The two angels

By Paulo Coelho

In the year 1476, two men are standing in a medieval church, talking. They pause for a few moments before a painting showing two angels, hand in hand, walking towards a city.
 
‘We are living through the horrors of the bubonic plague,’ says one of the men. ‘People are dying. I don’t want to see images of angels.’
 
‘This painting is about the Plague,’ says the other man. ‘It is a representation of the Golden Legend. The angel dressed in red is Lucifer, the Evil One. Notice that attached to his belt he has a small bag; inside that bag is the epidemic that has devastated our lives and those of our families.’
 
The man studies the painting carefully. Lucifer really is carrying a small bag; however, the angel leading him along looks serene, peace-loving and enlightened.
 
‘If Lucifer is bringing the Plague, who is the other angel leading him by the hand?’
 
‘He is the angel of the Lord, the messenger of Good. Without his permission, the Evil One would be unable to reveal himself.’
 
‘What is he doing, then?’
 
‘He is showing him the place where men are to be purified by a tragedy.’

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