On the wall to the left of the Great Cross hangs the beautiful Icon of Our Lady of
Mount Carmel, a contemporary rendering of two famous Russian Icons: “The Mother of God of Tenderness” and “The Vladimir Mother of God.” (In case the word “Icon” is new to you, an Icon is a sacred painting intended to draw one into prayer.) Our Icon was written by Sister Marie-Celeste of the Carmel of Reno.
Mary and her Son are positioned in front of several examples of classical architecture; at a distance behind them, Mount Carmel is lighted by a full moon. Just as the moon reflects the sun, so Mary’s beauty is the reflection of God’s light and love. One feels that perhaps Mary has walked down from Mount Carmel by the Sea to live through the rise and fall of previous cultures and civilizations. She stops now in Baltimore to walk our paths and share our life.
Mary neither clings to Jesus nor offers Him to us. She appears to have been in deep communion with Him and, at our approach, looks up – inviting us to share the intimacy she knows with her Son. One’s eye is immediately drawn to the space where his small hand grasps his mother’s thumb, and then is surprised by the suggestion of a dove resting in Mary’s hand. This point over Mary’s heart is the very center of the painting, reminding the viewer that, as Mary was the dwelling place of God, so God desires to dwell in every human heart. The star on Mary’s veil recalls the line from Matthew’s Gospel: “The star stopped over the place where the Child was.” And Mary says to each of us: “God is here.”