IN an essay on Christmas, the late Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira reflected on Mary’s initial reaction to the birth of Christ:
The iconography of the Renaissance completely deformed one aspect of Our Lord. It presented the Child Jesus as a foolish babe in order to give an idea of His purity. The artists of that period often presented Him as an inexpressive infant without showing any sign of His divine mentality. I cannot think that such a thing is true. On the contrary, I believe that everything we admire in Our Lord as a man – His goodness, balance, distinction, affability and strength, and especially His transcendence – was already manifest in the face and body of the Divine Infant.