""Holy   picture   is   the   visual   language   of   the   faith   of   the   Church:   it   shows   by   colors   what   Holy   Scriptures   proclaim   by words"    (Lia Galdiolo) PICTURES LIKE PRAYERS by  Laura Ferretti  Painting   sacred   images   is   always   very   laborious   for   me.   I’d   like   to   give   a   message   of   hope,   love,   and   faith.   I’d   like   to   give   my   own message, an actual and meaningful message. It has to be clear and simple. In   my   paintings   there   are   few,   essential   elements:   no   diadems,   no   jewels,   no   rich   mantles,   no   people,   no   actual   problems. There   are Jesus   Christ   and   Our   Lady,   allusion   to   God   Father   and   to   Holy   Spirit.   There   are   many   flowers:   they   stand   for   mankind.   I   love   the ephemeral flowers that gladden and scent the air, I love the ephemeral men who would like to be eternal. The subjects of my paintings come out from my feelings. In   the   Sanctuary   of   Our   Lady   of   Charity,   there   were   already   the Annunciation,   the   Nativity   and   the   Crucifixion   and   I   was   really   happy to   conclude   the   cycle   painting   the   “The   Assumption   of   Our   Lady”.   At   first   I   painted   the   studies   Jesus   receiving   Mother   and   Mother joining Her Son and then I worked to the Altarpiece that engaged me for months. Later   I   put   on   canvas   the   deep   emotion   I   kept   in   my   heart   for   years,   since   when   I   saw   first   the   Holy   Shroud.   I   painted   my   “Thinking about the Holy Shroud”. Going   backwards,   I   arrived   at   the   joy   of   “The   Nativity”   where   there   is   a   sky,   a   winter   night,   shining   happy   because   the   Son   of   God came into the world. The   Assumption,   the   Holy   Shroud,   the   Nativity   are   very   strong   facts   for   a   Christian,   but,   in   everyday   life,   how   deep   is   our   faith?   I tried   to   answer   with   a   painting:   “Love’s   flowing   around”.   I   painted   another   everyday   life:   Jesus   and   Our   Lady   during   their   quiet, simple life at Nazareth. Surely   God’s   love   is   always   enormous,   but   human   love   is   small.   Just   a   woman   showed   us   the   true   meaning   of   love.   She   was   Our Lady   at   the   foot   of   the   Cross.   It   seems   impossible,   it   was   so   hard   but,   in   that   dramatic   moment,   She   was   able   to   consent   to   take care   of   men,   to   love   men. And   men   were   crucifers   of   Her   beloved   Son.   “Our   Lady   at   the   foot   of   the   Cross”   is   the   greatest   message of love, hope, and faith. It   is   only   after   a   few   years   that   the   consciousness   matures   inside   of   me   of   the   greatness   of   the   first   yes   of   Maria,   still   young   girl,   at Nazareth. It is a yes that allows God Almighty “to realize” His project of salvation. This    consciousness    becomes    a    canvas:    “And    the    Verb    is    made    Flesh,    “The    smile    of    Mary”    ”XII    Station    –    Jesus    Dead    - EUTHANASIA” THE ASSUMPTION OF OUR LADY When   Father   Dario   Giannelli   asked   me   to   paint   an   altarpiece   for   the   Sanctuary   of   Our   Lady   of   Charity,   I   was   flattered   and   petrified too:   flattered   by   his   trust,   petrified   because   of   the   complexity   and   the   importance   of   the   work   I   had   to   realize.   In   the   end   I   accepted the challenge and I began to work: I had to mature the formulation of my painting. Readings   and   interviews   (particularly   profitable   those   with   Father   Icilio   Rossi   and   with   Father   Samuele   Duranti)   helped   me   to individualize   the   main   contributing   parts   of   my   personal   message.   When   I   overcame   the   nightmare   of   the   white   canvas,   the expressive solutions matured with facility during the process of my painting (The Assumption of Our Lady). Below,   on   the   left   of   the   painting,   there   is   a   portion   of   grass   with   a   lot   of   flowers,   ordinary   flowers:   they   grow   spontaneously   and   they are   beautiful   but   ephemeral. And   their   precariousness   makes   yet   more   yearning   their   beauty.   Man,   too,   is   precarious,   and   aware   of his   precariousness.   It   is   from   this   feeling   that   comes   his   dissatisfaction   and   his   suffering   that   accompanied   him   in   the   course   of time. The   seven   lilies,   that   Our   Lady   holds   in   Her   left   hand,   however,   confirm   the   hope   of   a   life   after   death,   confirm   that,   if   we   ask   for it, She will intercede for us. Behind   the   flowers   a   sunny   desert   is   stretched   to   the   horizon:   a   curved   horizon   as   if   we   also   lifted   off   our   feet   high   in   the   sky.   