|Pantocrator, by Arcabas: La Salette
Basilica, France, sanctuary ceiling.
All the light came from the appearance crucifix she wore on her chest. Before speaking, our Weeping Mother appears to Maximin and Melanie showing them her Son on the cross, radiant with the light of the resurrection.
An attractive face
From the front doors of the Basilica on the Holy Mountain in France, you can see clearly the imposing face of Christ in glory, painted onto the ceiling of the sanctuary by the artist, Arcabas. It fills the center of the apse and seems to look directly at us no matter where we move. It is an invitation for us to approach him. But the closer we get, the more his face lengthens and becomes human (due to the proportions of the dome on which it is painted). Of course this is an optical illusion but what a marvelous image for us! It is the experience into which each of us can immerse ourselves when we read the Word of God.
The closer we get to Christ, the less overwhelming and the more human he becomes. That's the One, "her Son," whom Mary came to introduce us to at La Salette. He opens for us the Great News News that his mother speaks of in her message. We know from his incarnation that nothing human is alien to him. His own name, Jesus, means "the Lord saves". and he lives in a free and responsible humans, in passionately loving and foolish people like us.
The apostle Peter said without fear to his judges: " There is no salvation through anyone else, nor is there any other name under heaven given to the human race by which we are to be saved" (Acts 4:12).
We are reconciled by the Lord
Each year, through the liturgical cycle, the Church helps us to discover the mystery and gift that is reconciliation in many ways. For some, their reconciliation is a long and difficult path, a path of truth and darkness, a path of excitement, doubt and misunderstanding. But it is a path that Jesus himself walks
|Pantocrator, view from a distance|
with us through the darkest days into the light of the resurrection.
Maximin’s own father, who removed God from his life for twenty years, suddenly discovered that God had never stopped walking along with him through his problem-filled life.
As at Emmaus
As a result of the apparition of La Salette, it was for some as if God himself had walked on the roads of the very village of La Salette. They could suddenly feel him echoing his mother’s words, “Come near. Don’t be afraid.” By God’s grace they began to believe that there was still hope – even for themselves!
During the Easter Season we followed Jesus on his post-resurrection journeys, including walking with him and two of his disciples on the road to Emmaus. The Gospel tells us: "Jesus came and walked with them." If we are careful to notice, this experience of “meeting on the road” happens whenever we make the effort to reach out to another in need. Walking with another, listening with respect and patience can become, for both of you, an Emmaus event – an opportunity to experience personally to reconciliation Jesus promises.
It is in giving that we receive
One day, Abbé Pierre met a man who way considering committing suicide because his life had no hope or meaning. He invited the young man to come with him to serve the poorest of the poor, to help them out of their misery. In reaching out to those needy people, this dejected man remarkably regained his own sense of dignity and hope. It is so true that, as St. Francis of Assisi reminds us, “It is in giving that we receive.” That’s the way of God’s love, the pattern of living shown to us by Jesus, the Son of Mary, our Weeping Mother.
Cana by Arcabas: narthex, side aisle painting, La Salette Basilica, France.
(Translated, edited and Reprinted with permission from
the La Salette Publication, “Les Annales”, Jan-Feb, 2009, pg. 9)