Thursday, May 3, 2018


This painting is over the tabernacle in the church.  I never quite understood it.  Fr. Pfeiffer and I sat ourselves the task of figuring out all of the symbolism.  This is what we came up with:

The main part of the tester is a painting.  In the center is the “IHS” monogram and flowing from it are four wavy objects that almost look almost like bed sheets.  There are three birds drinking from pools of water and some branches with leaves on them.  The sources for this painting largely come from the Book of the Prophet Ezekiel and the Book of Revelation.  

From Revelation 22:1,2: “Then the angel showed me a river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb, down the middle of the main street of the city. On either side of the river stood a tree of life, producing twelve kinds of fruit and yielding a fresh crop for each month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be within the city, and His servants will worship Him.…”

A similar scene is portrayed in Ezekiel 47:12: “By the river on its bank, on one side and on the other, will grow all kinds of trees for food.  Their leaves will not wither and their fruit will not fail.  They will bear every month because their water flows from the sanctuary, and their fruit will be for food and their leaves for healing.” 

The reference to the river being “as clear as crystal” gives reason to why the artist painted the four flowing streams as white.  The leaves for the healing of the nations are the green leaves that appear in the painting.  

In Ezekiel (39:17):  "Tell all of the birds and wild beasts, "Come! Gather together and participate in the sacrifice that I'm going to make for you. This great sacrifice will take place on the mountains of Israel, where you'll be eating flesh and drinking blood.”

This excerpt from Ezekiel tells about the birds (us) are called to gather and participate in the sacrifice; to eat flesh and drink blood.  In the Christian era we clearly see this as a Eucharistic reference.  Jesus has become the Temple in the Holy City (John 2:19-21) “Jesus answered, ‘Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up again.’ ‘This temple took forty-six years to build,' the Jews replied, ‘and You are going to raise it up in three days?’ But Jesus was speaking about the temple of His body. . .”  Jesus is the Temple and the Sacrifice (the Lamb from Revelation) that feeds the world and gives life.  In the context of the faith, all of this is referencing the Sacrifice of the Mass and the many graces that flow from it, an interesting tie in to the fact that the tester is designed to show the importance of the altar, the sacrifice of the Mass, and the healing nature of the Eucharist.

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