December 2010 Prayer and Reflection

From the cover of our sister publication, Lving with Christ

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imageCover art: Madonna and Child, c. 1905 by Marianne Stokes (1855-1927) LOCATION: Private Collection PHOTO CREDIT: Bridgeman Art Library, International

By Living with Christ Staff

Austrian painter Marianne Preindisberger Stokes (1855-1927) relocated to England after her marriage to landscape artist Scott Stokes. Considered one of the leading artists of Victorian England, Marianne was a wonderful colorist whose Madonna and Child (c. 1905) reflected her shift to religious subjects in her later works.


In this tender portrayal, Mary holds the infant Jesus near to the heart which will one day be broken when she stands at the foot of the cross on which he will give his life for us. Stokes places both a pomegranate and a lily nearby. The pomegranate is a traditional symbol of the resurrection and the hope of eternal life, while the lily speaks of purity and innocence.


Standing amidst very ordinary surroundings, the young mother quietly embraces the extraordinary grace and challenge of her call to be the mother of the Savior.


If you wish, sit quietly with the picture, and reflect on the following questions:

  • On what might Mary be reflecting as she holds her tiny infant?
  • What would I want to ask Mary about her experience?
  • How am I responding to the graces and challenges God has given me?
  • How am I preparing to hold Christ in my heart this Christmas?


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Living with Christ Staff