April 16, 2014

Reflections for Holy Week from Opening Our Treasures: Some Images of Mary - Aine Barrins rsm

Three text reflections for Holy Week composed by Aine Barrins rsm to accompany three illuminations by Clare Augustine Moore.


                                       Total Giving

Against the dark background of the dark events of that day, Mary's blue cloak stands out - but not so much that she takes the focus off her beloved son who remains the central figure of the piece, her life, and indeed of our lives.

At first glance this looks like any other depiction of the Crucifixion we have ever seen. On closer examination many details are revealed: the blood dripping from the hands and feet of Jesus; the pieces of wood that hold the cross in place; the skull; the water flowing from the side of Christ - almost like the flame of the Spirit at Pentecost. Mary looks on, her head to the side, uncomprehending, heart-broken, still in the stance of Fiat.

  • How do I behold the mystery of the Cross?
  • What is my stance in the face of impenetrable suffering?            

                    Faithful Love to the End


In this picture Clare Augustine continues the long tradition of Irish illumination: she encloses her picture in the shape of the letter which begins this paragraph in the manuscript.

No doubt, she was very familiar with the deep love that Catherine McAuley had for Christ crucified as expressed in her writings and sayings:

'Let us then fly often to the foot of the cross, and repose in the wounds of Jesus. He has written us in His hands - shall we not write His wounds on our minds and hearts?'

  • Take time to contemplate the love of each of the three persons represented here.
  • Recall a time when you were able to fit something that is central to your life into a small space.

                                   Jesus Is Risen

Mary arrives at the tomb on Easter morning, dressed once again in her vibrant blue robe. She stands out - this solitary figure - as she contemplates the scene before her.

Her attention draws us also to contemplate what she sees: all the implements of crucifixion are scattered - crown of thorns, pliers, hammer, nails, augur, sword, caption, even the cross itself - all are discarded. The cave stands empty. The only other piece of brightness is the white cloth used to wrap the body of the dead Jesus - that too is thrown there - no further use for it.

Once again, Mary invites us into a stance of reverence, before the mysterious workings of God who brings fullness of life out of the forces of evil and death. Her confidence in God is unshakeable.

  • Can I trust God to bring new life out of the hurt, pain and destruction in my life? In our world?
  • Is my confidence in God deepened or threatened by the experiences of life?

From Opening Our Treasures: Some Images of Mary by Sister Clare Augustine Moore.
Reflections Áine Barrins rsm
Photos Máire Uí Mhaicín (RIP)

Messages to: Áine Barrins rsm

Back to All News