Let us gaze upon Mary, especially during the tragic hours of the Passion. You will not see her dramatically displaying her sorrow, as many mothers would.
The Virgin Mary is there, walking along with her son and sharing all his sorrow, but utters not a word, not a rebuke, not a plea aimed at diminishing the suffering she sees. She totally embraces the will of God as it unfolds in the brutal treatment of her child.
She acts in complete accord with her role as a creature and does not try to alter the divine plan. She is a creature, pure and simple; she is a virgin. Although time does not permit us to dwell on the point, this virginity and this characteristic of a pure creature, grounded in obedience, is Mary’s special grace of prayer.
Servant of God Père Jacques de Jésus
Retreat to the Carmel of Pontoise
Conference 6, Virginity in God and in Mary
Wednesday 8 September 1943
Jacques, P 2005, Listen to the silence: a retreat with Père Jacques, translated from the French and edited by Murphy F, ICS Publications, Washington DC.
Featured image: Giovanni Bellini’s Pietà, seen above, is a tempera on panel painting that the artist executed ca. 1465-1470. It is found in the collections of the Pinacoteca Brera in Milan. The gallery label provides the following details about the artwork:
The panel, dated to the years between 1465 and 1470, marks an evident emancipation of the artist from the influence of Andrea Mantegna, to whom he was linked not just by cultural affinities but also by close ties of kinship (they were brothers-in-law).
The lesson of the Paduan artist is clearly visible in the incisiveness of the outlines and the sculptural plasticity of the figures, brought into the foreground to invade the space of the observer. Yet Bellini immerses the scene in an atmosphere of natural light, softening the tones and concentrating not so much on the construction of a rigorous perspective as on conveying the sorrowful humanity of the protagonists.
In this way he creates a new language that will become, in the years to come, his personal and unmistakable stylistic mark.
Propertius, the great poet of the Augustan age whose verses are referred to on the strip along the sill, speaks of the capacity of an image to provoke tears – an effect observed with certain works, including this one.
The work, which used to be in the Sampieri collection in Bologna, was donated to Brera in 1811 by the viceroy of Italy, Eugène de Beauharnais.