Pieta, a sculpture of love, disappointment. Waiting for sculpture of joy of Risen Lord

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“… Simeon blessed them and said to Mary His mother, ‘Behold, this Child is appointed for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and for a sign to be opposed—and a sword will pierce even your own soul—to the end that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed.’” Luke 2:34-35

We lived in Italy about 25 years ago. Keith was in the Air Force, and we were privileged to be stationed at Aviano AB, a 1-hour train ride northeast of Venice. We lived in a 700-year-old town named Dardago.

We toured Vatican City 25 years ago, before the Pieta was vandalized, and it was not protected. I returned three times just to stand before the funeral memorial and weep.

This July, we returned to Rome. The Sistine Chapel paintings were more vivid and beautiful than we had ever seen them, since they have been restored and cleaned. But I was anxious to move through the Chapel to get to St. Peter’s Basilica to stand before the Pieta.

Before the Pieta, I wept.

The window reflection near the head of Mary made me think of the many people standing there taking photographs and then moving on to the next beautiful piece of art. Many did not understand the story. Others knew the story but did not stop to see the window of opportunity to understand more about Jesus, more about Mary, and to experience the pain of the moment.

“Pieta” in Italian means “pity.” Michelangelo was 25 when he released the Pieta from its marble. He believed that the sculpture already existed in the marble, and he just released it.

“Pity” is not the word I would have used to name this sculpture. From a mother’s eyes, I saw a woman who had experienced everything miraculous about this Son, her Savior, her Lord … from his birth, to the turning of water into wine, from raising the dead, to healing the lepers, restoring sight to the blind and song to the deaf. This was the Man who was going to save Israel. Here was all her hope, all her love, all her dreams. Beaten beyond recognition. Dead.

I wonder what sculpture is waiting to be released that shows Mary’s joy when she saw her Son, her Savior, risen.

My prayer for you:

Lord, You took on the beating, the scourging, the sins, the diseases, for us. You hung on the cross to take on sin and pay the price that we should have paid. AND You rose from the dead! You conquered death, and You are at the right hand of God making intercession for us. Fill us with the Holy Spirit and with Your wisdom, so that we can understand the power and joy that only You can bestow upon us as we contemplate our risen Savior.

May the Lord richly bless you as you contemplate Mary’s pity and Mary’s joy.

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