This is the journey of life as we (horizontally) cross the river and (vertically) head towards Heaven.
Catherine of Siena spoke of this bridge with three stairs, each stair corresponding to a part of Christ as illustrated. We move from stripping ourselves of sin, to dressing ourselves in virtue, to tasting peace. If we don’t choose the bridge we quite simply drown in the raging waters and perish.
There is also a change in the perspective of suffering where we first view it as a result of our sin (thus the fear), then we are moved by Jesus’ suffering for us, before finally embracing suffering for the sake of Christ and others. (ref)
I couldn’t quite find a picture of this bridge that Catherine spoke of so I decided to draw it.
What strikes me most about this imagery is the reality of drowning in sin. How often I feel like I could drop in and just swim back to shore and start over! As I drew the splashes of the raging river, I realized that swimming to shore is probably much more difficult and draining than just hanging tight to Jesus, or simply asking for help.
As I imagine more about this picture, I also recognize a lot of grace that might also save us from the waters: Jesus could hold us tight, others could pull us out of a tough spot, Jesus could throw a rope and life buoy if we fall from high up… So many possibilities of extraordinary grace!
I pray to always journey on the bridge.
St Catherine is also big on the imagery of Jesus’ blood so I kept that a feature (: