Poems Pictures Prayers & Ponderings,

a prayerful reflection on the Catholic faith

Page 8

This picture, truly demonstrates that the first shall be last and the last shall be first. I had a very definite image of Mary sitting outside a temple exactly as the poem describes.

After looking through art and some photos on the Art Resources website, I didn’t find anything that really portrayed the image I was looking for. Valerie’s sister is an artist and so I very roughly sketched what I had in mind with the large stone walls and a large door opening. Unfortunately, after a couple of months and considering all the sacred art from noted artists, Sarah realized she would not have time to give the piece the attention it would call for for this book. I can’t say that I blame her. Then, I contacted a friend’s daughter-in-law, who was an artist. Although not Catholic, she has a devotion to Mary. She requested to read the poem so she could get a feel of the piece and then called to say she did feel worthy of such a work and could not do it justice.

At this point, Valerie was finishing up a rough draft of the manuscript and we had no art for the first poem. I went to bed one Saturday night and had a conversation with God as I had done so many times throughout this book process. Okay, this is your book, not mine. I know you know where the picture is but I can’t find it. You are going to have to make it clear to me because I don’t know what else to do.

I woke up the next morning with the words, Ancient Jewish Temple in my mind, and then quickly went to the computer and typed the words onto the search line. Up came a number of sources, but one particular one caught my eye, because it said it was a photo of an ancient Jewish temple in Capernaum. When I opened the site, I was confused by lots of family photos, and so I figured I had clicked on the wrong site. I hadn’t. After a few minutes, viewing lots of family gatherings, I noticed a very small message that said “Ancient Jewish Temple”. As soon as I saw the photo, I knew it was the one.

Todd Anderson is a youth pastor in Southern California and photographer who had been to Capernaum. I contacted him Monday morning, knowing I had to license the print. By late Monday night, we had the print and Valerie was able to put the finishing touches on “Mary and the Word”.

But, of course, the story continues. Monsignor, now Bishop, Mike Sis was Vicar General of the Diocese of Austin at the time. When the book was complete, God had instructed me to give away the first copies. I knew Monsignor Sis and so I went to his office to give him a book and one for the Bishop.

Msgr. Mike quickly stopped as he was leafing through the pages and pointed to the temple and said, “I’ve been there.” It gave me chills.

“Do you think Mary could have sat outside that exact opening? OH! Could this be where Jesus taught in Capernaum?!”

“There is another temple just down the road that holds that claim, but it is possible.”


Msgr. Sis had another very special surprise as he continued to flip through the pages!