“The Holy Family” is an illuminated high relief woodcarving in tropical cedar and mahogany measuring 42 by 44-inches.
It testifies to the revelations, dreams, miracles, and prophecy of the divine events leading up to and beyond the Incarnation of our Lord and Savior Christ Jesus. It is subtitled “The Faith of St. Joseph”, as it is in Faith that we hope and have our being in the triune God of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
Like ancient Christian sacred art, whether found in the catacombs of Rome or icons from the 5th century, sacred Christian images are still made today as testimony to the Incarnation of God in our Lord Jesus Christ and the holiness of the saints in the history of Salvation.
“The Holy Family”, a wooden sculpture represents Jesus, Mary, and Joseph in the temple environment of Luke chapter 2.
Its composition is inspired by architectural elements and its images and symbols as artistically constructed in Catholic churches, taken from the Sacred Liturgy, showing various miracles, revelations, and Prophecies from the Bible.
Mary’s awareness of who Jesus is, Jesus’ unity with his Father, and Joseph’s deep faith expressed through his closed eyes (John chapter 20 verse 29: “Blessed are those who have not seen and believed”), and with the lion and the lamb taken from the prophecy of Isaiah, chapter 11.
Her understanding of Jesus’ divine power will be revealed in the first miracle at the wedding at Cana (John chapter 2).
The Gospel says little of St.Joseph. “It does not record even one word spoken by Joseph, the carpenter of Nazareth. And yet, even without words, he shows the depth of his faith, his greatness.” (Pope Saint John Paul II)
Joseph’s faith instead comes through dreams, first in the angelic council at the time of his marriage to Mary (Matthew chapter 1) and again in Bethlehem when the angel of the Lord warns him to flee to Egypt away from the murderous jealousy of King Herod (Matthew, chapter 2).
Depicted here is a scene (extra-biblical) that shows Jesus, as an adult and before beginning his ministry, in his family’s home and in their carpentry shop with the tools of his trade.
Sacred Christian Art is not achieved by the artist alone, but with the Holy Spirit and the believer who looks in contemplative prayer, beyond matter to transcendence.Some of this I know from my own interaction with works of Sacred Art and my personal prayerful struggle to bring the Word to life, to make visible what would otherwise remain as thought.