Always Craving

John Keble.

St. Paul has ranked even personal liberty, liberty opposed to the condition of a slave, among other temporal blessings, as an object, comparatively speaking, below the serious concern of a redeemed immortal being. “Art thou called being a slave? care not for it: but even if thou mayest be made free, put up with it rather.” That is, “make the best of your condition as it is, rather than grasp, with eager anxiety, at every chance of emancipation.” And what he says of personal liberty, is true, I suppose, a fortiori, of civil liberty as opposed to subjection. “Care not for it,” says the inspired Voice: “let it be your tendency, in this as in all things, rather to improve existing opportunities, than to be always craving after a change of condition.”

But what says the Christian world to this? Do not men, somehow, think of liberty, as of something unlike other outward blessings, such as health, riches, domestic comfort? something, the mere pursuing of which, for its own sake, is a part of virtue? Contented slavery in either kind, are they not apt to pronounce it meanness?

All this being calmly considered, and compared with what our Lord and His Apostles have said; or rather, with what they have left unsaid, (for there is a silence more significant than words;) I think one must own, that civil liberty, high as it may stand among earthly blessings, is usually allowed to fill a space in our thoughts, out of all proportion to that which it fills in the plan of happiness drawn out in the Bible. Though men commit things worthy of death, yet if they be done for freedom’s sake, the world finds pleasure in them that do them.

Sermon V. Danger of Sympathizing with Rebellion. Preached by John Keble before the University of Oxford, 30 January 1831.

In Commemoratione S. Pauli Apostoli

Statue of the Saint before the façade of the Papal Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls, Rome, Italy.
Statue of the Saint before the façade of the Papal Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls, Rome, Italy.

Deus, qui multitudinem Gentium beati Pauli Apostoli praedicatione docuisti: da nobis, quaesumus; ut cuius natalitia colimus, eius apud te patrocinia sentiamus. Per Dominum nostrum Iesum Christum, Filium tuum: qui tecum vivit et regnat in unitate Spíritus Sancti Deus, per omnia sæcula sæculorum. Amen.

St. Paul via Duck Dynasty

Statue of the Saint before the façade of the Papal Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls, Rome, Italy.
Statue of the Saint before the façade of the Papal Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls, Rome, Italy.

An nescitis quia iniqui regnum Dei non possidebunt? Nolite errare: neque fornicarii, neque idolis servientes, neque adulteri, neque molles, neque masculorum concubitores, neque fures, neque avari, neque ebriosi, neque maledici, neque rapaces regnum Dei possidebunt.

— I Corinthians vi. 9-10.

Reality Upturned into Perversity

Crucifix by Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni, Santa Maria del Santo Spirito di Firenze, Florence.
Crucifix by Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni, Santa Maria del Santo Spirito di Firenze, Florence.

We have heard so much in the past year about the mercy of God, as if the mercy of God does not depend on the justice of God. Without justice there is no mercy. The mission of the Church is not primarily to proclaim the mercy of God. The mission of the Church is to proclaim Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. The mercy of God is surely seen and exemplified once and for all in the Cross of Jesus Christ. There is no greater symbol of God’s mercy and love. Those silly “resurrected Christs” that are placed on a cross over an altar in some Catholic churches are a product of sentimentality and denial of the justice of God. And yet when one looks at the Cross one sees there the terrible, horrible, judgment of God on this world of sin, that God would have to have his Son die in this way: what does that say about this world, about you and me? The obvious answer is quite negative. But you see, the deepest answer to that question is Love, there is the answer. But not the cheap love the world would have us believe in, love defined as what I want to do, love defined apart from the laws of God, love defined so as to upturn reality into perversity, a false love that is doomed to hell, as Dante saw, as Christ told us, as St. Paul wrote, that is doomed to death, for it is the opposite of Love.

— From homily on the Last Sunday after Pentecost, 2013,
Fr. Richard G. Cipolla,
Saint Mary’s Norwalk, Connecticut.

(h/t to Rorate Cæli)

A City of Freedom

Christ in Majesty and the Heavenly Jerusalem, fresco, c. 1120; Église Saint-Theudère de Saint-Chef.
Christ in Majesty and the Heavenly Jerusalem, fresco, c. 1120; Église Saint-Theudère de Saint-Chef.

Tell me, you who are so eager to have the law for your master, have you never read the law? You will find it written there, that Abraham had two sons; one had a slave for his mother, and one a free woman. The child of the slave was born in the course of nature; the free woman’s, by the power of God’s promise. All that is an allegory; the two women stand for the two dispensations. Agar stands for the old dispensation, which brings up its children to bondage, the dispensation which comes to us from mount Sinai. Mount Sinai, in Arabia, has the same meaning in the allegory as Jerusalem, the Jerusalem which exists here and now; an enslaved city, whose children are slaves. Whereas our mother is the heavenly Jerusalem, a city of freedom. So it is that we read, Rejoice, thou barren woman that hast never borne child, break out into song and cry aloud, thou that hast never known travail; the deserted one has more children than she whose husband is with her. It is we, brethren, that are children of the promise, as Isaac was. Now, as then, the son who was born in the course of nature persecutes the son whose birth is a spiritual birth. But what does our passage in scripture say? Rid thyself of the slave and her son; it cannot be that the son of a slave should divide the inheritance with the son of a free woman.

