Adoration Chapel of St. Mary
Jan 15, 2014
The Eucharistic Supper
In representing the Eucharistic mystery, the adoration chapel mural brings together the event of the Last Supper in its anticipation (the multiplication of bread, the wedding at Cana), in its fulfillment and in its continuation in the Church after the Resurrection of Jesus. The mural on the ceiling connects the Holy Mass with the heavenly Liturgy.
The mural on the wall represents first the Last Supper, which continues in the Church in each Holy Mass (Eucharistic Supper). Christ is dressed in bright clothes, a white tunic and golden mantle. He blesses us with His right hand. The golden chalice holds the wine of the new covenant, which is His blood.
By offering Himself in sacrifice on the cross, Christ reveals the mystery of the Father’s love. For that reason, in Our Lord’s golden halo with the red cross, we see the name that was revealed by God to Moses (“I am Who I am”: O WN; Exodus 3:14). On the right and on the left side of the halo is written the name of Jesus, God saves us (in its Greek abbreviated form: IC XC; the first and last letters of ‘Jesus Christ’: Ιήσους Χριστός).
Christ’s hands and pierced side remind us of His Passion. After His Resurrection, he appeared to the Disciples and said to them: “Peace be with you. Do not be afraid. Look at my hands and my feet, that it is I myself.” (Lk 24:36-39)
These wounds are the witness of his great love for us. They are an invitation to be grateful because what we see is not something from the past, something that happened almost 2000 years ago. What we contemplate here is a mystery of the present time:
Today Jesus is offering himself.
Today Jesus, the one who died and rose from the dead, is praying for us.
Today we are called to participate in his friendship and life.
For that reason, Jesus has the wounds of His passion. They are a reminder of His triumphant love, and an invitation to follow Him.
God our Father
But we cannot understand Jesus without the One who sent Him. Jesus Christ is the Son of God. From on high, above Christ, we see a hand in heaven. It is the hand of God the Father in a gesture of speech. The Father is sending Jesus, the Eternal Word.
The Holy Spirit
Together with the Father and the Son we can also see the Holy Spirit.
Where? His sanctifying presence is present in the golden glow around the figures and the gold on the chalice, fish and broken bread on the altar. He transforms the bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ.
On the ceiling, the Holy Spirit is represented by the image of the dove.
The Mother of God and the Young Boy
In order to understand the mystery of Jesus, we count on the help of the first Christian: Mary, the Mother of God. Her left hand is on her heart. She contemplates and treasures in her heart the words and actions of her Son (Lk 2:19). She is first disciple of the heart of Jesus.
Her mantle has three golden stars: on the forehead and shoulders. They represent the overshadowing of the Holy Spirit. For this reason they remind us the mystery of Mary’s perpetual virginity, before, during and after the birth of Christ.
But Mary is not alone. She comes to Jesus with a boy who offers his gifts to Jesus (Jn 6:9-10). Mary ushers the boy into the presence of Christ. This boy is you and me. She invites us to offer to Jesus our families and lives - the bread and the fish - so that He may transform them and fill them with His presence.
The boy is the only figure without a halo. He represents us, pilgrims on the way towards Jesus, our fount of holiness. As in Cana, Mary invites the boy (and us): “Do whatever He tells you” (Jn 2:1-12). Mary teaches us the path of trust and obedience she herself walked. “Behold the handmaid of the Lord. Be done unto me according to thy will”
And what is Jesus telling us to do? The answer is on the right side of the mural: “Do not be afraid. Follow me”. We are invited to become his disciples.
Let us look now at the disciples. Peter, James and John represent the presence of the apostles around the Master at the Last Supper. These three are the closest disciples of Christ. They were chosen to be the witnesses of Christ’s Transfiguration on Mount Tabor and of His Passion in the Garden of Gethsemane. They remind us of the Lord’s words inscribed on the border of the altar: “Whoever remains in Me and I in Him will bear much fruit” (John 15:5). Remaining in Him means taking care of our personal relationship with Him in prayer, at work and at home. We must stay close to Him in our own way each day in the midst of our relationships. Like the disciples, we are called to become His friends!
These three disciples teach us with their gestures. Each one expresses a different form of approaching to the mystery of the Holy Eucharist.
Peter, depicted with the keys at Christ’s left side looks at Our Lord and elevates his hands in prayer and awe before the miracle. As in mount Tabor, during the Transfiguration, Peter seems to say: “Lord, it is good that we are here. If you wish, I will make three tents here…” (Mt 17:4)
John, is the beloved Disciple. He reclines in contemplation with his head on Christ’s heart.He teaches us to direct our eyes toward the mystery of his love. With John we can become disciples of Jesus: he has lain on Jesus’ breast and he has received from Jesus Mary to be his Mother.
James, at the right side of the altar table, raises his eyes and his right hand towards the Father. In gratitude he recognizes the Father as the fount of all that is good and perfect (James 1:16), who sends from heaven His Holy Spirit over the Eucharistic gifts.
The Ceiling Mural
Our Eucharistic Adoration is united to the Heavenly Liturgy, depicted by the mural in the curved space of the ceiling of the chapel.
In the center we see Christ, represented as the Lamb. As John the Baptist proclaimed, Jesus is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. In the book of Revelation, we read about the Lamb who was slain and stands triumphant over the book with seven seals. (Rev 5:6).
At both sides of the Lamb, we see the twelve sheep, walking toward Christ. We are these twelve sheep. Our life is a pilgrimage. We walk in our daily life toward our Friend and Savior, Jesus Christ.
The sheep come out of two cities - Bethlehem and Jerusalem - each with a golden lamp symbolizing a church, over its gates. The drawn curtains in each gate are a sign of the mystery revealed in Christ.
Bethlehem, the city visited by the Magi, represents the church of the Gentiles.
Jerusalem, the city of David, represents the Church of the Chosen People of Israel. Together, we form one Church.
Above the Lamb of God, we can see the Dove of the Holy Spirit. We walk toward our Savior, moved by the Spirit, who has been hovering over the Church since Pentecost.
Under the procession of the sheep toward Christ, the Lamb of God, we read His invitation:
“Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart, and you will find rest for yourselves.” (Mt 11:28-29)
Closing in Prayer with Mary
Together with the Blessed Virgin Mary and with the disciples we are invited to penetrate this great mystery. Come and adore Our Lord in the Holy Eucharist! Mary reminds us: “Do whatever He tells you!” And Her son invites us: Do not be afraid; follow me. Remain in me. Take your yoke and learn from me.
“Mary, who is the Mother of Christ, is also our mother, and she opens to us the door to her home, she helps us enter into the will of her Son.” (Benedict XVI, October 2012, Loreto)
Together with Mary we are invited to become disciples of the heart of Christ.