Tuesday, April 25, 2017

How Our Lady protects her images ...

"...the fresco has inexplicably remained suspended in the air 
close to the wall of the chapel in the church of 
Our Lady of Good Counsel for over five hundred years."

The translation of the icon of Our Lady of Shkodra

One outward aspect of devotion to the Blessed Virgin is offered in and through the reverence we show to her in the veneration of her images.  They re-present the glories of the Blessed Virgin accorded to her by the Holy Trinity, or emulate her appearance in her life on earth, or as she has appeared to visionaries throughout history.  We also demonstrate our devotion in and through the respect shown images and sacramentals blessed by the Church.  As the Catechism explains:
2132 The Christian veneration of images is not contrary to the first commandment which proscribes idols. Indeed, "the honor rendered to an image passes to its prototype," and "whoever venerates an image venerates the person portrayed in it." The honor paid to sacred images is a "respectful veneration," not the adoration due to God alone:
Religious worship is not directed to images in themselves, considered as mere things, but under their distinctive aspect as images leading us on to God incarnate. The movement toward the image does not terminate in it as image, but tends toward that whose image it is.

Today the Holy Father once again recognized the miraculous image of Our Lady of Good Counsel for the occasion of the 550th anniversary of the Madonna of Shkodra’s arrival in the Church of Genazzano near Rome, Italy.
The celebration takes place on 26 April at the National Shrine of Shkodra in Albania.  It commemorates the arrival of the Madonna of Shkodra at the Madonna of Good Council Church in Genazzano after the Albanian sanctuary was destroyed by the Ottomans in 1467. - VR

The story of Our Lady of Shkodra
The history of the miraculous image of Our Lady of Good Counsel is available on several websites, so I will not go into great detail here. 
In 1467, on the 25 of April, during celebrations for the feast of San Marco in Genazzano, Italy, a cloud was seen covering a 5th century church dedicated to Our Lady. Shortly after the cloud lifted, the townsfolk, summoned by the church bells, discovered a delicate fresco of Our Lady and the Child Jesus, it was painted upon a very thin piece of unsupported plaster, and floated in a small niche of the church. Later it was revealed the image had been transported by angels from Scutari, Albania, because the region was coming under Islamic control.
"One day during the siege of Shkodra (Scutari) two escaping Albanians stopped at the Church to pray to Zoja e Bekueme (Our Lady of Good Counsel) for their safe journey. While praying fervently, they suddenly noticed the painting moving away from the wall.... The two Albanians, Gjorgji and De Sclavis,"followed the painting, as if it were a bright star, all the way to Rome, where the image disappeared. They heard rumors that a miraculous image had appeared in Genazzano. They ran to the nearby town and there discovered the painting of their beloved Zoja e Bekueme." The two "settled down and made Genazzano their home." - Source

Happy feast day.  Pray for the Holy Father as he prepares to go to Egypt.

I am all thine.

The Blessed Virgin, mother of gentleness and mercy, 
never allows herself to be surpassed in love and generosity. 
When she sees someone giving himself entirely to her
 in order to honor and serve her, 
and depriving himself of what he prizes most 
in order to adorn her, 
she gives herself completely in a wondrous manner to him.
 She engulfs him in the ocean of her graces, 
adorns him with her merits, 
supports him with her power, 
enlightens him with her light, 
and fills him with her love. 
She shares her virtues with him 
— her humility, faith, purity, etc. 
She makes up for his failings and becomes his representative with Jesus.
 Just as one who is consecrated belongs entirely to Mary, 
so Mary belongs entirely to him.”
St. Louis de Montfort


  1. A wonderful miracle to ponder. I look at the precious image and it makes me smile. The word precious comes to mind too.

    Gracias Terry for sharing this story.

  2. Wonderful! It reminds me of the Holy House of Loretto!

  3. A friend who studied in Roman seminary for years once said how the seminarians would always ask why the "miracle" Madonnas in Italy were typically the uglier ones. Never thought about that, but in general, I agree. Then it hit me (to paraphrase St. Paul): God chooses what the world considers insignificant to accomplish his great works. Yeah, that makes sense to me. Just like Jesus said to St. Faustina when she spoke of her disappointment with the artistic quality of the original Divine Mercy image: "Not in the beauty of the color, nor of the brush lies the greatness of this image, but in My grace"

    1. I like what our Lord said about the Divine Mercy image. I did one - an actual commission for a church up in northern Minnesota, I never really liked it, which is why I stopped doing commissions. The priest wanted this and that included in the composition and I didn't think it worked. Looking back, it seems fine, but the photographs are not well done and reflective hi-lights distort the evenness of the expression. Hard to explain. So anyway - it is one piece that was photographed that I never show. Surprisingly, someone in the UK published it.

    2. Still...would love to see it.

    3. I love the first image posted above. That sweet face of the baby Jesus is so adorable. He looks like a little old man with chubby cheeks. Ah ... every time I look at it it makes me smile. If it inspires me to love him more, to think of him more often, then I am made content and all the honor is his.


Please comment with charity and avoid ad hominem attacks. I exercise the right to delete comments I find inappropriate. If you use your real name there is a better chance your comment will stay put.