Friday, September 01, 2006

The Mocking of Christ

The Mocking of Christ, Fra Angelico, 1440-41

We would however be missing the main point were we not to discern that the genius of Fra Angelico is deployed here in the service of on precise goal: what the artist seeks to show is not primarily the brutality of the tormentors, nor the disfigurement of the body of Christ at the time of his passion, but rather a vision of faith.

Fr. Angelico’s painting invites us to distinguish, beyond outward appearance, the presence of the Savior come to snatch humanity back from the dark night of cruelty and death, a night suggested by the black opaque zone above the background wall. It is an urgent call to us not to give in to despair before the horrors of the passion, but rather to fortify ourselves, through the intercession of Saint Mary and Saint Dominic, in our faith in a God of love more living than any death.

That was a quote from this month's Illustration in the Magnificat. It was written by Eliane Gondinet-Wallstein. The Magnificat is a monthly prayer book that follows the liturgy of the Catholic Church which my wife and I use.

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