Cemetery with Angel and Bird

This is an extraordinary stone. We see here a cross in a field, with to the right a small church that also seems to have a cross on top of it. To the left of the cross in the field, there is a figure standing, surveying the cross, and to his left is a large rock, but what is astounding is the presence of two figures that dominate this landscape. First, in the middle of the stone, seemingly perched on a branch, there is a large bird, and above the bird is what looks like the figure of an angel. I cannot say whether they bode well or ill, but it seems to me that this is a scene of death, of the silence before resurrection, when we are not sure of the whereabouts of the soul, which has left the body, but we trust in this shining symbol, two pieces of wood attached crosswise and sturdily.

 

Meanwhile, in language, when we become aware of the presence of God, a seminal moment because it changes our perspective, we no longer rely solely on the I, on the self, but we count down from this letter to O, the letter of repentance, the letter of exclamation, of recognition, of the truth finally dawning. O can represent God, it is an eternal figure. This shift in our perspective is revealed in words such as “obey” and “joy”. They become exclamations: “O be I!” and “I O I!” (remember that j and y are the semi-consonants that correspond to the vowel i). Whereas before we were in debt (a word closely related to death by a shift in the alphabet, addition of breath), we find that “owe” now spells “O we!” and the debtor’s note has become a note of recognition of the other: “I O you!” The debt is lifted by the figure of Christ on the Cross. This is not some abstract religion, this is a person, united with the Father and the Holy Spirit in the Trinity, whom we recognize when we see him: O (an open I).

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