When Thérese was a child, her older sister Leonie decided that she had outgrown some of her playthings. Before giving them away, she offered them to her younger sisters. Celine politely chose a single toy. When it came to Thérese’s turn, she grabbed the entire basket and proclaimed, “I choose all!”
This story illustrates well how this future saint approached the spiritual life. She understood that there are many degrees of holiness and she wanted the very highest degree. “My God,” she cried, “I choose all! … ‘I choose all’ that You will!”
I was young the day that JPII died, but I remember vividly the feeling of loss, as though a dear friend had passed away. Of course I never actually met Pope Saint John Paul II, but when I was inspired to begin painting a series of saints his was the first image I chose. Only now do I realize why: one of his greatest messages was the call for this generation to a New Evangelization. I am this generation, and this is but one small I way I can share Beauty and Truth with the world.
I was inspired for this painting during adoration at a weekend retreat. My original idea was to have a priest saying mass in a classroom, but it eventually evolved into this. I incorporated a lot of symbolism into this image that I am still unpacking to this day.
In the early days, women didn’t have charts and apps to track their fertility, but would have known the timing of their cycles by the phases of the moon. In that first month after Gabriel’s visit, Mary would not have felt too different than she had before. It would be months before she would show, and even longer before she would feel Jesus’ little flutters. But looking out at the face of a new moon, she would have known in a very concrete way that what the angel said was true. How her heart must have thrilled with joy!