Tuesday, 19 January 2010

The Holy Face at Manoppello: Sister Blandina Part 2

As yesterday's, this post based on the interview with Sister in the November 2009 issue of Inside the Vatican.

Difficulties that faced Sister Blandina:

As Sister says, these "came from the fact that it is impossible to recognise the face of the Manoppello Veil in the Holy Shroud while is is sometimes possible to recognise the face of the Shroud in the image of Manoppello, for example, in the shadow. In my opinion this dissimilitude is traceable to the fact that the Shroud shows the face of Jesus dead, whereas the Manoppello Veil shows the face of Jesus risen from the dead."

Sister was then asked whether it is dangerous to say to modern man that there is an authentic image of the Resurrected Lord. She replied:
"Yes, but we must say it. Also we must say that the Holy Face is the document providing evidence of Jesus' resurrection in the same way as the Shroud proves His passion and death on the cross. In my opinion the image on the Manoppello Veil cannot be Jesus face before death, since though it definitely shows the face of a living person, it is a face bearing the marks of death."

At this point in all humility I would have liked to have asked her to describe those marks in a little more detail. The Shroud shows the whole body, whilst the Veil image shows only the face. If there are marks of the Crown of Thorns, those were inflicted before the crucifixion; if there is a bruise on the left hand side of the nose, there are many points during the Passion when this could have been sustained. Can sister bring evidence to prove that the face of the person on the Manoppello Veil suffered death by crucifixion? Without such proof could, not one be forgiven for thinking that it may after all be the 'Veronica Veil', or since that is widely thought to be legend, a veil that was used at some point during the Passion to wipe the face of our Beloved Jesus before His crucifixion?

It may seem a strange thing to say but I think of the Holy Face at Manoppello, as I have always felt about the Shroud of Turin. Science may never prove that either of them is, or is not, the true Holy image of Our Lord. That doesn't matter either. My belief is that both images have been preserved because it is God's will that we may see them, and thus be drawn to contemplate and adore the human form and face of our Lord. But contemplation and adoration function at other deeper levels, as I believe our Holy Father was indicating in his addresses when he visited Manoppello. The Shroud and the Veil are holy and should be venerated so that they may help us to approach and perhaps reach those deeper levels.

All the above is not to say anything at all against the dedication of Sister Blandina. Far from it. In the final post of this 'Holy Face' series, I'll consider the final part of the interview with Sister about her own vocation, and I think you will see what I mean.

I have to go shopping now and it is a horrible wrench to leave the subject. I may edit and add to this post later.

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