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The Pope, a Prisoner, and Pain

The Pope, a Prisoner, and Pain

SEPTEMBER 28, 2015

/ Articles / The Pope, a Prisoner, and Pain

The messenger of Grace corporeally conveys it.

Below is Paul Zahl’s reflection on this picture:

The picture depicts with supreme empirical verification the transaction that took place between Pope Francis and a prisoner during Sunday’s visit to a state prison. Francis reconciles the core pain of the confined prisoner, vividly expressed in the ID bracelet and the corrosive lines of the tattoo, with his physical hold of the man’s hand. The messenger of Grace corporeally conveys it. Moreover, whenever pain and sin are reconciled–accepted and forgiven–by love, their “sting” is taken away. Reconciliation creates assimilation, as opposed to the splitting and compartmentalization engendered by judgement. Your pain becomes part of the whole, part of God, you could almost say, not a taboo’d aversion torturing the sufferer/perpetrator world without end. Pope Francis touched the pain and the two hands merged. Like lightning that otherwise sears and fractures, the pain was grounded.

Paul Zahl

Paul Zahl

The Very Rev. Dr. Paul F. M. Zahl is a retired Episcopal priest. He has written several books.

Paul Zahl's Full Bio
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