With Christ in the Desert: Third Week of Lent

During each week of Lent 2012, FAN features images from a collage by Br. Jeffrey Wilson, TOR.

Prophet and Lion, Br. Jeff Wilson, TOR

Br. Jeffrey Wilson, TOR explains the symbolism of this portion of his collage.

Prophet and the lion: On the right of the collage, a prophet and lion stand on a cliff and look out over the scene. The pairing of the prophet and the lion represents truth and justice and the proper relationship between humans and the rest of creation. “The lion has roared, who would not fear? The Lord GOD has spoken, who would not prophesy?” (Am 3:8). “Let justice descend, you heavens, like dew from above, like gentle rain let the clouds drop it down. Let the earth open and salvation bud forth; let righteousness spring up with them! I, the LORD, have created this” (Is 45:8). “I will listen for what God, the LORD, has to say; surely he will speak of peace to his people and to his faithful. Love and truth will meet; justice and peace will kiss. Truth will spring from the earth; justice will look down from heaven” (Ps 85:9, 11-12).

The prophet is an image of Walter Seymour Allward’s sculpture, Justicia. The prophet standing on the cliff is inspired by Gustave Doré’s engraving, The Prophet Amos. The Prophet Amos pronounces various crimes committed by the nations: “Because they threshed Gilead with sledges of iron (Am 1:3); Because they exiled an entire population (1:6); Because they […] did not remember their covenant of brotherhood (1:9); Because he pursued his brother with the sword, suppressing all pity, persisting in his anger, his wrath raging without end (1:11); Because they ripped open pregnant women (1:13); Because they hand over the just for silver, and the poor for a pair of sandals; They trample the heads of the destitute into the dust of the earth, and force the lowly out of the way” (2:6-7). The crucifix that the prophet is holding represents the “Christian lens” of the prophet, that is, the Christian perspective and understanding of proper stewardship and care for God’s creation. This perspective is Christocentric and is reflected in St. Paul’s Christ hymn: “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation; for in him all things in heaven and on earth were created, things visible and invisible […] all things have been created through him and for him. He himself is before all things, and in him all things hold together” (Col 1:15-17).

The lion is an image of Sir Thomas Brock’s sculpture, Agriculture, at Queen Victoria Memorial, Buckingham Palace. The lion is inspired by several sources such as the lion being the king of the animal kingdom, the Lion of Justice, and the Lion of Judah. At first, it may appear that the lion is looking directly at the observer. However, upon closer observation, one discovers that the lion is actually looking over the observer’s shoulder. The prophet is looking over the violence of the scene while the lion is looking at the violence that is occurring back behind the observer in their society. The observer is invited to follow the lion’s gaze and examine the reality of one’s own situation. Concerning the relationship between humanity and the environment, Pope Benedict XVI explains, “This invites contemporary society to a serious review of its lifestyle, which, in many parts of the world, is prone to hedonism and consumerism, regardless of their harmful consequences. What is needed is an effective shift in mentality which can lead to the adoption of new lifestyles in which the quest for truth, beauty, goodness, and communion with others for the sake of common growth are the factors which determine consumer choices, savings, and investments” (Caritas in Veritate, 51).

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Published in: on March 11, 2012 at 5:00 pm  Leave a Comment  

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