Stanley Spencer’s Christ in the Wilderness – The Hen

March 5th 2022


“Christ in the Wilderness -The Hen”, Stanley Spencer c. 1954, Art Gallery of Western Australia, Perth. 

Spencer noted that the gospels focus on the temptations and not on the 40 days preceding them. He resolved to paint a series of 40 images of Christ in the wilderness, one for each day of Lent. In this one Christ’s body encircles a mother hen and her chicks, affording them protection.  This painting is about God’s love and echoes a number of passages from the scriptures.  For example, in Luke, there is Christ’s lament over Jerusalem : “How often would I have gathered your children together as a mother gathers her brood under her wings” ( Lk 13: 34) and in Psalm 90: “He will cover you with his pinions and under his wings you will find refuge.”   Just now we are mindful of the Ukraine where so many people have been forced to flee their homes and seek refuge elsewhere.   Let us pray for them asking the intercession of Our Lady, Queen of Peace. 


O Loving God, your Son, Jesus Christ, 

came into the world to do your will 

and leave us his peace.

Through the intercession and example 

of our Blessed Mother Mary, Queen of Peace, 

grant us the wisdom and humility 

to reflect that peace to the world. 

Inspire our thoughts, words and deeds 

to bear witness to your presence in our hearts.

May your Holy Spirit fill us 

with every grace and blessing so that we may pursue what leads to peace 

for all humanity. Amen

Stanley Spencer’s Christ in the Wilderness – The Hen

Edinburgh Catholic Chaplaincy

The Catholic Chaplaincy serves the students and staff of the University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh Napier University and Queen Margaret University.

The Catholic Chaplaincy is also a parish of the Archdiocese of St Andrews and Edinburgh (the Parish of St Albert the Great) and all Catholic students and staff are automatically members of this parish.

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