The angel in the stone


It is said that one day that the great artist Michelangelo, strolling in a courtyard of Florence, saw a block of rough stone covered with dust and mud. He stopped suddenly to look at it and said: “An angel is hidden in this mass of stone. I want to bring him out!” And he began to work with his scalpel to give shape to the angel he had glimpsed. So it is with us. We are still masses of rough stone, often with layers of dust and grime. God the Father looks at us and says: “Hidden in this piece of stone is the image of my Son, I want to bring it out”.

Is it not true for our life? For us however it is not about the attaining an abstract beauty of building a beautiful statue, but about bringing to light and rendering ever more resplendent the image of God that sin tends continually to cover. We are God’s masterpiece, his work of art but he needs to keep chipping away at us. Hidden in the ugliness of death and sin is the light of the Resurrection if we are willing to wait out until Holy Saturday. Each of us must fight our own demons, struggle with our own sadness and grief. We do this as we keep vigil. To be vigilant requires a certain level of endurance and patience. It invites us into a world that asks us to savour the presence of God. To keep vigil means that we have a purpose for watching and waiting. And during our Holy Week, we keep different kinds of vigil. Like the apostles in the Garden, we recall the events of the crucifixion and ponder the meaning in God’s plan of salvation. The challenge in keeping vigil is to endure the waiting whilst holding onto faith that God is also in the midst of the moment. There is a challenge to keep vigil when we know that we too are capable of betraying and handing over Jesus just like the disciples did.
The Resurrection promises that things can always be new again .It’s never too late to start over, no betrayal is final, no sin is unforgivable. God never gives us on us, even if we give up on ourselves. Resurrection is not just a question of three days, after death, rising from the dead, but it is about the daily rising from the many mini-graves within which we so often find ourselves. The Resurrection teaches us how to live, again and again and again! God is always making new life and undergirding it with a goodness, graciousness, mercy and love that, in the end, heals all wounds, forgives all sins and brings deadness of all kinds to new life.

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