Our Changing Images

by | May 10, 2019 | Formation, Reflections

Our Changing Images and their roots

People see us differently. They see us differently because they have different relationships with us. They may relate to us as parent, spouse, co-worker, boss, close friend, competitor, mentor… The list goes on.

They may also see us differently because they have known us at different periods of our life. Sometimes they never get past the images and roles we had earlier in life. Other times they come to appreciate things they did not see earlier or traits we only developed later.

Vincent and Louise – different people growing in their relationship

Think of how different St. Vincent and St.Louise were in their earlier lives. He came from a loving, even if poor, family. She from an illegitimate relationship, not knowing her mother, hardly acknowledged by her well-to-do father and relatives.

How differently they related to each other when they first met (it did not go all that well). Think of the mutual respect they developed as collaborators over 35 years of spending themselves in following Christ the Evangelizer of the Poor.

Mary imaged through the ages

A noted Marist theologian Patrick Bearsley writes

“A quick trip down the centuries of Christian devotion to Mary is like walking through an art gallery hung with portraits of the same person painted by different artists. Each painter sees his subject differently, but each portrait is a true likeness, capturing different facets of the mystery of that person.”

Former Superior General Robert Maloney, CM captures the above as it applies to images of Mary today and through the ages. He offers five classic works of art as windows to see different facets of Mary.

  • Miriam of Nazareth – Mary as a real person of her time
  • The Listening Disciple – Mary as the listening Disciple
  • The Mother of God – Mary as the model allowing God to act through her and ourselves
  • Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal – Mary reminding us of God’s loving concerns
  • The Black Madonna – Mary appealing to all races and cultures

Changing images of ourselves and others

  • Can I recognize my own change over a lifetime?
  • Do I recognize how others have changed?


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