Jesus sitting on Mary’s lap, leafing so eagerly through a book that the pages are crumpled…
This 15th century painting by Rogier van der Weyden has fascinated me since I received an art postcard many years ago as a gift from Dorothea Kindt, one of the pioneers of the UBS European Production Fund. The title on the back of the card is “The Virggin and Child with the Bible”, but the painting which is now in the Prado Museum in Madrid is known as “Madonna in Red” or “Durán Madonna”.
Each time I look at it I discover another exciting detail: It is the Book – the Bible – that is right in the centre of this painting, horizontally as well as vertically.
Mary is holding her arms around Jesus and the book at the same time. They are ONE in her loving embrace, and they appear in wholeness as fruit of the Holy Spirit.
I Iove the freshness, wildness and serene curiosity of this child as he explores the Scriptures.
His mother is not stopping him; it seems her heart knows all about the bond between new life and the Word of God.
I find this painting most inspiring, for my life and work, for my relationship with God and with others, and for my trust in the freshness and vitality of the Word that I wish to discover again and again.