This month’s issue is about discernment—a difficult concept. Our best choices sometimes come only after prayerful contemplation. Fr. Mark Haydu, the international coordinator of the Patrons of the Arts in the Vatican Museums, finds inspiration in art. His new book, Meditations on Vatican Art, offers readers a doorway to the beauty of art as a path to discernment. “I would like to assist your prayer by directing you to see the beauty that surrounds you. By taking just a few minutes each day to reflect on the day’s meditation, you will slowly learn to raise yourself to God, opening yourself to the good things the Lord has in store for you.” To order, visit Liguori.org or call 800-325-9521. To see sample pages, go to Liguori.org/vatican-art.
Window Into Divine Mystery
The vast amount of gold in the icon of Our Mother of Perpetual Help is striking. It’s especially pronounced in the images of Jesus and Mary.
Icons have been described as windows into the Divine Mystery. The gold in the icon of Our Mother of Perpetual Help does much more than highlight objects and the folds of the garments. It represents the light of God coming through the icon, radiating to those who pray before it.
Mary presents the essential message of the Gospel: Jesus Christ’s redeeming love for us. Through our prayer and reading of the icon, we must become the messengers of God’s healing light of love to the world, imitating the life and virtues of Jesus and Mary. We are to become the icon.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him” (John 3:16–17).—Br. Daniel Korn, CSsR
Be Still, Be Silent
To bring peace to others, we must first bring peace to ourselves. We must learn to be still and to be silent.
In the Passion of Jesus, the contrast between the quiet stillness of those who love him and the frenzy of his enemies and the Jewish mob is striking. Jesus allows himself to be led to the cross, but in and of himself, he is stillness. Mary follows to the end, but again, she is silent. She does nothing. She stands quietly beneath the cross. She is there with her Son, not to fulfill a duty of activity, but only to love and suffer and be still.
Mary’s stillness and silence are not signs of defeat. They are signs of intense sentiment and creative energy. Be still. Beneath the cross, there is nothing Mary can do or say, but she and her Son have no need for words. It is within the stillness and their silence that the healing power of love presents itself. We can learn from the exemplary paradigm of this sorrowful mother: Our attentive silence can bring healing to those we love.
Think deeply, reflect deeply, love deeply, and you will have no need for words. Your sympathy, your co-suffering, and your love will go straight from your heart to the heart of the beloved.—Fr. Philip Dabney, CSsR