Monday 26th September 2022

Home » Frontpage » Currently Reading:

Artifacts Of An Imperishable Faith

September 22, 2022 Frontpage No Comments

BY JAMES MONTI

Part 1

Recently I was exploring for the first time with two friends the “American Wing” of New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art. In gallery after gallery there were masterful landscape paintings that conveyed a powerful sense of transcendence and the beauty of God’s creation. There were likewise lovely depictions of the beauty of family life, the greatest source of natural happiness that God has bestowed upon man in this valley of tears. Yet in these “American” galleries there was almost nothing of an expressly religious nature — nothing, that is, until I happened to turn into the entrance to Gallery 757.
Suddenly before my eyes was a glittering gold crown studded with over four hundred emeralds, ensconced in the middle of a room teeming with otherworldly wonders. In the same field of vision when entering this gallery, mounted on the wall directly behind the crown of gold, a large painting depicts Our Lady with the Christ Child, both clothed in gold and both wearing crowns that seem to mirror the design of the crown in the foreground. Our Lady is seated before a large tree, the branches of which are populated with colorful tropical birds. Kneeling to her right is a man in penitential garb, and to the left there is a domed church, with mountains in the background.
What I had stumbled into was a new gallery of Latin American art that the Met Museum has added to its American galleries. The publicly stated rationale for this addition is that the museum’s definition of “American art” ought to be broadened from exclusively Anglo-Saxon American art to embrace the art of Latin America as well. The bottom line is that this redefinition has opened the door to a whole world of Catholic art from the countries to which the Spaniards and the Portuguese brought the Catholic faith.
In fact, virtually every item in Gallery 757 is a work of Catholic religious art or a Catholic liturgical object. The life-sized gold crown that serves as the centerpiece of this room was made to adorn the head of a statue of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception enshrined for centuries in a church of the Columbian city of Popayan. In a video about this object popularly known as the “Crown of the Andes” (ca. 1660-1770), a representative of the museum explains that to understand the stunning splendor and wonder of this crown wrought from over five pounds of gold, it must be borne in mind that it was conceived as a crown “made for the Queen of Heaven.”
What this museum curate has stated so extremely well is for us as believing Catholics an overwhelming thought when contemplating this crown in person. The sheer physical reality of this object brings home to the soul the truth that Our Lady is very, very real — our sculptures and paintings of her are in and of themselves inanimate objects, but they communicate through our senses the invisible reality of Mary and her immeasurable and very personal love for us. The crown was fashioned as a palpable expression of love and reverence for her by the people of Columbia. Visually juxtaposed with the painting of Our Lady wearing a virtually identical crown that hangs behind it, the crown conveys a powerful sense of the Blessed Virgin’s majesty as Queen of Heaven.
Exhibited on a mount of its own to the left of the “Crown of the Andes” stands what is an even more wondrous encounter with heavenly majesty — a silver monstrance dating from the 1640s. For many visitors, it may well seem to be simply an artistically crafted piece of silverwork. But for the believing Catholic, the large open aperture at the center of this monstrance brings to mind the lunette that was placed within it countless times, centuries ago, containing a treasure greater than the entire universe — the Body and Blood, soul and divinity of Almighty God Incarnate. To draw near to this object is to feel oneself close to what was once the throne of God. Centuries ago, priest after priest, on one feast day after another, held this monstrance aloft as plumes of incense rose before the Sacred Host that would have been enshrined within it.
An inscription on the hidden underside of the monstrance reveals that in addition to being a gift of love to God this sacred vessel was also made as a gift of love from a grateful holy man to the people of his place of birth. The inscription relates that Fray Pedro Urraca Garcia of the Trinitarian Order (1583-1657), a missionary who labored for souls in Peru and Ecuador, donated the monstrance to the church in which he was baptized in his native town of Jadraque, Spain. Fray Urraca is in fact a candidate for canonization, having been declared Venerable by Pope St. John Paul II in 1981.
