At the Carceri: The Face of Christ and His Open Side

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Yesterday morning, together with Leonard and Mark, my friends from the U.S., I visited the Carceri or hermitages hidden on the wooded slopes of Mount Subasio above Assisi. In a chapel that is part of the small monastic complex built there by Saint Bernardino of Siena in 1400, I discovered this beautiful fresco of the Precious Blood flowing from the pierced side of Jesus Crucified into a chalice held by an angel. I am always spellbound by depictions of the Holy Face of Jesus and of His Open Side. Here in Italy I find them everywhere.

Note that in this image Jesus is living. His eyes are open; He offers His Blood consciously, willingly, and with infinite love. The fresco is situated just above and behind a stone altar where Holy Mass would have been celebrated; it represents the very mystery that is actualized so often as the Eucharistic commandment of the Lord is carried out: "Do ye this in remembrance of me" (1 Cor 11:24).

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About Dom Mark

Dom Mark Daniel Kirby is Conventual Prior of Silverstream Priory in Stamullen, County Meath, Ireland. The ecclesial mandate of his Benedictine community is the adoration of the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar in a spirit of reparation, and in intercession for the sanctification of priests.

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