In the upper side windows (two above the Reconciliation room and the Sacred Heart shrine, and two on the opposite wall) we see the symbols of the four Evangelists (Gospel Writers). These images are related to accounts contained in the Book of the Prophet Ezekiel (1:1-21), the Book of Revelation (4:6-8) and the writings of Saint Irenaeus.
Matthew, shown as a winged man, begins his Gospel with Jesus’ family tree, His Incarnation and Birth (Mt:1&2).
Mark, depicted as a winged lion, begins his Gospel, quoting the Prophet Isaiah and telling of the last of the Prophets, Saint John the Baptist, ‘…the voice of one crying in the wilderness: Prepare the way of the Lord…’.
Luke is represented by a winged ox. Animals featured prominently in Old Testament Sacrifices, but would be superseded in the New Testament by the Once-for-All Sacrifice of Jesus on the Cross. Luke’s Gospel begins with an Angel telling the aged and childless Zechariah of the forthcoming birth of his son, Saint John the Baptist (Lk:1).
John appears as an eagle. His Gospel begins at the Source of all things: the one God in Three Divine persons.
For further explanation of the symbolism, see HERE, and also, for a far more detailed insight, see the article by Father William Saunders in Catholic Exchange.
This eight-part ‘tour’, has, of course, merely ‘scratched the surface’ of the treasury of knowledge. How much of this treasury do we know? Visual symbols provide a simple, yet vital, resource in leading our children and indeed ourselves to a deeper understanding and practice of the Faith, and in keeping young ones focussed on the Mass until they can use Mass books. We are all, even the ‘not so young’, prone to distractions and may sometimes, forget why we have come into church. There is much here that can draw us back into contemplation of our Faith. Literate as we are, there is much to be said for the simpler, more visual, aids to contemplation, which, independent of language, can be understood by all, according to their ability. They graphically demonstrate our equality before our Creator.
Of course, whatever the Evangelists recorded for their widely differing Converts, there is one figure who, chosen by God, is a pivotal figure in all accounts of our Salvation, namely our Blessed Lady, whose, “…Let it be done to me according to your word…” (her “Yes!” to God; in Latin, her “fiat”), opened the way for the Incarnation. Although we can certainly pray directly to Our Lord, we may be familiar with the expression, “To Jesus through Mary”. As far as we know, at every one of her appearances on earth, Mary has called on her hearers to, “Pray the Rosary”.
With our Catholic Faith under constant threat, we are reassured by Christ’s words to St Peter, “...on this rock I shall build my Church. And the gates of the underworld can never hold out against it.”. (Mt16: 18-19). However, we must not be complacent. Jesus gave us the paradigm of prayer throughout His life, including His great gift to us of the Our Father, an integral part of that powerful prayer, the Holy Rosary, given to us via St Dominic.
From St. Bart's
Thoughts on the traditional teachings, devotions, seasons and matters of the Catholic Church