago, it is in her manifold intercessions that we continue to receive the gift of eternal salvation. To us, she is an advocate, comforter, and benefactress in one single feminine form.

What makes her inspiring?

Through the study of her actions and defining traits, every woman can thus gift their children with an upbringing worthy of God: one where we exemplify acceptance, courage, endurance, faith, hope, joy, obedience, patience, strength, and trust.

More, we can learn a lesson in faith, and in teaching this to our children. Mary was asked to endure much – unwed motherhood, the disappointment of her betrothed, the torture and death or her son – and yet she came through all of these with her strength, courage, and faith in God still intact.

Devotion and Dedication

With Mary as a model of motherhood, we can thus endure every trial and tribulation that the role of parent thrusts upon us, the joys and the sorrows alike. For when we look to Mary for inspiration, we see that the way that a mother should love: devotedly, devoutly, and with an eternal and unwavering dedication to our faith.

Mother Mary Miracle Birth Of Jesus

Jesus’s virginal conception is a miracle pertaining to Mother Mary, and is the foundation of the belief that the birth was the Holy Spirit’s miraculous work.

 

The Miracle in the infancy narratives

In the New Testament, there are two scriptures relating to this supernatural event, confirming Mother Mary as a single, natural parent. They are also known as the infancy narratives.

Through the prophet, the Lord said:

“The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” Matthew 1:18-25

The event took place before Mother Mary was agreed to marry Joseph, and after that Angel Gabriel had made known the Virgin Birth, the New Testament records Luke’s reaction as follows:

“How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?” The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God.” (Luke 1:34-35)

The angel also sought to reassure Joseph that he should still take Mary’s hand in marriage, despite him not playing a part in the birth:

“Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” (Luke 1:26-38)

The miracle birth is a belief which runs through Christianity, from the Orthodox to Catholic and Protestant churches.

Since the Rosary is composed with “Our Father and the Hail Mary”, it was, therefore, without doubt, the first prayer and the principal devotion of the faithful.

The prayer of Christ and the Angelic Salutation, which are the “Our Father” and “Hail Mary”, are in use all over the centuries, from the time of the apostles and disciples down to the present, and will continue to be used for centuries to come. Both prayers are composed of substance in principle which reflects our devotion and faith.

The beginning of the Rosary

It was only in the year 1214 that the Church received the Rosary in its present form and according to the method that is used today. It was given to the Church by St. Dominic, who had received it from the Blessed Virgin as a means of converting the Albigensians and other sinners. When Saint Dominic saw that the gravity of people’s sins was hindering the conversion of the Albigensians, he withdrew into the forest and prayed continuously for three days and three nights. His body was lacerated and fell into a comma. At this moment our Lady appeared to him, accompanied by three angels, and she said, “Dear Dominic, do you know which weapon the Blessed Trinity wants to use to reform the world?” “Oh, my Lady,” answered Saint Dominic, “you know far better than I do because next to your Son Jesus Christ you have always been the chief instrument of our salvation.” Then our Lady replied, “I want you to know that, in this kind of warfare, the principal weapon has always been the Angelic Psalter, which is the foundation-stone of the New Testament. Therefore, if you want to reach these hardened souls and win them over to God, preach my Psalter.”

Saint Dominic inspiration

Inspired by the Holy Spirit, instructed by the Blessed Virgin as well as by his own experience, Saint Dominic preached the Rosary for the rest of his life. He preached it by his example as well as by his sermons, in cities and in country places, to people of high station and low, before scholars and the uneducated, to Catholics and to heretics. The Rosary, which he said every day, was his preparation for every sermon and his little tryst with our Lady immediately after preaching. In the 4th century, the prayer rope used by the Desert Fathers to count repetitions of the Jesus Prayer was seen to be a form of the rosary. Details of the connection of the rosary and the holy land are sketchy.
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Prayer is relevant anytime and anywhere. But when we make it one of our weekly or daily routines, we achieve much more.

The Holy Hour is a routine we received from Jesus.

