Head of Christ

head of ChristThis is the face of Christ. Have you encountered him lately?

It seems appropriate that people encounter this Christian Petersen sculpture outside of our parish’s reconciliation chapel.

There was an interesting discussion on PrayTell touching on that personal relationship with Christ. I confess I didn’t follow it deeply. I think I caught some disparate threads …

Isn’t “personal relationship” evangelical Protestant lingo? Are we at ease with that?

Isn’t Ignatian spirituality all about that personal relationship? Did the evangelicals just steal it from the Jesuits?

My own sense is somewhat complicated. I think my first relationship with God was viewing him as a Father God. And I found the Holy Spirit appealing in a non-charismatic way.

But I did find using my imagination in prayer to be fruitful in my young adult years. I did image Jesus in my prayers, and over the years, I think I’ve finally arrived at a good relationship with the last person of the Trinity, the Second.

I think good art helps. Good art is incarnational. Jesus took flesh and lived among us, but that was millennia ago. The Word continues to come among us, but the main sense of our experience of Christ is through our ears. We hear the Word.

But good sculpture appeals to the eye. The parishioners here tell me that Christ’s head used to be mounted high on a wall. But with the 1999 expansion, it was removed to its present location:

reconciliation chapel

This is the perspective from the head of the line for Saturday confession. The candle next to the door would be lit. Most months the food collection would not be there. It’s another encounter, I suppose: a reminder of caritas for the penitent. Part of engaging that personal relationship, one might say.

If you click on that wiki-page linked above to the sculptor, close to the bottom is an unfinished clay piece he did for a Newman Club meeting in 1951.

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About catholicsensibility

Todd and his family live in Ames, Iowa. He serves a Catholic parish of both Iowa State students and town residents.
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