14 August: Year of Mercy – the Loving Pelican


brugge pelican

By Anne Man Cheung

Anne has been a supporter of Agnellus mirror since we started, but this is the first time she has written for us. She writes first about a special place that my family loves as well: Bruges in Belgium. It’s good for her to continue where Chris left off writing about Belgium.

Tomorrow she develops the theme of Divine Mercy that came to her when visiting the lower chapel of the Basilica.

On a recent trip to Bruges I visited the Basilica of the Precious Blood. In the Upper Chapel there is a Relic of the Precious Blood of Christ.

The oldest reference to this relic was written in 1255. The relic has been carried through the streets of Bruges in a yearly procession since 1304 – in modern times on the Feast of the Ascension.

In the beautiful Romanesque Lower Basilica Chapel, which dates back to the Twelfth Century, on the altar there is an image of the pelican feeding her babies.

The symbolism of the mother pelican feeding her little baby chicks is rooted in an ancient legend that preceded Christianity: in times of famine, the mother pelican wounded herself, striking her breast with her beak to feed her dying young and save them from death, but in turn lost her own life.

It is easy to see why the early Christians adopted this to symbolise Our Lord Jesus. We know that we find new life through His blood on the Cross and through receiving his Body and Blood in the Eucharist.




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Filed under Daily Reflections, Year of Mercy

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