Good Friday and The Moral Significance of the Human Face

Good Friday and The Moral Significance of the Human Face

I recall having a dialog with a younger woman who claimed that she didn’t imagine in God.  “If you don’t imagine in God,” I stated to her, “then what do you imagine in”?  “I imagine in advantage,” was her response. “Then,” I stated, “All it is advisable do is to place a face on advantage”.  Now, I can not declare to have performed an necessary function in her subsequent conversion, each to a perception in God and to the Catholic Church, however I feel I used to be on stable floor by alluded to the ethical significance of the face.

We want greater than an abstraction to heat our hearts and encourage us to do good issues.  My good friend went on to put in writing two very superb books in reward of marriage and the household.  The final need of all human beings is, someday, to see the face of God.  But in our pilgrimage, we will see reflections of His face within the face of others. 

St. Veronica noticed the face of God and was moved, in accordance with the 6th Station of the Cross, to wipe His face.  Jesus confirmed His gratitude by leaving an imprint of His face on the fabric she used.  Veronica (we have no idea her actual title) is so named as a result of Jesus supplied her with a “true picture” of his countenance, one that will final lengthy after his Resurrection and would provide the world a reminder of the ethical significance of the human face.  The face of Jesus on Veronica’s veil gave the world a message that could be a continuation of the Gospel. It doesn’t converse in phrases however by way of the feelings, character and soul of a residing God.  Likewise, the face we present to others speaks extra convincingly than phrases.

The mainstream philosophers haven’t given a lot consideration to the ethical significance of the face.  But this was not the case with Max Picard (1888-1965), a Swiss psychiatrist/thinker.  He is named the “Poet of the Human Face”.  His ebook, The Human Face, was printed in 1929.  When we have a look at a human face, Picard tells us, our complete being is struck, for it’s an enchantment calling and a holding the soul collectively.  God is in each face.  Thus, we will expertise a face-to-face relationship with God, the intervening house being crammed with love.  Sadly, Picard avers, this house has been expelled within the trendy world.  Where God had dwelled, man has intruded. The lack of the love that united man with God, on this face-to-face relationship has condemned trendy man to loneliness.

There may be little doubt that the house between the face of St. Veronica and that of Jesus was crammed with love.  Moreover, that interpersonal love serves as a mannequin for all face-to-face human relationships.  And but, within the modern world the face-to-face relationship is disappearing as individuals fixate on materials possessions that can’t smile again and reveal their inside being.  The face has been changed by the façade.

Another thinker who devoted a substantial amount of consideration to the human face is Emmanuel Levinas, a French thinker born in Lithuania and of Jewish descent.  He has formulated a “philosophy of the face” during which the place to begin of philosophy is wanting into the face of one other.  In his ebook, Totality and Infinity, he states that the primary phrase of the face is “Thou shalt not kill”.  This is a commandment that’s inscribed within the very construction of each face.  It is a commandment that’s extra compelling than phrases.  Another command written into the face is, “Do not go away me in my solitude.”  “To my thoughts,” Levinas writes, “the Infinite comes within the signifying of the face. The face signifies the Infinite.  According to Levinas, within the entry to the face, there’s additionally an entry to the concept of God.

The central irony of the Stations of the Cross, is that the commandment to not kill, written within the face of Jesus and inscribed on Saint Veronica’s veil, was unrecognized and contradicted by those that crucified Him.  Jesus, nevertheless, bequeathed a message for all of us to heed.  Look into the face of the opposite and you will see a command to be loving.  The face tells a reality which expresses an ethical command.  It is claimed that it’s troublesome to lie when an individual is wanting into the face of the opposite.  The reality of the face, when denied, will hang-out the liar very a lot because it did for the narrator in Edgar Allan Poe’s Tell-Tale Heart.

Rene Magritte, a Belgian artist, has accomplished a number of work depicting a person and a lady in an embrace, whereas their heads are fully lined by a white fabric.   They can not see one another’s face.  The photos are icons of right this moment’s world of alienation during which individuals stay strangers to one another.  This theme has been repeated many instances by a wide range of artists.  Another approach of expressing isolation, loneliness, and alienation, is to not have of face-to-face relationships.

Saint Veronica provides right this moment’s world a critically necessary lesson.  She is telling us that the best way to like begins with face-to-face relationships.  We should take the time to have a look at one another’s face. Then, we’ll see the portrait of a soul, and one which displays the Love God has for all who’re created in His likeness.



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