Upcoming Mural Work for our Sanctuary

09-04-2022Weekly ReflectionFr. Chris Axline

Hello St. Mary Magdalene,

It is a tremendous joy to be back in our newly renovated sanctuary and I truly thank you all for your prayers, support, and patience to help bring us to this point. This is part of a series of articles I’ll be writing about what’s next for our parish. Today, I wish to take some time to give an overview of what you’ll see in the coming months when our mural work is installed this winter (2022). This is custom made mural work that will fit our spiritual charisms and the physical space in a captivating way.

The thematic design uniting the sanctuary and the mural work is “the Heavenly Jerusalem'' meaning that together, these two elements coordinate to give us a glimpse into eternity. At the bottom of the mural is (in Latin) the line from Revelation 4:8, “Holy Lord God Almighty, Who was, Who is, and Who is to come.” In Revelation, spoken by the four living creatures as an eternal exclamation of praise to God.

Our Crucifix will be adorned with the divine mercy rays that extend over the tabernacle, showcasing Christ’s sacrificial death and the perfect outpouring of His Love for us. These rays will be painted with 24K gold leaf accents. Christ’s presence in the Eucharist is symbolized via the Host enveloping the Cross. Within this Host are four Seraphim angels. The word “Seraphim” literally means “to burn”, and these are highest of the angelic choirs, the closest to God in Heaven, hence they “burn” with the power of God’s love for all eternity. In the book of Isaiah Seraphim are depicted with six wings each; two to veil their faces symbolizing God’s majesty; two to veil their feet indicating that they’re in the presence of God; the last two to hold themselves aloft.

Next to Christ are several saints who are important to our parish community. Moving left to right we have: Sts. Peter, John the Baptist, Cecilia, Mary Magdalene, John Vianney, Therese of Lisieux, Faustina, and John Paul the Great. They all face the altar, adoring Christ and reminding us of our call to become saints.

Additionally, the Archangels Gabriel and Michael flank Christ atop the pediments of our woodwork. Gabriel—the great messenger of God who announces His mighty works— and Michael—the great soldier of God who fights against the forces of sin and evil.

Above them, at the top of the mural work, is the line “Vidi Dominum:” the Latin text of Mary Magdalene’s triumphal cry on Easter morning, “I have seen the Lord.” Like the Divine Mercy rays, this lettering will also be painted in 24K gold leaf.

Over that are two cherubim angels, whose job is to praise God for all eternity. Thus, with the Seraphim, Archangels, and Cherubim we’ve incorporated three of the nine angelic choirs into our church building. This is a fitting tribute since every Mass is the union of Heaven and Earth. Additionally, the background of our mural work is a “glorified” desert landscape featuring our own Superstition mountains, but fully restored from the Fallen state in which we find our present world. They harken to the end of time, when Christ makes “all things new.” Set at sunrise, this glorified scene reminds us that Christ is the Resurrection and, just as the sun rises in the east, so does Tradition teach us that Christ will return from the east. Thus, this desert landscape invites us to face Christ’s return in glory and with expectant hope; a reminder to us all that we are part of the Church, the mystical body of Christ and that we are sojourners on our way to Heaven, our true homeland.