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Thursday, July 13 2024 12: 43

Source of all consolation

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by Don Bruno Capparoni

Nn the imminence of the month of June, "gleaning" among paintings and images of the Sacred Heart, I came across an altarpiece, the work of the Veronese painter Giovanni Caliari (1802-1850), which I then wanted to reproduce on the cover. The name of this painter was completely unknown to me, but I was struck by the subject depicted. 

It represents Jesus sitting on the throne, while he indicates with his right hand his heart, surrounded by light, enveloped in a flame, surrounded by thorns and surmounted by the cross (it is the representation of the Sacred Heart that is very well known and consecrated by many artists). The figures surrounding the divine throne aroused greater curiosity in me. On one side Saint Joseph appears, with the flowered staff, in an attitude of prayer; in the middle, Saint Luigi Gonzaga kneels in adoration while an angel presents him with the lily of purity and the instruments of penance; on the other side Saint Peter holds the keys with his right hand and points to Jesus with his left. It is a composition that reflects the tastes of almost all sacred painting after the Council of Trent and perhaps you may not like it. It is made with good pictorial technique, but is lacking in novelty!

Yet this altarpiece by Caliari struck me and suggested some brief reflections that I share here, to accompany the month of June dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. 

I thought that the three saints surrounding the Lord's throne (probably chosen by the painter for some local devotion, without particular ties between them) express in the painting what identifies them: they indicate Jesus as the center of their person. They crown the Lord and suggest to the observer that Jesus is for them the "source of all consolation" (as he is invoked in the Litany of the Sacred Heart), from whom they can no longer detach themselves. They are there to tell us that that "consolation" is the joyful discovery that unites them, not only in the painting but above all in the reality of their lives (despite being so different from each other). In short, they reaffirm the message that all the saints have to communicate, that is, that they love Jesus and that in this love they find every good.

They are three Christian saints, therefore three "real" men. The servant of God Don Luigi Giussani wrote: «The saint is the true man, a true man because he adheres to God and therefore to the ideal for which his heart was built». The condition of these three saints coincides with that of those who truly lived their humanity: this happened because they met and "embraced the humble God Jesus" (as Saint Augustine says). They are three real men and they tell us that their hearts (like ours) were restless, they were waiting, marked by a secret ineffable hope. When they met Jesus, they found the "source of all consolation", that is, the answer to every question and every desire. 

These three saints (three men) finally indicate that the entire task of the Christian, therefore the entire human task, is summarized in a short, simple prayer, to be repeated in the month of June but also more often, possibly always: «Sweet Heart of Jesus, make me love you more and more." There is nothing to ask other than to love him; then it is enough to let this prayer bear its fruit.  

Read 131 teams Last modified on Thursday, 13 June 2024 13:00
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