3 Reasons, Vol. 7

Welcome to the 7th edition of 3 Reasons I Love Catholicism.  If you’d like to see the history behind this series, check out the original post, or the previous editions.

I’ve been a little distracted this week (recovering from vacation, as well as planning a birthday party for this weekend) so I was having a hard time thinking of 3 Reasons.  Something always ends up coming to me though, thank goodness.  This month I’m focusing on the artwork of the Church.

 

–1–

Icons

Did you know that icons are a highly stylized form of artwork?  Did you know that each central character is depicted with certain distinctive features throughout iconography, so that you can always recognize them?  For example, St. Peter is always shown with white hair and a beard.  I certainly didn’t know much about icons until I found a copy of this book at a Catholic homeschool conference.

We are reading through it slowly as a part of our art curriculum this year.

According to Pictures of God,  the type of icon we received as a wedding gift is called a “Sweet Kissing” icon, because of how Mary is showing her affection for Jesus.  Isn’t it gorgeous?

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A wedding gift all the way from Bulgaria

I distinctly remember being a bit embarrassed when we got this gift, because I was just a bit overwhelmed at the idea of appearing so very Catholic to my friends.  Isn’t it funny what 11 years will do?

–2–

Stained Glass

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I’m not the only Catholic child that grew up gazing at stained glass windows, and I can attest that my kids carry on the tradition.  Actually, it’s sometimes the only thing that will capture my kids’ attention when they are headed south on the Mass Meltdown Crazy Train.

I don’t think I need to go too deeply here, I just want to note that the light coming through the glass is not accidental.  It represents God’s love shining through us to create beauty to all who see us.  A stained glass window in the dark isn’t necessarily sad… it’s just a shadow of its full capabilities.  Sound familiar?

–3–

The Very First Picture Bibles

Old St. Paul’s Cathedral, 1087-1666, London

Do you know what I find amazing about Catholic churches?  In most that hold even a semblance of traditionalism, you could spend hours learning about scripture and the lives of the saints just by looking around at the artwork.  The icons, the stained glass, the stations of the cross… all of these were made accessible to the illiterate masses long before the printing press.   Churches: the very first picture bibles.  Cool, huh?

A prime example of this beauty can be found in church of Our Lady of Loreto in Cold Spring, NY.  We had the good fortune to attend mass their last weekend and I couldn’t keep my eyes off the details.  I didn’t get a chance to go back and take photos, much to my regret.  Click here to see what I’m talking about.  Seriously, you won’t regret it.

Now it’s your turn!  Tell me what you love about Catholicism, either in the comments boxes or in a blog post you link below.

 

Comments

  1. Christine says:

    The rosary has been a great comfort to me. Even is the time in my life when I was away from the Church and up to a lot of nonsense ( my 20’s were a confusing time for me). I always carried the old Medjugorje Rosary that my dad had given me, in my purse. I still pray on it.

    • Wow, Christine, that is a beautiful story. I had my confirmation rosary until just a couple months ago, and I really treasured it.

  2. I remember when I was a young girl hearing our pastor explain why our church was shaped the way it was…it was a cross and the altar was placed right in the middle of it! I had never thought about it before but I found that so cool! I know very little about the rich symbolism found in church art and architecture but I find the subject fascinating. I especially love the idea of iconography and it’s hidden codes. Thank you so much for the book rec. That was is going on the St. Nicholas list!
    Mary @ Better Than Eden recently posted…Yarn Along and What We’re Reading Wednesday 10/2/13My Profile

  3. I’m not sure why, but when I added my link it didn’t give me the option of adding a photo, so you’re left with just the name. Too bad – I had a good picture ready!
    Anna recently posted…3 Reasons – The Light of FaithMy Profile

    • Sorry about that, Anna! The thumbnail inLinkz is a paid service, and my subscription just ran out. It’s not in the budget to renew it just yet, but I hope to do so soon. For now we have to settle for name only. 🙁

  4. I love icons. I have 2 in my kitchen, though I don’t know what their official names are.

    Also, I LOVE that crucifix! I’m gonna have to find it now 🙂
    Kayla @ Number One Petersons recently posted…It’s OK to not like {it}My Profile

    • We bought that crucifix when we were living in Korea. Since then it has been dropped, broken, and repaired with gorilla glue. It’s a little worse for the wear, but still serviceable. I haven’t looked around here for it, but if I do, I’ll post about it!

  5. Micaela, Thanks again for this monthly link-up. I love it! And, I’m sorry that I’m always so late to post. Also, I’m sorry to know that the link-up cost you money.

    Your reasons are lovely this month. There is a beautiful quote by Elizabeth Kubler Ross (not sure if she’s Catholic) that I thought of when I read your words, maybe you know it: “People are like stained – glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed only if there is a light from within.”

    God bless you!
    Anne Bender recently posted…3 Reasons I Love Catholicism Vol. 7My Profile