The Virgin of Tenderness Plaque presents us with the paradox of true power. What seems weak and small in this world can be the actual gateway of history- (and cosmos-) transforming power! A very young woman (probably still only a teenager) says “Yes!” to God’s plan for her life and for the life of our entire world through her. In Mary – a simple young woman living in a tiny rural town in a remote backwater of the vast Roman Empire – God indeed “has brought down the mighty from their thrones but has lifted up the lowly” (Luke 1:52). For when Mary says “Yes!” to God’s plan, she becomes the Theotokos, the very Mother of God! The Virgin of Tenderness Plaque is indeed a lovely gift for a first communion, confirmation, and, of course, Mother’s Day!
The Virgin of Tenderness Plaque – A Marvelous Labor of Love, Faith, and Hope
The Virgin of Tenderness Plaque is 4.3 inches high. This plaque of highly polished dolomite stone and resin pendant has the feel, glow, and heft of a priceless heirloom of hand-carved ivory! A religious community of French nuns create, mold, and hand-finish each and every plaque in the atelier of their monastery. Every nun in the community is a true “contemplative in action” who prayerfully fulfills a specific, designated task crucial to the completion of each Virgin of Tenderness Plaque. Where, how, and by whom each plaque is created demonstrates to us vividly that these pieces are indeed “culturally authentic” and a marvelous labor of love, faith and hope!
The Virgin of Tenderness is the Theotokos (the “God-Bearer”)
In 431 a.d., the Ecumenical Council of Ephesus proclaimed the Virgin Mary as the the Theotokos (Θεοτόκος – Greek for “God-Bearer”). The Virgin Mary is the God-Bearer, the Theotokos, because she gave birth not just to a human being, but to God as a human being. The two Greek letters on the left of this plaque (ΜΡ) and the two Greek letters on the right (ΘΥ) represent a syncope (contraction) of two Greek words: ΜΗΤΗΡ ΘΕΟΥ – METER THEOU (“Mother of God”). The middle part of each word is removed or syncopated. Μ[ΗΤΗ]Ρ Θ[ΕΟ]Υ becomes then ΜΡ ΘΥ. The syncopation of each word is expressed in the symbol ~ over each pair of Greek letters.