The image Rebuild My Church is a modern interpretation of one of the miracles experienced by St. Francis. During a pilgrimage to Rome, Francis had a mystical vision of Jesus Christ in a dilapidated church, just outside of Assisi. The icon of a crucified Christ came alive and said to him, ”Francis go and repair my house, which as you can see, is falling into ruin”.

God has a way of providing for us exactly what we need and again we find ourselves in need of a guiding light. My image brings the tale of St. Francis to a contemporary time inundated with countless churches closing and others crumbling due to a lack of attendance and faith. We are once again in need of rebuilding.

You view the story in our lifetime. St. Francis, now depicted as Pope Francis, prays to an animated crucifix in the destroyed Our Lady Help of Christians Church (Heavenly Vision Ministries) in the Larimer neighborhood of Pittsburgh. Once a place of worship, it is now a symbol of the hardship and neglect the church and community have undergone in recent years. Upon close inspection of the image, you find symbolism in the architecture and environment. The modern buildings peering in through the crumbling rooftop represent the attitude of the modern world, superseding the ideals of our sacred traditions. The wolf, which is another symbol of St. Francis, represents the fact that the modern Francis has not yet tamed the problems of our contemporary church. You will also see in the architecture three pillars on the left side and one larger pillar on the right. The three pillars are leaning and breaking, while the largest pillar supporting a fisherman’s net bears the weight of the structure; in Pope Innocent III’s mystical dream, Francis physically held up the church. Symbolically, the fate of the church is now resting on Pope Francis. The hammers at Christ’s feet, which are all different, represent the fact that we cannot rely on one man to repair all of the problems. We must all pick up our hammers and become carpenters of faith.

In the image, you are peering into the church; through all the controversy and tribulations, people are still interested and actively seeking truth. As the vines are reaching for the light, so too are the disenchanted, uncertain, and skeptical. We are all peering through and seeking the Light, Christ.
© 2011 Christopher Ruane Photography & Fine Art.  All Rights Reserved.
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