Monday, August 4, 2008

August Snow

This beautiful image of the Mother of God is a favorite of the Daughters of Divine Charity from the time of their Foundress. It is a copy of the famous icon venerated in St. Mary Major Basilica in Rome. The Feast of Our Lady of Snows is celebrated on August 5 in the basilica.

The Story of Our Lady of Snows

In the fourth century, the Church in council clarified its understanding of the teaching about the Mother of Jesus. Since Jesus is one person, God and man, she, the mother of the person, can also be called the Mother of God. At about this time the story goes, an elderly, childless couple was trying to decide what to do with their great wealth. They both had a dream about a miraculous mid-summer snowfall on one of the hills of Rome and were told that there they should build a church in honor of the Mother of God. The same night the Pope had the same dream. When they went the next day in search of the snow they encountered each other on the esquiline hill which was white and crisp with a new snowfall. There the Pope drew the outline of the basilica which was built and re-built on the spot and stands proudly today as the major Church in honor of Mary. The beautiful mosaics in the arch tell the story of the life of Jesus and Mary and the altar picture shows the Holy Family with the Infant Savior in the crib at Bethlehem. To the left of the altar is the famous Borgia chapel one of the richest in all of Rome and the world. Enshrined above the alter is the ancient icon of Our Lady, the Mother of God. She is dressed in royal robes and has the cross on her forehead and the star of Bethlehem on her shoulder. The Greek letters declare her unique and major title MOTHER OF GOD. She holds the adult child Jesus, her savior who blesses the world. Her hand declares with two fingers that her Son is both God and Man. I like to think that the handkerchief is there also ready to wipe away our tears with her maternal loving care.

No comments: