Tuesday, January 4, 2011
On My List of Essential Reading for the Next Five Centuries At Least
The Face of God, the Rediscovery of the True Face of Jesus on the Holy Face of Manoppello, by Paul Badde, Ignatius Press, San Francisco, 2010
Paul Badde, an extremely accomplished journalist, came upon a source which revealed Christ in a new way to this generation, although this source had been well known to generations past -- an image on both sides of a veil which reveals (and conceals) Christ marvelously yet paradoxically, enigmatically yet convincingly. This source is the "mother of all icons". It became Paul Badde's task to investigate and report on this source -- but he went further. He took on the difficult task of explaining and interpreting this source -- while remaining a working journalist for a secular newspaper with the exceptional responsibility of covering for a German audience Rome and the Vatican where resides a Pope from their homeland.
This source, known in times past as the image of the Veronica represented in the sixth station of the cross, portrays the image of Jesus for all time, was publicly displayed to huge crowds in Rome at least from the 11th to the 16th centuries, was the focus of Roman pilgrimages, the finale of Dante's Divine Comedy, portraying a foretaste of beatific vision.
Badde recounts his own discovery, paralleling the rediscovery by Christendom of its most important relic, building on the work of those before him and around him, including apostles, evangelists, saints, popes, rogues, Martin Luther, Franciscan friars, Jesuits, Trappistines as well as the wise and loving counsel of his "Beatrice and Virgil" - his wife Ellen. See if you can discount his astonishing conclusion that this source is the "face cloth" (sudarium) found by Peter and John in the not so empty tomb on Easter morning. Read his book in its first english language edition which is beautifully published by Ignatius Press with many fine color photos of the Holy Face of Jesus.