Mary

Botticini’s ‘The Assumption of the Virgin’
James Hanvey SJ contemplates Botticini’s ‘The Assumption of the Virgin’ and finds that it not only captures the complex mystery of the Assumption, but also illuminates the truth contained within this great feast. ‘The Assumption gives us a vision of the home that awaits us, and the promise that is and will be fulfilled.’ In the National Gallery in London there is an impressive painting by Francesco Botticini. Its theme is ‘The Assumption of the Virgin’ and it is believed to have been...
Madonna della Cintola from Wikimedia Commons
Old paintings of Saint Thomas the Apostle sometimes show him carrying a belt.  According to pious legend the doubting of Thomas extended to the Assumption of Our Lady.  He had been convinced of the Resurrection when the Risen Lord appeared to him and allowed him to inspect on his body the traces of the crucifixion.  My Lord and My God said Thomas when he believed.    He was again away from the group of apostles who witnessed the Assumption. Once more,  it is...
‘The Annunciation’ by Helen Elwes. Photo: Campion Hall
A very ordinary painting prompts an Oxford philosopher to think about the extraordinary feast that we observe on 25 March. When we contemplate the Annunciation, are we trying to understand, to penetrate, to grasp the transcendent mystery beneath what, on the surface, is very ordinary; or to recover a sense of the very ordinariness of the events which bore so much theological weight? At the top of a staircase in Campion Hall, the Jesuit-run private hall in the University of Oxford, there...
On 1 January, we celebrate the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God. It may seem like a simple or even obvious name to give to Mary, but the controversies that beset the development of this particular devotion reveal otherwise. Dorian Llywelyn SJ explores the enduring significance of this ancient feast, the title of which ‘contains the whole mystery of the Incarnation.’ Manchester University’s John Rylands Library is the home of a fragment of Egyptian papyrus. ‘Rylands...
The Holy Family
Our series exploring Jesus’s family tree concludes with a study of those closest to him: Mary and Joseph. Anthony Towey wonders how the ‘greatest story ever told’ has acquired such a peaceful gloss, when in fact it is riddled with disturbance and uncertainty.  For the Feast of the Holy Family, we turn our gaze to two new parents and try to capture the faith, hope and love that sustained them in their turmoil. From a very young age, Mary, Joseph and Jesus were held up...