The Sistine Chapel fresco The Last Judgement may be the greatest representation of the coming of Christ at the end of time. The centerpiece of the composition is Christ the judge with the Virgin at his side represented in a halo, surrounded by a crowd of apostles, prophets, patriacrchs, Old Testament heroines, martyrs, and saints who form a double crown of swirling bodies. Michelangelo painted hundreds of figures, all with exquisite attention to detail.
Just think, when Michelangelo was painting, his work in the chapel was destined to be seen by very few – the pope, his court, a few visiting kings and diplomats at most. The Sistine Chapel would receive less foot traffic in Michelangelo’s times than a medium- to small -sized parish today. Yet, Michelangelo painted with the same eye to perfection as if he knew his work would be seen by millions. He was not paining for the multitudes but for God and his patron, the pope.
Similarly, if we act with generosity and love, whether observed by millions or no one, we will follow the path to true freedom and love. We do what is right, not to be seen, but because we want to be true to God, ourselves, and others. Living like this, we will have no reason to fear the Last Judgment.
More than six million people annually see the Last Judgment in person, and countless more via broadcasts and social media. So do everything well, since it is seen by God and yourself – and maybe some day, by more eyes than you ever imagined!
-Mark Haydu, L.C.