today we celebrate prison awareness sunday (and for the week). as i look to my wrist with the stamp residue left behind from my visits at the jail…i am reminded, that this is merely a symbol of my times spent at the jail. i have spent time with our brothers and sisters behind bars, sat with them in their cells, prayed with them, laughed with them, cried with them, and merely listened to them. may we pray that more may feel the desire to visit those imprisoned, and may we all learn to challenge ourselves to be more compassionate and to be people of mercy to ourselves and to one another.
the “christ of maryknoll” icon stands out to me, in my mind today, and here, it is explained:
Robert Lentz, the acclaimed iconographer, has created an original work of art called “Christ of Maryknoll.” When Mr. Lentz began painting the new icon for the cover of a forthcoming Orbis book, Christ in the Margins (Summer 2003), he planned on calling it “Christo Mojado,” (Christ the Wet-back) but soon realized that the emerging Christ-figure represented the poor and marginalized throughout the world and the people who serve them.
Because of his love and appreciation for Maryknoll and Orbis Books, Mr. Lentz decided to name the icon “Christ of Maryknoll.” His inspiration, in his words, follow:
”I have named this icon ‘Christ of Maryknoll’ because Maryknoll and Orbis Books mean so much to me. Both endeavor to see the Christ among the least of us, and to serve the Christ who lives in the margins of this world. Maryknoll priests, brothers, sisters, and lay people have been imprisoned in China and elsewhere for their work among the poor, the broken, the oppressed; Orbis has taken great risks to extend the Maryknoll vision. I hope this icon will bring inspiration to all those who share in that vision. The icon does not make clear which side of the fence Christ is on. Is he imprisoned or are we? Through our cultural institutions and personal lives we all place barriers between ourselves and true happiness. We and our institutions also try to imprison Christ in various ways, to tame him and the dangerous memories he would bring us of our goals and ideals. The Christ of Maryknoll cannot be tamed.”
– Robert Lentz, September 11, 2002
for those imprisoned, that love and forgiveness may surround them, that integration back into society may follow them, and that they may always be aware of God’s love and compassion for them. // we pray to the Lord. // Lord, hear our prayer.