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Good Morning, little Madonna

Good Morning, little Madonna“, I used to say to an image of the Madonna when I was a child. Every morning, passing in front of Her, placed in a niche beside my room, I never forgot this greeting which came from within me.

I was four years old. I used to climb up on a chair, give Her a kiss and touch Her. This pleased me a great deal and I got down with a leap of joy as if I had received from her an affectionate pat on the back to make me start the day with enthusiasm.

In the evening, before going to bed, I repeated the greeting: “Good Night, Little Madonna” and the leap I made was full of joy because I did not know whether I had given Her the kiss or She had given it to me.

I enjoyed performing this Marian rite very much: I touched Her, I gave her kisses and felt a maternal response, just as if it came from my own mother. Now that I am grown up, when I evoke these feelings, I realise that they still touch me profoundly and I still kiss the Madonna, I touch Her, I love Her. Her image today is that which the artist Guido gave me as a present. I placed it on my night table. She watches over my sleep which, I must confess, since I have had Her nearby, is more restful, tranquil and perhaps celestial: it is She who protects me. I fear that what I say will appear to be a sentimental subtlety to someone; it doesn’t matter, one may think what one likes: for me it’s good this way and I like to kiss that beautiful and tender image that reassures me.

Despite everything that one may think, what is certain is that our faith -as well as being a free gift of God- comes to us from the senses. It is from here that the theological principle “fides ex auditu” comes. We are humans and the good God is divinely respectful towards us. He adapts and lowers Himself to our condition as men raising it to that of sons of God. All of us, elected bearers of the torch of faith, proceed together towards the meeting with the Divinity, merging ourselves with It through the intellect, the will, love and also through the senses. In the act of faith therefore, a sublime symbiosis is produced between us and God Himself, because that which is obvious in listening to the word of God (Holy Scriptures) through hearing and sight, is also obvious -or should be- through touch, taste and smell. It is thus that faith penetrates through the senses: “fides ex auditu, ex visu, ex odoratu, ex tactu”. The Christian people are aware of all of this and undertake a great adventure: that of introducing themselves into the sphere of the sacred, by adoring God and venerating the images of the saints, among which that of the Mother of God excels. Go to Her in pilgrimage, offer Her candles (the light of faith), flowers (the scent of virtue), burn incense, sing and pray Her, love Her, kiss Her, touch Her…. showing in that way that you wish to feel the caress of her face, seeing that She -the Madonna- looks over us already with infinite goodness, touches us and caresses us. Let yourselves be guided by these sentiments, you who, during the feast of Christmas of 1998, will visit the exhibition installed in the Pia Almoina, and prepared with great care by Guido, artist and good friend. “Good Morning, Little Madonna“.

Josep M. Martí Bonet
Canon of the Cathedral of Barcelona
Director of the Diocesan Museum of Barcelona, “Pia Almoina”