Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Michelangelo's Pieta and the Special Olympians' Magnum Opus


Recently, I was blessed with the opportunity to visit Italy, the country of my origin. Having been a lifelong dream of mine, It was with great anticipation that I prepared for my pilgrimage. We traveled all across the country, savoring every moment; every sight, every taste, every smell; every climate change, every interaction, every doppio espresso.

 But one of my favorite moments was when we experienced Michelangelo's works in The Vatican city. I've long been consumed with The Pieta, the only work which he actually signed. Just the thought of it aligns me with the Blessed Mother's Role in Christ's ultimate Magnum Opus, His Masterpiece, or Great Work.
Indeed, The Pieta can be considered Michelangelo's Magnum Opus, as it is the only sculpture he actually signed.( I have read that, the other works, he felt were unfinished.)When it became clear that we were getting close to the Actual Pieta, I felt as if I would be overcome; becoming witness to the Blessed Mother's anguish, as she holds the body of her crucified son. But I wasn't overcome, in the way I thought I might be. It was beautiful; 
I was witness to her Magnum Opus.
I have read that Michelangelo said his role, as an artist in stone was just to "remove the excess stone" to free the figure that already existed within it. That is quite a concept to consider.
There is a Magnum Opus within every stone, within every Being, yet to be revealed.

I once read the story of a Special Olympics event, where the contestants were running in a race.
 They all had Down's Syndrome. The gun went off, and they all sprung to their feet with great anticipation, their eager spirits, enthusiastically, contagiously following footstep upon footstep, when suddenly, a single contestant misstepped, and in slow motion,tumbled to the ground. Without a single misstep, the other contestants, realizing he had fallen, shifted their direction, contagiously, and began running now in the direction of their fallen teammate. They addressed his needs, their purpose now shifting, and together, arm in arm they all crossed the finish line together, their Magnum Opus.
A Magnum Opus is a Magnum Opus is a Magnum Opus.

 Michelangelo's triumph is no greater than The Special Olympiads. There is Something Miraculous in Each one of us. And as we make our own personal pilgrimages, We may discover our own Magnum Opus, and those of others along the way.

"We should say to each: So you know who you are? You are a marvel. You are unique. You may become a Shakespeare, a Michelangelo a Beethoven. You Have the Capacity for Anything."
                                ~ Pablo Casals

1 comment:

Laura said...

thank you for these words. they came at a time when I am trying to decide the direction my life will take. the thought of Michelangelo freeing the figure from stone is resonating for me right now.

I am inspired by this blog, thank you.