Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Taking Up the Cross

Francois Duquesnoy, St. Andrew
French, 1629-1633
Vatican City, St. Peter's Basilica
Then he said to all,
"If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself
and take up his cross daily and follow me.
For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it,
but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it.
What profit is there for one to gain the whole world
yet lose or forfeit himself?"
Luke 9:23-25

It's never easy to take up the cross, nor should it be. Sometimes it will lead you to laying down your own life for the sake of the Name.

St. Andrew by Francois Duquesnoy (at right).
Duquesnoy was one of three other sculptors employed by Bernini to create the colossal statues that stand in the niches built into the gigantic piers at the crossing (where nave and transepts intersect) of St. Peter's Basilica.
According to tradition, after preaching the Gospel in what is today Turkey and the Balkans, St. Andrew, brother of St. Peter, was crucified on an X-shaped cross during the reign of Nero.
As with the other three piers and their related statues, they are part of an amazing statement of the faith which Bernini developed in his designs for the furnishing of the crossing area. One of the greatest art history teachers I ever had, Irving Lavin, has written extensively on this design. Some of his work may be found at this link . For the specific information on the crossing, its niches and statues, follow this path (for some reason the precise link can't be copied): click on "Library" from the links at the left side of the page, then on the image of the cover of "St. Peter's in the Vatican" (red cover with circular image of the basilica, second from the right in the second row), then "The Crossing Piers" hyperlink.