Perspective of Faith
Michelangelo’s Pietà is one of the most poignant images of our faith. The image of the Blessed Virgin Mary holding Jesus Christ after His crucifixion moves even the hardest heart. The Pietà is worthy of our contemplation, for it has a lot to say to those who are thinking about following Jesus Christ as a priest or religious sister.
The Pietà captures a moment that, at first glance, is not very hopeful. The Blessed Virgin Mary is holding her Son who has died. He has given His life on the cross and is now held by His mother. The scene is one of real contrast. On the one hand, Jesus Christ is dead. On the other hand, Mary has complete faith and trust in His promise that He will rise on the third day. It is a collision of doubt and faith.
From the perspective of doubt, the scene is one of utter tragedy and failure. Jesus Christ promised eternal life, but was arrested, tortured, and crucified. Now, having been taken down from the cross, Jesus is laid in the arms of His mother. He is dead and the world will say that hope has died along with Him. The world will look at the image and see unfulfilled promises and futility. The world will say that regardless of His promise, His is a path of failure and death.
There is, however, the perspective of faith in the Lord. Faith is embodied in the Blessed Virgin Mary. She holds her Son who has given His life for our sake. She believes His promise that He will rise on the third day. She holds the body of her Son, knowing that death has been conquered and now she must wait until the day of His resurrection.
We believe that Jesus Christ is risen from the dead. We believe that He established the Church and the sacraments and is present and alive. We also know that there are many temptations to doubt and to mistakenly believe that Christ’s work in the world is ineffective.
The struggle of faith in the face of doubt is central to our life as Christians. We believe that life conquers death, even when the opposite seems to be the case. Easter gives us the opportunity to realize once again that the resurrection is all that really matters. We are called to love and serve Christ in this life and to live with Him for eternity.
The Pietà captures the real struggle of faith and doubt that we all experience, but is especially visible when a young man begins asking if Jesus Christ is calling him to become a priest. It is likewise visible when a young woman asks if Jesus Christ is calling her to the religious life.
Entering the seminary or convent requires a leap of faith. Saying “yes” to Jesus Christ does not mean that everything will be easy and all trials will vanish. Saying “yes” to Jesus Christ means that we proclaim Him risen from the dead and that we wish to dedicate our lives to His service.
In this Easter season, if you are a young man or woman, I ask you to be open to the call of Jesus Christ. If you think He might be calling you to the priesthood or religious life, please follow the call courageously. If you know a young man or woman considering the call to the priesthood or religious life, please encourage them by your faithfulness and prayers.
The Blessed Virgin Mary held the body of her Son on Good Friday and with great faith looked forward to His resurrection. In this Easter season, may we be blessed with the same faith and be faithful witnesses to Him in all things.