Ascension Day… and Mother’s Day!

One of the lovely things about the Ascension falling on Mother’s Day is that I really don’t have to pick and choose whether to display a picture of Mary or of Christ. Why? Because tradition states that Mary was there during Christ’s ascension, and thus most artworks of the Ascension prominently display Mary. For instance, take a look at this one!

The Ascension, by Pietro Perugino, c. 1495-98. Museum of Fine Arts of Lyon, Lyon, France. Via
The Ascension, by Pietro Perugino, c. 1495-98. Museum of Fine Arts of Lyon, Lyon, France.

While the angels carry Jesus up, Mary is front and center of the picture, her hands clasped in prayer. In fact, she’s one of the the only ones who seems to be in prayer right now… most everybody else else seems to be too amazed to be thinking about prayer! Which, come to think about it, is probably why the two angels had to come down and remind them that they needed to get back to work!

And, trust me, this isn’t the only artwork like this. Most Eastern icons feature Mary in the middle with the apostles surrounding her!

Now, some Americans were a little bit annoyed about this overlap between Mother’s Day and Ascension Day. Should we focus on Mary, since she is our mother, after all… or Christ?

However, to me, that was never a problem and I am happy to celebrate both without any problem whatsoever. What can I say? Our family has a history of sharing birthdays. I’m a twin, for instance, so of course I shared a birthday with my brother! My sister’s birthday is the same day of my parents’ anniversary. In fact! My sister would be born five years later to the exact minute that my mother stepped down the aisle to be married!

For my own happy little family, we all have birthdays around the same time. Four birthdays within three weeks… and so much cake!

So, sharing happy days is not something we are unfamiliar with, and we take joy in sharing these days with one another. And who knows? Maybe Jesus and Mary are so happy that they are being honored by so many American Catholics today for both holidays… even if one is a secular holiday!

Anyway! I hope you had a blessed Ascension Day and a happy Mother’s Day!

Karina Tabone

Karina Tabone is a wife, mother of four, author, blogger, and lover of Christian artwork. She's the author of the Illustrated Rosary series, which pairs every prayer of the Rosary with beautiful religious artwork. She likes also milkshakes, sunshine, and mystery novels. Follow her on Twitter at @illustr_prayer.

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