An Increase of Evils

Pope Francis, center, opens the afternoon session of a two-week synod on family issues at the Vatican, Monday, Oct. 6, 2014. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

My mind is, if I must write the truth, to keep clear of every conference of bishops, for of conference never saw I good come, or a remedy so much as an increase of evils. For there is strife and ambition, and these have the upper hand of reason.

St. Gregory Nazianzen, Ep. 55 (as quoted in Tract 90).

Francis, Bishop of Rome.

It is not to be excluded that I will enter history as the one who split the Catholic Church.

Francis, Bishop of Rome.

Pantocrator in the Monastery Church at Daphni.

Woe be unto the pastors that destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture! saith the Lord.

Therefore thus saith the Lord God of Israel against the pastors that feed my people; Ye have scattered my flock, and driven them away, and have not visited them: behold, I will visit upon you the evil of your doings, saith the Lord.

And I will gather the remnant of my flock out of all countries whither I have driven them, and will bring them again to their folds; and they shall be fruitful and increase.

And I will set up shepherds over them which shall feed them: and they shall fear no more, nor be dismayed, neither shall they be lacking, saith the Lord.

Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth.

In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is his name whereby he shall be called, The Lord Our Righteousness.

Therefore, behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that they shall no more say, The Lord liveth, which brought up the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt;

But, The Lord liveth, which brought up and which led the seed of the house of Israel out of the north country, and from all countries whither I had driven them; and they shall dwell in their own land.

Jeremias xxiii, 1-8.

Altus Prosator “F”

Ceiling of the Hagia Sophia, Constantinople, with Seraphim mosaics on pendentives of the main dome.

CAPITULUM F

TITLE: De laude Dei ab angelis in quarta feria dicentes Sanctus
Sanctus Sanctus Dominus Deus Sabaoth.

ARGUMENT: ‘Quando feci celum et terram collaudaverunt me
angeli’; ut in Sapientia Salomonis dicitur.

Factis simul sideribus
etheris luminaribus
collaudaverunt angeli
factura praemirabili
immensae molis dominum
opificem celestium
preconia laudabile
debito et immobile
concentuque egregio
grates egerunt domino
amore et arbitrio
non naturae donario.

STANZA F

When together, æther’s wonder,
Shine the Stars, the Angels sing;
To th’ Immensity’s Designer,
Host on host, their anthems ring:
Songs right meet for adoration,
Glorious harmonies they raise;
Since they move not from their courses
Never-ending is their praise.
Noble concert in the highest
Is their offering full and free:—
‘Tis of love’s sincerest rapture
Not of natural decree.

— The Hiberno-Latin abecedarian hymn, Altus prosator, a sequence attributed to St. Columba, from Lays of Iona and Other Poems; English paraphrase by Samuel John Stone.

Tae Oor Dear Native Scenes

Title page of Rev. Alexander M. MacGregor’s Gaelic Topography of Balquhidder Parish.
Loch Voil, near Balquhidder.

Poem Inspired by a Gaelic Topography of Balquhidder Parish: Rev. Alex MacGregor, EUP 1886
The Cloud Collector: Poems & Story in Scots & English (Maud, Aberdeenshire: Lochlands 2015) by Sheena Blackhall

Field of the land producing thatch
Shieling of grinding wheat
Burn beside the dun coloured dell
Burn of the mournful bleat

Burn of the black waterfall
Burn of the windy space
Burn of the rock where MacRenish lived
A robber of that place

Burn of the hawthorn tree
Trough of the grey hound’s peak
Burn of the house of the ravine
Knoll of the men of peace

Pass of the dell of arrows
The dell of hides and skins
The hamlet of the hollow
Hill of the moaning winds

The coffer of the hand mill
The stone of the slender grass
Pass of the little bramble bush
Brae where the corpses pass

The glen suited for cattle
The hollow of the bog
The clachan of the stepping stones
Of Linn and fallen log

The fairy knoll of battles
The mountains of the mine
The black peak of the badgers
The ben of the creeping pine

Altus Prosator “E”

Creation of Adam (Vr) from Liber Chronicarum (the Nuremberg Chronicle).

CAPITULUM E

TITLE: De creatione elementorum mundi et hominis regentis ea
postea more regis
.

