June 5, 2022, Pentecost
Madeline Contorno, OSB, Sacred Heart Monastery, Cullman, AL.
Many years ago when I was in San Francisco for a conference, I had the opportunity to visit the Cathedral of St. Mary’s of the Assumption. The exterior of the cathedral showed a strikingly modern design, and the interior contained seven prominent Marian panels depicting the Blessed Mother as the model of discipleship. The panels included events such as the Visitation, the Wedding Feast of Cana, the Crucifixion. But it was the panel depicting Mary at Pentecost that captivated me.
The artist displayed Mary, surrounded by the disciples, at the epicenter of the Pentecost event, and to my surprise, Mary looked pregnant! After some reflection, a window of understanding opened for me. Just as Mary was filled with the Holy Spirit and gave birth to Jesus in Bethlehem, at Pentecost she was again filled with the Holy Spirit, but this time giving birth to the Church itself, “those from every tribe and tongue, people and nation” (Rev. 5:9). Mary, our Blessed Mother, was pregnant at Pentecost with all humanity! I loved this reimagining of the “birthday event of the Church” and have never forgotten it.