Copernicus & The Angel
Nicolaus Copernicus finds himself in a stylized, non-denominational purgatory. His sole companion: the Angel charged with bringing the famed astronomer to a profession of love for the divine—the ticket to his passage to whatever lies beyond the conspicuous closed door in his cell.
The catch: his bitter disillusionment with the Church has kept him there for 460 years, he’s about to break the record for the longest recalcitrance in history, and he’s showing no sign of acquiescing any time soon.
The Powers That Be are increasingly disturbed by the precedent this is setting. As a result, they are beginning to assert more pressure to bring the situation to conclusion. Hell, as Copernicus remarks, is right down the corridor.
The eternal debate between empiricism and the heart provides the groundwork for two beings’ deep struggle with meaning.
You come in here everyday and ask me about meaning. Devotion. You give me this window on the earth. I can see any place any time, no walls no borders no secrets. I look and I look and all I see is disenfranchisement. Dispossession. The single mother with six children who decides to work, who opts for dignity, assembling meal after tiny meal for some airline, a thousand plates of exactly the same thing eight hours a day five days a week to earn just enough money to disqualify her from welfare. All that food passing before her eyes and still she can barely nourish her little ones. Meaning? Ask the thirteen-year-old Thai girl sold by her family so she can spend her life playing sex slave to lowlife foreigners and what’s more pretending to like it, and if she moans just the right way when somebody’s sticking it up her ass and he slips her a twenty that’s a gift from God Himself, that’s as good as it gets in the world according to her. Where does she go from there? What miracle is there, what grace in all the boundlessness of creation, that can possibly untaint that soul? And you, you want me to profess my devotion? Your old buddy Cummings said it: “Rightly or wrongly I prefer spiritual insomnia to psychic suicide.”
An extraordinarily gifted child, a child with the potential to change the face of the world, was just snatched from death by a medical breakthrough. A beggar in London just won the lottery and plans to dedicate his winnings to helping other people get off the street. A woman who was told for 15 years she could never have a child just gave birth. Why do you see nothing but the suffering?
Because every miracle drowns in a million horrors.
Does that make it any less of a miracle?
No. That makes it statistically insignificant.