Breastless December 11, 2012

Rest on the Flight into Egypt Netherlandish School, circa 1500 Courtesy Wikimedia Commons

David Gibson highlights a long-missing piece of Christian iconography:

At its heartwarming core, Christmas is the story of a birth: the tender relationship between a new mother and her newborn child.

Indeed, that maternal bond between the Virgin Mary and the baby Jesus has resonated so deeply across the centuries that depicting the blessed intimacy of the first Noel has become an integral part of the Christmas industry.

Yet all the familiar scenes associated with the holy family today – creches and church pageants, postage stamps and holiday cards – are also missing an obvious element of the mother-child connection that modern Christians are apparently happy to do without: a breast-feeding infant.

Read the remainder of Gibson’s piece HERE.

This is nicely complemented by a page devoted to Maria Lactans on the “Fisheaters” website, which includes a portion of a hymn by St. Ephraem the Syrian (306 – 373):

Mary bore a mute Babe
though in Him were hidden all our tongues.
Joseph carried Him,
yet hidden in Him was a silent nature older than everything.
The Lofty One became like a little child,
yet hidden in Him was a treasure of Wisdom that suffices for all.
He was lofty
but He sucked Mary’s milk,
and from His blessings all creation sucks.

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