Chips of Cedar

Father Antonio Maria


The house of Elias Layon is already a sanctuary, for there we breathe in what is sacred.

But that is not all; the house has an oratory full of his and his family’s tenderness in which to pray.

I had the fortune of being there.

I prayed and thanked God for the gift He had given my friend and brother.

Blessed are the hands which bring the divine closer to us. Blessed are the hands that change wood and stone, making them say so much without uttering a word.

The story and art of Elias Layon made and impression. He showed me a piece of wood he was sculpting. I could already see a baroque Madonna.

His workbench was covered in the chips of cedar his tool, obeying his blessed hands, had carved from the block. I took one in my hand. In that moment I was taken by an unexpected surge of emotion.

With tears in my eyes, I asked the supreme artist a question from the bottom of my heart: “Make me Your working block, Lord! Carve as many chips from this old cedar as You want. Carve in me the image of Your dreams.”

To this day, the chip of cedar rests in my personal oratory.

Seeing it reminds me that I’m still far from being the image… the likeness and I keep asking the eternal sculptor: “Take from this old cedar all the chips that You wish! Cave me, Lord!”