An Epiphany art lesson: It's all in the eyes!

Adoration of the Magi by Andrea Mantegna
In Mantegna's painting, it's all in the eyes! (Be sure to click on the image for a larger, more detailed version)   
The magi offer the Child their gifts but they gaze up and off into the distance. Perhaps they're asking of the star they followed: "Is this really the One to whom you've led us?"  
And Joseph...  Joseph stands apart, keeping a wary eye on these wealthy visitors.  Can you read his thoughts? "How came they knocking on my door? Their gifts are so extravagant! What do these strangers want?
Not surprisingly, Mary, the loving Mother, keeps her eye on the child of her womb. Might she see in this unexpected visit the twists and turns her Son's life will take? And yet, see how she offers the child, holding him forth, already aware that she will, in the end, be called to give him away to all who come looking for him...  
Jesus' eyes tell us clearly that he has no need of these fine offerings.  He wants something else from each of us and what he desires comes neither in a coffer nor a cup ... What he desires comes only in our hearts...

O God, set my gaze on only that star
whose light leads me
on the path of your truth...

Child of Mary's womb,
apple of Joseph's eye,
welcome me when I come to you,
when I draw near to visit and to pray...

Teach me to make of my heart
the finest gift I have 

to offer to you and others...

When I wonder 

if I've found or lost you,
deepen my faith
in your faithful pursuit of me, 

of my life and my love... 

Shine like a star, Lord, and show me 

the beauty of your face:
let me never fail to find you and see you
in all I meet and know...

O star of wonder, star of night,
star with royal beauty bright:
guide me to your perfect Light...





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