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The Light of the World

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The Light of the World

William Holman Hunt painted this fantastic image of Christ, the Light of the World, as an image of the Christ who seeks to enter into our hearts and our lives. Hunt was motivated by a Spanish poet, Lope de Vega, who wrote of the Christ who searches for us with ceasless care and yet we who seem to be continually putting off Christ until ‘tomorrow’.

 

Lord, what am I, that, with unceasing care,
Thou did’st seek after me, – that thou did’st wait,
Wet with unhealthy dews, before my gate,
And pass the gloomy nights of winter there.
O strange delusion ! that I did not greet
Thy blest approach, and 0, to heaven how lost,
If my ingratitude’s unkindly frost
Has chilled the bleeding wounds upon Thy feet.
How oft my guardian angel gently cried,
” Soul, from thy casement look, and thou shalt see
How He persists to knock and wait for thee ! “
And O ! how often to that voice of sorrow,
‘* To-morrow we will open ” – I replied,
And when the morrow came, I answered still
” To-morrow ” !

Christ knocks with a certain gentleness in the hope of being allowed access to our lives so that he may bring us his truth and his love. Christ stands in the hope of being invited in to dine with us, into intimacy with us.

Each parish in our country has been given a copy of the image as part of the legacy of the visit of Pope Benedict XVI. The pope came to invite us to allow our hearts to speak to God;s heart and allow God;s heart to speak to our own. What God seeks from us is love and intimacy, and that we knwo th beauty of friendship with him that makes our lives truly beautiful and filled with worth.

The image of Christ can be found in our Lady Chapel. Let us pray that the Christ who knocks at our door may find a welcome and may find a home.

You will be able to listen to a series of podcasts reflecting upon Hunt’s painting on cliftondiocese.com from next Sunday, 21 November – the feast of Christ the King.

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