Notebook

As a Child

At first sight, this angel seated in the cemetery outside the Münster of Frauenwörth seems a charming, innocent example of Bavarian Baroque. Only on closer inspection does one notice that he rests his left elbow cavalierly on a skull. Is this a sinister manifestation of the principle, ‘Et in Arcadia ego’? An example of Christians’ obsession with mortality? A superficial observer might think so. I don’t. No, the monument makes me mindful of this lovely reflection by Dom Porion (in Écoles de silence):

‘If instead of being frightened of God we really trusted him, we should fear neither the world nor the flesh nor pain, neither the past nor the future, neither others nor ourselves. We should consider this world as a child considers a ball in his toybox, and a ball of bad quality at that, a ha’penny ball; and we should play with death as with an elderly nursemaid. As long as we trust in God we are agile and strong. The day we lose our trust in God we languish, even if no real danger is in sight.’