The Christmas Crèche: Inculturation and the Incarnation, Part 1

Posted by Theresa Rice on Dec 3, 2019 6:48:00 AM

Editorial Note: This series features Nativity sets from Africa on display in the McGrath Institute for Church Life’s Sixth Annual International Crèche Exhibit at the University of Notre Dame.

Since the Middle Ages, recreating the story of Christ’s birth through a Nativity scene has been a beloved Christmas tradition around the world. These nativity scenes, or crèches, typically depict the Holy Family with the eclectic cast of characters found in the infancy narratives of Matthew and Luke’s Gospels: shepherds, magi, angels, and animals crowd around the manger to welcome the newborn King. While many of these crèche displays are simply breathtaking works of art, their value goes far beyond their technical or visual appeal; the tactile and colorful materials inspire reflection on the entrance of God into the very tactile world in the Incarnation. This reminder of the humanity of Christ—from his humble bed in a manger to the loving attention of his mother and foster father—invites the viewers to enter deeply into the mystery of Christmas. 

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Topics: inculturation, visual arts, Advent, Christmas, crèche, Nativity scene

Tiles in the Divine Mosaic

Posted by Clare Kilbane on Nov 25, 2019 7:01:00 AM

Usually, the experiences that linger prominently in our memories have a special significance. Often, they are associated with an emotionally-charged encounter or an event that profoundly influenced us at the time. But many of these experiences, when revisited through contemplation across the years, continue to affect us and contribute to the person we are becoming. 

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Topics: catechesis, saints, universal call to holiness, visual arts

The Church, Her Culture, and the Saints

Posted by Catherine Cavadini on Nov 7, 2019 1:44:00 PM

Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger once reported that “the only really effective apologia for Christianity comes down to two arguments, namely the saints the Church has produced and the art which has grown in her womb.” In this month marked by the feast of All Saints, I wish to take up examples of the truth of Ratzinger’s statement, one from the literary arts and one from the visual arts, both related to the saints. 

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Topics: Culture, Catholic imagination, saints, Sigrid Undset, literature, visual arts

Living and Handing on the Faith

The McGrath Institute Blog helps Catholics live and hand on their faith in Jesus Christ, especially in the family, home and parish, and cultivates and inspires everyday leaders to live out the fullness and richness of their faith in the simple, little ways that make up Church life.

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