“It was because a man lay on the road . . .”

A painting or a song can be so powerful.  The picture below can be found on the cover of the first volume of Fire of Mercy by Erasmo Leiva-Merikakis, a Trappist monk.  I have been meditating on it this Lent.  I know I have posted about this picture before, but can’t help sharing it with you again.

Good Samaritan

This is how the back of the book describes this picture:

The book’s cover portrays Christ as the Good Samaritan in an illumination taken from the mid sixth-century Syrian Codex Rossanensis. The fire of God’s mercy, poured out without reserve by the Father into the Heart of his incarnate Word, impels the Son’s eager gaze earthwards.  Christ Jesus, Son of God and Son of Mary, the living ‘image of the invisible God’ in whom ‘the whole fullness of divinity dwells bodily’ (Colossians 1:15, 2:9), bends down his sun-like nimbus—the very splendor of his glory, inscribed with the cross of his suffering—in a full ninety-degree angle, to show the perfection of His descent among us.  The eternal Lord of the ages thus moves into position to nurse with divine tenderness the green body of decaying humanity, prostrate with festering wounds: ‘Through the tender mercy of our God, the Dawn from on high has visited us, to give knowledge of salvation to those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death’ (Luke 2:78f).  For his part, the dazzling angel has found a new mode of praise: to stand by his Master, marveling and ministering as he holds the gold bowl of grace and compassion, awestruck at the depth of the Word’s condescension.  What even angelic hands cannot touch unveiled, that Christ lavishes with open gesture upon the flesh and soul of his beloved brother, sin-wounded man.

Sometimes I just sit and meditate on how I am that green man lying in the road and try to imagine Christ standing over me pouring out His mercy–that even the angels cannot touch–upon me.  Peguy says: “It was because a man lay on the road that a Samaritan picked him up.”  It is because we lay on the road that Christ picks us up . . .

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