Sunday, 16 June 2013

Madonna of the Precious Blood

"My Interpretation of the Madonna of the Precious Blood", by the hand of Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2013.  [Based on the painting by the same name painted by Italian artist Pompeo Batone (1708-1787); now in the possession of the Missionaries of the Precious Blood and hanging in the St. Gaspar Museum, Albano, Italy] 

Painting of the Madonna of the Precious Blood by Italian artist Pompeo Batone (1708-1787) Batoni aimed at overcoming the excesses and frivolities of the Rococo by taking inspiration in classical antiquity and in the work of artists such as Nicolas Poussin, and especially Raphael.
 As such he was a precursor of Neoclassicism.

I have long had a fondness for this particular image of our Lady and her precious Child.  What has always intrigued me about it is the fact that even though the Christ Child is offering us His Precious Blood, He is smiling with kindness as though offering us something very pleasant.  Of course, He is offering us something quite wonderful; however, that Precious Blood is ours because he paid the price of pouring out His Blood in the crucifixion -- to the very last drop -- so that we might live forever with Him in Heaven.  What a terrible and yet wonderful gift.

Fr. Jeffery Keyes, CPPS, writes about this gift as follows:  

The gift of Jesus' Blood is an incredible and ineffable mystery that we seek to express in a variety of images. This month we pay special devotion to Mary, the Mother of God, that living chalice that by obedience becomes the human home for that divine blood to be formed as the creator of the universe takes human flesh and blood and pitches his tent among us. The traditional image of the Madonna of the Precious Blood was a painting by Italian artist Pompeo Batone (1708-1787). St. Gaspar asked the painter Andrea Pozzi(1) to add a chalice to the child's hand and to add clothing. In a recent restoration of the painting the clothing has been removed, but the chalice remains. This image traveled with St. Gaspar on every mission and became the focus for his initial preaching. In various letters you find him giving instructions on how the image is to be copied. He insisted that the image should be beautiful, not sad, and that the great gift should be evident. [Our Lady] is the means by which our devotion to Christ remains human, and we experience his love and his gift in our daily experience.

I tried to make certain, in my own interpretation of this work, that the Christ Child was still smiling.  On the other hand, I sought to give His mother an almost smile -- the almost smile of a woman who already knows the gift that must be given and is trying to accept that the gift will take the life of her Son.

Her hand is open as it was at the Annunciation when she gave her "Fiat", but her heart is still struggling with her growing understanding of the cost of the gift her Son will be giving for the salvation of all those people she doesn't even know.  I often have wondered how she felt at that moment during the crucifixion when she learned that she was to be the Mother of all of us sinful children from the beginning to the end of time!  Thanks be to God that she has never stopped saying that eternal "Fiat".




I am sure that any of you who are faithful readers of my blog recall the many times I spoke about my dear friends, Brenda and Charles. They came to visit me in 2012 and Brenda, of course, came to look after me when I had that awful surgery in October, 2012.  Their wedding was on June 1st, 2013.  They had been sweethearts at the end of high school and for a period of time following.  Then they had ended up going their separate ways for various reasons.  They both married and raised their families.  Their spouses are now deceased and so they got re-acquainted and one thing led to another and finally to a wedding day.  I am so very happy for both of them.

My dear friends, Charles and Brenda, on their wedding day, June 1st, 2013
They were married in the church Brenda and I attended during grade school and high school.
How I wish I could have been with them as I had originally planned!

Charles -- from our senior class photo

Brenda -- from our senior class photo
Personally, I think Charles is more handsome now than he was in high school.  Brenda, of course, is still as pretty as ever.

Here are some more interesting photos of friends of mine from high school.  I am very blessed to still in touch with most of these people.  Gene and his family, Butch and his big family and Yvonne.  This is one of the wonderful things about the Internet.  It has allowed so many of us to regain contact with people from university, high school and even earlier -- people we were friends with then and find we are friends with still.  Without the Internet this would never have happened.  So I invite you to take a look at now and then or then and now as the case may be!