On yet another freestanding mount to the right of the “Crown of the Andes” is displayed a 1709 edition of the Missale Romanum bound in chased silver, the text of the missal having been published in Antwerp by the printing house of Christophe Plantin, with its magnificent silver-on-wood binding handcrafted in Peru. The missal rests in its closed position, but the missal’s title page, depicting a gathering of angels adoring with enraptured awe the Blessed Sacrament enshrined in a monstrance, can be viewed in a photo provided on the Met Museum’s website. This particular title page design for Plantin’s editions of the missal dates back to the 1640s. Also evident from the website photos is that this missal was bound together with a 1707 edition of the Franciscan Proper of Saints, a printed collection of Mass prayers for feast days celebrated within the Franciscan Order. Clearly the missal was intended for use at a Franciscan church or friary.
Here as with the monstrance on the opposite end of the room, the silver is silently preaching a visual gospel about what it was fashioned to enclose, in this case the priceless words by which the sacrifice of Our Lord on the Cross would be re-presented and the Real Presence of Our Lord in the Holy Eucharist wrought anew at the altar, day after day, some three centuries ago. Many a saint, many a martyr and many a faithful soul have been ready and willing to suffer and die in defense of what is contained within this silver binding. When about the year 1581 the English Catholic laywoman Cecily Stonor, a niece of the Carthusian martyr St. Sebastian Newdigate (+1535), was put on trial for her adherence to the Catholic faith, she told her judges:
“I was born in such a time when Holy Mass was in great reverence, and brought up in the same Faith. In King Edward’s time this reverence was neglected and reproved by such as governed. In Queen Mary’s, it was restored with much applause; and now in this time it pleaseth the state to question them, as now they do me, who continue in this Catholic profession. The state would have these several changes, which I have seen with mine eyes, good and laudable. Whether it can be so, I refer it to your Lordships’ consideration. I hold me still to that wherein I was born and bred; and find nothing taught in it but great virtue and sanctity; and so by the grace of God I will live and die in it” (quoted in Henry Clifford, The Life of Jane Dormer, Duchess of Feria, Quarterly Series, vol. 62, London, Burns and Oates, 1887, pp. 38-39). The paintings that line the walls of Gallery 757 take the viewer still deeper into the faith-filled spiritual landscape of seventeenth and eighteenth century Catholic Latin America. Five of the paintings offer vibrantly colorful praise to the Mother of God. The most introspective and intimate of these artworks, an eighteenth century Peruvian canvas entitled “The Soul of the Virgin Mary,” provides a visual reflection upon the indwelling of the Holy Spirit within the soul of Mary as the Temple of the Holy Spirit par excellence. As the Christ Child rests peacefully in her arms, Our Lady gazes heavenward, lost in contemplation, with the Holy Spirit depicted as a dove hovering within her. Beneath, two angels hold a cartouche that places upon the lips of the Blessed Virgin the opening words in Latin of Psalm 103, “Bless the Lord, O my soul; / and all that is within me, bless his holy name!” (Psalm 103: 1). But the unknown artist has also put words on the lips of the believer who looks upon this image, words that form an outer halo round about the head of Mary: “Through Mary, with Mary and in Mary,” a perfect expression of the spirituality of Marian consecration.
During her life on earth, Our Lady embraced a largely hidden existence during the public ministry of her Divine Son and even during her later years, as the Apostles set out to preach the Gospel following Pentecost Sunday. But over the two millennia since her Assumption, she has by no means remained hidden. From her place in Heaven, Our Lady has become a virtual missionary to the entire face of the earth, going wherever her children are, continually intervening in their daily lives through her very potent intercession. The four other Marian artworks in Gallery 757 testify to this Post-Assumption role of Mary in salvation history. Among these, a painting entitled “The Pilgrim of Quito” (ca. 1730-1740) seems to embody quite literally the concept of the Blessed Virgin roaming about for the salvation and sanctification of souls. Mounted upon a mule and clothed in a white dress and blue mantle brocaded with flowers, holding the Christ Child in her right arm, she and Our Lord are depicted as most definitely on the move, wearing plumed pilgrims’ hats as a monk of the Mercedarian Order leads the mule by its harness. The painting imaginatively commemorates the pilgrimage tour of a miraculous statue of Mary with the Christ Child that the Mercedarian friars brought with them on their journeys to preach missions in town after town across colonial Peru and beyond.
As for the painting of Our Lady clothed in gold, mentioned earlier, which first greets the visitor when turning into Gallery 757, the story behind this image is so amazing and inspiring that we will defer to our next “Restoring the Sacred” essay the narration of its history and meaning, along with the stories of the other artworks of Gallery 757.

