April 26, 2011

Woman why are you weeping?

Jesus is risen! He is risen indeed!

As we celebrate the Tuesday of the Octave of Easter we hear the beautiful and moving story of Mary Magdalene's encounter with the risen Jesus. Mary, who had just experience the greatest sorrow in her life in seeing her Lord and Savior crucified and laid in the tomb, now relives that pain in finding Him missing. Yet she does not recognize that the Man standing before her is the One she is seeking.

How often do we feel the pain of not being able to find Jesus when we need Him the most? We might spend our time sitting at the door of the "tomb," grieving our situation and thinking all is lost. All we need to do, however, is look and we will find Him standing there. In a tender moment, Mary recognizes Jesus as He speaks her name, captured in the above fresco by Fra Angelico. He calls each one of us by name as well. We just need to be open to hearing it. But the story also reminds us that once we encounter the risen Christ, we must not simply cling to Him, but go out and proclaim Him to the world.

Fra Angelico (born Guido di Pietro), was a fifteenth century Dominican friar, who is famous for his frescos on the walls of the cells at the Convent of San Marco in Florence. He is known for making the transition from the art of the Middle Ages to the early Renassiance, and his work influenced many of the Renassiance artists. His use of vibrant colors was unique for his time. Most of all, his frescos tell the stories of our faith from scripture to the lives of the saints.

Fra Angelico was beatified by Pope John Paul II (whose own beatification we will celebrate this Sunday) on October 3, 1982. He is the patron of Catholic artists. Perhaps if we pray through his intercession, we will see a resurgence of beautiful Cathoic art, and God will raise up faithfilled artists who will portray His glory and the glory of the Church and the saints, as Fra Angelico and so many artists thougout the centuries have done.

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