Artist Unknown. Visiting the Sick, from a series of works of mercy. Florentine School (14th C.). Vatican Museums, Vatican City
From “Visiting the Sick,” a tutorial by Ariel Scheib:
Visiting the sick bikur holim) is considered an act of loving kindness (gemilut hasadim). The concept of bikur holim is first introduced in the Bible when God visits Abraham while he is recovering from circumcision (Genesis 18:1). It is from this instant on that Jews are required to emulate God in visiting the sick. Continue Reading
Titian. Madonna of the Cherries (c. 1515). Kunsthistorsches Museum, Vienna
The Cherry Tree Carol is a seasonal jewel. It dates back to the cycle of mystery plays performed in Coventry during the Feast of Corpus Christi, around the year 1400. History has brought to life various renditions of it, all of them indebted to the vagaries of memory, an era’s substitution of newer phrasings for antiquated ones, or simply the preferences of singers. Folklorists, liturgists and musicologists agree that it is really more accurate to speak of a Cherry Tree series than of a single carol. Continue Reading
Artist unknown. St. Martin and the Beggar. Hungarian
Today is Veterans Day. It is also the feast day of St. Martin of Tours, patron of soldiers.
Martin is my patron saint as well. Back in second grade, when we were asked to pick a saint’s name for Confirmation, I chose Martin. There followed a brief flurry of canonical concern. Was it suitable for a girl to take a male saint’s name? Could she do it? Should she?
I was not trying to create a nuisance. Continue Reading
I poured the wine into the chalice our church had given me. In the one-sixth gravity of the moon the wine curled slowly and gracefully up the side of the cup. It was interesting to think that the very first liquid ever poured on the moon, and the first food eaten there, were communion elements.
—Astronaut Buzz Aldrin, describing the 1969 moon landing in Guidepost Magazine (October 1970)
Master of the Rio Frio. Altarpiece of St. Martin (Spanish; c. 1500). Musée de Cluny, Paris. Continue Reading
Speaking of angels, there is this rendering of St. Michael from the gifted Daniel Mitsui :
Daniel Mitsui. St. Michael as a Samurai.
Mitsui promises a new St. Michael, again as a samurai, later in the year. Below is St. Raphael, carrying his attributes, a staff—bamboo, this time—and a fish. Most likely a carp. (In Japanese culture the carp is a symbol of resolve, of strength in adversity. Perseverance is a desired quality in boys; hence, the carp is a popular design on boys’ kimonos.)
Daniel Matsui. Continue Reading