Sunday, May 9, 2010

Windows of St. Benedict's, Part I

The John Terrence O'Duggan (Boston, MA) windows of our church are truly spectacular. I have been enlightened through them many times.  Here is a close up look at some of them.  I will focus on the smaller symbolic nave windows today.

The flame and book (in this case the Hebrew Scriptures) symbolizes the wisdom of Jesus.  You will note that this window is found under Jesus teaching in the Temple. 

This is found under the window of Mary, Mother of Divine Grace. Mary's womb was the vessel that contained Jesus. The chalice bears the letters "M" for Mary and "R" for Regina, Latin for Queen. Jesus is shown by the Greek letters X (chi) and P (rho); these are the first two Greek letters in the word "Christ." Jesus is the beginning and the end; the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet - Alpha and Omega . Mary, the vessel, overflows with the grace of Jesus. She is the only person the Bible says is "full of grace."

 Elijah's fiery chariot is placed under the window of Jesus' Ascension.  The Jewish people believed that, because Elijah was taken up into heaven in a fiery chariot, he was going to come again. It is no accident that Elijah is mentioned at pivotal moments in Jesus' life.

Here is a presentation of the vesture of Jesus. Notice the three dice.  Recall that the Roman soldiers (symbolically represented by lances), did not want to tear it, so they cast dice for Jesus' tunic instead.

Jesus is buried, but rises to a more glorious life like the butterfly that emerges from a seemingly-dead cocoon.  While not on any of our windows, the Easter egg has a similar meaning.  Death only appears to be an end.

This image is well-known to those who make the stations of the cross.  It is the veil of Veronica.  In Latin, Veronica means "true image." We are reminded to be the true image of Jesus. It symbolizes not so much a historical event, as a practical lesson in standing firm in the Faith in spite of persecution along the Way.

The tortuous death of Jesus is clearly evident here. Jesus is nailed to the cross.  He is mockingly crowned with thorns but He is truly Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews.

The pillar where Jesus was scourged is presented here.  Also present are the whip and the sponge soaked in common wine put to His lips. Note this is one of the signed windows - John Terrence O'Duggan.

Here the suffering of Jesus is symbolized by a cup.  Recall that Jesus prayed to the Father in the Garden of Gethsemene that this "cup" of suffering might pass, but "not My will, but Thine be done."  You will note that the larger window above this shows Jesus being comforted by an angel carrying a cross as He accomplishes the will of the Father..

It was prophesied that Mary's heart would be pierced by a sword.

Mary's humility is often symbolized by small flowers. Here the crown remind us that the lowly shall be exalted.

Here the lily of purity is covered with images from the Book of Revelation - the moon under her feet and on her head a crown of stars.

Mary's virginity is symbolized by a depiction from the Song of Songs.  She is a garden enclosed.  Note the palm trees.  These trees figure prominently in the Song of Songs.

Mary reigns as Queen of Heaven, symbolized here by the crown over MR - Maria Regina - Mary the Queen.

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