The Painting Leonardo DiCaprio showed Pope Francis

During Leonardo DiCaprio’s private audience with Pope Francis at the Vatican thisLeoPopeFrancis past Thursday the prominent actor gave the Holy Father an art book about the work of the Early Netherlandish painter Hieronymus Bosch (1450-1516). DiCaprio turned the page to a recreation of Bosch’s famous work The Garden of Earthly Delights, a triptych altarpiece that includes a portrayal of God with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden in the first panel, a depiction of humanity’s sins in the second panel, and a portrayal of judgment through the damnation of hell in the third panel. Here is an image of the full work:

bosch_garden_earthly_delights

DiCaprio explained to the Holy Father how a representation of the painting hung over his crib as a child, hinting at how this classic Christian work of art would inspire the actor’s future activism for the environment: “Through my child’s eyes it represented a planet,” DiCaprio told Pope Francis, “the utopia we had been given, the overpopulation, excesses, and the third panel we see a blackened sky that represents so much to me of what’s going on in the environment.”

It is fascinating how the artwork, so important to DiCaprio, portrays the creation story itself. When closed, the triptych has a portrayal of the earth and the creation story, with God the Father sitting on the far (upper) left creating the world:

Hieronymus_Bosch_-_The_Garden_of_Earthly_Delights_-_The_exterior_(shutters)

In the first panel, there is a portrayal of the Garden of Eden with emphasis on God walking with Adam and Eve in the earthy paradise:

Hieronymus_Bosch_-_Triptych_of_Garden_of_Earthly_Delights_(detail)_-_WGA2519

While the second (central) panel that follows presents a hedonistic, pleasure-seeking humanity, notably absent of God, it is the the third and final panel that presents God’s judgments as a result of humanity’s sins, with a vivid depiction of a “hellscape,” as seen here:

hellscape - Garden of Earthly Delights

It is fascinating how this work, even in the early stages of his childhood, represented to DiCaprio the beauty of God’s creation and of what humanity has done to it, following its denigration, inspiring the actor toward a life of activism fighting for the environment. Toward the end of the encounter, Pope Francis gave DiCaprio copies of The Joy of the Gospel and Laudato Si, the Pope’s environmental encyclical, adding “pray for me, and don’t forget.”

 

“Nutella” Billionaire’s Devotion to Our Lady of Lourdes

“Ferrero’s policies are bound up with the fervent Catholicism of its owner. He has a special devotion to the Madonna of Lourdes . . . executives say he visits her shrine at least once a year and that every Ferrero plant and office in the world has a statue of the Madonna.” – The Guardian

The Italian entrepreneur and billionaire Michelle Ferrero, who had a net worth ofnutellaferrero.0.0 26.7 billion dollars, and was considered the richest man in Italy, attributed much of his success to the intercession of the Virgin Mary, particularly the apparitions of Our Lady of Lourdes.

As the Guardian explained, Ferrero visited the Lourdes shrine on pilgrimage each year and had a statue of Our Lady placed at every office and plant worldwide where his company resided. Furthermore, he often took his employees to the sacred shrine. According to Aleteia, at the 50th anniversary celebration of the founding of his company, which bears his family name, Ferrero said: “The success of Ferrero we owe to Our Lady of Lourdes; without her we can do little.”

Moreover, according to published stories in both the Guardian and Aleteia, the Ferrero company’s chocolates, specifically the Ferrero “Rocher”—their shape and name—are said to be inspired by the rocky grotto of Lourdes, called the Rocher de Massabielle. Here is a fascinating comparison of images:

Ferrero Rocher

Ferrero Rocher, from candywarehouse.com

 

Rocher de Massabielle (Lourdes Grotto)

Ferrero died on Valentine’s Day last year, marking almost a year since his passage into eternity. Quite appropriately he passed away on a day when millions around the world would be indulging in his chocolates. Zelda Caldwell of Aleteia explains in her profile of Ferrero: “He was a man endowed with a strong faith who spent his life away from the spotlight and the tabloids. Each year he went on pilgrimage to Lourdes, taking his top manager. He also organized a visit to the French shrine for his employees.”

Beautiful – Lindsey Stirling Performing “Hallelujah”

Here is a beautiful video of Lindsey Stirling, who is a very gifted violinist and performance artist, giving tribute to the gift of Christ’s birth in a public space through her solemn performance of “Hallelujah,” followed by a powerful testimony by Lindsey about her faith and dignity in Jesus Christ.