crossThis Tree is my eternal salvation. It is my nourishment and my banquet. Amid its roots I cast my own roots deep: beneath its boughs I grow and expand, revelling in its sigh as in the wind itself. Flying from the burning heat, I have pitched my tent in its shadow, and have found a resting-place of dewy freshness. I flower with its flowers; its fruits bring perfect joy – fruits which have been preserved for me since time’s beginning, and which now I freely eat…    

This Tree is my eternal salvation. It is my nourishment and my banquet. Amid its roots I cast my own roots deep: beneath its boughs I grow and expand, revelling in its sigh as in the wind itself. Flying from the burning heat, I have pitched my tent in its shadow, and have found a resting-place of dewy freshness. I flower with its flowers; its fruits bring perfect joy – fruits which have been preserved for me since time’s beginning, and which now I freely eat.

This Tree is a food, sweet food, for my hunger, and a fountain for my thirst; it is clothing for my nakedness; its leaves are the breath of life. Away with the fig-tree, from this time on! If I fear God, this is my protection; if I stumble, this is my support; it is the prize for which I fight and the reward of my victory. This is my straitened path, my narrow way; this is the stairway of Jacob, where angels pass up and down, and where the Lord in very truth standing at the head…

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Reflections on Symbols in The Apse Mosaic: San Clemente, Rome