by Fionn Zarubica
The other morning, as I was admiring a painting by Luca Giordano (1632–1705), depicting Archangel Michael defeating Satan, and reflecting on the months that have followed predictions of the end of the world surrounding the Mayan Calendar, it occurred to me that we humans are always living in a state expectation of a battle of some kind, somewhere out in the future. It is not limited to religious people awaiting an end of times, but it concerns every one of us; we are at every moment engaged in the anticipation of conflict.
We expect everything from an argument with the grocer about correct change, to a scrape with a colleague over a project, to the arrival of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.
Most of us expect life to fight us every step of the way. Few of us enter our day without girding ourselves for the opposition we assume we will face.
But, what does this really do for us? Does it actually protect or advance us? How much energy does it take to prepare a defense and then to wear that defense every hour of every day as heavy armor that we carry into each situation and interaction? What does that send out into the world energetically or conversely withhold? How is it affecting our view of situations as we are peer through the slits of our battle helmets, our peripheral vision cut off; and how does it influence our relationships with others?
As I contemplate all of this, I keep coming back to the fact that in the Christian Bible, the War In Heaven (Book of Revelations 12:7-10), which is the inspiration for Giordano's painting, is described in the past tense, and that according to the storyteller, the exile of Satan into Hades has already happened.
The battle between good and evil has been fought and won. Good won.
What would it be like to to live even one day with this as our reality? That the battle between good and evil has already been fought and won – no more need to fight. That there is no real conflict and all is well. How would it be if we were to approach everything with this certainty; to experience each situation as a non-issue, and to greet each person who sets up conflict with us with the understanding that they are a person who just hasn’t gotten the news yet?
I heard a wonderful prayer the other day from a man named Neale Donald Walsch, author of Conversations With God, it is:
"Thank you, God, for helping me to understand that this problem has already been solved for me."
Can we choose to spend just one day in the reality that good has won over evil, and that the universe has already solved our problems? How would we experience what life presents in that context?
Would we consider spending another day there, and then another…?
The battle is done, the time for struggle is past, good has won.
And so it is.
'War In Heaven' Related Artwork
Luca Giordano (1632–1705)
Date: circa 1663
Medium: Oil on canvas
Dimensions: Height: 198 cm (78 in). Width: 147 cm (57.9 in).
Current location: Gemäldegalerie