Notebook

Lifegiving Letters

This page is from a manuscript of the Vetus Latina Bible written at the end of the eighth century, probably in Brittany. The text (from Matthew, telling the story of the Holy Family’s journey to Egypt) is eminently legible. What elegance in each letter!

The period from 500 to 800 is often referred to as Dark Ages. After the fall of the Roman Empire, new political and social infrastructure developed, necessarily with a degree of chaos. Much of it was pagan, alien, if not hostile, to the Christian patrimony. During such a time, this glorious artefact was produced to enable the proclamation of hope: ‘Go to the land of Israel! For those who sought the Child’s life are dead.’

What if we, now, were to hold on to the letter of the Gospel with equal reverence, concerned simply to let it speak?