The Crucified of Today's World
Towards the end of 1997, Brother Damian Carrol, one of our senior brothers from our retreat house in Riverdale, New York, visited India and the State of Kerala, to conduct retreats and workshops for young Indian Passionists there.
Some of his hosts brought him one day to the ancient shrine of Holy Cross in the old city of Kochi. Portuguese seamen built the shrine centuries ago in thanksgiving for being saved from shipwreck during a storm in the Indian Ocean.
At the entrance of the shrine were three beggars sitting on the ground, hands outstretched, looking for an alms. "I had my camera with me and I wanted to take their picture," Damian said, "but I didn't want to invade their privacy, so I went into the shrine to see the plain old wooden cross there, surrounded by a multitude of candles."
Leaving the shrine Damian quickly took a photograph.
The picture remained a sign to him. The beggar's running sores and desperate pleading are reminders of the gripping poverty he saw in that country "When I see that picture, it touches me; it summarizes all the poverty I saw there."
The picture showed him something else, however. Just beyond the men shown in the photo was a vendor with a cross in his hand. And the poor beggar also had a cross around his neck. Are they not signs of something too? Something we may not always see?
When Brother Damian's picture was entered into an international photography collection, it was suggested that he call his picture "The Face of Poverty." Damian insisted on another name. He called it "The Crucified of Today's World."
Isn't that what Christians are called to do? To see the poor of this world, and their many faces, and recognize in them the Face of our Crucified Lord?
Victor Hoagland, C.P.
Editor, Compassion Magazine
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