The Shroud of Turin is once again on display for faithful Catholics and even the non-faithful to visit and contemplate the mystery of the shroud’s origins. In the traditions of Catholic belief, we believe that in some miraculous intervention of God’s power, the Shroud of Turin was infused with the image of the crucified Jesus while it was reposed in the tomb. For secular believers the shroud represents an anomaly of artistic techniques or is even suggested as an example of superlative trickery in the manipulation of the image that is present on the shroud.

Regardless of the inclination non-believers might have regarding the authenticity of the Shroud’s Divine Image, this author believes in the possibility of Divine revelation through a miracle of the Shroud of Turin. Our Catholic faith is established on the foundation of miracles. Namely, the most incomprehensible miracle of the Incarnation provides Christianity with the cornerstone of God’s miraculous intervention into the temporal sphere of man’s existence. As a faithful believer in the Incarnation of Jesus Christ, God becoming a man, the Shroud of Turin is just another example of God’s intervention into history to reveal Himself in order for us to have a deeper appreciation and understanding of our Catholic faith. I don’t think I am alone in this belief either. According to the New York Times, the Shroud of Turin has already drawn over two million reservations for visitors to Turin during the period of the Shroud’s exposition.

Of the most prominent visitors already to visit the Shroud, Pope Benedict XVI, made his pilgrimage late last week. The Holy Father said the Shroud is an, “extraordinary icon” with a compelling message for the Church and the world. Such an exclamation by the head of the Catholic Church should not come as any shock or surprise. The Catholic faith is imbued with many signs and symbols that draw the believer to a deepening of religious faith as part of the journey that leads us more deeply to God. The Shroud of Turin, is indeed one of the most sublime but yet visible signs and symbols of the eschatological reality the Catholic faith offers to us as faithful followers.

While most visibly, the Shroud of Turin represents Christ Crucified through the infusion of the image of Jesus, wrapped in a burial cloth. However, the image of Christ’s suffering and death is only part of the miraculous message the Shroud of Turin proclaims by its entire existence. The Shroud also proclaims, the power of the Eternal Father, in raising Jesus from the dead. The Shroud is a sign and indeed a symbol of God’s never ending , paternal affection for the crucified Son and the unlimited power of the Holy Spirit wielded by the Father in raising Jesus to new life through the power of the Resurrection.

While there are those individuals and groups that maintain the Shroud of Turin is a tattered relic of Catholic antiquity in reality it is the visible sign of a transcendent faith that endures beyond physical death and calls everyone to eternal life with a loving Father.

Skeptics maintain the Shroud of Turin is an example of artistic manipulation and perhaps even underhanded trickery with the intent to deceive anyone that views the Shroud. On the contrary, the Shroud is a magnificent representation of God’s love, mercy and power manifested through the physical resurrection of Jesus from the dead. The Shroud of Turin is a conduit for miraculous transformations of faith in the Church, in Christ and ultimately the love of the Father.

While the Shroud of Turin is on public display for a limited amount of time, the large amount of pilgrims anticipated to visit the Shroud cannot be dismissed as a secular pilgrimage of artistic interest. Those pilgrims are coming to Turin, because they believe in the power of miracles, especially in the miracle of the Paschal Mystery which is the ultimate celebration of our Catholic faith.

The Shroud of Turin is not a tattered relic of Catholic antiquity. It is a sign and symbol of the transformational results of the Sacraments, especially death with Christ in baptism and resurrection in new life through the Sacraments and the life of the Church.

The Shroud of Turin loudly proclaims Christ’s victory over death and echoes our Easter salutation: The Lord is Risen, Alleluia! Alleluia! He is risen as He said, Alleluia! Alleluia!

Hugh J.McNichol is a Catholic author and journalist writing on Catholic topics and issues. He attended Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary in Philadelphia, where he studied both philosophy and theology. He writes frequently at http://verbumcarofactumest.blogspot.com & http://nothing-left-unsaid.blogspot.com . Hugh writes about his Irish Catholic upbringing and educational experiences at http://graysferrygrapevine.blogspot.com   He has contributed works to Catholic News Agency, Catholic Online, The Irish Catholic, Dublin, the British Broadcasting Company, London and the Philadelphia Bulletin, Catholic Exchange, Pewsitter.com, Blogger News Network & The Catholic Business Journal,CatholicMom.com. & Catholic.net Comments are always welcome at hjmn4566@gmail.com

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