These three guys were on the top of the truck we used to take our class photo.  A lot of us climbed all over that truck and it is a wonder the truck survived.  These guys managed to get on the cab, standing up, which made them the very pinnacle of the class photo (just look at those muscles!!).  Personally, I think they still look pretty good, but that just may be my fondness for them coming through.  I know that Gene and Butch are still really good folks and I am equally sure that Robert is as well, it is just that I can't speak from personal knowledge as I can with the other two.  Enjoy these and especially the beautiful, young girls below!

Gene at 55th class reunion

Robert at 55th class reunion

Frank "Butch" at 55th class reunion

L to R:  Gene, Robert and "Butch" -- from our senior class photo
These, of course, are the same three guys shown above 55 years later!  I think they all still look pretty good, don't you?

And now for something special:
My dear friend, Yvonne, and I were majorettes in the high school band.  Yvonne was the head majorette and she was really great with that baton.  I, on the other hand was there, I think, mainly for comic relief!  You know how there is always one majorette in those high school bands you see that keeps dropping her baton or throws her baton up in the air and then it comes down and hits her on the head?  Well, that was me.  Even though I practiced for hours and seemed to have the routines down pat, when I got out on the field for the half-time show, I would get so nervous.  Suddenly, I became all thumbs and couldn't do anything other than march in time to the music.  Yvonne was always very kind and just told me to practice more!  Well, those experiences certainly taught me a lot about humiliation.  Unfortunately, it was many years yet before I could use humiliation with God's grace so that I could begin to slowly increase in the virtue of humility -- at that time, I mostly just felt sorry for myself.

Anyway, here are a few photos that show what we were like back then and a photo of Yvonne taken at the recent reunion.  She still looks great and her smile is as fantastic as ever.

Head majorette Yvonne, 1957

Majorettes, Shelby County High School, 1957
(I'm the one at the very end of the line!)

Yvonne at the 55th class reunion

Since I was not able to attend the class reunion as I had hoped to, there is no photo of me taken there!  Anyway, you know what I look like now more or less -- just take the photo I use on my blog or facebook and then add a few more scars and wrinkles and you've got it!



What big eyes you have, Miss Suki!
I would say that you are about to
get into some kind of mischief!

There really is not a great deal to say about Suki today as she has been quite well behaved lately -- either that or I have forgotten the bad things that may have occurred!  (One of the blessings of old age!).

I have had company several times since I last posted and I cannot recall Suki being a nuisance in any way.  In fact, one of those friends is a person who really doesn't like cats and Suki normally makes a point of coming out and curling up right next to this poor woman.  Suki will then stay there, purring, until my visitor gets up to leave.  This time, however, she just stayed in her bed and slept.

My only complaint has to do with something that Suki really cannot do anything about:  her long nails!  It can be such a struggle to trim them myself, although I can do it and have done it; however, I am thinking seriously of putting her in her carrying case and walking her over to the vet.  I just hate to spend the money I will be charged just to get her nails clipped.  Ah, well, I will have to decide soon as poor Suki is now having problems with getting her claws caught in things and being unable to get herself free without my help.

As for me, my biggest news is that I went back to the gym yesterday for the first time since last October!  I had a good workout although not nearly as demanding a one as I would have had a year ago.  However, I know that in time I will work my way back again.  Meanwhile, I was really surprised at how much I was able to accomplish in spite of all these months away from the gym.  And I really do not have much discomfort today in my muscles.  I plan to go back over there shortly for today's workout.  Then I intend to start going regularly again on any day that I don't have other appointments to take up my time.  

Speaking of which, I have a bunch of appointments this coming week and should have things to report by Wednesday and will certainly have much to report, I hope, by next Sunday as I will be seeing the respirologist (the sleep disorders clinic doctor) at St. Mikes later in the week.

Ah, I need to end this epistle before it gets any longer.  I hope you have found something of interest in it.  I pray that God will bless all my readers and that we may all share in the wonderful peace that God alone can give.

Our Lady of the Precious Blood, pray for us.  Amen.

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