Share Button

2019 The Wanderer Printing Co.

Vatican and USCCB leave transgender policy texts unpublished

While U.S. bishops have made headlines for releasing policies addressing gender identity and pastoral ministry, guidelines on the subject have been drafted but not published by both the U.S. bishops’ conference and the Vatican’s doctrinal office, leaving diocesan bishops to…Continue Reading

Biden says Pope Francis told him to continue receiving communion, amid scrutiny over pro-abortion policies

President Biden said that Pope Francis, during their meeting Friday in Vatican City, told him that he should continue to receive communion, amid heightened scrutiny of the Catholic president’s pro-abortion policies.  The president, following the approximately 90-minute-long meeting, a key…Continue Reading

Federal judge rules in favor of Gov. DeSantis’ mask mandate ban

MIAMI (LifeSiteNews) – A federal judge this week handed Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis another legal victory on his mask mandate ban for schools. On Wednesday, Judge K. Michael Moore of the Southern District of Florida denied a petition from…Continue Reading

The Eucharist should not be received unworthily, says Nigerian cardinal

Priests have a duty to remind Catholics not to receive the Eucharist in a state of serious sin and to make confession easily available, a Nigerian cardinal said at the International Eucharistic Congress on Thursday. “It is still the doctrine…Continue Reading

Donald Trump takes a swipe at Catholics and Jews who did not vote for him

Donald Trump complained about Catholics and Jews who did not vote for him in 2020. The former president made the comments in a conference call featuring religious leaders. The move could be seen to shore up his religious conservative base…Continue Reading

Y Gov. Kathy Hochul Admits Andrew Cuomo Covered Up COVID Deaths, 12,000 More Died Than Reported

When it comes to protecting people from COVID, Andrew Cuomo is already the worst governor in America. New York has the second highest death rate per capita, in part because he signed an executive order putting COVID patients in nursing…Continue Reading

Prayers For Cardinal Burke . . . U.S. Cardinal Burke says he has tested positive for COVID-19

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — U.S. Cardinal Raymond L. Burke said he has tested positive for the virus that causes COVID-19. In an Aug. 10 tweet, he wrote: “Praised be Jesus Christ! I wish to inform you that I have recently…Continue Reading

Democrats Block Amendment Banning Late-Term Abortions, Stopping Abortions Up to Birth

Senate Democrats have blocked an amendment that would ban abortions on babies older than 20 weeks. During consideration of the multi-trillion spending package, pro-life Louisiana Senator John Kennedy filed an amendment to ban late-term abortions, but Democrats steadfastly support killing…Continue Reading

Transgender student wins as U.S. Supreme Court rebuffs bathroom appeal

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday handed a victory to a transgender former public high school student who waged a six-year legal battle against a Virginia county school board that had barred him from using the bathroom corresponding…Continue Reading

New York priest accused by security guard of assault confirms charges have now been dropped

NEW YORK, June 17, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) — A New York priest has made his first public statement regarding the dismissal of charges against him.  Today Father George W. Rutler reached out to LifeSiteNews and other media today with the following…Continue Reading

21,000 sign petition protesting US Catholic bishops vote on Biden, abortion

More than 21,000 people have signed a letter calling for U.S. Catholic bishops to cancel a planned vote on whether President Biden should receive communion.  Biden, a Catholic, supports abortion rights and has long come under attack from some Catholics over that…Continue Reading

Bishop Gorman seeks candidates to fill two full time AP level teaching positions for the 2021-2022 school year in the subject areas of Calculus/Statistics and Physics

Bishop Thomas K. Gorman Regional Catholic School is a college preparatory school located in Tyler, Texas. It is an educational ministry of the Catholic Diocese of Tyler led by Bishop Joseph Strickland. The sixth through twelfth grade school provides a…Continue Reading

Untitled 5 Untitled 2

Attention Readers:

  Welcome to our website. Readers who are familiar with The Wanderer know we have been providing Catholic news and orthodox commentary for 150 years in our weekly print edition.


