Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Micheangelo's Christ Part 2 - an unusual kinship

I feel a sort of kinship with Michelangelo's Christ. He is in the same boat as me. He is torn by the same questions that trouble me at regular intervals.

I wonder whether God is this entity who plays with us like [to put it in the words of the bard,] wanton flies. And that makes me angry. But then, when I sober down, it becomes a game again. Where do the doubts go? God knows. Probably an expectation of mine has been fulfilled? That is why most of the times I am on a swing between doubt and faith. Between questioning and accepting. Between whimpering and jumping. ;)

In a way, most of the doubts are linked to some kind of expectations I guess. For example, having tread on the path ordained by God, the least that Christ could have expected is a miracle. But apparently God did not turn out to be the perfect gentleman who honours his word. 'Ask and ye shall be given.' Somehow this guarantee did not apply to this situation.

But then, Christ was a tough guy from within. He could digest this.We know by now that he was torn more by conflict and the test of faith rather than any real expectation of the the skies opening up and a booming voice delivering him from his trials.

The question is why at all should we undergo this litmus test of faith?

Let me try and change the interested parties here. Party 1 - Me and Party 2 - God. Is it really necessary for me to try and tie my faith to something amorphous called 'expectation' and test God on the basis of that? Then doesn't the interaction boil down to a business transaction?

No wonder my 'crises' becomes 'crucifixons.'The only difference between Christ and me is that he got it right at the first shot and since then, has been heard of in the context of a faith that guides many people in the world. Whereas, I am still to 'get there' and see things for themselves 'from the vantage point.'

So everytime I read this extract and visualise the image of Christ on the cross, torn by conflict and doubt, I tell him - "Hang on buddy, I'm on my way."

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Michelangelo's Christ - Part 1

I had recorded the following extract from The Agony and the Ecstasy in my diary when I had been a student. Now, it moves to my blog.It captures the moment when Michelangelo was in the thought mode about the statue of Jesus Christ that he had been commissioned to make -

Michelangelo did not feel within himself any of the things that Donatello felt. He had never been altogether clear in his own mind why God could not accomplish by Himself all the things He sent His son down on earth to do. Why did God need a son? The exquisitely balanced Donatello Christ said to him: 'This is how God wanted it to be, exactly the way it was planned. It is not hard to accept one's fate when it had been preordained. I have anticipated this pain.'

Michelangelo thought - 'What went through the mind of Christ between the sunset hour when the Roman soldier drove the first nail through his flesh, and the hour when he died? For these thoughts would determine not only how he accepted his fate, but also the position of his body on the cross. Donatello's Christ accepted in serenity, and thought nothing. Brunelleschi's Christ was so ethereal that he died at the first touch of the nail and had no time to think'

He returned to his workbench, began exploring his mind with charcoal and ink. On Christ's face appeared the expression, 'I am in agony, not from the iron nails but from the rust of doubt.' He could not bring himself to convey Christ's divinity by anything so obvious as a halo; it had to be portrayed through an inner force, strong enough to conquer his misgivings at this hour of severest trial.'

It was inevitable that his Christ would be closer to man than to God. He did not know that he was to be crucified. He neither wanted it nor liked it. And as a result, his body was twisted in conflict, torn like all men, by inner questioning.