Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Jesus and the Modern Office Man

One of the highlights of my recent trip to Philadelphia was this statue behind St. Charles Seminary.

In it, Jesus is flanked by a kneeling gentleman in a double-breasted suit with a stethoscope around his neck and a book at his feet.

Initially, I assumed that the gentleman was a saint and that the stethoscope meant that he had been a doctor, and I scrunched my brow to think which 19th or 20th century saint had been a doctor.

To the contrary, though, the seminary residents told me that "Jesus and the Modern Man" was erected in the early 20th century and that the man was simply a representative "modern man." The stethoscope and book were symbols of the most modern things of that time.

Though I was slightly disappointed with this explanation (even asking two separate residents just for confirmation), I still found the notion of a man amidst modernity walking with Jesus to be both fascinating and energizing.

In a sense, it was as though the man not only carried this modernity in his possessions, but also incorporated it into his relationship with Jesus, even perhaps therein making that relationship fuller.

(It sometimes seems to me that modern elements can impede our relationship with Jesus. What a challenge to use them to assist that relationship! What an insight!)

A hundred years ago, medicine boasted many of the most cutting-edge technologies. What technologies would join it today? I like to think of the technology with which I'm surrounded at my office and the related ideas as being among this group.

Could I picture myself at my desk in my office in this modern man's place? Can I use these modern elements to grow closer to Jesus and to help others in the same?

1 comment:

  1. The statue “Jesus and the Modern Man” can be interpreted in many ways. I personally see this artwork as Christ offering the path for Modern Man to take. The kneeling position of Modern Man shows subservience to Christ while the hand placed over the breast shows Modern Man’s heartfelt surrender to the Savior’s will. Science and knowledge (symbolized by the stethoscope and book, respectively) are gifts from God and must be thoughtfully used by Modern Man on the pathway to salvation shown by Christ.

    I truly believe this statue is more relevant today than when it was fashioned almost a century ago. With the state sanctioned medical abortions of the unborn - With the passage of pro euthanasia laws in our country – and With the misuse of technology and knowledge for self-aggrandizement - a secular eclipse has settled over our country. Only through the pathway shown by Christ will we find our way out of darkness.

    Nicholas Mancini
    Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary


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