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)

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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

Sancrucensis

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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Easter and True Freedom

The doors were shut, but Jesus came and stood among them, and said, “Peace be with you.” (John 20:26)

The Risen Lord shows a remarkable freedom with respect to earthly things. Not only is he entirely free from all weakness and suffering, but not even locked doors are no barrier to him, His body is full of intese and perfect life, and everything is easy to Him. Having conquered sin and death He has won for Himself the perfect peace of victory. Continue reading