Today I am sharing two of my favourite contemporary advent art works, one a poem by Rainer Maria Rilke’s series on The Life of Mary, the second a piece of video art, by Bill Viola. Each helps us to reflect on the moment that Mary and Elizabeth meet, carrying a miracle child within their wombs. Elizabeth an elderly woman, blessed with a child she thought she would never have the joy of bearing, her miracle shows us that we should never give up on God, but keep praying and trusting in His will and purposes for our life. Mary, a young obedient teenager, invites us to faithful obedience with joy, for she broke out in song and declared that all generations would call her blessed.
The video, a moving painting is called The Greeting and depicts the moments when the two women met and embraced one another, the moment John, leapt in the womb & was filled with the Holy Spirit. It is based on a painting by Jacopo Carucci Pontormo: called Visitation, circa 1528–1529 and explores the moments before and the moments after the frozen image of the Renaissance painting.
From Rainer Maria Rilke’s – The Life of Mary
The Visitation of Mary
She still bore it easily in the beginning,
but ascending she sometimes already
was aware of her wondrous body,
and then she stood, breathing,
on the high mountains of Judea.
But not the land, her own fullness
was laid out around her;
walking she felt: one never transcends
the greatness she now felt.
She felt compelled to lay her hand
on the other body, further along than she was.
And the women dizzily approached one another,
touching clothes and hair.
Each one, filled by her sanctuary,
protected herself with her cousin.
O, the Savior within her was still a blossom,
but the Baptist in the cousin’s womb
was already moved to leap for joy.