Dawn in the Pyrenees, which I admired so much, is only a pale reflection of the true dawn that precedes the eternal sun.
The dawn which has just been born, whose birth has rejoiced the heart of the poor pilgrim, is Mary, whose birth I have the joy of celebrating for the eighth time since I became a Christian. It is also, dear brothers, a blessed day for me as the eighth anniversary of my First Holy Communion, which I come to celebrate among you all at the feet of Mary.
You are hurrying to greet this dawn of our salvation, and I associate myself with your impatient love. Let us unite with the Archangel and join him in our salute to Mary.
Yes, Mary, we greet you, our glorious dawn. Come and bring salvation to our souls….
Servant of God Hermann Cohen
Sermon at the Shrine of Our Lady of Verdelais
8 September 1856
Tierney, T 2017, A Life of Hermann Cohen: From Franz Liszt to John of the Cross, Balboa Press, Bloomington, IN
Featured image: This is a detailed image of The Annunciation, which is an oil on canvas painting by the French artist Nicolas Poussin (1594–1665). It is on display at the National Gallery in London. The gallery label provides this overview of the artwork:
The Archangel Gabriel announces to the Virgin Mary that she will give birth to the Son of God. The dove of the Holy Ghost hovers above her in a bright circle of light. The Virgin, with her eyes closed and arms outstretched, accepts her role as mother of Christ. Poussin’s treatment of this subject is unusual, showing the Virgin sat cross-legged. Her cloak is usually blue, symbolising heaven, but here it is yellow, signifying hope and purity. Despite the room’s rather plain appearance, the clothing shimmers in the light shining from the left and the angel’s wings are decorated with three vibrant colours.
A wooden plaque fixed to the stone wall or parapet shows Poussin’s signature, the date 1657 and the name of Pope Alexander VII Chigi (1599–1667), who may have commissioned the painting.
Our image was accessed via Wikimedia Commons; the Media Center for Art History at Columbia University was the photographer. The artwork is in the public domain.