Tuesday, December 27, 2022

Emblems of the Wounds in the Body and Heart of Christ Painted Onto a Candle

We are in the Christmas season, but thought it would do no harm for us to connect the newly born Christ to his life, ministry, death and resurrection through the unusual art featured today that seems to bind these essential elements of salvation history all together. 

Gina Switzer is a Catholic artist who paints Easter candles. I think she has surpassed herself in these ones which are decorated with designs based upon the “Vulnerary of Christ”, that is, emblems of the wounds of Christ, incorporated into a cross. 

Her design, as she explains in her description of it, relates the life and death of Christ on the cross to his resurrection by directing our attention, through the symbolism of the flowers she uses, to paradise. You can read more about the candles and order them here

Gina wrote: 
In this design the Cross is transformed into an image of Paradise restored. Each section overflows with delightful flowers. According to The Vulnerary of Christ there is a veritable garden of flowers that are typically presented in red to symbolize the blood shed by Jesus in His passion. Among those I chose the anemone, strawberry, poppy and rose to represent Paradise restored. The only nontraditional flower is the red dahlia from my own garden. Its eight petals struck me this summer as a lovely and fitting representation of the Eighth Day so it is included. Instead of red alone, I painted the flowers in a profusion of natural color signifying a return to the fullness of the Garden. (Most flowers are also from my own or my sister’s garden.) 
The center of the Cross, the Heart if you will, is a ruby surrounded by pearls set in gold. The ruby has a long history in art of representing the heart and blood of Christ. The refined stone symbolizes the blood of Christ transformed into a gem by the Resurrection and Ascension. The pearls surrounding the ruby along with the alpha/omega are the Saints who sold everything to purchase the pearl of great price. The Saints united themselves to Christ on the Cross and they now enjoy the bliss of Paradise, life with Christ eternally.Heraldic shields bearing the instruments of humiliation and torture surround the Cross pointing to His Passion—the flagellum, nails, dice, sponge, and spear.
In each shield the wounded heart appears. Images of the wounded heart, pierced by the spear, date back to at least the 5th Century and are precursors to our contemporary devotions to the Sacred Heart. The field in which the flowers are set along with the shields are rich purple in color indicating Christ is King of the new heaven and new earth forever and ever. It is my hope that viewers who see this Paschal candle cross will contemplate the depth of God’s love and trust Jesus to see the overwhelming beauty of Paradise He restored for those who follow Him and love Him.
To inquire about Easter candles go to Gina’s website, here

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