Many paintings and sculptures depict a seated Mary and, on her lap, the child Jesus, no longer an infant at her breast but a man-child figure “enthroned” upon her knee or standing nobly before her womb. Sometimes Mary’s hands are lifted in praise, a reflection of her son’s raised arm in blessing. The image is often known by one of Mary’s titles, “Seat of Wisdom.”
It’s a common enough illustration. That is why one artist’s unique version of it stops me every time. In his 1961 bronze sculpture “Madonna of the Gospels,” Benedictine priest Hugh Witzmann replaces the human figure of Christ with a Book of the Gospels enthroned upon the folds of Mary’s garment.On this Solemnity, when we see in full the promise given to all God’s children, let us imitate Mary who believed so fully “that what she believed came about in her” (Augustine, Sermon 215, 4). Click To Tweet
On the book’s cover are emblazoned the symbols of the four evangelists. In Witzmann’s work, we have a visual reminder that Mary conceived the Word of God in her heart before doing so in her womb.
The divine gift of Mary’s assumption, body and soul, into heaven is a gift meant for all who believe in the Word Made Flesh, for Mary is the “beginning and image of [the] Church’s coming to perfection” (Eucharistic prayer preface). On this Solemnity, when we see in full the promise given to all God’s children, let us imitate Mary who believed so fully “that what she believed came about in her” (Augustine, Sermon 215, 4).