Saturday, November 13, 2010
Full of Grace
I recently acquired a copy of Full of Grace: Encountering Mary in Faith, Art, and Life written by Judith Dupré. The consists of fifty-nine meditations on Mary, different perspectives drawn from the author's own life and experience, that help to introduce the reader to the one confessed to be "blessed among women."
What we have in this text is an accessible book of art and theology, woven with narrative, that sheds light on a figure who plays such an important role in the devotional lives of countless Christians. Especially arresting is the variety of beautiful photographs contained in the work: classic works of art, modern interpretations of Mary, and various pictures of architecture abound.
The experiences of parenting an autistic child, Dupré suggests, mirrors the experiences of the Blessed Mother who was "called to trust the way of the child who was hers but not hers. She had to grapple with her own lack of comprehension and, later, that of the crowds who did not grasp what her son was trying to say." The silent witness of a parent who must endure side-long glances and muttered comments by strangers is subsumed into Mary's own experience. The silent endurance of a parent, Dupré encourages, is not undergone alone...for we have Mary at our side.
This book would make a terrific gift this holiday season. While its beauty will entice people to buy it for the coffee table, I should think it is better read than looked at. The art and narrative intertwine to draw the reader more deeply into an understanding of who Mary is for us today and how she can accompany us on our spiritual pilgrimage.