From the pagan to the Divine

There are times when something small makes more sense than a book of explanation.

Rockefeller Center is a complex of 19 commercial buildings covering 22 acres between 48th and 51st Streets in New York City. Built by the Rockefeller family, it is located in the center of Midtown Manhattan, spanning between Fifth Avenue and Seventh Avenue. It was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1987. It is the largest privately held complex of its kind in the world, and an international symbol of capitalism. In the very front of Rockefeller center is a statue. It is a statue of the Titan called Atlas. Indeed one cannot think of New York's Rockefeller center and not think of the statue of Atlas.

Atlas was the son of the Titan, Iapetus and Clymene, and brother of Prometheus. He is half man and half pagan god, a demi-god. Atlas' body strains under the weight of a globe, a model of the earth, because, according to Greek mythos he was condemned by the pagan god Zeus to bear the weight of the universe upon his shoulders for all eternity.

Directly in front of the Rockefeller Center and in the eyes of Atlas, is St Patrick's Cathedral. Whether the Cathedral was constructed through Providence at that location or Rockefeller Center was constructed as a direct outward confrontation to the faith of Jesus Christ is beyond the scope of this article.

What is most striking is that inside the Cathedral is a shrine, a small one, (in a city where bigger is better, and really bigger is really better,) but it is significant none the less in that the Christ child Jesus is worshiped there. In accordance with Catholic iconography the Christ child is portrayed by a statue holding the earth in his hand. He holds the earth in the palm of His hand and it is seemly weightless in His grasp.

The comparison is this, Jesus the God made Flesh carries the weight of the world and our sins in His one hand. The man made god struggles to carry his mythological burden.

All too often the world calls to us and says, "We are like unto god. We are the master of our own salvation. We can sustain our burden and it will makes us stronger. That there is nothing which we cannot overcome if we have faith in our self".

Jesus Christ tells us in the Gospel reading the opposite. He tells us to lay down our burden and follow Him. "Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for yourselves. For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.” Mt 11:25-30

We must, in the words of St. Claude de la Colombiere, we must trustfully surrender to Divine Providence, because it is only then that we can find true rest from our burden.


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