— Epistle to the Galatians, iv. 21-30.

Nature in Its Turn Will Be Set Free from the Tyranny of Corruption

Not that I count these present sufferings as the measure of that glory which is to be revealed in us. If creation is full of expectancy, that is because it is waiting for the sons of God to be made known. Created nature has been condemned to frustration; not for some deliberate fault of its own, but for the sake of him who so condemned it, with a hope to look forward to; namely, that nature in its turn will be set free from the tyranny of corruption, to share in the glorious freedom of God’s sons. The whole of nature, as we know, groans in a common travail all the while. And not only do we see that, but we ourselves do the same; we ourselves, although we have already begun to reap our spiritual harvest, groan in our hearts, waiting for that adoption which is the ransoming of our bodies from their slavery. It must be so, since our salvation is founded upon the hope of something. Hope would not be hope at all if its object were in view; how could a man still hope for something which he sees? And if we are hoping for something still unseen, then we need endurance to wait for it. Only, as before, the Spirit comes to the aid of our weakness; when we do not know what prayer to offer, to pray as we ought, the Spirit himself intercedes for us, with groans beyond all utterance: and God, who can read our hearts, knows well what the Spirit’s intent is; for indeed it is according to the mind of God that he makes intercession for the saints.

— Epistle to the Romans viii, 18-27.

The Sudarium Supported by St. Peter and St. Paul

The Sudarium Supported by St. Peter and St. Paul; engraving dated 1497 by anonymous Renaissance German printmaker, Master L. Cz.
The Sudarium Supported by St. Peter and St. Paul; engraving dated 1497 by anonymous Renaissance German printmaker, Master L. Cz. Only twelve engravings by his hand are extant, but their virtuosity establishes him as a talented artist whose work marks a stylistic transition between that of Martin Schongauer and Albrecht Dürer.

He Scourgeth Every Son Whom He Receiveth

Ideoque et nos tantam habentes impositam nubem testium, deponentes omne pondus, et circumstans nos peccatum, per patientiam curramus ad propositum nobis certamen: aspicientes in auctorem fidei, et consummatorem Jesum, qui proposito sibi gaudio sustinuit crucem, confusione contempta, atque in dextera sedis Dei sedet. Recogitate enim eum qui talem sustinuit a peccatoribus adversum semetipsum contradictionem: ut ne fatigemini, animis vestris deficientes. Nondum enim usque ad sanguinem restitistis, adversus peccatum repugnantes: et obliti estis consolationis, quæ vobis tamquam filiis loquitur, dicens: Fili mi, noli negligere disciplinam Domini: neque fatigeris dum ab eo argueris. Quem enim diligit Dominus, castigat: flagellat autem omnem filium, quem recipit.

Epistle to the Hebrews, xii, 1-6.

An Order of Malediction

The Cathach of St. Columba.
The Cathach of St. Columba.

Adomnán has also set down an order of malediction for them, to wit, a psalm for every day up to twenty days and an apostle or a noble saint for every day to be invoked with it, to wit, “Quare” and Peter, “Domine quid multiplicati” and John, “Verba mea” and Philip, “Domine Deus meus” and Bartholomew, “Dixit insipiens” and Thomas, “Deus, Deus meus respice” and Matthew “Iudica me Domine innocentium” and Jacob “Dixit iniustus” and Simon “Domine ne in furore” and Thaddeus, “Dixi custodiam”  and Mattias, “Deus deorum”  and Mark, “Quid gloriaris” and Luke, “Dixit insipiens”  and Stephen, “Exurgat deus” and Ambrose, “Salvum me” and Gregory of Rome, “Deus, venerunt gentes” and Martin, “Deus, quis similis” and old Paul, “Deus laudem” and George, “Audite caeli quae loquor,” “Non nobis, Domine, non nobis, sed nomini tuo,” &c.

— Cáin Adamnáin, xxxii.

Calum-Cille, Peadail, agus Pol

Flavian Amphitheatre, Rome, Italy.
Flavian Amphitheatre, Rome, Italy.

A day as I was going to Rome,
I forgathered with Columba, Peter, and Paul,
The talk that they had and that happened in their mouths,
Was loud-lunged, white-bellied, female calves,
As was spoken in the prophecy,
On this foundation for a year and a day,
Through the bosom of the God of life and all the hosts,
Chief of chiefs and of the everlasting Powers above.

