Not Just Something Physical

By Hery Junianto

As Xaverians, we are grateful; therefore we would like to give our thanks to the Lord for giving us a new saint in a modern time. This new saint is a sign of hope for any Christian that in the modern culture of our time, to be holy is still possible. His holiness is a reminder and an invitation for all of us that the identity of being a Christian lies in the path toward holiness.

Yeah, our new saint is Guido Maria Conforti. Besides, being a Bishop and the Founder of Xaverian Missionaries, he was an ordinary Christian. The way he lived out his Christian faith, probably, was not so different from our ways to live out our faith. The only thing that makes him different was his ability to see the beauty of God in crucified Jesus, in a moment when many of us, even the disciples, consider it as an ugliest moment of all humanity[1] and tend to run away from it.

His ability to see the beauty of God on the Cross seems to be in contrast with the modern understanding of beauty. Nowadays, when we are talking of beauty, we are talking of a physical appearance. It is just a matter of facial beauty. In Asia, for example, beauty is closely related to those who have white skin like snow and without any stain. Beauty is nothing else than Anne Curtis, Andy Eigenmann, Maria Rivera and so on. Their beauty makes them very famous in the Philippines because many people talk of their beauty. It is really normal and human as Cardinal Godfried Daneels said that the way into the culture of our times is through an appeal to beauty[2]. If one finds something beautiful, he/she is willing to spend a lot of time with it, even he/she will hold it. The modern people just see something/someone beautiful from physical and facial appeal.

Conversely, Guido Conforti did not only see Jesus’ face. Even, he did not know how the face of Jesus was. But he saw something deeper than just His face. He was attracted not by physical appearance of Jesus, nor was he attracted by facial beauty of Jesus; rather, he was impressed by the infinite love of God on the Cross. That is why he saw the cross as something attractive. One of his remarkable experiences was his experience of the “beautiful” and “attractive” cross in his childhood. As a child, the attractiveness of the cross made him comfortable to be close to the cross. He spent a lot of time just to look at the beautiful Cross. For him the Cross was not something ugly, even not scary. Yet, it was impressive and attractive. His heart was caught and held by the beauty of the cross. On the Cross, He saw Jesus as the beauty of God in person and the human face of God. He gladly put his heart to the beauty that he found on the Cross. It was nothing else than the fruit of his meditation upon the Cross. He really knew that by meditating upon the Cross, Jesus said many things to him, “I looked at Him, He looked at me, and He said many things to me”. Therefore, his experience of crucified Jesus helps us to see the beauty of God in Jesus. Hopefully, his experience may help us to find something beautiful on the Cross and deepen our Christian faith.

[1] Gerald O’Collins and James Kroeger, Jesus: A Portrait”, Claretian Publications, 2010,p.10

[2] ibid, p.1

One Comment:

  1. Conforti was a very practical man. believe me. hopefully we can live our own holiness the way he did. we are xaverian of the modern times as we beleive it. what makes a difference?

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