The Window in the Wall

Eight years ago today I posted the very first post on Sancrucensis.

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And now he is standing on the other side of this very wall; now he is looking through each window in turn, peering through every chink. I can hear my true love calling to me, Rise up, rise up quickly, dear heart, so gentle, so beautiful, rise up and come with me. (Sg. 2:9-10; Knox Translation)

Ronald Knox takes a rather curious literal interpretation of the Song of Songs, but one that solves a number of difficulties. Joe Zepeda’s brilliant TAC thesis argues for it rather persuasively. The interpretation is roughly this: the bride has been taken to Solomon’s court, but she is still faithful to her beloved from the country. Her beloved follows her to the city, and (in the above text) he is standing outside the wall of Solomon’s palace calling her. In his sermon “The Window in the Wall” Knox gives a figurative interpretation of the passage:…

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“Christ chooses what we would like to eliminate”

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As St Teresa would say, “this is very useful to read.” From the  Christmas letter of the Cistercian Abbot General, Dom Mauro-Giuseppe Lepori:

For me, this is one of the more extraordinary aspects of the Christian event: that Christ chooses what we would like to eliminate, what disturbs and disgusts us more, as the place where the encounter with Him becomes for us the clear and safe path of our lives. Why does our community always seem to us to be full of defects and not up to the greatness of its vocation? Why do the superior, the brothers and sisters with whom we must closely share life, seem to us to be the least fit to ensure our happiness and are often the people with whom we have more problems in living together? In fact, the community of Damascus was like this for Saul of Tarsus. This is the place…

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Via Alpina Sacra

The brilliant Fr. Johannes Schwarz. is going to be hiking from one end of the Alps to the other this summer, visiting all shrines and monasteries along the way. You can now submit prayer requests on his website, and he will pray for your intentions at particular shrines.

The Tradistae, Bishop Sullivan Highschool, and Scott Hahn

Robert Bellah used to say: “Nothing is ever lost.” That dictum came to mind recently when I was contacted by a group of American college students, who call themselves Tradistae. The name is meant to be reminiscent of the Tradinistas, and the group does try to revive some of the better aspects of that project. They refer to the work on integralism that we have done at The Josias, and attempt a thoroughly integralist approach to Catholic action. Their main focus is the practice of the works of mercy.

There is something remarkable about how small groups such as this one are re-discovering elements of Catholic Tradition that many, especially of their parents’ generation, consider passé. Dan Hitchens has recently written an interesting essay about converts to Catholicism who were led thither by what the found on the internet. “God can use anything, even the internet,” he writes, “and if this is a terrible age for distraction and vanity, it is also an era of internet conversions.” The same is true mutatis mutandis of young Catholics re-discovering neglected aspects of their tradition. Continue reading

The Cathedral at Milan as “a Sort of World”

And, as I have said for months past that I never knew what worship was, as an objective fact, till I entered the Catholic Church, and was partaker in its offices of devotion, so now I say the same on the view of its cathedral assemblages. I have expressed myself so badly that I doubt if you will understand me, but a Catholic Cathedral is a sort of world, every one going about his own business, but that business a religious one ; groups of worshippers, and solitary ones kneeling, standing some at shrines, some at altars hearing Mass and communicating, currents of worshippers intercepting and passing by each other altar after altar lit up for worship, like stars in the firmament or the bell giving notice of what is going on in parts you do not see, and all the while the canons in the choir going through matins and lauds, and at the end of it the incense rolling up from the high altar, and all this in one of the most wonderful buildings in the world and every day lastly, all of this without any show or effort but what everyone is used to everyone at his own work, and leaving everyone else to his. (J.H. Newman, letter to Henry Wilberforce, Milan 1846)

Inward Liberty

By two wings is man lifted above earthly things, even by simplicity and purity. Simplicity ought to be in the intention, purity in the affection. Simplicity reacheth towards God, purity apprehendeth Him and tasteth Him. No good action will be distasteful to thee if thou be free within from inordinate affection. If thou reachest after and seekest, nothing but the will of God and the benefit of thy neighbour, thou wilt entirely enjoy inward liberty. If thine heart were right, then should every creature be a mirror of life and a book of holy doctrine. There is no creature so small and vile but that it showeth us the goodness of God. (The Imitation of Christ, II,4).

Syria

There is an island, called Syria, you may have heard of it,
lying above Ortygia, where the sun makes his turnings;
not so much a populous island, but a good one, good for
cattle and good for sheep, full of vineyards, and wheat raising.
No hunger ever comes on these people, nor any other
hateful sickness, of such as befall wretched humanity;
but when the generations of men grow old in the city,
Apollo of the silver bow, and Artemis with him,
comes with a visitation of painless arrows, and kills them.

(Homer, Odyssey 15.403-411, tr. Richmond Lattimore, via Laudator Temporis Acti).

An Easter Sermon for Contemplative Nuns

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Christ drying the eyes of the Church Christ drying the eyes of the Church

(The following is a translation of the sermon that I preached yesterday at the Carmel in Mayerling).

But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb  (John 20:11). Dom Mauro Giussepe Lepori, Abbot General O.Cist, made a pilgrimage to the Holy Land earlier this year. Afterwards he wrote the following:

From those first days in the Holy Land, particularly in Jerusalem at the basilica of the Holy Sepulcher, I was deeply moved. At the same time, however, the more I went to the holiest sites of Christianity, the more I had to admit that I was not really aware of what they represented, nor of the events that had happened right there: that there in that place Christ had died, that there he had been buried and there he had risen, that there he had met Mary Magdalene and the other women…

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