‘Our Father’ Contains a Trove of Spiritual Treasure| National Catholic Register

Jesuit Father John Gavin begins his book with an evocative image: Pliny the Younger’s eyewitness account of the eruption of Mount Vesuvius on Aug. 24, 79 A.D. This cataclysmic event buried the entire city of nearby Pompeii in burning volcanic ash.  Centuries later, amidst the sad remains of the residents of Pompeii, archaeologists have discovered thousands of priceless artifacts, preserved intact beneath the ash. Among these, etched in stone, is a Rotas-Sator Square. In Latin, it’s a bit of a nonsense sentence: rotas opera tenet arepo sator. But it reads the same forwards, backwards, up and down — one of the coolest palindromes ever.  It’s also an anagram: The letters reform into the phrase pater noster (“Our Father” in Latin) in the shape of a cross, framed by the letters A and O — Alpha and Omega. Some archaeologists and scholars assert that the presence of this artifact in Pompeii indicates Christianity may have reached this part of the Roman Empire by 79 A.D. at the latest. 

‘Our Father’ Contains a Trove of Spiritual Treasure| National Catholic Register

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