Blog 3

A piece of sacred that has really mattered to me is a statue of the Holy Family. The statue portrays St. Joseph and Jesus standing at a workbench. St. Joseph is teaching Jesus to use a wooden block plane, which is a tool that woodworkers use to remove tiny shavings from components of furniture so that they fit together better. The Blessed Mother is standing behind Jesus holding a basket of bread. She is observing the lesson.

When I look at the statue, I experience various levels of reflection. On the surface, I can relate to the image since my dad has been in carpentry for most of his life. My grandpa also did carpentry. Both of them had a block plane that looked very similar to the one in the statue. My siblings and I would be at the workbench with dad or with grandpa learning how to use tools and make things. My niece and nephews had the same opportunity. The statue reminds me of my family and how we grew up.

The next level of reflection brings me to Holy Family. It gives a glimpse of what live was like for them. It shows how the Holy Family interacted and how Jesus would have learned the trade of St. Joseph. The statue also reflects how a family should be as Holy Family is a model for all families.

The love in the image is what truly allows me to reflect on the divine in the image. You see the love of a mother and father for a child and for each other. The support and care that they have for one another. It was their love that assisted God in bringing about His love in the person of Jesus. God loved us so much that He sent his only Son. God’s divine love was shared with St. Joseph and the Blessed Mother and the world through Jesus. We can also share in God’s divine love through Christ in the Blessed Sacrament.

I think over time, the statue has made me more appreciative of my family and the memories that were made. I am also more appreciative of what the Holy Family went through. The biggest thing that has changed in me has been my gratefulness and thankfulness for the love of God. I get to experience that love through the Most Blessed Sacrament at Mass. Everything that I have and am is all because of the love of God. This is the most important change in myself because of this statue.

4 thoughts on “Blog 3

  1. Thank you for sharing a bit of family history. It’s beautiful that the Holy Family reminds you of your family. The connected nature of both your recollection and the statue itself presents God’s love through family in a very beautiful way. As part of God’s family in Christ we can continuously share the love given to us by sharing our experience which you just did very beautifully.


  2. This piece of art recalls memories for you and creates an emotional response. In your blog, you described your encounter with this art and placed it into a context. But this encounter also changes you. You see your grandfather and father as a reflection of St. Joseph, who in turn is a reflection of Christ. Now you and your family are an image of the Holy Family. The art has drawn you in and infuse its beauty into you.


  3. Like Thomas and Paul, I see so clearly how your own particular life circumstances have affected how you receive this piece of art. In that regard, I have continued to sit with Viladesau’s argument that there is no such thing as “purified art,” but rather, that we can only encounter it as an individual with a personal history, in a particular society and time.

    At the end of your third paragraph, you say, “The statue also reflects how a family should be as Holy Family is a model for all families.” If we grant that no family will look quite like THE Holy Family, what does it look like for a given family to be holy? I think every family has to grapple with that question for themselves.


  4. Thank you for sharing your personal interpretation of this statue with us. I was particularly struck when you wrote that, “The love in the image is what truly allows me to reflect on the divine in the image.” It made me call to mind the conversation between Aaron and Moses that Viladesau quotes on pgs. 39-50. “Love” isn’t something that we can “see” but, since we are sensible beings, we perceive emotions of affection through observing body language and facial expressions, which allow us to communicate and comprehend the invisible emotion of love. Artists who are able to do this well, allow us to enter ourselves into this moment just as you did in describing how you see a reflection of your own family within this work of art.


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