Just before the Christmas break the latest and largest painting was installed in the college chapel. It is Christ in Majesty. In painting this and placing it behind the crucifixion I had in mind two things: first that we are on a pilgrimage from this earthly life to the heavenly. In this life Christ bears our suffering and in the next we partake of his divine nature. We cannot complete this journey in this life, but we can move along the path by degrees by participation in the sacrificial life. 'In the earthly liturgy we take part in a foretaste of that heavenly liturgy which is celebrated in the holy city of Jerusalem toward which we journey as pilgrims, where Christ is sitting at the right hand of God, a minister of the holies and of the true tabernacle; we sing a hymn to the Lord's glory with all the warriors of the heavenly army.' [Sacrosanctum Concilium, 8]
Second is to provide a focus during the liturgy of Christ as victim and Christ as King, sitting on his heavenly throne. The words from the Mass are: 'In humble prayer we ask you, almighty God: command that these gifts be borne by the hands of your holy Angel to your altar on high in the sight of your divine majesty, so that all of us who through this participation at the altar receive the most holy Body and Blood of your Son may be filled with every grace and heavenly blessing.' If you look at the foot of the cross there is a six winged seraph bearing the sacrificial victim up to heaven.
All that we have to do now is change the lights so that we have more discreet spotlamps, rather than the single suspended light.
Fr Anthony, a priest from St Benedict's Abbey, Still River, prepares for Mass