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Wednesday, April 24, 2019

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A Chauvin eighth grader reflects on Michelangelo’s Pieta

A Chauvin eighth grader reflects on Michelangelo’s Pieta

At the end of the last school year, Ms. Summer Skarke, the Louisiana Teacher of the Year, presented her eighth grade students at Lacache Middle School with various art pieces. They were to choose an artwork and write a poem reflecting that work of art. One student chose a statue made famous by the Renaissance sculpturer, Michelangelo Buonarroti, housed in St. Peter’s Basilica, Vatican City. We know it as the Pieta.

His poem reflects what could have been going through Mary’s mind and heart as she viewed his lifeless body when they took down from the cross and placed him in her arms. It’s always difficult for a mother to lose a child but this must have been extremely stressful for Mary to see what they did to the child she loved so much.

When Ms. Summer introduced the Pieta at the Poetry Night and the student went on stage to explain and share his reflections on the Pieta, everyone was quiet. He read the following poem on stage in front of the entire eighth grade classes and their parents. There was not word spoken when he read this poem. It’s entitled “My Child I Remember.”

“Some called him Messia. Some called him Son of God. Some called him King of the Jews. I called him my child.

“I remember when Gabriel greeted me; I remember waiting for your cousin John; I remember having you; I remember placing you in a manger; I remember raising you; I remember feeding you; I remember clothing you; I remember meeting your friends; I remember kissing your booboos; I remember watching you grow up.

“I remember you leaving to travel with your friends; I remember watching Barabbas run free; I remember hearing your pain filled screams echo through Pilate’s Palace; I remember seeing your crown of thorns; I remember following you as you carried your cross; I remember hearing the horrible things they said; I remember when you fell not once, not twice, but three times.

“I remember when that man who helped you carry the cross; I remember when you made it to the destination; I remember when they took those nails and nailed them into you; I remember listening to one of the thieves accepting you; I remember the other thief laughing at you. I remember seeing your moment of doubt.

“I remember you giving your spirit to your father; I remember watching your body go motionless; I remember realizing your body was dead; I remember realizing your spirit was alive; I remember them taking you down from the cross; I remember them taking out the nails; I remember them placing you in my arms.

“Now here we are: a mother and her child.”

This gives me hope that we have some young people who can think and meditate about the deeper things of life.

When we realize what Jesus and Mary went through at the crucifixion, it’s breathtaking. The most important thing, it was done for us.

The late author Henri Nouwen once said, “Choices make the difference. Two people are in the same accident and severely wounded. They did not choose to be in the accident. It happened to them. But one of them chose to live the experience in bitterness, the other in gratitude. These choices radically influenced their lives and the lives of their families and friends. We have very little control over what happens in our lives. However, we have a lot of control over how we integrate and remember what happens. These spiritual choices determine whether we live our lives with dignity.”

We have a choice to make: to accept Jesus’ death on the cross for us or turn away.