I happen to be someone who really is inspired by the writings of mystical saints. They fill my imagination with so much subtlety that can be missing in a standard reading of the Gospels. These writings can give us a feel as if the Bible had emojies. So often we seek out concordances, and other study guides to un-pack the deeper meaning of a text. All of those resources I thoroughly enjoy and endorse using, but they still too often speak to the brainy intellectual side of me that leaves me still longing for is something more emotive. I’m left hungry for more of a glimpse of the feelings that may have been part of the context of a passage. This is where I find the visions of mystical saints, to be my holy emojies.
Remember, Catholics do not consider mystic visions as historical fact, because they can resemble a dream state in which the subjective thoughts of the person can mix with the objective scene being communicated by God. But, for me, looking at the description of a holy vision as a form of sacred narrative “art” used for meditation, I find to be a valuable form of reflection. (Making sure the visionary source is also reliably confirmed as wholly consistent with the actual Bible, is key also.) To put it simply, reflecting on these visions relating to a story in scripture, enables me to consider the passage as if I had a few Facebook snapshots to “look at” with the gospel and connect to the emotion in it in a deeper more personal way.
For Example: Think of the story of the wedding at Cana. Hundreds of passages analyzing the exchange between Jesus and Mary about the wine have been written. Many with wonderful insights. But my reading of Ann Catherine Emmerich’s Vision of the Wedding at Cana gives me an impression that the exchange between mother and son might have been less stern and more cordial and loving.
Give it a try. Anne Catherine’s images shows a deep unity and understanding between Mary and Jesus about Jesus’ mission and a profound loving respect from Jesus toward His mother. Imagine the entire exchange between the two with both of them smiling.
When the wine ran short, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.”
And Jesus said to her, “Woman, how does your concern affect me? My hour has not yet come.” 😉 (Wink)
His mother said to the servers, “Do whatever he tells you.” (John 2: 3-5)
Imagine a deep cordial family rapport between them. Almost like what they are saying could be a private joke because Mary knows all too well what Jesus’ plans are.
Of course, My reflection is not earth shattering revelation. Maybe I’m off on a tangent, but I find a deep rich delight in my emoji reflection highlighting the JOY of Mary and Jesus in that passage. I suspect it was not a mother and son stand-off. Even though that can be the “vibe” that simply reading the words can give. The Holy Family was also a happy family, especially at a wedding with family and friends. I like to remember that.
I suspect that this Emoji Bible Study may be a series.
Stay tuned. 😉
Emoji image used with permission: Twitter [CC BY 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons