Friday, February 22, 2008

Volto Santo

"Volto Santo:

(Italian: ‘Sacred Face’). A large wooden Crucifix in Lucca Cathedral, on which Christ is shown fully robed. According to an early medieval tradition this Crucifix was an actual portrait of Christ made by Nicodemus, who had helped to bury him. It is said to have been in Lucca from the 8th century, but the present Volto Santo is perhaps a 13th-century copy of an 8th-century original. The commercial importance of Lucca in the Middle Ages helps to explain the appearance of a number of 12th-–15th-century copies of the Volto Santo throughout Europe."

From The Oxford Dictionary of Art

"To recite the Rosary is nothing other than to contemplate with Mary the face of Christ....

The Gospel scene of Christ's transfiguration, in which the three Apostles Peter, James and John appear entranced by the beauty of the Redeemer, can be seen as an icon of Christian contemplation.

To look upon the face of Christ, to recognize its mystery amid the daily events and the sufferings of his human life, and then to grasp the divine splendour definitively revealed in the Risen Lord, seated in glory at the right hand of the Father: this is the task of every follower of Christ and therefore the task of each one of us.

In contemplating Christ's face we become open to receiving the mystery of Trinitarian life, experiencing ever anew the love of the Father and delighting in the joy of the Holy Spirit.

Saint Paul's words can then be applied to us: “Beholding the glory of the Lord, we are being changed into his likeness, from one degree of glory to another; for this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit” (2 Cor 3:18)."

From Pope John Paul II, Rosarium Virginis Mariae (16th October 2002)