Learning through Art: St. Michael Defending the Church

Authored by Dr. Caroline Farey in Issue #33.2 of The Sower

This painting by Michael O’Brien, a modern day Canadian writer and painter, is one that deserves our time and meditation. It is a painting in which the perspective is one of particular importance.

In our catechesis, this painting can be used especially well with children so that they can see the greatness of the protection of Archangel Michael. For children, their small lives can seem so easily to be overwhelmed by events outside of their control, and the devil and the raging waves of the sea graphically depict this. But the comparative size and evident protecting power of St Michael is deeply reassuring.

There are a number of passages from the Scriptures which could be used alongside a catechesis using this painting. From the Old Testament we have the story of Jonah who is caught in a great storm and is thrown into the waves, from which God saves him and brings him safely to land (Jon 1:4-17). Perhaps the passage that springs most immediately to mind, though, is from the Gospels, where the disciples are caught in a storm and fear for their lives (see Matt.8:23-27, Mk.4:36-41, Lk8:22-25). In this episode it is clear that the disciples in the boat are also an image of the Church in every age, crying out for assistance as waves of tribulation and fury beat down upon them. St Matthew, in fact, in his telling of this episode, has the disciples calling out ‘Save us, Lord!’, an echo of the kyrie elesion in the liturgy we sing each Sunday.

The rest of this online article is available for current subscribers.

Start your subscription today!


This article is from The Sower and may be copied for catechetical purposes only. It may not be reprinted in another published work without the permission of Maryvale Institute. Contact sower@maryvale.ac.uk

Articles from the Most Recent Issue

Inspired Through Art: The Adoration of the Shepherds by Giorgione, 1505-1510
By Jem Sullivan
O Come, Let Us Adore Christ Our Lord! “ Adoration is the first attitude of man acknowledging that he is a creature before his Creator,” notes the Catechism (2628). In adoration we exalt the greatness of God and express gratitude to Jesus Christ for reconciling us to God in the mystery of his Paschal death and Resurrection. Saint Luke’s Gospel... Read more
Encountering God in Catechesis
By Catechists' Personal Testimonies
The work of catechesis, like any aspect of the Christian life, calls for great trust. In fact, Bishop Robert Barron’s book And Now I See speaks of the process of metanoia (conversion), signifying an internal shift to a mind governed by trust in God rather than fear.... Read more
Practices and Prayers of Catholic Bereavement
By Fr. Tyron Tomson
Free It’s strange to say it, but I love how we Catholics celebrate funerals. Even atheists walk away from our Masses of Christian Burial in awe. If only they (and likewise our own faithful people) could appreciate with greater fullness the rich spiritual heritage that surrounds Christian death! More often than not, the emotionally charged time of final... Read more

Pages

Watch Tutorial Videos

We've put together several quick and easy tutorial videos to show you how to use this website.

Watch Now