By Michelle Arnold Paine

Mary the Dawn: Meditation One

Mary the Dawn, Christ the perfect day;
Mary the Gate, Christ the heavenly Way.
Mary the Root, Christ the mystic Vine;
Mary the Grape, Christ the sacred Wine.
Mary the Wheat-sheaf, Christ the living Bread;
Mary the Rose tree, Christ the Rose blood-red.
Mary the Font, Christ the cleansing Flood;
Mary the Chalice, Christ the saving Blood.
Mary the Temple, Christ the temple’s Lord;
Mary the Shrine, Christ the God adored.
Mary the Beacon, Christ the haven’s Rest;
Mary the Mirror, Christ the Vision blest.
—medieval hymn
Advent is a time of waiting. In our part of the world, after the leaves have fallen and the days grow shorter, it is a time of darkness, void of new life, where the truth and beauty and purity of God’s love is rarely found. Light breaking through darkness is an apt metaphor for the struggle of my own experience to know Christ and seek to become more like his mother Mary. Through Mary, the light of Christ could come to nourish our hearts and souls.
In the midst of the desert and darkness of our world, Mary listened and opened her heart to receive God’s guidance and love — so completely that she became one with the Holy Spirit and conceived life in the moment of The Incarnation. Through her obedience to God’s call — though it meant social catastrophe for herself and her family — she became the moment of Dawn for all humanity, the bearer of The Light for all of us. Through her obedience and humility it became possible to have hope in the Resurrection and Eternal Light. I pray that I, like Mary, may be open to the light of Christ when He wishes to enter my life. 
Photo Credit:
Mary the Dawn, Oil on Canvas, 22” x 28”, Private Collection 
© Michelle Arnold Paine All Rights Reserved. 

More Advent meditations from Michelle:

About the Author

Michelle Arnold is a contemporary painter whose faith plays an integral part of her work. During the years she spent living and working in Italy for Gordon College’s study abroad program, she steeped herself in the Renaissance masters, the rhythms of the Catholic liturgy, and the intimacy and beauty of daily Italian life. 

After her return from Italy she received at Post-Baccalaureate Certificate from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and went on to earn a Master of Fine Arts degree from University of New Hampshire.

She has taught in the Studio Arts department at several Boston-area colleges, but recently relocated from the Boston area to Ohio. In addition to numerous private collections across the US, her paintings can be found in the collection of the Valparaiso University Chapel, Rivier College, and Gordon College. She is represented by Sloane Merrill Gallery in Boston. Her work can be viewed and purchased at 

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