That is the only thing you hear over and over as you enter the sacred space where Cardinals have elected Popes since the end of the 13th century. Its the place where conclave takes place, the Sistine Chapel, dominated by Michelangelo’s masterpiece: The Last Judgement ….. I couldn’t help myself, so I dodged the security guards in the sea of tourist and captured a shot with the masterpiece as a backdrop! Success!
After an hour of browsing through the largest museum in the world, we toured through a very small modern art exhibit before we made our way into the Sistine Chapel, humorously through the side of hell in Michelangelo’s fresco. You can’t help but be captivated at the power contained in Christ the judge, so central amidst those being tossed into the eternal fires and those ascending to him in heaven. Mary, the Apostles, the tools of his passion, the saints, martyrs, and angels … the list goes on and on – all present on the wall.
I paused for a moment standing from the grill that divides the clergy from the lay and to my mind …. we on earth are an extension of this fresco. What I am getting is that we cannot help but call to mind our own death and that one day, we will all be judged by God according to how we lived our lives (cf. Matthew 25:31-46).
Michelangelo is calling us to pay attention to the event we are all heading towards when Christ will restore everything to himself. That’s what Cardinals must contemplate in one of the most secretive elections known in human history.