Universalis

Image is nothing but an image

People Flock To See Supposed Image Of Virgin Mary-Image Appears On Chicago Expressway Underpass
http://www.nbc17.com/news/4389444/detail.html

Another point of debate and argument if such 'evidence' can be considered as a miracle and if people should affix their faith on such a sighting.

A priest once shared with me, about how he was invited to a home because the owner claims that a holy face of Jesus could be seen on the reflection on his wall when a mini spotlight is switched on.

The priest was amused but nevertheless told him off, that to put value or faith into such a picture is demeaning to Jesus, simply because by virtue that Jesus can be "switched on or off" like an entertainer. And he is now the god for being able to create Jesus' "presence" in his house.

Likewise, in the article above in which "mary" appears, I find it ridiculous. As it is, the image has no real image much less to be compared to Mother Mary, but with all the beautiful statues and pictures, why would Mother Mary need to "apparate" herself as a blurry image on a wall? When from past experiences we know that She has no qualms in appearing to people, if Her intentions are to motivate and remind people of prayers and sacrifices?

By and large, I suppose everyone of us are constantly seeking to see some miracles in our lives, and hoping that there are real signs that our Catholic faith is on the 'right track'. But if our faith is in the right place, surely such images are meaningless.

Suddenly the Jesus' image left on the clothe of the woman who wiped His brow on his way to His crucifixion came to mind. But that can be justified because the reason given was that Jesus left that as a form of gratitude to the woman, and so He left His image there as a memorial.

As a bottomline, my point is that if God wants to remind us of His presence in our life, even if He were to create any form of images on anywhere, it cannot replace the real thing. And so we should not put too much values into them.

4 comments:

ChrisOw said...

Images play an important part in Catholic faith. Our faith is one in which all the senses play a part.

In the Eastern church, icons are taken very seriously -- they are portals into the transcendent.

So it is dangerous to trivialise images.

That said, it is also possible for people to over-rate images. Incidents of the kind mentioned above are hardly new. They can occur in the unlikeliest of places. Sometimes they might be mere projections of the human mind. We should seek natural explanations first, and supernatural ones only after natural explanations prove insufficient. So there is probably some simple natural explanation for this phenomenon.

The relationship between faith and miracles is too complex to be dealt with in a pithy comment.

Suffice to say that one without the other is somehow incomplete.

Besides insofar as our faith rests fundamentally on a Risen Jesus who is alive, then we are miracle-believers already.

Nick Teo said...

Speaking of Eastern Church, Father Clifford (Franciscan) mentioned that throughout their history, there are no record of sightings or miracles...anyone has any comments?

irene said...

is eastern church the one that prays in greek? possibly their faith is so strong that they have no need of miracles etc to affirm themselves.

anyway, sometimes, people need miracles and sightings to strengthen their faith. i think nick was saying at a prayer meet once about ... people waiting for a specific incident/moment that sparks off their faith. yes, images, miracles, sightings etc are important but i think we shouldn't put all our faith in them.

i agree with chrisow that "sometimes [images] might be mere projections of the human mind". these days, so many things happening that makes us doubt somewhat the presense of god. i read somewhere about the brain somehow making people see things that are not there, in response to a strong, (un)consious desire/need. therefore, in response to the need to affirm god's presense, brain conjures up images. why other people can see them? mass hysteria. like in history's witch hunts. people imagined they saw spirits cos they were affected by the general atmosphere of the place.

p.s. apologies for incoherence. i'm surfing multiple windows currently so a bit distracted.

ChrisOw said...

The Eastern church is diverse, and they have many different rites of great antiquity and languages. They differ from the more homogenous west where only one rite prevails -- the Latin.

We are Latin rite Catholics too since the basis for our rite is the Roman Missal which is in Latin.

The Eastern Church has its miracles, signs, and wonders too. See http://www.unicorne.org/orthodoxy/septembre02/miraclelight.htm