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The antidote to the anti-Mary is, of course, Mary, the Mother of God, known widely as the most powerful woman in the world and the source of the belief that women ought to be treated with dignity. She is a beacon of all the virtues and qualities—purity, humility, kindness, beauty—that oppose this sinister force that has cast its spell upon so many women.
When we dedicate our gifts and talents to God, giving back to him the fruit of the gifts He has given us, our work is shaped by our love for God. Nothing done for love is ever trivial or wasted.
The mandorla surrounding Christ usually shows concentric bands of shading which get darker toward the center, rather than lighter. It is painted in this way so as to communicate to us, pictorially, the fact that we must pass through stages of increasing mystery in order to encounter the person of Jesus Christ.
But perhaps most importantly, through baptism Jesus sets in motion God’s saving plan to renew all things according to the Divine Will. To “make all things new,” means to restore all things to the way God meant for them to be, including our human nature.
Sacred number in art: St Matthew’s tells us there are 14 generations from Abraham to David, 14 from David until the Babylonian exile and 14 from the Babylonian exile to Christ. Matthew wrote in Aramaic. In this language, the characters of the alphabet are also used for numbers. This allows for every name to characterized both in letters and numbers. When the letters that comprise the name David are treated as numbers and added together it creates the number 14. This numerical symbolism emphasizes the fact that Christ in a king in the line of David, as prophesied.