Madonna and Child – an impersonal intimacy

My brother and his wife just had a baby – Sofia James. Holding that tiny, beating body was the closest I have been to unadulterated innocence since my own birth. Just a day old, she was radically pure.

While I was holding Sofia, I recalled the paintings of Madonna and Child – perhaps the most public symbol of maternal impulse that humankind have created. It has always been difficult for me to see human feeling rather than religious iconography in those paintings. I saw Jesus and Mary, the same way I see Christianity before I see human flesh on the Cross. Now, after holding Sofia, the images of Mary and her infant evoke the sense of wonderment inspired by Sofia’s beating heart.

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