Verbum Caro Factum Est

I once saw the work of a young Irish artist, Denis Brown. He works with calligraphy which he then paints over. He has done an interesting piece on John 1, 14: “Verbum caro factum est.” The Word became flesh. G. K. Chesterton said he would have given everything he had written to have penned that sentence. The artist had this profound sentence written in calligraphy, but he had “caro” crossed out and “sinis” written over it. John 1, 14 then read: “Verbum sinis factum est.” The Word became ashes. His theory was that there is a phase of destruction in everything. Part of regeneration is destruction as cleansing. Out of this comes new life. At Calvary Jesus the Word became ashes, then like the phoenix in the Resurrection he rose to new life.

— John O’Donohue, Four Elements (pp 115-116)

I couldn’t find the image referenced, but you can visit Denis Brown’s website here to get a feel for his work. 

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