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Christ's Blessing (Detail)

Giovanni Bellini

This picture is a detail from Christ’s Blessing by the Italian painter Giovanni Bellini. He was born in Venice around 1430 and lived until 1516. Giovanni was the founder of the Venetian School and was well respected in his own lifetime as well as afterwards. His depiction of natural light was particularly pioneering. This picture was painted in 1460 and is currently housed in the Louvre, Paris.

[ Larger Version of Christ’s Blessing ]

Fear is a very powerful force in our lives. Fear of death. Fear of failure. Fear of humiliation. Fear of things that, once past, we realize were utterly trivial. Fear, sometimes, of living life to the full.

Of course, we all fail at some time in our lives. We fail to meet the expectations others have of us, and we fail to live up to our own ideals. In fact we're often like the Apostles hiding in the Upper Room just after the Resurrection. We've been told that Jesus has risen and that he has conquered death. We've been told that he goes before us and will meet us on the journey, but we still wait in fear.

Christ’s response to the Apostles was firstly to reproach them for their failure to believe. Then he told them to go out to the whole world and proclaim the Good News. He said that they would pick up snakes in their hands, and be unharmed if they were to drink deadly poison. The same is true for us, so let’s go, and let’s take Christ’s blessing.

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