VISUAL THEOLOGY

Flask with Adoration of the Magi, 500s Byzantine Silver with gilded silver (31.4 cm), Max. Diam. (10 cm). The Cloisters Collection, by exchange, Metropolian Museum o Art (New York) ■ In the varied depictions of the events of the life of Christ that appear in the art of the early church, some have details that later were omitted from the more usual narratives of the event. Here the three Magi come to offer their gifts to the Christ Child sitting upright in his mother's lap. Her high-backed latticework chair resembles those holding the seated figures, including Christ, on the Antioch Chalice, a work close in date. Above the Christ Child is the star described in the Gospel of Matthew (2:1&151;12) as having led the three wise men to Christ. In addition, the archangel Gabriel is shown dramatically striding forward presenting the three Magi with their gifts to the Christ Child. The archangel is described as their guide only in the Armenian Infancy Gospel, a popular early text elaborating the gospel descriptions of Christ's early life. At the base of the flask are phoenixes, birds whose legendary rebirth from the ashes of a fire may have been meant to symbolize the salvation offered by Christ's birth. With its unusual iconography, or imagery, this work may have been used by any of the Christian communities in the East.

Y entonces uno se queda con la Iglesia, que me ofrece lo único que debe ofrecerme la Iglesia: el conocimiento de que ya estamos salvados –porque esa es la primera misión de la Iglesia, el anunciar la salvación gracias a Jesucristo- y el camino para alcanzar la alegría, pero sin exclusividades de buen pastor, a través de esa maravilla que es la confesión y los sacramentos. La Iglesia, sin partecitas.

laus deo virginique matris