September 2011 Prayer and Reflection
From the September 2011 cover of Living with Christ
By Living with Christ Staff
Deposition from the Cross, detail of the Virgin Mary, Fra Angelico (Guido di Pietro)(c. 1387-1445)
LOCATION: Museo di San Marco dell'Angelico, Florence, Italy
CREDIT: The Bridgeman Art Library International
Fra Angelico (c. 1387-1455) combined the life of a devout Dominican friar with that of an innovative artist best known for his brightly colored frescoes. While his religious community knew Guido di Pietro as Brother John (Fra Giovanni), he was called Fra Angelico because of the purity of his paintings. He was beatified in 1982 and named patron saint of artists by Pope John Paul II.
In Deposition from the Cross (also known as Lamentation over the Dead Christ), we find a moving meditation on the sorrow and confusion of Jesus’ disciples as they removed his lifeless body from the cross.
In the detail on our cover, we see the Blessed Virgin Mary gently holding her son’s head in her arms. She has only a brief moment to gaze upon his face because his body must be buried before the Sabbath begins at sundown. But in this rendering, time seems to stand still. There are no words—silence is the only language for this long, last gaze of love. Mary’s heart is broken, yet her trust in God is unshaken.
If you wish, sit quietly with the picture, and reflect on the following questions:
- What do I see in Mary’s gaze?
- What can she teach me about dealing with sorrow and loss?
- What do I want to say to Mary and to all who grieve?