Angels in the Kitchen
The Louvre in Paris features a painting by Murillo entitled The Miracle of San Diego. Murrilo produced this painting in the mid 17th century while living in Spain.
The painting features two angels at center with their wings spread, while a praying monk levitates a little left of center. A scrap of paper lies on the floor of the kitchen beneath him – this scrap of paper probably represents the menu for the day.
The name of this levitating monk is unknown, but records indicate that he may be based on the lay brother Francisco Perez from a nearby town. Historians think Perez could be the inspiration for the painting since he spent over 30 years working in a kitchen and was famous for this devotion to God and the Church.
According to legend, Perez one day became so engrossed in prayer that he neglected his duties and actually lost consciousness. When he regained consciousness, he saw that his work had been miraculously completed by angels. These agents of God rolled up their sleeves and did the dirty work of preparing food and cleaning the kitchen.
The supernatural event is witnessed by two noblemen and a priest. They are shocked to see the angels at work – one is handling a water-pot; one works on a cut of meat; a third tends to the vegetables; a fourth is busy with the fire. All this happens while the levitating priest, bathed in light, floats above the ground in mystical rapture.
Murrillo painted this masterpiece just before his 30th birthday – nearly the same age as Christ was when he began His public ministry. Before that, the Son of God had toiled at menial, manual labor – as a carpenter in the backwater village of Nazareth. Murrillo, like Jesus, found glory in “menial” work.
There are no ordinary moments. There is no menial labor unless we make it so. We can all do the work of angels if we choose to do so.