Dialogue Between a Swallow and a Sinner /
Rafael Pereira Bianchin
It was a Sunday morning, and the Sun smiled gently at me. I walked through the breeze, admiring the birds dancing in the air until one of them left the flock and stopped by my side.
‘Where are you going, man?’ asked the swallow.
‘Why, I’m going to Mass,’ I answered.
‘Ah, poor man,’ said the bird, shaking his little head. ‘You see, we, the birds, praise the Lord wherever we are, whenever we sing. You, son of Adam, need a church, and a priest, and symbols and smoke.’
‘I’m not sure I follow you.’ I was indeed very confused.
‘The Lord created Adam to rule the Creation, a legitimate primus inter pares, but he lost his gift, and now you are the most wretched of all creatures.’
‘But God made Man after His image and likeness,’ I tried to retort. ‘I shall be late if I stand here talking to you. Would you mind if we were to walk?’
‘Not at all. But do you truly consider yourself to be the image and likeness of the Lord? You are but a bag full of sins, unable to grasp the mysteries of your own existence, let alone the mysteries of Nature and the mysteries of God. There is no sin in Nature; she never lost her gift.’
‘I am indeed a sinner,’ I answered, not without some shame, for I talked to a sinless creature. ‘But Christ made Himself a Man, and in Eternity I shall be restored from my state, and I shall sing with the choir of the Apostles and Martyrs, I will join the company of saints and angels. Where will you be then?’
The swallow answered quickly: ‘I shall be flying and singing, just like I have been doing since the beginning. Man knows no constancy. He received everything and forsook everything; he threw his own clothes on the ground to receive his Saviour, only to tear apart His holy garments; he walked by His side in the garden, but later would spit on His face. Where will you be tomorrow, man? Maybe you will find yourself praying amidst the sweet fires of the Purgatory, or perhaps pain will be your perpetual companion in Hell. But I know that I will be here, singing and flying.’
‘I begin to understand what you mean; yet, I don’t think Man is the most wretched of all creatures. Even if only one single Man were to enter Heaven in glory, my heart would still be filled with tremendous joy for the redemption of my kind. You say that all birds will fly and sing in Jerusalem, and that fills you with joy. Which joy is the greatest one?’
‘I don’t think one could answer such a question,’ conceded the bird.
‘Neither do I. But, thanks to your wisdom, friend, I will lower myself under the smallest of the beasts so that, in the world to come, I may rise, like Adam, above the rest of the Creation. Pray for me, little swallow; I shall not pray for you, for you do not need my prayers.’
‘You are right when you say that I need not your prayers,’ said the swallow, and then he flew away.
Rafael Bianchin is a STEM graduate student from Brazil. In addition to his academic endeavours, he is interested in mystical literature—in particular, the work of Arthur Machen and the Legends of the Graal.
Dialogue Between a Swallow and a Sinner: Copyright 2022 by Rafael Pereira Bianchin. All rights reserved.