Saturday, February 20, 2010

Secondo Pia as Simon Peter, Part Five

by Paul Badde, from the official publication of the Shrine of the Holy Face, Il Volto Santo di Manoppello, December 2009.

"At his feet the flickering light was concentrated on something of an indefinable quality, as the wind is able to capture the quavering of a burning bramble thicket in the bush. It had the appearance of golden bronze. If it had remained together with the other cloths on the stone slab, Peter would not have even seen nor felt it with his fingers, because it was very soft and delicate. Only with the light on the pavement was he able to become aware of it. It would not have been possible to notice it on the slab where no light had yet arrived. Because of the low entrance the tenuous rays of light were able to shine only on the pavement. On top of the stone slab the burial cloths remained in the darkness.

Only on the pavement had Peter been able to recognize something, and that which he saw was a fabric as delicate as a breath and so fine that Peter would not have even been aware of it had it remained lying flat on the ground. But it was rolled up, wound around itself. The greek word entetyligmenos which John used must have this meaning. An expression which thus clarifies at least one thing -- it wasn't flat. It was like a breath, but in some way was recognizable as an 'object', a 'material thing' which was captured in the dawn's early light. This is clear. Peter bowed down and picked it up. It was the precious fabric which had been placed on the face of Jesus, made from the finest silk from the sea. It was as light as the feather of an angel. When Peter picked it up he unrolled it and held it against the light coming from the entrance. How else could it be? He didn't direct it towards the darkness of the chamber, inside, but outside against the light. For it was a fabric of light. That reacted to the light.

That which Peter witnessed on that veil held in the direction of the morning light at that moment in the tomb suddenly made it as clear as the sun, no one had taken the Lord away from the tomb. Jesus was not stolen, taken away. Something totally new had happened in the world. That which Peter, in those hours of tenuous light on the first morning of Easter, had recognized on that transparent fabric, in the transparence against the light of the entrance, was an event that had never happened before. It was a veil 'not made by human hands' it would be said later. It was the True Image"

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