When I went home, I immediately emailed someone who subscribes to Magnificat and asked him to look and find the name of the artist (Marianne Stokes) so I could find the picture online, and I put it on my desktop at home and at work. I love the color, and if you look at it enlarged, you can see that all the fabric, even that thin veil has a pattern in it. Most of all, though, what attracts me is the way that Mary and Jesus are looking at you.
I was thinking about the painting yesterday while I was praying, and it occurred to me that Mary is not just revealing the infant Jesus to us, she is modelling for us what we are all called to do. She isn't worried. She isn't arguing, or pushing. She doesn't put herself forward. She doesn't insist. She just reveals the Truth, and leaves it to us to decide whether to accept Him or not. And He just waits patiently for us.
Then, when I looked up from my prayer, I saw this picture on the wall.
Now I know that artistically this isn't the greatest picture in the world, but I love this one because I bought it when my son about this age, and it reminded me of us. I remember this time in our lives as one that was filled with peace. He was perfectly content to just rest in my lap, and I was perfectly content to just be there with him. When I was holding him, I could just relax and not worry about anything else, and, of course, he felt completely safe and loved.
In comparison to this, I was thinking about how lately I have had a hard time concentrating while praying. My mind is filled with distractions and always running ahead to everything I have to do when I get up from my prayers. So, I think this picture is a lesson to us all, too. If we want to be like Jesus, we have to emulate Him, not just in His prayer, and good works, and suffering, but in this simple act of becoming small and resting in Mary's lap, and trusting her to take care of things.
Yesterday when I first thought of writing this, I didn't occur to me that I would be posting it on Mother's Day, but I guess it's pretty appropriate. So I'll close with the message of Our Lady of Guadalupe to Juan Deigo.
Hear and let it penetrate into your heart, my dear little son: let nothing discourage you, nothing depress you: let nothing alter your heart or your countenance. Also do not fear any illness or vexation, anxiety or pain. Am I not here who am your Mother? Are you not under my shadow and protection? Am I not your fountain of life? Are you not in the folds of my mantle, in the crossing of my arms? Is there anything else that you need?
May the Lord bless all Mothers, and help us to be like His, and may we all learn to rest in the crossing of her arms.