This next part of John Paul the Greats poem is a meditation on the painting of the Book of Genesis that is at the front of the Sistine Chapel:
1. The first beholder
"In him we live and move and have our being", says Paul at the Areopagus in Athens—
Who is He?
He is like an ineffable space which embraces all.
He, the Creator,
embraces everything, summoning to
existence from nothing, not only from
the beginning, but always.
Everything endures continually becoming—
"In the beginning was the Word, and through Him all things were made".
The mystery of the beginning is born together with the Word and is revealed through the Word.
The Word—eternal vision and utterance.
He, who was creating, saw—"saw that it was good",
his seeing different from ours.
He—the first Beholder—
saw, finding in everything some trace
of his Being, his own fullness—
He saw: Omnia nuda et aperta sunt ante oculos Eius—
true, good and beautiful—
He saw in terms so different from ours.
Eternal vision and eternal utterance:
"In the beginning was the Word, and through Him all things were made",
all in which we live and move and have our being—
The Word, the marvellous eternal Word, as an invisible threshold
of all that has come into being, exists or will exist. As if the Word were the threshold.
The threshold of the Word, containing the invisible form of everything, divine and eternal —beyond this threshold everything begins to happen!
I stand at the entrance to the Sistine—
Perhaps all this could be said more simply
in the language of the "Book of Genesis".
But the Book awaits the image—
And rightly so. It was waiting for its Michelangelo.
The One who created "saw"—saw that "it was good".
"He saw", and so the Book awaited the fruit of "vision".
O all you who see, come—
I am calling you, all "beholders" in every age.
I am calling you, Michelangelo!
There is in the Vatican a chapel that awaits the harvest of your vision!
The vision awaited the image.
From when the Word became flesh, the vision is waiting.
We are standing at the threshold of the Book.
It is the Book of the origins—Genesis.
Here, in this chapel, Michelangelo penned it,
not with words, but with the richness
of piled-up colours.
We enter in order to read it again,
going from wonder to wonder.
So then, it is here—we look and recognize
the Beginning which emerged out of nothingness,
obedient to the creative Word.
Here it speaks from these walls.
But still more powerfully the End speaks.
Yes, the judgment is even more outspoken:
the judgment, the Final one.
This is the path that all must follow—
every one of us.