Notebook

Grace

Christ’s Passion is such an overwhelming paradigm in Christian art that it tends to invest motifs of every kind with solemn pathos. This inspires awe, which is good. Still, we sometimes need a different perspective. Central to the Fathers in their endeavour to expound the identity of God’s eternal Wisdom made flesh was this verse from the Old Testament:

‘I was beside him, like a master workman; and I was daily his delight, rejoicing before him always’ (Wisdom 8:22).

In Mary’s Magnificat, which the Church sings each evening at Vespers, we make her proclamation our own: ‘My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour’ (Luke 1:47).

A Czech, Gothic Madonna and Child in the cloisters of Nový Dvůr renders this aspect of the Christian proclamation with grace. It is far from superficial; on the contrary, it is very profound.