Friday, 8 February 2008

Crucifix (2)

In the 1972 Jamaican cult classic "The Harder They Come" starring the singer Jimmy Cliff, the "hero" at one stage finds himself subject to a fairly merciless flogging whilst being held over a barrel. The film is very violent, but this scene is particularly shocking because, as the man is being flogged the director draws our attention to the fact that due to the pain of the incident, he wets himself. The scene ends (if I remember correctly) with the sight and sound of urine trickling down the barrel. We are meant to see the human vulnerability of the character, and the weakness of the body is so much more profound and shocking than gore and cries of pain. It is a good piece of cinema.

One of the reasons why I have shied away from watching Mel Gibson's "Passion", is that I fear it relies heavily on horror and gore. Whilst this may be profoundly disturbing and moving I'm not convinced it is necessary to be shown in film the horror of the crucifixion coupled with the human vulnerability and human nakedness of Christ in his final agonies? Will not Gibson's images haunt my further meditations on the sacred mysteries? Will my meditations not as a result become cheapened by visual imagery?

To feel even fleetingly a minute fraction of what Christ's Blessed Mother must have felt at Calvary, it is not images, but a piercing of the heart that is required and that is only going to come from following and loving Our Lord. I personally prefer to rest my gaze on the beautiful crucifix by Zurbaran.

A beautiful Christ, few wounds, little blood; but look at the horror of the emptiness and dark around the cross. Christ IS the only true light to guide us in the world, everything else is as false as a movie.


Mac McLernon said...

BTW, you're tagged for a meme.

WhiteStoneNameSeeker said...

I've not seen that painting before. I am struck by the veil-very bridal. I love the 'legend' that Christ was indeed veiled on the cross-against normal custom, because His mother removed her own veil and asked that her son be covered and the guard (maybe St. Longinus) relented.

I've tagged you.
God bless