By Greg Zambano
La Pieta by the sculptor Michelangelo is an amazing, beautiful work of art. Many churches around the world have copies of it to remind us of Jesus’s death on the cross. It’s similar to the 13th Station of the Cross.
Most churches have an image of Jesus recently taken down from cross and laid upon Mary’s lap so she may be with him before he is placed in a tomb. This image’s impact on me is very real. Mary and those around the area are having serious difficulty dealing with the horrible death of our Lord. This statue can be used to teach us, as parents, pity, mercy and compassion.
When I was younger, I would look at this statue like just another moment in Jesus’ and Mary’s life. While so many images of Jesus exist from Scripture, this image taught me a lesson one day while on a road trip with my children, and I never saw it the same way again.
Our trip lasted many days, having fun going to different sites and National Parks, but the road had stressed the three of us out. There are just things you cannot escape such as getting irritated at each other while driving in a car for many miles. Just ask Chevy Chase who drove a station wagon filled with family in the movie, “National Lampoon’s Vacation.”
My view of the Pieta changed while visiting The National Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help in Wisconsin. I slowed down to get a good look at it and recognized the depth of Jesus’ suffering. I then looked up at Mary. She had a sorrowful face, feeling excruciating sadness over her son’s death. Yet, her look also transmitted real love for her son and made me realize that maybe she had been staring at Jesus for a very long time. Mary stares at Jesus like a contemplative with love, adoration and a lot of patience.
Mary, our mother, opened my eyes to a parent’s love for his or her children. Forgive the small stuff. Forgive the big stuff and look at them with love, mercy and compassion. I found the key to a happy road trip and family life.