But let’s not forget that we also witness the beauty of Jesus every time we encounter one of His children, that is, our brothers and sisters. We see Jesus every time we reach out in love, whether it is to Jesus in His “most distressing disguises” in the poor, the suffering and the ill, or in the one who is downtrodden, marginalized, ostracized, bullied, or depressed. We see the beauty of Jesus in our friends and relatives, as well as in our Church family; we see His beauty residing within the brokenness of our own humanity, and we see His beauty in nature which can move us with awe at its magnificence. We see the beauty of Jesus when we love and when we are loved, and we see His beauty especially keenly when we forgive and are forgiven.
©Michele L. Catanese
* There were five film versions of Ben Hur. The first two movies were silent films made in 1907 and 1925. After the 1959 version with Charlton Heston, the remaining two renditions were a 2003 animated version and finally a 2016 attempt which was truly terrible. The movies are based on the book by (Civil War General) Lew Wallace, which is titled Ben Hur: A Tale of the Christ, written in 1880. In my opinion the 1959 film is excellent, but if you decide to read the book, be aware that it is rather different: the 1959 screenplay is powerful, however, and captures the essence of Lew Wallace’s original story and intention.
Note: Next post is on May 7.
1. This is one of my photos, taken in the northeastern coast of the North Island in New Zealand. This is a bay of the Tasman Sea. I chose it because it symbolizes the journey out to sea taken by Ben Hur.
2. This painting is called On The Road to Emmaus by Duccio di Buoninsegna, 1308-1311, Museo dell'Opera del Duomo, Siena. I chose it because Jesus looks rather ordinary. He does not appear to be in glory, perhaps drawing us into the lack of awareness of the two disciples, seeing Him as they did.
3. This is a painting by Julian Merrow-Smith (2015). He paints many stills of food, and there are multiple paintings of bread on a site called Postcards from Provence. I liked the simplicity of the painting. You can find it at https://shiftinglight.com/2015/10/bread_demo.html.
4. This image is called The Galilean Jesus, by Fr. William Hart McNichols. I chose it because it depicts Jesus in a way that feels informal and real. What I mean is that, while it is not intended to be a portrait for the very reasons I mentioned in the post, this image has a sense of the everyday reality of what Jesus must have been like. There is nothing outwardly spectacular about Him, but yet, there is great beauty. It seems to draw the viewer into the mercy and love which are in His eyes. You can find this image, and can purchase copies in a variety of mediums, at http://frbillmcnichols-sacredimages.com/featured/the-galilean-jesus-266-william-hart-mcnichols.html.
5. This is a painting by Vincent van Gogh called At Eternity's Gate painted in 1890 which was also the year of his death. Van Gogh had many inner struggles with depression and so one wonders if the subject in this painting somehow expresses his inner anguish. I chose to use it here because it depicts what I think is Jesus in a 'distressing disguise.' (St. Mother Theresa of Calcutta originated this expression.) The posture of the man seems to speak of suffering and yet one wonders if he is deeply in prayer. Either way, he is one of God's children, broken and in need, yet beautiful.
6. This photo was taken by my husband in Schulenburg, TX, during a wonderful street festival. I chose to use it here because Jesus is present in His people. Each of these people is someone in whom we can encounter Him.
7. Finally, another of my photos, this one taken in Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado. It seemed to be an appropriate finish to this post. It speaks of beauty, the cup of cold water we might offer, and opening our eyes to see all that surrounds us at every moment.