Activated - - NEWS - By Marie Boisjoly Marie Boisjoly is a laugh­ter ther­a­pist and di­rec­tor of “Colore­ando el Mundo” (Col­or­ing the World), an in­ter­ac­tive clown and pup­pet show in Mex­ico.

The other night I watched a fas­ci­nat­ing doc­u­men­tary about the fa­mous fresco The Res­ur­rec­tion, by Piero della Francesca, painted around 1463 in Tus­cany, Italy. Je­sus is in the cen­ter of the com­po­si­tion, por­trayed at the mo­ment of His res­ur­rec­tion. He is seen ris­ing above four sol­diers sleep­ing at His tomb, il­lus­trat­ing the dif­fer­ence be­tween the hu­man and di­vine spheres. The sym­bol­ism con­tin­ues in the back­ground land­scape. On one side of Je­sus, we see old, dead, leaf­less trees; on the other side, the trees are young and flour­ish­ing, re­mind­ing us that Christ’s res­ur­rec­tion from the dead is an af­fir­ma­tion of eter­nal life for all who place their hope in Him—“Be­cause I live, you will live also.” Al­dous Hux­ley de­scribed the mas­ter­piece

1 as “the great­est pic­ture in the world,” but it was the story of its preser­va­tion dur­ing the Se­cond World War that cap­tured my at­ten­tion.

To­ward the end of World War II, the Al­lies were fight­ing to rid Tus­cany of the Ger­man oc­cu­pa­tion. Some Bri­tish forces ar­rived on the hills over­look­ing the town of Sanse­pol­cro, where the build­ing hous­ing The Res­ur­rec­tion is found, and or­ders were to be­gin shelling at once.

At this point, Bri­tish ar­tillery of­fi­cer Tony Clarke re­mem­bered hav­ing read Hux­ley’s 1925 es­say de­scrib­ing the paint­ing, and he faced a dilemma. In the end, the re­al­iza­tion that the paint­ing he had read about was lo­cated in the town below caused the art-lover to go against the or­ders he’d re­ceived—risk­ing court-mar­tial— by hold­ing back his troops from fir­ing.

As it turned out, the Ger­man oc­cu­piers had al­ready left Sanse­pol­cro and the Bri­tish troops were able to peace­fully en­ter the fol­low­ing day. Both the town and the paint­ing sur­vived un­scathed, ow­ing their nar­row es­cape to Tony Clarke’s de­ter­mi­na­tion and a line in a book. For hav­ing saved their town from de­struc­tion, the ap­pre­cia­tive res­i­dents of Sanse­pol­cro later named a street af­ter him.

I don’t know if the of­fi­cer was a be­liever, nor Hux­ley, the satir­i­cal writer. Still, their words and ac­tions helped keep this por­trayal of the res­ur­rec­tion of Je­sus as a tes­ti­mony for gen­er­a­tions to come. To me, this is a vivid re­minder of di­vine in­ter­ven­tion in the most un­likely of cir­cum­stances. Just a few words re­mem­bered at the right time can be used by God to an­swer the prayers of His chil­dren in need of pro­tec­tion.

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