Is the webmaster for the Archdiocese of Boston in quoting the Pope suggesting anything?
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
During the Christmas season we celebrated the mystery of the Incarnation as the culmination of God’s gradual self-revelation to Israel, a revelation mediated by those great figures such as Moses and the Prophets who kept alive the expectation of God’s fulfilment of his promises. Jesus, the Word made flesh, is truly God among us, “the mediator and the fullness of all revelation” (Dei Verbum, 2). In him, the ancient blessing is fulfilled: God has made his face to shine upon us (cf.Num 6:25). As the Incarnate Son, the one mediator between God and man (cf. 1 Tim 2:5), Jesus does not simply speak to us about God; he shows us the very face of God and enables us to call him our Father. As he says to the apostle Philip, “whoever has seen me has seen the Father” (Jn14:9). May our desire to see the Lord’s face grow through our daily encounter with him in prayer, in meditation on his word and in the Eucharist, and thus prepare us to contemplate for ever the light of his countenance in the fullness of his eternal Kingdom.
Yes, it suggests the beatific vision when we see God as he is. He certainly is not referring to the Shroud image.
I couldn’t succeed in opening the URL. It went to the site of the URL OK, but ony showed up as a two panel blank screen, I’m guessing the webmaster may have been working on it at the tme.
I’d go a little further than Andy, check:- “Jesus does not simply speak to us about God; he shows us the very face of God and enables us to call him our Father.” I read this as meaning that we can see God in the incarnation or person of Jesus, who presents God in human form, which enables us to call God our Father. God is not some remote merely spiritual or idealised being, as perhaps represented in some other religions (c.f. Judaism, Islam, Platonism etc).
As a theologian Benedict XVI is roughly echoing what the late Protestant biblical scholar Ernst Käsemann meant when he wrote that the closest we can get to the manifestation of God is Jesus.
I succeeded in getting to the web-site second time round, suggest you check it out. Dan: “Is the WEBMASTER for the Archdiocese of Boston in quoting the Pope suggesting anything?” I’d say the webmaster certainly is, interpreting Benedict a little bit too freely! Subtle(?) implication! I don’t really think the illustration there had been the intent of Benedict’s original message, but more along the lines that I and others have indicated above.
Cardinal Sean O’ Malley is a Capuchin and whether the webmaster obtained his “Nihil obstat” is difficult to say. In 1988 the Carmelite Cardinal Anastasio Ballestrero is said to have been influenced by his religious order’s scepticism regarding “material supports” and there is some support for that point of view in the photograph where he appeared leaning over the Shroud. As everyone in the realm of Shroud studies knows, that led to disastrous consequences —- some say Professor Luigi Gonella was also sceptical —- and Ballestrero later admitted that he had been manipulated.
Whatever the case, the Volto Santo Church in Italy designed by architect Mario Botta (seen on the topboxdesign website) has the Shroud face at the altar. So perhaps the webmaster may have seen this as some justification for the image he posted. And then it is very different, for example, from Caravaggio’s first version (1601) of the “Supper at Emmaus”, with the post-Resurrection clean-shaven Christ, the rationale for this in the Gospel of Mark, chapter 12. His own idea about the appearance of Christ appeared in the second version (1606) of Emmaus.
People who don’t know about this are puzzled when they only see the first version. Some years ago, while I was looking at the original in London, a group of very young school children appeared and sat on the floor to look at it and learn something about its history. The first question the teacher asked the kids was why Christ was beardless.
The common idea of the bearded first-century Jew Jesus (very unlike the clean-shaven Romans) is kind of stuck in our minds and the webmaster did not have to look around for the best image.
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