The commentary of the cover

“These are the Scriptures that testify to me” by Pierre-Marie Dumont

Here, Antonio da Faenza († 1534) wishes to give us to see and contemplate the profession of faith in the Creed: “I believe in the Holy Spirit…who has spoken through the prophets.” To do this, the artist has symbolically represented Saint Luke, identified by the ox at his feet, in the company of Isaiah. Quill in hand, the Evangelist sets down the story of the Annunciation of the Lord on a scroll. The presence of Isaiah by his side, unfolding a scroll of his own inspired writings, attests that the facts related by Saint Luke are the perfect fulfillment of the prophecy he proclaimed some 700 years earlier: Therefore the Lord himself will give you this sign: the virgin shall be with child, and bear a son, and shall name him Immanuel [which means God-with-us]. He shall be living on curds and honey by the time he learns to reject the bad and choose the good (Is 7:14-15). That these two figures bridging the centuries should be presented together beneath the colonnade of the Temple, both writing their inspired texts on similar scrolls, seeks to render visible the fundamental unity of holy Scripture. Paul Claudel insisted that, for a Christian, to tamper with the unity of Scripture “is as grave as to tamper with the Eucharist.” Is that going too far? Perhaps not, when one considers that, on Easter evening, when the mysterious traveler of Emmaus celebrated the first Mass in history, he made himself known first in the fulfillment of Scripture, then in the breaking of bread. In the same way was the real presence of Jesus Christ proclaimed, foretold, and prefigured from start to finish in the Old Testament through Moses and all the prophets, only to be fully realized in the Gospel and endlessly bear its fruit in the life of the Church as in each one of our lives.

For further reading on Jesus and the fulfillment of prophecy, I recommend our new Scripture book by Fr. Veras, The Word Made Flesh.

The Prophet Isaiah and Saint Luke (1513, detail), Antonio da Faenza (c. 1480–c. 1534), Sanctuary of the Holy House, Loreto, Italy. © Mario Bonotto\Photo Scala, Florence.