When the cardinals approached the box to cast their ballots for the next successor to Peter, they were faced with this painting:
When taking part in such a weighty task, it was certainly prudent that the cardinals should think about their own final judgement, and how the vote that they cast will establish them in the Kingdom of God. Moreover, it was important that they consider how their votes will effect the final judgement of the 1.2 billion Catholic souls across the globe.
It occurs to me that we could all use a giant fresco of the Last Judgement in our lives. This fresco would need to be a floating one, though, that would travel around with us throughout our days. Or possibly one that magically appears each time we’re making a decision that could be crucial to our eternal well-being or that of another individual.
For instance, your driving down the street, kids strapped securely into their seats, when another driver rudely cuts you off. You’re faced with a decision. Do you pray for that person? Or do you shout obscenities, ride their bumper, and lay on your horn?
Whoooosh! Magic fresco. Oh, yeah. Pray.
Or, you see an old neighbor in a parking lot, driving her brand new Mercedes coupe. After chatting for a few minutes about her new and luxurious home, she looks at your car and says, “Oh, wow. You’re still driving that old thing?” Do you calmly smile and tell her that you are blessed to have a car at all? Or do you tell her that she is a pretentious, money-grabbing so-and-so?
Whoopaw! Magic fresco. Uh huh. Calm smile.
Of course, there are the moments with the children, when you can react with love or with anger.
And there are those many moments with the hubby, when you can call to mind Proverbs 31, or respond as the world seems to teach.
Occassionaly in our lives we are faced with big, weighty decisions. Probably never anything as big as what the cardinals faced these last two days, but big nonetheless. A new job, education for our children, a new home, etc. We usually remember to pray for guidance in these things.
But our final judgement will be less a product of those big, momentous choices, and more the result of the little choices we make every day.
And so, I’d like to have a magic, floating fresco.
Perhaps there’s an app for that?