Tuesday, November 18, 2014
The Mission of Reconciliation
A parish priest writing in a bulletin for priests asks: Does the Church recall the feelings of the Sabine women in Roman 'history'?
Jacques-Louis David was a painter who found favor with Louis 16th, the King of France. When the French Revolution began he was a member of the revolutionary forces but when he saw the excesses of the Jacobin Club, the radicals, and the Girondins who wanted a more moderate course, both pro-revolution and fighting among themselves, he painted what we know as: The Intervention of the Sabine Women.
The French Revolution promised the French populous living in difficult times: Liberty, Equality and Fraternity--a better human life, but instead the revolutionary movement became divided, and violence and conflict developed. David the artist wanted to see this end: the message of his painting.
Romulus the founder of Rome and his fellow Romans had few women among them so they went to the neighboring tribe of the Sabines, who were gentle and meek, abducted their women for wives, and killed their men. The Sabines angered and in time invaded Rome. The war that issued is the story depicted in the painting by David.
The Sabine Women are in the middle of the painting asking for peace. On one side their former husbands, and their paternal families, on the other side were their present husbands and children. In the center of the painting you have the woman's father on the other side her husband and the father of her children. The women have no choice, and the tragedy is that they are asking for peace with their bodies and the bodies of their children.
In our society we don't have trust between the government and the citizens, lack of harmony between the rich and poor is increasing, and anger between those in the country and city deepens. The older generation, he says, doesn't want to lose control of the society or let it pass to others so they unite; the younger generation disregards what they hear and distrusts and resents what is going on. He wants to know what the Church is doing with this situation?
The Painting reminds the writer of the essential mission of the Church: to facilitate communication between God and humanity. Daily, seeing the conflict and hostility in our society he reflects on the desire of Jesus for reconciliation, and wants the Church to take a move active roll in the reconciliation.