Art asked:

In the pictures I have of Padre Pio and Mary … and in many other religious images they have what looks like an aura around their heads. Can you tell me about that?


Patrick Madrid replied:

"The term that is commonly used for that is halo. The halo is indicative of that person’s holiness. So sanctity was depicted ... in human art we try to depict things that are signs of something real but they point to something that’s real.

So you know how on art in Valentine’s day we use the symbol of a heart to denote love? We know the organ in your chest, that’s not what you love with. It’s sort of universally recognized that that’s a way of describing it in a picture what we mean by love. And everyone gets that.

In the same way, this golden aura, more properly we’d call it a halo. It simply means that this person is holy. This is the grace of God. It’s a way of depicting the light of God’s grace shining forth from that person. If you look at old pictures of Moses for example ... he was depicted as having two things coming out from his forehead that looks like horns, but they’re not horns. They’re maybe like smoke if you can imagine that ... This was a way of describing in a picture form what was known as infused knowledge. That God infused knowledge of heavenly things in Moses’ mind. How do you describe that pictorially?"


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© 2013 Immaculate Heart Catholic Radio

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Show air date: September 11, 2013

Question appeared in show: 38:42


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