Today's Gospel in Art - The Immaculate Heart of Mary

  • Patrick van der Vorst

The Immaculate Heart of Mary,  by Pietro Annigoni 1961 © Church of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Botwell Lane, Hayes

The Immaculate Heart of Mary, by Pietro Annigoni 1961 © Church of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Botwell Lane, Hayes

Gospel of 20th June 2020 - Luke 2:41-51

Every year the parents of Jesus used to go to Jerusalem for the feast of the Passover. When he was twelve years old, they went up for the feast as usual. When they were on their way home after the feast, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem without his parents knowing it. They assumed he was with the caravan, and it was only after a day's journey that they went to look for him among their relations and acquaintances. When they failed to find him they went back to Jerusalem looking for him everywhere.

Three days later, they found him in the Temple, sitting among the doctors, listening to them, and asking them questions; and all those who heard him were astounded at his intelligence and his replies. They were overcome when they saw him, and his mother said to him, 'My child, why have you done this to us? See how worried your father and I have been, looking for you.'

'Why were you looking for me?' he replied. 'Did you not know that I must be busy with my Father's affairs?' But they did not understand what he meant.

He then went down with them and came to Nazareth and lived under their authority. His mother stored up all these things in her heart.

Reflection on the Painting

After celebrating the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus yesterday, we celebrate today the Immaculate Heart of Mary. In 2010 Pope Benedict XVI commented: "the heart indicates the centre of human life, the point where reason, will, temperament and sensitivity converge… to be devoted to the Immaculate Heart of Mary means therefore to embrace this attitude of heart which makes the fiat - 'be it done unto me according to your word' - the defining centre of one's whole life."

The heart that resembles that of Christ more than any other is without doubt the heart of His mother, Mary. Traditionally in art, the heart of Mary is depicted with seven wounds or swords, in remembrance of the seven sorrows of Mary. Also, often roses or lilies are also shown around the heart. Today I am sharing with you a more unusual rendering of the subject from 1961. It shows Mary as a strong woman, full of resolve and focus. She is carrying the Christ Child, who is snuggling up peacefully, trustingly and lovingly to His mother. Mary's left foot is crushing the serpent and new leafy shoots are emanating from a dead tree. The steel factory structures in the background recall where the church which is holding the painting is situated in London and brings Mary right into a contemporary setting. Yes, Mary is as much needed now, in this day and age, as ever. As the Christ Child is sleeping undisturbed in Mary's arms, so does the world need her motherly consolation too.


Today's story -

Christian Art Today -

Tags: Christian Art Today, Patrick van der Vorst, Pietro Annigoni

We Need Your Support

ICN aims to provide speedy and accurate news coverage of all subjects of interest to Catholics and the wider Christian community. As our audience increases - so do our costs. We need your help to continue this work.

Please support our journalism by donating today.