My reflection on the statue of Our Lady and the Child Jesus at the Church of the Sacred Heart, Bomaderry, NSW. Australia.
I do not know what was on the mind of the sculptor of this statue but it did catch my attention when i visited this parish a week ago. There are many types of statues of our Lady with different titles or names given, sadly I do not know what this statue is called. At the end of my reflection, I would give this statue a name.
Here is my reflection:-
Mary has a gentle, motherly face with a proud expression just like any other mother who is proud of her child and wants to show him off (Lk.2:33). She is carrying the child Jesus firmly; protecting and preventing him from falling. In a way to tell us that the son is precious and she will protect us and look after us just like how she looked after her son (Lk.2:48 / Jn.19:26).
This statue shows us the humble handmaid of the Lord (Lk.1:38); Mary's dressing is simple unlike the many other statues where there are embroidery with jewels and shinning precious stones on her garment (Ps.45:13-14). Example of such statues are Our Lady of Fatima, Our lady of Velankanni, Our Lady of La Vang.
Her humility is also shown on her face. Here Mary is looking downwards, and if you stand directly below the statue, you see her looking at you, as though telling us to "do whatever He tells you" (Jn.2:5). This statue shows Mary barefooted.
Her right hand seems to indicate; "it's not me!", maybe in a way telling us to pay attention on Jesus. Her finger is pointing upwards, can she be telling us of her Magnificat? (Lk.1:46-55) (Mary's praises to God). It can also be that she is teaching or giving us some instructions.
The way Mary is carrying Jesus is to show Him to us. He is in the attention and not Mary. Jesus is in front (center stage) and Mary seems to be at the back. This is how Mary has always been, always 'backing' her son in His ministry. And today she is 'backing' us through her intercession for each one of us.
Let us look at Jesus now. Just like His mother, He too is wearing something simple and is barefooted. This shows the humanity of Jesus, Son of God and Son of Mary and His humility (Phil 2:5-11).
The Child Jesus is sitting comfortably on the arms of His mother and is close to her heart. For Jesus it can be the meaning of the Gospel text of Lk.2:51 - "Jesus then went down to Nazareth with His parents and was obedient to them". As for Mary it can be the few text that tells us that Mary treasured and pondered everything in her heart (Lk.2:19, 51, 8:21).
Jesus is in a toddler age but He has a mature, confident look. He has a look of a person with authority and this shows that He is in control (Lk.1:31-33). His eyes is fixed on us (Mk.10:21) and His left hand is open, a sign of welcoming and giving of Himself. I am sure you have experienced when a baby or a toddler wants you to carry, or to go to you, he/she will open the arms so you can carry. Here Jesus is giving himself to each one of us and He wants us to accept Him (Jn.3:16-17, 10:10).
With His right hand, Jesus is carrying the ciborium. Notice that He is not holding it firmly. He is giving the ciborium to us; "Take this all of you..." (1 Cor.11:23-26).
The ciborium is in the center and seems to be resting on the womb of Mary. This idea rightfully fits in with the typology of Mary as the Ark of the Covenant which is one of the many traditional titles in the Litany of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
For me personally, I will name this statue as Mary, Women of the Eucharist since the very center of this statue is Jesus giving us the ciborium.
Reflecting on this statue, bring to mind my World Youth Day pilgrimage to Rome in 2000. While making this pilgrimage I went to many Basilica, Cathedrals, Shrines and Churches dedicated to our Lord, Mary and the Saints. I was always amazed at those statues they have there. Never have I seen statues of Mary and the Saints being exalted or exaggerated that they became the focus and not Christ. The statues of Mary and the Saints in these places always show their humility and greatness of God. These statue in a sense Christocentric for they direct us to God and not on themselves. These statues are a reminder for us to imitate their lives of always worshipping God and doing His will.
The Catholic church has many times been accused of Mariolatry or Idolatry which is not true, for we only honor them, Mary and the Saints and worship only the One true Triune God - The Father, Son and Holy Spirit through whom all good things come.