The desert:   a   place   where   there   aren’t   the   essentials   for   life,   a   place   where   the   same   sun   can   kill.   But   there   the   oasis   is   a   gift   of   God, but there the stars are the brightest in the world and invite us to look towards Heaven. From   the   heart   of   the   desert,   wrapped   in   a   flood   of   light,   the   Virgin   is   rising.   It   is   the   last   call   which   She   answers   to:   after   that   first “yes”   said   to   the Angel,   after   many   years   spent   in   unknown   life   at   Nazareth,   after   that   terrible   “yes”   at   the   foot   of   the   Cross,   now   a new   “yes”   and   Her   body,   uncorrupted   by   sin,   can   ascend   to   Heaven.   To   see   Her   Son,   again. And   Her   eyes   stare   towards   Him.   It   is ecstasy. And   Her   right   hand   presses   Her   breast   almost   if   She   couldn’t   contain   the   emotion. And   Her   lips   have   moved   in   a   soft   smile: an answer to Her Son’s smile. Jesus   descended   to   the   limits   of   Heaven   to   welcome   His   Mother,   but   His   sweet   look,   full   of   joy,   goodness   and   mercy,   is   a   source   of hope for every man. Around   Jesus   there   is   a   swarm   of   children. They   are   with   Him   because   He   always   showed   towards   them   a   particular   predilection   for their   innocence,   their   candor   and   their   ability   to   entrust   themselves,   with   total   abandonment,   to   their   father   and   mother.   And   they now assist in the event full of wonder and joy; they crowd to see and welcome their celestial Mother. And   Our   Lady   ascends   bathed   in   a   light   that   rips   up   the   sky.   And   She   enters   into   another   Sky,   a   golden   Heaven.   A   golden   rain comes   out   from   a   nucleus   of   light-color.   The   seven   colors   of   rainbow.   It   is   the   point   from   which   everything   has   its   origin,   an everything pervaded by a heartbeat: the life giving heartbeat of the Holy Ghost. THINKING ABOUT THE HOLY SHROUD Many   years   ago,   in   Turin,   gazing   on   the   Holy   Shroud   I   felt   a   deep   emotion,   I   was   moved   to   tears.   It   urged   me   to   read   and   meditate on this mystery. These feelings and thoughts stayed in my heart for years, later they took shape on the canvas (Thinking about the Holy Shroud) . The   face   comes   out   on   the   background   just   because   its   gray   becomes   warmer,   but   it   isn’t   three-dimensional:   it   is   just   a   trace   of   an incredible event. On the face there are marks of His Passion, they are clear in swellings, bruises, clotted blood. Gazing   on   His   face   we   understand   that   His   Passion   became   mercy,   hope,   request   to   look   in   His   great   eyes.   His   eyes   are   full   of   light . They follow us even if we deviate. And we understand He’ll never forsake us because His love is for ever. THE NATIVITY Few,   simple   elements   form   this   Nativity   (The   Nativity).   The   profile   of   a   dark   cave,   a   monochrome   nocturnal   landscape,   a   mother dressed in an extremely simple way with a naked infant in her arms, stony ground with a few flowers. But   the   poverty   of   the   Son   of   God   is   a   proof   of   His   love   for   humanity,   a   warning,   a   teaching;   the   humility   of   the   Mother,   Her composed sobriety, Her thoughtful serenity are Her diadems. And   the   Mother   carries   Her   Son   to   the   threshold   of   the   cave,   towards   those   flowers   (shepherds)   that   arrived,   through   the   night,   to make   homage   to   the   Son. And   Jesus   moves   away   from   the   breast   of   His   Mother,   who   permits   it   but   holding   Him   firmly,   so   as   to   look down towards those flowers lain down and they become beautiful in this reciprocity of love. Over everything shines an unusual sky, exultant in lights and stars. LOVE'S FLOWING AROUND Everything   looks   usual,   pale   and   faint   (Love’s   flowing   around).   A   mother:   the   Mother;   a   child:   the   Child   and   their   sweet   intimacy. Baby's lying on his mother boson peacefully. He is a baby through and through but has a piercing and wise glance. And   mother   touches   him   lightly   as   if   she   would   let   him   free   and   watch   over   him   at   the   same   time.   Her   glance   is   full   of   love,   of tenderness; but the slight blush over her cheeks reveals her astonished wonder, her persistent emotion. And   a   surge   of   light   breaks   into   and   breathes   and   blends   everything:   Love   's   flowing   around. And   baby   is   lit   but   he   also   is   source   of light. And the virgin-mother, loaded with love, is bending, bashful, into that majestic mystery involving her. And down, on the borders, fragments of Heaven fall towards those small, dim, common flowers. OUR LADY AT THE FOOT OF THE CROSS A   figure   stands   out   from   a   lurid   sky.   