The gentle eyes of Jesus gazes intently on the one mocking him in Annibale Carraci’s The Mocking of Christ. It portrays the meekness of the Lamb of God who reaches towards the man who crowns the Lord of lords with thorns. Christ reaches with tenderness and love. Why is it that we cannot see the face of the man? Perhaps the very person who crowns God is the one reading this blog. It is you and I. This work of art calls to mind that we are constantly being sought after by God, the God who will not let us go. He is the God whose love speaks to death and reaches out to us, only enough, for us to choose him in return. Our Lord’s prayer in the psalm is our prayer:
“I cry aloud to God, cry to God to hear me. On the day of my distress I seek the Lord; by night my hands are raised unceasingly; I refuse to be consoled. When I think of God, I groan; as I ponder, my spirit grows faint …. I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, your wonders of old I will remember” (Psalm 77.1-4, 12)
The art of Rome captivates the human imagination! It pierces us like a dart and moves us out of ourselves to have an encounter with God, the source of all beauty, the One who is beauty and goodness.
The Holy Father’s sentiments are my sentiments when speaking of Michelangelo’s Last Judgement and how it “reminds us that human history is movement and ascent, a continuing tension towards fullness, towards human happiness, towards a horizon that always transcends the present moment even as the two coincide. Yet the dramatic scene portrayed in this fresco also places before our eyes the risk of man’s definitive fall, a risk that threatens to engulf him whenever he allows himself to be led astray by the forces of evil. So the fresco issues a strong prophetic cry against evil, against every form of injustice. For believers, though, the Risen Christ is the Way, the Truth and the Life. For his faithful followers, he is the Door through which we are brought to that “face-to-face” vision of God from which limitless, full and definitive happiness flows” (Pope Benedict XVI, Address to Artists, November 22, 2009).