 

Jesus’s Request

The practice of the Holy Hour started when Jesus appeared to Saint Margaret Alacoque in 1674 during her hour of prayer. This was not the first time Jesus appeared to her. However, on this particular occasion, Christ asked her to spend an hour meditating on His sufferings every Thursday and Friday night. According to St. Margaret, the Holy Hour was to be observed between 11pm to 12am. During this period, St. Margaret was sharing the agony and sufferings of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane.

Basically, the practice of the Holy Hour stands on 3 principles:

  1. The union with the suffering of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane
  2. The remedial prayer
  3. The gestures of self-humiliation.

The Concept and the Garden

The concept of the Holy Hour is based on the Gospel of Matthew during Jesus’ agony in the Garden of Gethsemane just before his crucifixion. This is how the Gospel of Matthew 26:38-40 captures the events that took place that night:
38 “Then He said to them, “My soul is deeply grieved, to the point of death; remain here and keep watch with Me.” 39 “And He went a little beyond them, and fell on His face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as You will.” 40 “And He came to the disciples and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, “So, you men could not keep watch with Me for one hour?”
  According to St. Margaret, Jesus made it clear that He wishes His faithful friends to become partakers of that sorrow unto death which he suffered in the Garden of Olives. His followers should also join with Jesus in the humble prayer which He prayed to His Father at the time.  
His followers should also join with Jesus in the humble prayer which He prayed to His Father at the time.

Modern Tradition

The Holy Hour remained strictly confined within the worship of the Sacred Heart of Jesus Christ in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. In 1911, it received the right to aggregation for the whole world and is now encouraged in the Catholic tradition. Also, Mother Teresa practiced the Holy Hour as a daily routine. According to her:
“Every Holy Hour we make so pleases the Heart of Jesus that it will be recorded in Heaven and retold for all eternity.”  
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Rosary

What makes the Rosary a prayer tool?

What do we know about the contemporary uses of the Rosary? Is it a tool? Is it a companion? Is it just beautiful? How can we work with the Rosary on our daily routine?

 

The names of the Rosary

Paul VI called the Rosary a compendium of the Gospel. Padre Pio called the Rosary beads a weapon of extraordinary power against Satan.

The gentle repetition – Prayer of Rosary

The Rosary is a powerful and spiritual tool for prayer. While today it is popular to pray, many people have overlooked the Rosary. We see more and more people indicating they pray more and often. The reasons are for mental, physical and spiritual well-being. Many people, including some Catholics, may overlook the rosary as a prayer tool. It is simple, but its gentle repetition of its prayers makes it an excellent tool to moving in deeper prayer. It gives us an opportunity to be able to open ourselves to God’s word and refine our interior being by turning our minds to the life of Christ.

The Mysteries of the Rosary

Praying the Rosary can teach us because we can learn about ourselves in relation to our God. We can achieve this by being able to focus on the lives of both Christ and Mary, during prayer on the mysteries. For example, Mary herself was a great model for the daily practice of prayer. By receiving the word of God through Gabriel and pondering over the word in her heart, it allowed her to take the events surrounding her externally and praying for them. This also is the essence of prayer, having God’s word and praying over it.

God’s Grace

Saint Padre Pio says that “Some people are so foolish that they think they can go through life without the help of the Blessed Mother. Love the Madonna and pray the rosary, for her Rosary is the weapon against the evils of the world today. All graces are given by God pass through the Blessed Mother” while Saint Josemaria Escriva says that, “The holy Rosary is a powerful weapon. Use it with confidence and you’ll be amazed at the results”.

The power of the Rosary

Perhaps the greatest use of the rosary as a powerful tool was demonstrated by Pope Pius XI when he said, “The Rosary is a powerful weapon to put the demons to flight and to keep oneself from sin […] If you desire peace in your hearts, in your homes, and in your country, assemble each evening to recite the Rosary. Let not even one day pass without saying it, no matter how burdened you may be with many cares and labors”.