Yes, I know what you are thinking: What on earth possessed the editor of BAR to publish such a disturbing image? Perhaps you are sputtering with outrage at the very idea that the Virgin Mary, the mother of Jesus, could be portrayed half-flayed, with her muscles and part of her skull exposed. But don’t turn the page in disgust too quickly. What I hope to show is that first impressions can be misleading. Sometimes, what at first strikes us as atrocious might even, when viewed in context, end up providing spiritual enrichment—or at least, a nod of understanding. So give me a chance to convince you.