On a day when many Catholics are mindful of our country’s ugliest and most painful sin – legalized abortion – we offer a reflection on a piece of sacred art by Sr. Grace Remington of the Sisters of the Mississippi Abbey, titled “Mary Consoles Eve.”
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This simple crayon and pencil drawing captures all the weight of humanity’s travail since Eve and Adam’s fall. With subtle gestures and iconic symbols, we see the meeting of these two women who have each affected the course of human history. Eve’s hair surrounds her in Rapunzellike fashion, forming a veritable “hair shirt” – her penitential dress. Her hand still clutches the forbidden fruit as the ancient serpent clutches her, seeking to choke out the very life of God within her.
But Mary is ministering to her. Touching her ever so gently on her tear-stained cheek, the New Eve seems to be saying “Let it go. It cannot satisfy you. Come away from these false promises and empty pleasures that can never satisfy you!” Mary’s hand draws Eve’s hand closer to her womb. “Feel the promise stirring within my womb, and know the gift that will truly satisfy you is coming. He was always coming, if you could but wait and trust. Blessed is the fruit of my womb! His is a Love beyond comprehension, and He alone can fill us!” Below the feet of Mary we see the Serpent’s head twisted and crushed, as the promise of Genesis 3:15 is fulfilled. Love conquers all! Trust dispels doubt. Patience has a power in it if we could just wait on the Lord as Mary did.
What is the lesson for us sons and daughters of Eve in this beautiful illustration? Draw close to Mary and allow her to touch us with her motherly love, her fairest love. Allow her to take our hands and empty them of sin, press them to her womb, and touch the Promise of our redemption!
Originally published Sept. 2013
Bill Donaghy has spoken internationally on faith and the New Evangelization since 1999. Through his work with the Pontifical Mission Societies, Bill gave hundreds of talks on the spirituality of mission to young people throughout the greater Philadelphia area and beyond, creating a teaching and speaking ministry known as MissionMoment.org. He holds an Associates Degree in Visual Arts, a Bachelors in Philosophy and a Masters in Systematic Theology. In addition to his full-time work for the Theology of the Body Institute, Bill teaches at Immaculata University. He and his wife, Rebecca, live outside of Philadelphia, PA with their three children.