The entire United States has suspended masses indefinitely due to the pandemic. Which is an odd feeling indeed! It feels as though we as Christians are returning to an underground church of sorts, in which we aren’t allowed to participate in mass freely in the way we would normally choose to do so. Though we have online masses as sort of a consolation, it is still not as fulfilling as going to mass and partaking in the Eucharist.
And so, for this Sunday, I would like to share with you one of my all-time favorite paintings of the Eucharist:
And it’s so cool… the Virgin Mary is adoring the Host while two French saints (alas, I do not know who they are, though they look to be kings) look on.
And it’s so clever too because usually when the Virgin is depicted adoring anything, it is usually Christ. For example, this picture which depicts her (wearing the same colors, no less!) shows her at the Nativity.
In both pictures, the Virgin is adoring Christ. Just… in different ways. One through her newborn baby, Jesus Christ. The other through the Eucharistic Host, which is Jesus Christ.
Nor was this the only picture by Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres of the Virgin adoring the Host. He did this for the future Emperor Alexander II of Russia as well, though the saints are different. Instead of French saints, he painted this with St. Nicholas and St. Alexander Nevsky, who is venerated in the Eastern Orthodox tradition.
And then he made this version for his wife, though it is definitely in a different style for a number reasons. Instead of the Virgin adoring the Eucharist alone, both Madonna and Child look upon the Eucharistic feast with St. Anthony of Padua and St. Leopold of Carinthia in adoration.
Anyway! Even though we may not have Eucharist with us, take heart! Jesus has promised to be with us anyway. So, let’s not despair! As Jesus Himself said:
He is with us, even now, and He still loves us so much.
So, let’s use this time of separation to fall in love with Him even more. And may we never ever take for granted His Presence again!