Mary and the Infant Jesus


My name is Mary. I come from Nazareth. I was still a young girl when the angel Gabriel came and told me I would become the mother of Jesus. I knew being Godís mother would change my life forever! And I knew it wouldnít be an easy life. But I also knew that it was what God wanted for me. So I said yes. And ever since then, Iíve been helping people find their way to my Son.

Neri di Bicci speaks: Painting Jesus and his mother is not easy, I can tell you! For Jesus is the image of the invisible God, and Mary, his mother, must have been more beautiful than the day! But I have done my best. I dressed Mary in the finest ultramarine blue, the most splendid color in the world, imported from the far east. Her robe is trimmed and lined with gold. She has a halo of fine gold leaf about her head.

Jesus was even harder to paint.... What could I dress him in? Ultramarine, vermilion, or green? No, I decided: none of these. He is wearing a transparent veil Ė have you ever tried to paint something thatís invisible? Itís very difficult! And I tried to make him look like a real baby, because Jesus was a real baby. Heís not paying much attention to all the saints who are gathered around him; heís reaching for his mother. It looks like heís thinking about making his first steps, but heís not quite ready yet.

And that is my painting, my holy conversation. As I worked, I tried to listen to what these holy people might be saying to me. I hope they will speak to everyone who looks at my painting.

Lord Jesus,
you are always with your people.
You are still in our midst here and now.
Help us to recognize you in each other,
and in all the people who need our help,
and bring us one day into your heavenly home,
where we will see the beauty of your face
with Mary and all your saints.
You live and reign for ever and ever! Amen.

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