Carmina Gadelica, Uibe, 188.

* * *

La domh ’s mi dol dh’ an Roimh,
Thachair orm Calum-cille, Peadail, agus Pol,
Is e comhradh a bh’ aca ’s a thachair bhi ’n am beul,
Laoigh bheura, bhoirionn, bhailgionn,
Mar thubhradh anns an dailgionn,
Air an laraich seo gu ceann la ’s bliadhna,
A uchd Dia nan dul is nan uile bhuadh,
Triath nan triath ’s nan Cumhachdan siorruidh shuas.

— Carmina Gadelica, Uibe, 188.

Failt, a Mhoire!

Detail of Our Lady from the Ghent Altarpiece, a very large and complex early 15th century Early Flemish polyptych panel painting.
Detail of Our Lady from the Ghent Altarpiece, a very large and complex early XV century Early Flemish polyptych panel painting.

Hail, Mary! hail, Mary!
Queen of grace, Mother of mercy;
Hail, Mary, in manner surpassing,
Fount of our health, source of our joy.

To thee we, night and day,
Erring children of Adam and Eve,
Lift our voice in supplication,
In groans and grief and tears.

Bestow upon us, thou Root of gladness,
Since thou art the cup of generous graces,
The faith of John, and Peter, and Paul,
With the wings of Ariel on the heights of the clouds.

Vouchsafe to us, thou golden branch,
A mansion in the Realm of peace,
Rest from the perils and stress of waves,
Beneath the shade of the fruit of thy womb, Jesu.

– Carmina Gadelica, Achaine, 47.

* * *

Failt, a Mhoire! failt, a Mhoire!
Righinn nan gras, Mathair na trocair;
Failt, a Mhoire, air mhodh gun choimeas,
Geil ar slainte, fath ar solais.

Riut tha sinne, dh’ oidhch’s a latha,
Sliochd seachranach Adhamh is Eubha,
Togail ar guth’s ag achan,
An gul’s an gal’s an deura.

Tabhair duinn, a Fhreimh an aigh,
O ‘s tu copan nan grasa fial,
Creid Eoin, is Pheaid, is Phail,
Le sgeith Airil an aird nan nial.

Deoin dhuinn, a gheug dhonn,
Aros ann am Fonn na sith,
Tamh o ghabhadh’s o anradh thom,
Fo sgath toraidh do bhronn, Ios.

– Carmina Gadelica, Achaine, 47.

Ora nam Buadh

I bathe thy palms
In showers of wine,
In the lustral fire,
In the seven elements,
In the juice of the rasps,
In the milk of honey,
And I place the nine pure choice graces
In thy fair fond face,
The grace of form,
The grace of voice,
The grace of fortune,
The grace of goodness,
The grace of wisdom,
The grace of charity,
The grace of choice maidenliness,
The grace of whole-souled loveliness,
The grace of goodly speech.

Dark is yonder town,
Dark are those therein,
Thou art the brown swan,
Going in among them.
Their hearts are under thy control,
Their tongues are beneath thy sole,
Nor will they ever utter a word
To give thee offence.

A shade art thou in the heat,
A shelter art thou in the cold,
Eyes art thou to the blind,
A staff art thou to the pilgrim,
An island art thou at sea,
A fortress art thou on land,
A well art thou in the desert,
Health art thou to the ailing.

Thine is the skill of the Fairy Woman,
Thine is the virtue of Bride the calm,
Thine is the faith of Mary the mild,
Thine is the tact of the woman of Greece,
Thine is the beauty of Emir the lovely,
Thine is the tenderness of Darthula delightful,
Thine is the courage of Maebh the strong,
Thine is the charm of Binne-bheul.

Thou art the joy of all joyous things,
Thou art the light of the beam of the sun,
Thou art the door of the chief of hospitality,
Thou art the surpassing star of guidance,
Thou art the step of the deer of the hill,
Thou art the step of the steed of the plain,
Thou art the grace of the swan of swimming,
Thou art the loveliness of all lovely desires.

The lovely likeness of the Lord
Is in thy pure face,
The loveliest likeness that
Was upon earth.

The best hour of the day be thine,
The best day of the week be thine,
The best week of the year be thine,
The best year in the Son of God’s domain be thine.

Peter has come and Paul has come,
James has come and John has come,
Muriel and Mary Virgin have come,
Uriel the all-beneficent has come,
Ariel the beauteousness of the young has come,
Gabriel the seer of the Virgin has come,
Raphael the prince of the valiant has come,
And Michael the chief of the hosts has come,
And Jesus Christ the mild has come,
And the Spirit of true guidance has come,
And the King of kings has come on the helm,
To bestow on thee their affection and their love,
To bestow on thee their affection and their love.

Carmina Gadelica, Achaine 3.

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