Friday, 24 October 2008
Our Lady - mediatrix of the souls of the faithful
High up on the tower at St Michael's church in Minehead in Somerset and looking out over the burial ground, is this wonderful little carved panel. It dates from the fifteenth century. It shows St Michael, the patron of the church, holding a pair of scales, weighing the souls of the departed. Our Lady stands prominently on the right of the panel, attempting to tip the scales in favour of the tiny soul that stands naked in the pan. On the other side of the scales a demon clings to the underside eof the pan, attempting to tip the scales in his favour and damn the soul within. Its a glorious image. Our Lady seems to be attempting to tip the scales through her intercession. A prayer scroll seems to be wrapped around the scales. Under her gown she shelters the souls of the faithful.