Beauty intrudes, like a gentle kiss from the Holy Spirit…
That’s more or less the feeling that stirred in my heart this morning, as I waited for the live-stream rosary to begin from the chapel at DeSmet Jesuit High School.
As we waited online, the image used to fill the screen was a video still of a most extraordinary sculpture: “Contemplative Mary,” a tender and moving masterpiece of sacred art fashioned by Edward Berns – long-time teacher at the school.
Berns’ “Mary” immediately helped me enter into the Sorrowful Mysteries we prayed on this socially-distant Good Friday.
It is in fact a sorrowful mystery that this live-stream production even took place. It’s a product of the pandemic – one of many efforts that DeSmet’s faculty and staff are using to strengthen their bonds of community while the campus is closed to large gatherings.
I know my heart was sorrowful, because this prayer service is as close as we’re going to get to celebrating Triduum and Easter liturgies with our eldest son – a Jesuit priest who serves as Chaplain at DeSmet.
It’s a minor heartache, compared to what many are suffering these days – not getting to hear (Fr.) Chris preach during this holy season. But a wound nonetheless. Frankly, I needed to process it just a bit.
And that’s where beauty comes in: Mary’s contemplative gaze, keeping silent watch over unspeakable sorrow. There’s beauty and truth in this sculpture. It recalls both the horror of the day…and the splendor in the life that preceded it. The image is infused with hope, too, the sure knowledge that death does not win.
So quite a consolation this turned out to be:
~ A chance to pray (if even only virtually) with our son on Good Friday.
~ A chance to enter more fully into the Paschal Mystery, courtesy of Ed Berns’ marvelous sculpture.
~ And a chance to recall the last time I’d been in DeSmet’s chapel…which had itself provided an encounter of profound beauty:
Today’s find: Tesserae http://bit.ly/309GyoV
Let us pause now…to recall that we are in the presence of the Holy & Merciful One.