  Our daily version offers only some of what we publish weekly in print. To take advantage of everything The Wanderer publishes, we encourage you to su
bscribe to our flagship weekly print edition, which is mailed every Friday or, if you want to view it in its entirety online, you can subscribe to the E-edition, which is a replica of the print edition.
 
  Our daily edition includes: a selection of material from recent issues of our print edition, news stories updated daily from renowned news sources, access to archives from The Wanderer from the past 10 years, available at a minimum charge (this will be expanded as time goes on). Also: regularly updated features where we go back in time and highlight various columns and news items covered in The Wanderer over the past 150 years. And: a comments section in which your remarks are encouraged, both good and bad, including suggestions.
 
  We encourage you to become a daily visitor to our site. If you appreciate our site, tell your friends. As Catholics we must band together to rediscover our faith and share it with the world if we are to effectively counter a society whose moral culture seems to have no boundaries and a government whose rapidly extending reach threatens to extinguish the rights of people of faith to practice their religion (witness the HHS mandate). Now more than ever, vehicles like The Wanderer are needed for clarification and guidance on the issues of the day.

Catholic, conservative, orthodox, and loyal to the Magisterium have been this journal’s hallmarks for five generations. God willing, our message will continue well into this century and beyond.

Joseph Matt
President, The Wanderer Printing Co.

Untitled 1

Catechism

Today . . .

Bishops, priests and scholars correct Pope Francis’ statement on Holy Communion

(LifeSiteNews) — Four bishops, several priests, and numerous Catholic scholars have signed a statement rebuking Pope Francis for a recent statement about the reception of Holy Communion, according to which “everyone is invited to the supper of the wedding of the Lamb (Re 19:9). To be admitted to the feast all that is required is the wedding garment of faith which comes from the hearing of his Word.” The Pope wrote these words in his…Continue Reading

A futuristic Nur-Sultan ready welcomes Pope Francis to Kazakhstan

As Pope Francis prepares to depart for Kazakhstan on Tuesday, our correspondent in Nur-Sultan takes a look at his upcoming participation in the 7th Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions, as well as the small Catholic community’s great joy to receive the Holy Father.

Joe Biden Calls MAGA Americans Violent, Ignores Leftist Violence Against Churches, Pregnancy Centers

Illuminated with blood-red lights, draped in inky shadows, and flanked by U.S. Marines, President Biden launched into an angry screed Thursday night, using dangerous and inciting rhetoric to attack so-called “MAGA Republicans.” It was a terrifying sight that drew praise and flowery language from the “journalists” of CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360 as they lauded the “full frontal attack” and asserted he was “reclaiming patriotism.” “President Biden finishing a 24-minute speech at Independence Hall in Philadelphia. He said as…Continue Reading

Pope Francis creates 20 cardinals for the Catholic Church

Rome Newsroom, Aug 27, 2022 / 08:31 am Pope Francis created 20 new cardinals for the Catholic Church during a liturgy in St. Peter’s Basilica Saturday. “Jesus calls us by name; he looks us in the eye and he asks: Can I count on you?” Pope Francis said in a homily addressed to the College of Cardinals and its new members on Aug. 27. “The Lord,” he said, “wants to bestow on us his own…Continue Reading

Toyota Sponsors Lesson on ‘First Steps’ of Drag Artistry for Children

Toyota sponsored an event for “LGBTQ+ Youth” that featured a performance from a drag performer and a workshop on “the first steps of becoming a fabulous drag performer.” The event, called “Models of Pride,” was hosted by the Los Angeles LGBT Center and was intended for those 24 years and younger. No minimum age was listed on the website. The Los Angeles LGBT Center described it as “the world’s largest free conference for LGBTQ+ youth…Continue Reading

Biden Is Losing The Race For The Cure

By STEPHEN MOORE President Joe Biden recently announced, with great fanfare, his Cancer Moonshot initiative. Biden used soaring and promising rhetoric about, at last, finding a cure for one of the world’s leading killers.Speaking at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Boston on September 12, the president declared:“Beating cancer is something we…Continue Reading

