“Was it a quaint device opening a page of some medieval book of prophecies and symbols, a hawklike man flying sunward above the sea, a prophecy of the end he had been born to serve and had been following through the mists of childhood and boyhood, a symbol of the artist forging anew in his workshop out of the sluggish matter of the earth a new soaring impalpable imperishable being?” (Joyce 142).
Joyce, James. A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. Oxford University Press, 2000.
I’m unsure if the prophecy is calling for him to go to the church or to pursue his art, Stephen seems to think about it in terms of the artist creating art in either scenario