The commentary of the cover

God in the Highest Heaven, as in the Lowest Depths of the Earth by Pierre-Marie Dumont

This beautiful 16th-century stained-glass window represents the manifestation of the Holy Trinity at the moment of Christ’s baptism. Above, the red cloud, the color of charity, attests to the presence of God the Father at this event. From its light proceeds the Holy Spirit, descending upon the well-beloved Son.

Saint John the Baptist holds his cruciform staff bearing the banner of his prophetic words: Ecce Agnus Dei, Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world. On the opposite bank, an angel presents the tunic of the Passion with which Christ will clothe himself to confront the baptism of death.

Baptism was a rite which sinners underwent to purify themselves and confirm their conversion and renunciation of a dissolute life. Why then did Jesus, who is without sin, demand that John baptize him?

The Hebrew for “Jordan” is Yarden, which could mean “the very low” (and, indeed, the Jordan riverbed lies below sea level). Jesus insists on immersing himself in its waters as a sign that he came down from heaven to raise the human condition up from the depths to which it had sunk. Thus, this stained glass presents us with the Trinity manifest in its work of salvation: in the communion of the Holy Spirit, the Most High bears witness to the One who, for us men and for our salvation, made himself the Most Low.

Pierre-Marie Dumont

Baptism of Christ, stained glass, 16th c., Saint-Jean Church, Joigny, France.

© Jean-Paul Dumontier / La Collection.