It's Not How You Start but How You Finish

Jose Luis Navajo shares a pastor's deep spiritual insight of faith by observing nature.

Continued from page 1

“Then there’s no doubt that suffering always strengthens us
when the wind isn’t so strong as to knock us over.”

"That’s how it is with trees, but not with us,” my old pastor
observed. “That’s why we have faith. Anxiety is able to keep us
awake all night, but faith is a marvelous pillow. The most important
thing is not starting the race, but rather the unwavering
determination to reach the finish line. Let me tell you a story.”

It was his introduction phrase, so I got ready to listen to
another one of his interesting tales.

There’s a little anecdote of Leonardo da Vinci, the great painter,
sculptor, and inventor, about his painting The Last Supper, one
of the most copied and sold works of art in all of history. It took
da Vinci twenty years to finish, since it was so difficult at that
time to find people who could pose as models. In fact, he had
problems in starting the painting because he couldn’t find a model
who could represent Jesus, someone who could reflect in his face
purity, nobility, and the loveliest feelings. Also, the model needed
to possess extraordinary manly beauty. Finally, he found a young
man with these characteristics, and it was the first figure of the
picture he painted.

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Later, he went looking for the twelve apostles, whom he
painted together, leaving Judas Iscariot’s spot open, since he
couldn’t find a suitable model. It had to be a person of mature age
who had a face with the traces of betrayal and greed. That is why
the painting remained unfinished for a long time, until they told
him of a terrible criminal who had been taken prisoner. Da Vinci
went to see him, and he was exactly the Judas he wanted to finish
his work. So he asked the mayor to allow the prisoner to pose for
him. The mayor, knowing the master’s fame, gladly accepted and ordered that the prisoner be taken to the painter’s studio, chained
and accompanied by two guards.

During all that time, the prisoner showed no signs of emotion
for having been chosen as a model, but remained completely
quiet and distant. Finally, when da Vinci was satisfied with the
result, he called the prisoner over and showed him the painting.
When the prisoner saw it, he was greatly impressed and fell to
his knees, crying. Surprised, da Vinci asked why he was crying,
to which the prisoner responded: “Master da Vinci, don’t you
remember me?”

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Jose Luis Navajo
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