Painted by Oleg Supereco (born 1974),
Painted in 2008,
Oil on canvas
© Oleg Supereco artist
Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows
As the child’s father and mother stood there wondering at the things that were being said about him, Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, ‘You see this child: he is destined for the fall and for the rising of many in Israel, destined to be a sign that is rejected – and a sword will pierce your own soul too – so that the secret thoughts of many may be laid bare.’
Reflection on the painting
Today we celebrate the Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows. This title given to Our Lady focuses on her intense suffering and mourning during the passion and death of her son. The title is not, however, limited to the suffering Mary shared in at the end of Jesus' life, but refers to all seven sorrows of Mary. These are:
- The Prophecy of Simeon (Luke 2:34-35)
- The Flight into Egypt (Matthew 2:13-21)
- The Loss of Jesus for Three Days (Luke 2:41-50)
- The Carrying of the Cross (John 19:17)
- The Crucifixion of Jesus (John 19:18-30)
- Jesus Taken Down from the Cross (John 19:39-40)
- Jesus Laid in the Tomb (John 19:39-42)
Our painting today is an unusual take on the pietà. Russian-born Oleg Supereco (born in 1974) depicts Mary gently leaning over Jesus. A soft light connects the two faces. Both have their eyes closed. Mary joined in Jesus' suffering on the cross. She must have been torn by the events of seeing Jesus crucified unjustly. And here she is depicted with dignity, composed, solemn, and with caring gentleness towards her son. It is a wonderful intimate portrait of mother and son.
Let us pray as we do in the opening prayer of the Mass for this feast day: Father, as your Son was raised on the cross, His Mother Mary stood by Him, sharing His sufferings. May your Church be united with Christ in His suffering and death and so come to share in His rising to new life. Looking to the example of Mary, may we too unite our sufferings to our Lord, facing them with courage, love, and trust.
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Readings related to Luke 2:33-35
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