Thursday, March 9, 2017
Jesus, Mary and Joseph
A statue is a work of art. What is art? Art is an attempt to create a scene from real life and depict it's meaning in a visual form. A statue is an attempt to do this as a three dimensional art form. A statue attempts to show what the artist is seeing, reflecting an image from the camera of his mind. To me a religious statue is also a work of art, reflecting a frozen prayer from the artists heart. I seriously doubt that an artist's intention was to create an idol to be worshiped. His intention was to share his prayer, similar to a writer sharing his prayers in a devotional book. I don't see the difference.
I find it easier to understand an artists prayer as a statue rather than in a book. A lack of imagination on my part? I have often used statues to pray to the Lord. I have never actually worshiped the statue itself. When I was young I was fortunate enough to see Michelangelo's "Pieta " at the New York World's Fair. This was one of the few times it left Rome. This was a statue of Mary holding her dead son Jesus in her lap. This is a classic, timeless work of art. It was so real that if not for its pure whiteness, I would have expected to see Mary start to move. Michelangelo has taken us to the last moment between Mary and Jesus before he was placed into the tomb. You feel like you are an interloper actually standing there watching. That is quite a prayer!
While you can pray anywhere, a church is a good place to pray. It is a structure built by human hands dedicated to God. Catholic churches often have statues inside to help place our focus on God and his gifts of faith. Once I was having some problems with my family and I had decided to visit a church and pray.
I lived in Mobile, Al and I decided to go to a local church that had a life size replica of the "Pieta". I got there and the church was locked. I was upset and decided to go to my own church where there was a statue of Mary in our small chapel. I got there and the floor was being replaced and the chapel was closed. I was again wounded but I went into the main part of the church to pray near the statue of Jesus, Mary and Joseph. As I prayed a strange feeling came over me. I looked up at the statue and saw the Holy Family. I suddenly realized that this was not only the right place to pray and it was also the right answer to my prayer. God had guided me to the place where he wanted me to pray. What better example could I have of the perfect family than Jesus, Mary and Joseph. It helped me see my family through the lens of Jesus’s family. I suddenly knew what I needed to do. I knew what a true family was. I also knew that I would always be part of God's own family. I would always be part of His church.
Copyright 2017 Daniel Strizak