I Dread the Virgin's Foot
The Immaculata is victorious over the dragon symbolizing evil. Her
foot--reaching down from heaven--will crush his head. The dragon, Satan, knows it, and
therefore expresses his fear: I dread the Virgin's foot. This emblem makes allusion not
only to Genesis 3:15 but also to Revelations 12:1 where the snake becomes a dragon
vanquished by the Son of the mother he had persecuted.
They All Reach the White Target
Three arrows are flying toward a target which hangs on a tree trunk. Its center or bull's eye is white, and bears the name of Mary. The white center is a symbol of Mary's purity and Immaculate Conception. The flying arrows may have several meanings:
According to Picinelli, they represent evil. This would mean that
evil is deflected by the white bull's eye, meaning Mary's sinlessness. Thus, the arrows do not
reach the center. However, the inscription tells us that they actually do reach their
target. Thus, the meaning here is twofold. It means that the love of God, symbolized in the
three theological virtues of faith, hope and charity, will be fully received by Our Lady.
The other interpretation sees in the flying arrows the petitions of the people addressed to Mary.
They will not miss their target; Mary is our faithful intercessor.
You Will Not Go Astray
Mary is standing on a column. Her right hand points the way, the right direction. The column is placed in the center of a crossroad. Whoever is watchful enough and lifts his eyes to the figure of Mary will not go astray. The crossroad is a symbol of the cross, our way to salvation. Mary has been placed on this road to point us in the direction of eternal salvation.
The column is a sign of exaltation and praise, but also of strength,
fearlessness, and perseverance. Several theologians have called Mary columna
rectitudinis, the column of rectitude upon which rests the world. Reference is made in
this emblem to popular representations of Mary on top of a column, for example, the famous
Munich Marian column (1638), and the even older and more famous column with Mary's
statue in front of St. Mary Major in Rome (1614).
Purer Than These Two
The emblem shows two hands: one holding a half filled glass, the
other a lily. The inscription purer than those two refers to Mary. Mary is purer
than the lily, reputed to be of the most exquisite of all tones of white. Likewise the
significance of the glass: its crystal and content are fully transparent, but Mary's
immaculateness exceeds its transparency. This emblem stands for the title mater
purissima (purest of mothers) in the litany of Loreto.
Return to Immaculate Conception in Images
Return to Meditations
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Michael P. Duricy
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