Wednesday, 22 February 2012

The Way of the Cross by a Polish Artist

In a pilgrimage to Poland that I had joined before - In the Foot Steps of John Paul II, one of the memorable parts of this trip was going to Czestohowa (pronounced as Chestohova).
We visited the the fortified monastery of the Pauline Fathers which houses the Black Madonna, a sacred icon known also as Jasna Gora or Our Lady of Czestochowa, and is more than 600 years old.
Our local guide quietly took us through the main altar area, along a special path for pilgrims, for a closer look of the sacred icon...
Many miracles are attributed to Jasna Gora's intercession. According to a German pilot's report who was detailed to bomb Czestochowa during WWII, a lady on top of the church was catching the bombs that were being dropped to destroy the church. The whole complex was spared from destruction.


We, then, walked out to go to the museums within the complex. This is what caught my attention: the "Way of the Cross" as portrayed by a Polish artist, with a historical commentary on Poland and world affairs. In his interpretation of the different stations, the artist has  transplanted the passion and death of Jesus into the Polish setting.
“Jesus is Condemned to Death”...“Jesus Takes Up His Cross”...using Polish-related backgrounds such as the clergy, the Black Madonna...
“Jesus Falls the First Time - Simon of Cyrene Helps Jesus Carry the Cross”...“Jesus is Met by His Blessed Mother”...
“Jesus Falls the Second Time”...“Jesus Consoles the Women of Jerusalem”...
aborted fetuses... as “Jesus falls the Third Time”
local tradition...as "Jesus waits to be crucified"...
and historical facts such as the extermination of the Jews in Auschwitz, under German occupation...“Jesus is nailed to the Cross”...
Here, Pope John Paul II and Our Lady and the rest of the Polish people surround the crucifixion...as “Jesus Dies on the Cross”...
“Jesus is Laid in the Arms of His Blessed Mother”...“Jesus is Laid in the Tomb”...
with the added scenes of the “Resurrection” and “Doubting Thomas”...
the “Multiplication of the Loaves of Bread and Fish”...the “Ascension into Heaven of our Lord.”


The season of Lent is an invitation to change.  May you have a grace-filled Lenten experience!

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