Saturday, 21 December 2013

Moses and Joseph

Saint Joseph, image of the Father, may also be seen in this image of Moses approaching the Burning Bush by Nicholas Froment. The Bush is Mary, Joseph's spouse. On her lap is the Logos, the I AM that she gives to the world. She is surrounded with flames that will descend again at Pentecost. Moses takes off his shoes, he hears the angels in the flames speaking for God. He takes his people to the threshold of Promised Land. As for Joseph, he cherishes his spouse, he listens to the angels, he leads his people into Egypt like the first Joseph, and back again. Mary is an Ark of the Covenant that contains the new Law—Mary containing Jesus, or holding him in her arms. In Jesus who is the Law, the divine Presence is saving the People of God. The whole painting is like an Annunciation because of the presence of the Angel (perhaps Gabriel) on the left. It is like the Annunciation to Joseph, when he is told about the divine conception of Jesus. It is then he sees Mary for the first time as the Ark and the Temple and the Seat of Wisdom. Or perhaps he knew this already – but now his own place in the story is revealed. The fulfillment of the divine promises is entrusted to him of all people. It is he, the unworthy, a mere creature, who must step into the place of the Invisible.

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