The Creation of Man, by Michelangelo

It was a stroke of genius to have left a space between Adam’s reach and His Maker’s. For, if it is man’s innate need to reach for God, it is in God’s power alone to satisfy that need.

Man, at his best, strives. He is most truly himself when he reaches beyond himself—to God. And yet the space between man and God is never so little that it is not infinite.

Man lives upon spaces, pauses. He can breathe and speak in no other way. And no matter how earnestly he strives, he must learn that waiting is the only way to meet God. For God comes to us, not we to Him.

Before completing His work of creating Mankind, God put Adam to sleep. In a sense, then, rest is the Creator’s visible signature upon our flesh. For sleep, or rest is an interval between nothing and something. And no truer description of man’s way to God was ever made than the Psalmist’s cry—“Wait for the Lord.” Nor did anything more truly describe our Lord’s humanity than the need He felt to wait for ‘the hour’ appointed by the Father—a waiting which Jesus described as an ordeal. (Luke 12:52)

It is very human to think: ‘If only there were something to hope for, I could be patient.’ But Paul reveals how far God’s ways are from ours, when he writes, ‘We wait for hope with patience.’ (Romans 8:25) So—patience first, then hope!

Let’s not put limits on God, Whose designs are beyond our measuring, while our own were limited before they began. (Psalm 139)

Be patient, then, when your situation seems hopeless—even as, in Faith, you believe what you do not see, and in Charity, you love what is naturally unlovable. Such is the nature of any virtue worthy to be called ‘theological’, that is, a virtue whose object is God Himself.

From Meditations on Some Art I Have Loved

By Fr. Hilary Sweeney, C.P.

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