OUR LADY OF RECONCILIATION: THE IMMACULATE SORROWFUL
The image of Our Lady of Reconciliation presents a vivid and eloquent summary of the central mysteries of the faith of the Church. It enlightens the unity of the mysteries of the Annunciation- Incarnation and of the Reconciliation in the mystery at the Calvary. The symbols in her image offer an occasion to integrate and, even more, synthesize the unity of the mysteries of our Savior, the Eternal Word who became flesh in Mary for our Reconciliation.
1) What first appears to the one who observes the image is the sweet and serene face that expresses the grandeur of spirit of the Mother in the Faith, She in whom the Almighty has done great things (Lk 1: 49). The gaze of ineffable sweetness invites us to an honest and direct personal encounter and leads the one who observes her in a communication of peace, serenity, and intense hope.
2) Our attention goes then to her heart pierced by the sword, a sign of sorrow in the midst of the serene expression of the Immaculate. The references to the old Simeon’s prophecy are clear (Lk 2: 33-35), as clear as the reference that the Tradition have seen through the centuries in relation to the intense martyrdom of the Holy Virgin at the foot of the Cross. It was through that wounded heart, where Christ was firstly conceived in faith, that the joy and sorrow of his life and passion brought the glory of his resurrection.
3) In our Mother’s heart we also see the presence of the flames of love, a sign of the transforming presence of the Holy Spirit, in whose presence Mary is called “full of grace” (Lc 1: 28). In all this we discover the invitation to perceive in the image an expressive reference to the divine teaching evocative of sorrow and joy. Pope Benedict XV invited us to address “with all our confidence to the sorrowing and immaculate heart of Mary”.
The flames that sprout from the heart – symbol of what is most profound in the being of Mary, her inner self, communicate light and warmth, and the strength of her zeal that expresses that her only presence is an announcement of the Gospel.
4) The heart appears surrounded by a wreath of white roses. Once again we find that the expressivity of the image is a magnificent way to communicate profound realities. A wreath of roses that points out to the thorn crown of the Reconciler, that brings the memories of sorrow at the foot of the Cross, and the triumphant moments of his victory. But the implicit reference does not stay there: there is a slight allusion to the mystery of Reconciliation whose triumph shows the admirable fruit that was the Immaculate Conception, an anticipation of the Lord’s victory. The white roses also show the tenderness and purity of Virgin Mary’s loving heart.
5) The right hand that with a vigorous refinement points to her heart shows well Mary’s maternity. Repeating the words “do whatever he tells you” (Jn 2: 5), our Mother in an eloquent gesture reminds us what our Lord announced from the cross: “This is your Mother” (Jn 19: 27), inviting us to go on the way of filial love.
Without blush, for her humility is founded in the truth, recognizing it by her own faith and experience in the pilgrimage under the divine light, Mary points out the way to reach the everlasting life. Christ has entrusted us to his Mother; Mary will lead more fully to the Lord Jesus. Everything in our Mother points out to Jesus. The burning heart is inflamed by full love for the divine Son.
6) Mary’s open mantle is sign of her loving protection. She continuously looks after all of us, following her Son’s testament from the Cross.
7) The Virgin Mary appears unto us taking the Triumph over evil in her immaculate womb. The image shows the Mother’s delicate foot stepping on the serpent – symbol of evil, the Demon – while he threatens her.
In the threshold of our origins, in the place of fall the Almighty promised the Woman that her offspring would obtain the victory over the Evil One and his deeds. With great evocative force the Expecting Mother carrying the Reconciler in her womb, brings to our minds the fulfillment of this promise: your offspring will strike the snake’s head (see Gn 3: 15)
8) The left hand, that shows great tenderness for those who contemplate her, invites simultaneously to live all the richness of the Faith that the image represents and along with this gift, makes us conscious of who She is, our Mother, intercessor per excellence that according to the divine plan obtains us the graces for our needs in the Christian pilgrimage.