ARGUMENT: ‘In principio fecit Deus celum et terram’ ut in
Genesi dicitur
.–(Gen. i. 1.)

Excelsus mundi machinam
previdens et armoniam
caelum et terram fecerat
mare et aquas condidit
herbarum quoque germina
virgultorum arbuscula
solem lunam ac sidera
ignem ac necessaria
aves pisces et peccora
bestias et animalia
hominum demum regere
protoplastum praesagmine.

STANZA E

God, the Lord Most High, foreseeing
Nature’s concord full and sweet.
Moulded Heaven and Earth and Ocean
To one harmony complete:
Sprang the grasses, fair unfolding.
Copses burgeoned in the sun:
Beamed the sunlight, starlight, moonlight,
Firelight: all of need was done–
Birds for brake, and fish for waters.
Wild or tame kine for the sward–
Last, the highest, first created,
Man, Creation’s crown and lord.

— The Hiberno-Latin abecedarian hymn, Altus prosator, a sequence attributed to St. Columba, from Lays of Iona and Other Poems; English paraphrase by Samuel John Stone.

Eyesight of the Mind

“Certainly,” he said, “I do wish very much to be settled either in the English Church or somewhere else. I wish I knew what Christianity was; I am ready to be at pains to seek it, and would accept it eagerly and thankfully, if found. But it’s a work of time; all the paper-arguments in the world are unequal to giving one a view in a moment. There must be a process; they may shorten it, as medicine shortens physical processes, but they can’t supersede its necessity. I recollect how all my religious doubts and theories went to flight on my dear father’s death. They weren’t part of me, and could not sustain rough weather. Conviction is the eyesight of the mind, not a conclusion from premises; God works it, and His works are slow. At least so it is with me. I can’t believe on a sudden; if I attempt it, I shall be using words for things, and be sure to repent it. Or if not, I shall go right merely by hazard. I must move in what seems God’s way; I can but put myself on the road; a higher power must overtake me, and carry me forward.

— John Henry Newman, Loss and Gain.

De Chrenecruda

Si quis hominem occiderit et totam facultatem data habuerit unde tota lege conpleat XII juratores donare debet quod nec super terram nec subtus terram plus facultatem non habeat quam jam donavit. Et postea debet in casa sua introire et de quattuor angulos terrae in pugno collegere et sic postea in duropullo hoc est in limitare stare debet intus in casa respiciens et sic de sinistra manum de illa terra trans scapulas suas jactare super illum quem proximiorem parentem habet. Quod si jam pater et fratres solserunt tunc super suos debet illa terra jactare; id est super tres de generatione matris et super tres de generatione patris qui proximiores sunt. Et sic postea in camisia discinctus discalcius palo in manu sepe sallire debet ut pro medietate quantum conpositione diger est aut quantum lex addicat illi tres solvant hoc est illi alii qui de paterna generatione veniunt facere debent. Si vero de illis quicumque proximior fuerit ut non habeat unde integrum debitum solvat quicumque de illis plus habet iterum super illum chrenecruda ille qui pauperior est jactet ut ille tota lege solvat. Quam si vero nec ipse habuerit unde tota persolvat tunc illum qui homicidium fecit qui eum sub fidem habuit in mallo praesentare debent et sic postea eum per quattuor mallos ad suam fidem tollant. Et si eum in conpositione nullus ad fidem tullerunt hoc est ut redimant de quo non persolvit tunc de sua vita conponat.

J. Fr. Behrend, 2nd ed. revised by Richard Behrend, Lex Salica, Weimar: Hermann Böhlaus Nachfolger, 1897, cap. LVIII., pp. 121-123.

Out of Time

Alabaster relief in the British Museum, showing the martyrdom of Thomas Becket. Tag reads: “Alabaster showing Becket’s martyrdom.” and “About 1450-1500, England, Alabaster. PE 1890.0809.1”.

You think me reckless, desperate and mad.
You argue by results, as this world does,
To settle if an act be good or bad.
You defer to the fact. For every life and every act
Consequence of good and evil can be shown.
And as in time results of many deeds are blended
So good and evil in the end become confounded
It is not in time that my death shall be known;
It is out of time that my decision is taken
If you call that decision
To which my whole being gives entire consent.
I give my life
To the Law of God above the Law of Man.

T.S. Eliot, Murder in the Cathedral, p. 74.