By Catholic Digest Staff
Feast Day: July 25
At first glance, the two images look nothing alike. One, a man on horseback, uses his sword to strike a fatal blow to a fearful looking man, crouching below. The other: a peaceful pilgrim standing with staff in hand. But upon closer inspection, it becomes clear that both images portray the same man: St. James. These distinctly different portrayals are not due to the holy mood swings of St. James’ but to the interpretations of the man by those devoted to him. Christians of medieval Spain sought to rally behind the murderous image of their patron in their effort to eliminate the Islamic population of Spain. But the true nature of James’ message lies in the more tranquil depiction of the saint. The pilgrim James speaks to Muslims and Christians alike and represents our hopeful journey toward peace armed, as a medieval sermon stated, only with love.