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My Heart And My Flesh Cry Out

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When the time for Pentecost was fulfilled, they were all in one place together... And suddenly there came from the sky a noise like a strong driving wind, and it filled the entire house in which they were.
- Acts 2:1

This is one of my favorite works by the painter affectionately known as El Greco, The Greek (Domenikos Theotokopoulos). Simply called “The Pentecost” it is an oil on canvas, painted in the 16th century and housed in the Museo del Prado, in Madrid. El Greco came to Italy just about the time Michelangelo was dying, and the Greek is famous, or infamous, for later criticizing the work of the world’s best known artist. In a wave of artistic prudery, Pope Pius V threatened to destroy Michelangelo’s Last Judgement, streaming as it is with naked bodies of the redeemed and the damned. (Let’s recall that a later pope, our beloved John Paul II, called the Sistine Chapel a “shrine to the theology of the body”!). El Greco supposedly claimed he could paint it over again if such a thing…