Sunday, August 18, 2013

Mary, a Message, and a Mural in Minnesota

One of my favorite descriptions of Jesus is "a nice Jewish boy who obeyed his mother and went into his father's business."

It's not quite accurate, though. Mary didn't tell Jesus to do anything at Cana. She'd noticed that their hosts were out of wine, informed Jesus: and then told the servants: "do whatever he tells you." (John 2:1-5)

Two Millennia, One Message

Marian garden, Our Lady of Angels church in Sauk Centre, Minnesota. July 29, 2013.

Two millennia later, "do whatever he tells you" is still the gist of what she has been saying. Not "said;" "has been saying," present perfect progressive tense: "...ongoing action in the past which continues right up to the present...."

Mary has been showing up at irregular intervals: in places like Guadalupe, Akita, and apparently Champion, Wisconsin. Each time, she's pointing toward Jesus. Metaphorically speaking, that is.

Procession of the missionary image of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Sauk Centre, Minnesota. June 14, 2003.

Mary, Elvis, and Mayonnaise

My native culture's 'background noise' includes ersatz 'Mary sightings' and 'face of Jesus in a jar of mayonnaise' events. I think many are like Elvis sightings a few decades back.

Folks who see things that aren't there may be sincere: but that doesn't make them visionaries in the supernatural sense; and that's another topic.

Veneration, Not Worship

Veneration is a sort of devotion and respect for an individual. Some folks apparently venerate outstanding athletes like Mark Spitz or Larisa Latynina. I venerate Mary and other Saints. "Veneration" isn't "worship," and I've been over that before. (April 16, 2011)

I had a soft spot in my heart for Mary long before I became a Catholic. I'd seen one or two statues and paintings of events in Mary's life that impressed me: and many more that may have been well-intentioned, but insulted my aesthetic values and did Catholicism no favors. (August 17, 2013)

Marian Mural in Minnesota

Our Lady of Angels church, Sauk Centre, Minnesota. July 29, 2013

Happily, a talented artist painted our parish church's most recent Marian mural. Tom Kane used Tiepolo's Immaculate Conception as a model, adapting it to the curved half-dome over our altar area.

That crown of 12 stars doesn't show up in Luke 1, where Gabriel tells Mary that she's got a special assignment. That imagery comes from Revelation. We got a glimpse of what Mary would do back in Genesis, and that's yet another topic. (Geneses 3:15; Luke 1:28; Revelation 12:1)

The Immaculate Conception doesn't mean that Mary was immaculately conceived, by the way. Joachim and Anne conceived Mary in the usual way. Mary's unique qualification was that she was shielded from original sin. (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 388, 490-494, 966)

More about the Immaculate Conception:
  • "Hymn of the 'Akathistos' "
    Introduction, Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception
    Vatican News Services(December 8, 2000)

Our Lady of Angels

The parish church down the street isn't called "Church of the Immaculate Conception" or "Church of the Assumption," which is the feast day we celebrated this week. I'm in the Our Lady of Angels parish: That's a title that shows up in some litanies.

I haven't run into 'Mary queen of angels' very often in my native language. However, as a Norwegian-Irish American whose mother was as ekte norsk as you're likely to find, I had no trouble thinking of a woman as a sort of 12-star general: and that's yet again another topic.

Getting back to the "woman clothed with the sun:"
"She gave birth to a son, a male child, destined to rule all the nations with an iron rod. 5 Her child was caught up to God and his throne. "

"The woman herself fled into the desert where she had a place prepared by God, that there she might be taken care of for twelve hundred and sixty days. 6"
(Revelation 12:6)
About those verses, I think it's prudent to remember that Revelation was not written by an American: and that's still more topics.

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Marian Apparition: Champion, Wisconsin

Background:Posts in this blog: In the news:

What's That Doing in a Nice Catholic Blog?

From time to time, a service that I use will display links to - odd - services and retailers.

I block a few of the more obvious dubious advertisers.

For example: psychic anything, numerology, mediums, and related practices are on the no-no list for Catholics. It has to do with the Church's stand on divination. I try to block those ads.

Sometime regrettable advertisements get through, anyway.

Bottom line? What that service displays reflects the local culture's norms, - not Catholic teaching.