Today's Gospel in Art - The Holy Spirit will teach you everything

  • Patrick van de Vorst

Descent of the Holy Spirit, by Tiziano Vecellio 1543 © Santa Maria della Salute, Venice

Descent of the Holy Spirit, by Tiziano Vecellio 1543 © Santa Maria della Salute, Venice

Gospel of 11th May 2020 - John 14:21-26

Jesus said to his disciples:

'Anybody who receives my commandments and keeps them will be one who loves me; and anybody who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I shall love him and show myself to him.'

Judas - this was not Judas Iscariot - said to him, 'Lord, what is all this about? Do you intend to show yourself to us and not to the world?'

Jesus replied: 'If anyone loves me he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we shall come to him and make our home with him. Those who do not love me do not keep my words. And my word is not my own: it is the word of the one who sent me. I have said these things to you while still with you; but the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything and remind you of all I have said to you.'

Reflection on the Altar Painting

Titian made a greater impact on European painting than probably any other artist from Venice. His use of colour and development of lively brushwork has influenced generations of artists. The altarpiece we are looking at today, which is at Santa Maria della Salute, Venice, is typical of his large-scale, dramatic way of painting. Remember, he was painting at the same time as Raphael and Michelangelo - what an amazing generation of artistic talent reigned in Europe at that time! We see the Holy Spirit depicted as a dove, descending with its bright light onto the Apostles and Holy Women. They are all in highly expressive poses, receiving the wisdom of the Holy Spirit. Filled with the Holy Spirit, they will now go out and spread the Good News, to be proclaimed to all.

Our painting depicts a dramatic rendering of how the Holy Spirit descends onto the Holy Women and Apostles. In our own lives though, the Holy Spirit is already active, from the day we were born. God's Spirit already moves in us as we take our first steps and progress through life. The Spirit of divine love is in us always. We just have to recognise that spirit and submit to it. God can then continue His work in us and transform us to live in the


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