Miracle in the Sistine Chapel

Knowing I would be traveling to the Sistine Chapel today, I kept hearing Will Smith’s voice from the movie Hitch in my head. In the movie, he is meeting with an ‘undateable’ friend to try to prepare him for a date with a beautiful woman and he tells him, “Heard of Michelangelo? Heard of the Sistine Chapel? (Points at himself) Michelangelo. (Points at his friend) Sistine Chapel. Let’s go paint that ceiling.” The Sistine Chapel is the story of conquering seemingly impossible realities. This is where my mind was preparing to walk into Vatican City today.

Alone and unobstructed by other viewers, I imagined my experience staring up at the beauty and serenity of the chapel to be nothing short of inspiring. As Professor Ruth prepared me however, getting a peaceful, serene experience at the Sistine Chapel is as difficult as painting the ceiling itself. The chapel has about 25,000 visitors per day and has tight security insisting absolute silence and no photographs. To block out the sound of “Silenzio!”, Professor Ruth suggested we plug in headphones, find a spot to sit, and zone out. So as I walked into the Sistine Chapel today, headphones in, and heard Chris Martin of Coldplay declare,

“From up above I heard
The angels sing to me these words
And sometimes, in your eyes
I see the beauty in the world”

I looked up and found myself directly underneath the gap between God and Adam’s fingertips. Right there I got a glimpse of the Miracle of the Sistine Chapel.

The center of the Sistine Chapel ceiling "Creación de Adán (Miguel Ángel)" by Michelangelo

The center of the Sistine Chapel ceiling
“Creación de Adán (Miguel Ángel)” by Michelangelo

I must overlook the chaos of life to see how God is reaching out to touch me.

In the midst of stressful jobs, complicated relationships, and periods of constant busyness, I will remind myself of the Sistine Chapel, and to just look up.

Mary McMullen