Saturday, 25 January 2020

The Holy Family

  The Heavenly and Earthly Trinities” by Bartolom√© Esteban Murillo.
"Murillo, The Heavenly and Earthly Trinities, about 1675-1682 Photo © The National Gallery, London”.

The painting above is called the Heavenly and Earthly Trinities; and it has been painted in the sign of the Cross.

Looking vertically from the top downwards we see God, the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove and Jesus looking up to His Father in Heaven. That is the Heavenly Trinity.

Looking horizontaly from left to right we see the Virgin Mary, Jesus and His earthly father Joseph. The Earthly Trinity.

Four things of importance to note in this painting by Murillo. God in Heaven is looking down and blessing the Holy Family. Jesus responds to His Father by looking up to Heaven. Mary is looking at Jesus and perhaps thinking about the Son of God saving the world; whilst Joseph is looking at us, significant this, inviting us to join in the Holy Family. That is because we are part of the Holy Family through our own Faith and trust in the Lord.

Not much is known about Jesus’ childhood. The Bible records the story of His birth in Bethlehem, His presentation at the Temple in Jerusalem a few days later, and then the Holy Family went to live in Nazareth. Their home town. We don't know much more about Jesus' early days of His life; apart from when His parents found Him teaching in the Temple at the age of twelve or so.

We are left to wonder what He was like as a baby. Crawling on the ground and then taking His first hesitant steps. I wonder what His first words were when He spoke.

One thing for sure though. He was much loved by His earthly parents, who devoted themselves to His up-bringing, until He was ready to start His work on earth as His Father willed.

Like most parents, they must have wished many good things for Him as He grew up, even though they knew who He really was and what His mission in this world was to be.

Mary, however, carried an additional burden in her heart. She knew from those early days what was to happen. Simeon in the temple had told her: “… sorrow, like a sharp sword, will break your own heart”. Luke 2:35. Joseph was there to witness it all.

Can you imagine what they went through as parents? Knowing of the torture and Crucifixion which Christ would suffer.

And Mary, endured that pain even more as she followed her Son on the way to Calvary.

Yet … despite all that. Despite knowing well ahead what was to happen, despite witnessing the Crucifixion for herself, one thing must have sustained Mary and encouraged her throughout her ordeal: the sure knowledge that Jesus was/is the Son of God and that He will rise again from the dead.

That thought alone should help us when we too go through difficult times. No matter how difficult our situation we should hold on to the fact that our Lord, the one we profess to love and follow, is the Son of God. By His death and Resurrection He has conquered evil once and for all.

And no matter what our situation may be, we can assuredly turn to Mary, and seek her help in bearing the difficulties we go through.

24 comments:

  1. Thank you, victor! I never see this painting before, it's beautiful.

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    1. Thank you Bill. A very expressive and well thought-out painting.

      God bless.

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  2. This post was just what I needed Victor. Thank you.
    I have seen this painting but until today I had never studied it in such detail.
    You are a gift from God. You teach with humor,heart and soul.

    Thank You and God's Blessings Victor ✝

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    1. You are very kind, Jan, and I am humbled. Murillo was very thoughtful when he painted this masterpiece.

      God bless you always, Jan.

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  3. What a wonderful piece of artwork! Thanks for sharing it.

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    1. Thank you Lisa. It's great to see you here. Please call again soon and often.

      God bless.

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  5. That painting is so moving, Victor, and I love the way you've described it here. I think it's so appropriate that it is Joseph inviting us to become a part of the Holy Family, as he is as earthly as we are. And I can't imagine how Mary could live through her days, knowing what she did, without steadfast trust in God's ultimate promise.
    Thank you for this reflection, my friend!
    Blessings!

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    1. Obviously Murillo gave a lot of thought to this painting as he was composing it. You're right, Martha, Joseph being Christ's earthly father is inviting us to be part of God's family. And Mary is teaching us steadfast trust in God. Something that is not always easy for me to do.

      God bless you always, Martha, and thanx.

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  6. I ditto what everyone said, Victor. Your insight into this painting is special and I thank you for that. I now see it through enlightened eyes.

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    1. Thank you so much Diane for your comment and your kindness to me.

      God bless you.

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  7. I'd not seen this painting before, but I love the significance … in particular, Joseph's invitation. Your last paragraph? Unbidden, this popped in my head: "When I find myself in times of trouble, Mother Mary comes to me; speaking words of wisdom, let it be."

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    1. You know Mevely, I never understood whether the Beatles song was meant to be religious or not. They were not particularly religious people. I'll play the song just for you tomorrow here on this Blog.

      God bless.

      Here are the lyrics:

      When I find myself in times of trouble, Mother Mary comes to me
      Speaking words of wisdom, let it be
      And in my hour of darkness she is standing right in front of me
      Speaking words of wisdom, let it be
      Let it be, let it be, let it be, let it be
      Whisper words of wisdom, let it be
      And when the broken-hearted people living in the world agree
      There will be an answer, let it be
      For though they may be parted, there is still a chance that they will see
      There will be an answer, let it be
      Let it be, let it be, let it be, let it be
      Yeah, there will be an answer, let it be
      Let it be, let it be, let it be, let it be
      Whisper words of wisdom, let it be
      Let it be, let it be, let it be, yeah, let it be
      Whisper words of wisdom, let it be
      And when the night is cloudy there is still a light that shines on me
      Shine until tomorrow, let it be
      I wake up to the sound of music, Mother Mary comes to me
      Speaking words of wisdom, let it be
      Let it be, let it be, let it be, yeah, let it be
      There will be an answer, let it be
      Let it be, let it be, let it be, yeah, let it be
      There will be an answer, let it be
      Let it be, let it be, let it be, yeah, let it be
      Whisper words of wisdom, let it be

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    2. Thank you, Victor … I'm looking forward to tomorrow's post! No, I don't suppose the Beatles intended it to be religious; I suppose it's all in this listener's interpretation. A decade it's been that I posted about certain songs which sound like hymns: https://www.blogger.com/blogger.g?blogID=7310649365224537480#editor/target=post;postID=1983601432364490741;onPublishedMenu=template;onClosedMenu=template;postNum=634;src=postname

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    3. The lyrics to "Let It Be" certainly sound like a prayer. There are some songs which the writers did not originally intend to make them religious - but they are. See you here tomorrow, Mevely.

      God bless.

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  8. A very inspiring painting.

    When it comes down to every day living, trust and obey, and remember, if you've read the back of The Book, He wins.

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  9. Beautiful painting and beautiful description and explanation of it. God bless you, Victor.

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  10. There is plenty to be thankful for here. Thanks for joining us at the Ten Things of Thankful blog hop.

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    1. Thank you Kristi. It's great to see you here. Please return soon and often.

      God bless.

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  11. A beautiful post. I am so thankful for all that the Savior did for all mankind.

    Thank you for introducing me to the art of this painter. I searched to see other paintings that he did. One that I especially like is The Good Shepherd.

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    1. Thank you Pat. It is so nice to see you visiting me here. Please call again soon and often.

      God bless.

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