It’s Sunday – Mother’s Day, May 12, 2019 as I begin to write this blog. Here in New York, it has been raining heavily throughout the day and it seems the perfect time now to sit down and write about our “Heavenly Mother” and how I was captured by her beauty and her Son’s gaze in a single, unsuspecting moment.
That “moment” happened to me on a Monday afternoon as I walked into the rectory of Notre Dame Church in New Hyde Park, NY. I was there to meet with Fr. Joseph Scolaro, the Pastor, to speak to him about an upcoming visit of the International statue of Our Lady of Fatima to his Parish. This was to be the second meeting and basically it was to firm up what we had already spoken about. I realized, though, that I was on “Mama’s business” and when we are about “her business,” she seems to grace us with her presence, too, in a very special way.
Graced By Her Presence and Her Son
So that is exactly what she did as I sat in the rectory office awaiting Fr. Scolaro’s appearance. The receptionist was very busy with envelopes spread about her desk but still took time to be engaged in conversation with me! As I sat chatting with her, I happened to glance up at the wall at a picture hanging above the copy machine. There she was with her Son wrapped tightly in her arms! They seemed to be calling out to me! I was mesmerized and tried to keep my attention on the conversation at hand but my eyes kept roaming up towards the wall and the two faces peering out from behind the glass.
I couldn’t take my eyes off her, nor Him! I was completely drawn into this picture as if it was alive speaking to me. Both the Blessed Mother and Baby Jesus seemed to be in very deep contemplation. She seemed to be gazing afar, almost like she was seeing future events, and yet Jesus seemed to be gazing forward with His finger perched on His lips waiting for an answer.
At this point, I was besides myself! I finally had to point out the image to the receptionist and then there were two sets of eyes fixed to the wall, looking in awe. We both agreed how exquisite the artwork was and how beautifully framed it was as well. It didn’t have an ordinary mat but a round one that seemed to cry out “Eucharist!” to both of us. How beautiful for the artist to have us behold them in a “circle of love”. . . to be drawn so deeply into that “circle.”
What to Do Next?
I was getting so excited and wanted to take the picture down off the wall to have a closer view! Actually, I wanted to take it home with me!
Who was the artist?
Would they let me buy it?
What was the history of this picture?
An Eject Button?
At one time in my life, I worked at a parish rectory office. I remember it was a beautiful experience but there were times, quite truthfully, that me and other staff members wished we had an “eject button” to press when we were confronted with the pesty visitor who wouldn’t go away. I think I became one of those persons to this poor receptionist and she couldn’t have been more happier to see Fr. Scolaro walk in behind me and interrupt my million and one questions. But he was drawn into the conversation as well, and. . .
Then there were three sets of eyes peering back at the Blessed Mother and Jesus! I went “out on the water,” as I usually like to say, and asked boldly, “Fr. Scolaro, can we take the picture down off the wall so we can take a closer look and maybe I could take a little snapshot with my iPhone?”
With a big smile, he said “Yes, you can!”
But that would have to wait until after the meeting! That’s what I was there for to begin with!!!! Wasn’t I???
After the Meeting
After the meeting, I felt like I was a magnet being drawn to that image and found myself back in the reception office. At this point, there were two other ladies comfortably seated chatting away with my “new found friend” at the desk! At this point, I had to break into that conversation. I couldn’t wait any longer!
“Can we please take the picture down now?” were the words that tumbled out of my mouth!
Their conversation stopped at once and and then the two new women were drawn right into this “divine encounter.”
Sets of eyes were multiplying like bunnies! There were now four gazing directly at the portrait.
The two ladies plunged right into the conversation with me, sharing that a Fr. Simon Pai (who had been in residence years back) also had a great love for this picture and was intrigued with the “Child Jesus” seeming to be “Asian” as he was depicted.
The Picture Comes Down
Finally, the time arrived and the receptionist reached up above the copy machine and unhinged the picture from its nail, handing it to my outstretched hands. There it was, right on the back! The artist’s name and his address and phone number. I took a picture of the information and I thought “mission accomplished!” I would be able to contact him and get a signed copy of his precious artwork for myself! But to no avail, I was not able to contact him and had to surrender to the fact that “my moment” was just what it had turned out to be. I was to “rest” and “behold” with what had been given to me.
I took a few quick snapshots of “Our Lady and Her Son” by placing the picture on a chair in the reception office. There seemed to be a glare on the picture so we shut off the overhead lights. I took a few pictures and felt happy with them until I viewed them a short time later. I saw that the glare or the light on the glass of the frame had definitely cast shadows on my picture but there was no way I could go back in and ask for the image to be taken down once again! Yikes!!! She would have thrown me out!
We always hear that catch phrase, “there is a reason for everything” and so the light and glare is here for a reason! It is for you to behold and ponder.
The Blessed Mother gave a beautiful gift that day to me and the others that were drawn into this living portrait as well. I believe that with all divine gifts, they are never kept for oneself but are always to be given away, to be shared and to be treasured with many.
Mr. James McCarthy of New Hyde Park
I also believe that Mr. James McCarthy, the gifted artist who created this masterpiece, had a divine gift that poured forth from his hands into this portrait. His love for both “Mother and Son” was certainly displayed there in timeless beauty. So he also gives us a gift this day, an image to contemplate and pray with in this beautiful month of May dedicated to the Mother of God.
Helping you to contemplate this beautiful image is The Piano Guys/Beethoven’s “Epiphany!” Enjoy!
Mr. James McCarthy
Wherever you are. . .
Whether it be on earth or in the eternal. . .
We are grateful for the “Captivating Beauty Portrait”
to be viewed at
Notre Dame Church
New Hyde Park, New York
And a special thank you to Fr. Scolaro and the Receptionist at Notre Dame Church in New Hyde Park
©2019 Anita Guariglia
Photo Credits/Anita Guariglia
Youtube/The Piano Guys/Beethovens “Epiphany”