Sunday, December 31, 2006

Feast of the Holy Family

Finding the Saviour in the Temple by William Hollman Hunt

Redemptoristine Nuns Celebrate the Feast of the Holy Family

A couple of years ago Jaroslav Pelikan's The Illustrated Jesus Through the Centuries came into my hands. In viewing its pages a cascade of art depicting Jesus from various periods of history, various cultures and variety of artistic styles was a treat for the eyes. Among the works most attractive to me was Hunt's painting of the worried Mary and Joseph coming upon Jesus in the Temple of Jerusalem. Its meticulous detail invites one to linger. In my meditation on the picture, assisted by a detail of the figure of Jesus, I noticed Jesus's right hand working at the buckle of his belt. He is caught in the act of cinching it in. It seems to me that the effort to tighten ones belt suggests a movement to new readiness, preparation for the demands which lie ahead. In what ways will I tighten my belt to be ready for the challenges of the upcoming year?

Further commentary on this painting along with questions to ponder can be found at:

Here in our monastery today is a day of Recollection, a time of silence and solitude, in which to ponder the mystery of our Incarnate God; to review the closing year, and to anticipate with prayerful hope the advent of the new. During our Morning Prayer, immediately following the reading, we selected at random a patron, a practice, a title of Mary and an intention - all to help anchor us in the upcoming year. Our Prioress prepared all of this and placed them on the altar before a small etched image of the Holy Family illumined by a votive candle.

My patron (remember this is all random choice - little slips of paper and holy cards placed upside down) is St. Mary Magdalen. This is God-incident since my name in religion is Hildegard Magdalen of the Resurrection and I entered the monastery on her feast, July 22. The practice chosen (by custom a line or two from our Rule): "Like Mary and with Mary, we strive to live in constant communion with Christ. He is the light of our faith, the strength of our charity and the source of our hope." The title of Mary to guide me this year is Our Mother of Pertpetual Help (patroness of our monastery). The intention to hold in prayer is that of Pope Benedict XVI.

Today we will ponder these choices and tomorrow, following a festive New Year's Day dinner with our Redemptorist brothers as guests in our monastery, we will share with each other what we have received and a few words of the special meaning they may hold for us.

Tonight at 8pm we have the Vigil Office of Readings for tomorrow's Feast of Mary, the Mother of God. The Blessed Sacrament will be exposed from the beginning of the Vigil until midnight when we will close our time of adoration with a prayer for world peace.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful way to welcome in the New Year - in prayer before the Blessed Sacrament. I recall spending such a New Years with a group of friends many, many years ago. I wonder why this practice has not emerged with greater frequency in Catholic parishes. I pray for your community in the New Year.