QR 4 Do you know how to interpret a bell tower?
Do you know how to interpret a bell tower?
The bell tower has municipal functions : expression of the communal pride, watchtower, transmitter of agreed signals and news for people of the town scattered all around: tocsin, knell, services, baptisms, weddings, angelus… It contributes besides, in its own way, to the language of the roman church by recalling and claiming urbi et orbi that the world is wanted by God and lives on the Covenant passed with men. It's a squared tower (4 : the 4 forms of the Order created before the Genesis), illuminated in reference to the story of the Covenant : 8 windows ( 6 days of the creation + Shabbat+ Resurrection day) at the first floor; 12 windows (12 tribes of Israel; 12 apostles) at the second. In the superior corners, 4 tetrahedron pyramids ( the triangle, which cannot be changed, image of the truth) affirm the intangible truth of the 4 evangels at the 4 points of the horizon.
From there the spire soar upwards, towards the sky.
Why this tabs on the 8 groins, is it for esthetic reasons, or a sort of scale?
The spire, elegant triangle standing out on the sky is a perspective view of the road forwards the Eternal Life. – Those who keep saying that these oldest ages ignored the perspective didn't wonder what can be the sense in erecting such perilous objects in the sky of Christianity. - The sky far above is evocated with the small sphere put on the point. The spire presents to all the horizons of the 8 days of Creation the image of the two leanings of the human soul:
- following the sensible world and it's the leaning of the reason and the action, of work, with a view to the Good;
- following the spiritual world and it's the leaning of intellect and contemplation, of prayer with a view to the True.
The image of the soul as a receptor (the intellect) and transmitter (the reason) of the life in God. "Pray and work" enjoins the rule of St Benoit, and that's what tells to every on, passer-by and parishioners, the spire of our tower-bell.
So the spire is the image of the road to heaven mapped out in several stages to cover throughout the 8 days of the life. 8 stages from the base to the highest point, like at the North tower of Chartres, like in Strasbourg and probably elsewhere. Sometime there are two spires like in Chartres to claim Urbi et orbi the two natures, human and divine of Jesus Messiah. Always in the highest point, like an accomplishment before Heavens, there is the image of the 4 cardinal virtues:
Prudence, temperance, strength, Justice
These virtues, humanly acquired are the fruits and the germs of the acts morally good because they have all the power of the human being to commune to the divine love. We're at the highest point of the road to Life. The point of a virtuous life consists in entering in the divine sonship.
The three last stages, above the superior vent, are already in the Beatitudes:
The Truth, the Beautiful, and the Good.
Between the events superior and inferior, 5 stages, the "10 stringed lyre" of the psalms.
The soul sings like a lyre. The intellect through the wisdom is in power of the contemplation and leads to the knowledge, the knowledge without forgetting : 5 stages until the Truth.
Simultaneously, the reason through the prudence is in power of the action and leads to the virtue, the faith, up to the Good. The harmony of all of this is to find in the fecundity of the dialogues between intellect and reason, wisdom and prudence, contemplation and action, knowledge and virtue, knowledge without forgetting and faith…
The reason as power of faith? To our contemporaries who use to oppose faith and reason, this is odd, but on reflection, is it really…wise?