Sunday, May 29, 2011

Saint Michel

This is a statue of St. Michael, found in a monastery on the island that bears his name: Le Mont St. Michel. It captivates me. Too often I allow myself to imagine the angels of God as fairy-like pansies rather than mighty warriors. But warriors they are! And they are continuously battling against the forces of evil on behalf of the people of God.

Aside: The rooms of the monastery were knit together by twisting tunnels and spiraling stairways. The statue of St. Michael is near the end of the tour, and it is in a dark corner, off to the side, easily missed. I remember thinking to myself, "My goodness, here is the focal point, and it sits tucked away like an after-thought." But I suppose I do the same thing in my life. I can get distracted in the midst of life's winding passageways, and let the important things lie dormant on the edges of my attention. 

In this sculpture Michael is shown with the dragon. It depicts an event that has not yet come to pass, but has been foretold. 

The expression on his face is so life-like, yet the emotion behind it eludes me. Is he satisfied? Apprehensive? Confident? Disappointed? Perhaps all of the above. According to the sculptor, what is going on in the archangel's mind? I wonder, did the artist get it right?

His arm is held high, victorious; yet his eyes are cast down, suspicious. He is focused on the dragon, who has been defeated, but it is not yet dead. Michael is clearly still on duty. The dragon has not given up. Silly dragon.

And there was war in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back. But he was not strong enough, and they lost their place in heaven.The great dragon was hurled down--that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him. Revelation 12:7-9

"What next?" I wonder. Well actually, I don't wonder. I know. I've read the end of the book. God wins.

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