Dear Friends: Here is the sixth installment of Fr. Michael Belinsky’s exposition on our stained glass windows. Enjoy! Fr. Pat
THE MARIAN APSE
(The three windows on the West Wall)
Apse left: “The Annunciation” (Luke 1:26-28) (First window of the three, above confessional)
The full image shows the archangel Gabriel (in Hebrew: “God is my strength”) with red wings and holding a short staff which is topped by a fleur-de-lis. The Holy Spirit, in the image of a dove with a 3-rayed nimbus, hovers above Gabriel. Mary kneels at a prie-dieu with her hands clasped in prayer. At the kneeler is an open book, always a symbol of the Scriptures. For Mary, these would be the Hebrew Scriptures: the Law and the Prophets. One historical note: in Mary’s lifetime, there were no books or bookbinders. Only rolled scrolls existed. So, the book is an anachronism but, for the artist, it shows the Word revealed in Scripture and the Word who will take on flesh in her womb. In the bottom left of the image, there’s a potted white lily. Again, this flower is associated with Mary, with innocence, with purity.
Upper left – a branched, entwined tree crowned with a star. Probably an image of the tree of Jesse which shows the lineage of Jesus according to the royal house of King David.
Lower left – a hand mirror. This shape is the Greek symbol for “Female.” Here, a reference to Mary, whose womb became the dwelling place and the Ark of the new covenant. She “reflects” to us an image of a faithful and generous disciple who is eager to serve the Lord and accept the mystery of God’s will.
Lower right – another fleur de lis – the French symbol of a white lily whose triad denotes the Trinity and whose flower and color are associated with the Virgin Mary.
Middle right – a cross encased in a diamond shape. The cross is always a sign of our salvation through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, our Holy Redeemer.