THE ONE THING MISSING

An aspiring artist sculpted a beautiful angel and wanted the master artist, Michelangelo, to inspect it and offer his opinion. So Michelangelo was called in. The master artist carefully looked at the sculpture from every imaginable angle.

Finally, he said, “Well, it lacks only one thing.” Then he turned around and walked out.

The puzzled would-be artist didn’t understand, and he certainly didn’t know what it lacked. Too embarrassed to go and ask Michelangelo himself, he sent a friend to Michelangelo’s studio to try and find out what his statue lacked.

The great artist replied, “It lacks only life.”

Source | Unknown. This is the version as remembered, heard during a seminar.

CONSIDER THIS

Do you feel like a sculpture without breath? Is it possible that many so-called believers (myself included when ungrounded)  are sculptures without life, works of art without a soul?  Many people have all kinds of things and the latest gadgets, but lack life.

  • We may have a car or a motorbike or both, but do we have direction for living?
  • We may dwell in a nice, big home, but do we have enduring inner peace and contentment?
  • We may have money, lots of it, but do we have a real sense of security?
  • We may have clothes filling our closets to overflowing, but do we have an authentic self-worth to coat our spirit and soul?
  • We may have many friends, but are we really connected? Or are we suffering from an unbearable hollow sense of loneliness?
  • We may be meeting all of our goals, amassing accomplishments along the way, but are we calm and serene? Or is anxiety leaving us feeling undone?

Spend some time with these questions and then consider a final one:

  • Is there something still missing? Are we lacking the one thing necessary: Life?

 

THE LION IN THE MARBLE

There was once a sculptor who worked hard with hammer and chisel on a large block of marble. A little child who was watching him saw nothing more than large and small pieces of stone falling away left and right. He had no idea what was happening. But when the boy returned to the studio a few weeks later, he saw, to his surprise, a large, powerful lion sitting in the place where the marble had stood. With great excitement, the boy ran to the sculptor and said, “Sir, tell me, how did you know there was a lion in the marble?”

Source | Henri Nouwen, Clowning in Rome, (Image, 2000) pages 83-84

PONDER AND CONSIDER

  • What is your answer to the above question? One possible answer is: “I knew there was a lion in the marble because before I saw the lion in the marble, I saw him in my own heart. The secret is that it was the lion in my heart that recognized the lion in the marble.”
  • “The art of sculpture is, first of all, the art of seeing. In one block of marble, Michelangelo saw a loving mother holding her dead son on her lap, while in another, he saw a self-confident David ready to hurl his stone at the approaching Goliath, and in a third, he saw an irate Moses at the point of rising in anger from his seat. Visual art is indeed the art of seeing, and the practice of disciplines is a way to make visible what has been seen. The skillful artist is a liberator who frees from bondage the figures hidden for billions of years inside the marble. The artist reveals the true identity of the figures!” | Henri Nouwen, Clowning in Rome, (Image, 2000) page 84