Becoming Pro-Life The Hard Way

By DONALD DeMARCO “Aujourd’hui Maman est morte. Ou, hier, peut-etre; je ne sais pas.” (Today my mother died. Or was it yesterday, I don’t know.) + + This is the celebrated opening of Nobel Laureate Albert Camus’ novel, The Stranger. It immediately establishes the main character as a person who, being emotionally unmoved by the…Continue Reading

The Queen: End Of An Era

By JOHN J. METLZER The Queen has died; the page of history has turned. The passing of Queen Elizabeth II, Britain’s longest serving monarch, has shocked and saddened much of the world despite the sovereign’s declining health and her 96 years of age. Just months after having joyfully celebrated her platinum Jubilee commemorating 70 years…Continue Reading

The “Secure Border” Of Kamala Harris

By TERENCE P. JEFFREY When Donald Trump was president in fiscal 2019, the Border Patrol did not encounter a single individual on the terrorist watchlist trying to illegally cross the U.S.-Mexico border between the legal ports of entry.In the first ten months of this fiscal year, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection, they encountered…Continue Reading

Welcome to the Green New Deal, California

By DAVID HARSANYI If California, our most populous state, were its own nation, it would rank as the world’s fifth largest economy and boast the highest average household income (outside a handful of “countries” like Monaco or Luxemburg). And, yet, the governor is begging its citizens to stop using their appliances, turn off their lights…Continue Reading

Advertisement

Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

How Long, O Lord?

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER Twenty-Seventh Sunday In Ordinary Time Readings:Hab. 1:2-3, 2:2-42 Tim. 1:6-8, 13-14Luke 17:5-10 The first reading today, from the Prophet Habakkuk, is very apropos for our time. As it was in his day, so too it is in ours: people crying to God for help, but nothing seems to happen; people crying out “violence,” but God does…Continue Reading

Catholic Replies

Q. I don’t use rosary beads to say the rosary since I pray in the car or while doing gardening or housework. Is it okay to pray the rosary daily with my fingers? Also, I have seen pictures of St. Joseph with lilies, and I have been told that is the way he was chosen to be the husband of…Continue Reading

Future Bleak for Vatican II Mass

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK My parish is forced back into compliance with the “unique liturgical expression of the Roman rite” this month, as expressed by Pope Francis in Traditionis custodes, with the banning of the traditional Latin Mass in my as well as in other parish churches. This in order to open us to the full experience of the…Continue Reading

Crazy! . . . A Homily For The 24th Sunday Of The Year

(Editor’s Note: Msgr. Charles Pope posted this on September 10 and it is posted here with permission.) + + The three parables in this Sunday’s lengthy Gospel challenge conventional thinking. They describe people doing things that we most likely would not do. All three of them — especially the first two — seem crazy. Who would ever do what the…Continue Reading

Cardinal Brandmueller… Pope Francis Prevented Crucial Dialogue Among Cardinals At Consistory

By SANDRO MAGISTER (Wanderer Editor’s Note: LifeSiteNews reprinted this article from L’Espresso on August 31. Fr. Kevin M. Cusick alluded to Cardinal Brandmueller’s remarks in his Wanderer column dated September 8.) + + (L’Espresso) — On August 29, a consistory saw the cardinals gathered with Pope Francis. It was behind closed doors, but above all it was broken down, at…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Bridget

By DEB PIROCH “Oh my friends, I love my sheep so tenderly that were it possible I would die many other times for each one of them that same death I suffered for the redemption of all” — Words attributed to Christ, Revelations of St. Bridget. + + In 1999, Pope St. John Paul II issued a moto proprio, making…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Lawrence O’Toole

By DEB PIROCH This Irish saint existed parallel to the life of St. Thomas Becket. Some of his biography can be difficult to follow, given Gaelic history and language, so we try to anglicize everything possible in this article. But his feast fast approaches, November 14, a time to acquaint ourselves with his holy life.Lawrence was the youngest of four…Continue Reading

Advertisement(2)