She   is   wrapped   in   a   dark   blue   mantle.   She   is   Our   Lady.   She   is   Mary.   Her   heart   is   broken   by anguish   for   the   Passion   of   Her   Son.   He,   Jesus   Christ,   was   insulted,   tortured   and   crucified   by   men.   He   asked   Father   to   forgive   them, He   asked   Her   to   take   care   of   them,   to   become   mediatrix   of   graces   for   everyone   who   applies   Her.   It   wasn’t   easy;   they   crucified   Her Son.   But   Jesus   educated   Her   heart   to   love   more   and   more   so   She   turns   Her   hand   into   a   nest,   a   refuge   for   those   small,   frail   men- flowers. It is a very hard engagement She is going to obey along eternity. And Our Lady, alone, is gazing on Her Son with a boundless love. The   earth   is   an   empty   and   speechless   desert.   Jesus   is   dying.   Her   hand   restrains   Her   heart-quake;   Her   mouth   is   open   to   scream. A scream that remains in Her throat: everything is done. And the sky begins to break itself (Our Lady at the foot of the Cross). AND THE WORD IS MAKING FLESH Verbum caro hic factum est. Here the Word was Made Flesh. At   Nazaret,   in   the   cave   of   the   Annunciation,   I   felt   a   deep   emotion   thinking   there,   amid   those   bare   walls,   an   event   happened   after which nothing would be as before. God, the Word, was made flesh for saving men. He was made flesh for love. I   had   to   transpose,   on   canvas,   the   announcement   of   the Angel,   the   general   acceptance   of   Mary   and   the   Love   who   is   life,   who   gives life and permeates through the world. I   made   my   choice:   the   line   of   simplicity,   of   essentiality.   I   gave   prominence   to   the   deep   intensity   of   the   faces.   The Angel's   face   is   full of devout partecipation, the Virgin's one is absorbed and trustful. I searched for Mary's hands expression. It seems they want to involve and watch over that mistery of Love growing inside Her. And divine Love Closes in upon Her a slight, bright mist. The   miracle   is   done   (And   the   Word   is   making   flesh).   In   a   short   time   the Angel   will   come   back   to   Heaven   leaving   his   lily   to   the   Virgin Mother, to the servant of God now become His and Our Lady. THE SMILE OF MARY Every   2nd   day   of   the   month   in   Medjugorje,   a   little   village,   the   Queen   of   Peace   appears   to   the   visionary   Mirjana   and,   together   with her and the pilgrims, prays for those who "don't know yet the Love of God". If   we   think   about   it   just   for   a   moment,   today,   in   the   world   of   the   ephemeral,   of   the   appearence,   full   of   hate   and   war,   in   a   world   which wants   to   eliminate   God   Himself,   this   example-invite   of   the   Blessed   Mother   gives   us   a   new   perspective   of   life.   It   projects   it   towards eternity. All our prayers, renouncements and our big or little sufferings we offer to Our Lady emphasize their salvific value. When   praying   so   that   each   man's   heart   be   delivered   from   evil,   which   destroys   the   individual   and   the   society,   when   praying   so   that   it open to the Love of God a new Joy is gifted to us: the Smile of Mary. Queen   of   Peace   says:   "I   want   to   introduce   every   man   to   my   Son   as   a   beautiful   bunch   of   flowers". And   then:   "Help   me   to   help   you:   I need you all". XII Station – Jesus Dead - EUTHANASIA  Pious   Israelites   condemned   Jesus   to   death   because   He   “blasphemed”   when   declared   He   is   the   Son   of   God   and,   therefore,   God   He himself. Nowadays   man   resolved   to   be   able   without   God   in   his   life.   And   even   man   will   take   His   place   and   be   artificer,   “lawfully”,   of   life   and death.   The   eugenics,   laboratories   used   to   “create”   babies   in   test-tube   and   abortions,   experiments   on   embryos.   And,   after   all,   the euthanasia. The “sweet” death that makes possible the elimination of human beings. Suffering loses its value of salvation and becomes alibi of death. Jesus death is source of salvation for all. Euthanasia, maybe, of perdition. To take off a plug is simple, diabolically simple. But I hope that the hand withdraws and the plug remains at its place. Only God knows when it is the moment for coming into the world and for dying.
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Laura Ferretti  painter