Spirituality Magazine

"Everyone is Looking at This Picture, and It Is, Indeed, Breath-taking."

By Brutallyhonest @Ricksteroni

The Anchoress sees beauty in a picture... but sees, and is able to describe as only she can, so much more:

Twice today I have been very moved to come across gloriously beautiful — dare I say transcendent — images, where the poignancy of the moment was movingly emphasized by the small unconscious movement of a single hand.

First, thanks to Deacon Greg, I saw the La Stampa photo of Pope Francis kissing a man so seriously disfigured that most of us would likely find him difficult to look at, and would turn away.

Everyone is looking at this picture, and it is, indeed, breath-taking.

But this is the image, a few frames later, that really grabbed my heart:


When you go to the slideshow, you see La Stampa’s headline reads “Pope Kisses a Man Plagued with Boils”, and that would be bad enough, but I suspect the poor man is really afflicted with neurofibromatosis, also known as Recklinghausen’s disease, which can cause deafness, difficulty walking and sometimes crippling pain.

If it is indeed neurofibromatosis, then it is very possible that this man has been shunned and disregarded for decades. Some people would even look at him and decide that his quality of life is likely so miserable, so socially valueless that it might not be worth living. Pope Francis — like his namesake before him, who famously kissed a leper — thinks differently, and he wants us to think differently, too. Throughout the slideshow you see that more than simply kissing this man, Francis clearly prayed over him.

A kiss is pretty special, true, but laying hands upon that which can repulse us, and allowing them to linger there, and then praying with and for that person — that’s a wholly different, deeper sort of unity. Where they stood may have been very crowded, but in this moment there was a peculiar intimacy of oneness, and the way this challenged man lays his own hand upon Pope Francis’ arm is eloquent of it.

A Pope laid his hands on a sick man, and a sick man laid his hand upon that Pope with a sense of utter trust, safety, familiarity and consolation.

Look at that hand, and how confidently relaxed it is. This man is not clinging to Francis; he is uniting with him.

Serious healing is going on here, though it may not be obvious. We believe in things visible and invisible, and healing can be visible or invisible, too. Perhaps what is being healed in this moment is decades of injury — rejection and derision — heaped upon this man from a world obsessed with beauty and perfect fitness, and less so with the soul.

She's not done. Go and see what else moved The Anchoress.  It'll move you as well.  Trust me.

God sees value and beauty where most of us do not.  Genuine, humble faith provides a window to that vision.

God grant us that faith.  The world so needs that faith. 


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