Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Contemplating the Face of Christ

Lent is still in its infancy and already I am feeling the struggle with some of my resolutions. With it happening this early, I know it's going to be a tough effort, but it just means I need to apply myself even more and lean on Jesus and Mary. The best way to do that is through prayer and one of the quintessential prayers of Lent is The Way of the Cross. Today, I would like to tell you about a book that focuses on The Way of the Cross called Contemplating the Face of Christ.

Contemplating the Face of Christ is a 100+ page Way of the Cross prayer book with meditations by Fr. Marko Rupnik and mosaic images from outside the Church of Santa Maria in Tomlin, Slovenia. The Stations begin in the traditional format of "We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world." There is then an excerpt from the New Testament that relates to the current Station. Fr. Rupnik's meditation is next, and it uses the mosaic image to guide his meditation. This is followed by an excerpt from a Church Father, and an Old Testament reading that shows how this Station fulfilled the Old Testament reading. Finally, it ends traditionally with something like this from the First Station, "At the cross her station keeping stood the mournful mother weeping, close to Jesus to the last."

Fr. Rupnik offers simple but beautiful insights that cause you to pause with each Station reflection and look at things as you had never done so before. For example, in the First Station there is a mosaic of Pilate, Caiaphas, and Jesus. Both Pilate and Caiaphas are in Jesus' face, essentially hiding it. He says the following, "Pilate looks into the face of Christ, but he does not see the Truth. The high priest Caiaphas directs his gaze elsewhere. He follows his own religious schemes, which prevent him from recognizing the Lord in that face so close to him." He points out that the reason they can't know truth is because they don't have love. They don't have love because sin destroyed love. This is an interesting viewpoint on just the first station. Each station draws us closer to the Cross and closer to Christ. I highly recommend this book for your Lenten journey. I know I will be visiting it frequently!

This book was provided to me for free by Pauline Books and Media in exchange for an honest review.

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