Leonardo da Vinci’s “Last Supper” is arguably the most famous painting of the Eucharist. His image is charged with tension. Christ sits in the middle of the Apostles and his arms are wide open in self-giving. The painting portrays the moment when Jesus offers his life for ours, and the expression on Christ’s face is one of prayer and peace. Jesus’ stillness is in marked contrast to the Apostles who are alive with action. They are not focused on the Eucharist. They are caught up in themselves. Jesus previously announced that one of them would betray him and the Apostles are so busy refuting this statement, they seem to miss the gift of God’s presence in their midst. As Christ offers his infinite love to all, Da Vinci masterfully shows humanity immersed in petty argumentation.
It is interesting to compare Da Vinci’s fresco with that of Blessed Fra Agelico. Fra Angelico was a Dominican brother and artist from Florence. In Fra Angelico’s painting, the action comes from the central figure of Christ. Christ moves among the group as servant and priest, giving the Eucharist to his Apostles. In this painting, it is the Apostles who are at peace, moved to prayer and reflection by the gift of God.
Whose painting is more realistic? Is humanity caught up in self or caught up in prayer? Often we are both; but Fra Angelico gives us a glimpse of how we become adorers of God instead of adorers of self. To the left of his painting, Mary kneels in adoration, showing humanity how to respond to the presence of God. When we follow the example of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist, we learn how to truly pray and see God in our midst.
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As we ponder the Gift of Gifts the Holy Eucharist, the Real Presence of Our Lord: Body, Blood , Soul and Divinity we too are very much like the Apostles … Sometimes very perplexed and unsure of everything and when contemplating Our Lord with Him as best we can we begin to understand to have Peace to realize His Love and Mercy... The more we today walk with Our Lord on our journey in order to do His will we walk with The Holy Spirit... Just as the Apostles did after Pentecost, this walk has to be cultivated everyday by the prayer to The Holy Spirit... And in doing so our spiritual life gets stronger and the desire to receive The Real Presence of Our Lord becomes a desire that will not be denied... Thank you for allowing me to share... Peter Lepre, Envoy For Mercy(MIC)
We can learn from both perspectives. So very beautiful thoughts.
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Originally posted in Orange County Catholic
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