The traveller who approaches it receives a vivid
impression. It is a large carving, somewhat more than life-size, with very
harmonious and serene lines. Something similar to the spirit of the authors of
icons happened to the carver. His prayer, his contemplation of the mystery of
Christ, Lord and Redeemer, was naturally prolonged in an work of art that
constitutes in itself a densely theological catechesis that introduces the
experience of the definitive triumph of love represented in it.
The anonymous author has left us the imprint of a
living crucified man. He has not given us the transcription of the painful
agony. This is a serene and victorious Christ who has made the tree of the
cross the seat of his definitive triumph. In biblical terms it could be said
that the Christ of Javier is a Johannine Christ, an image in which the two
sides of a single mystery of life and love have been inextricably united.
The Christ of Javier represents a transfigured
humanity. The incarnate Word triumphant over sin and death has carried his own
humanity, and ours with him, in his victory. Its contemplation produces a
Does Javier's Christ smile? It depends on the
perspective. Viewed from the bottom up, in the manner of a counter-posed shot,
no doubt. That is precisely the intended viewing posture. As the viewer gains
height above the image, the smile gradually fades. And if you look down from
above, as if in a dive, you might even say that the expression becomes a little
I believe that the
Christ of Javier is kind to the humble. He has regained his universal lordship.
He has been raised on earth as a sign of universal redemption. He offers a
cordial and comforting welcome that can only be given from the awareness of the
neediness of those who ardently seek it and need it. He is the Lord of the
poor, of the unfortunate, of those who, bound by the thousand wounds of life,
cling to the base of the wood as to a plank of salvation. On the other hand,
those who settle in their own sufficiency, fatally unaware of their meagre
pittance, are not received by the Lord of the poor.