Friday, September 30, 2005

Why I'm A Plagiarist

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Image: Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema -
A Sculpture Gallery in Rome at the Time of Agrippa

Thursday, September 29, 2005

On Gargoyles

Realism is simply Romanticism that has lost its reason. This is so not merely in the sense of insanity but of suicide. It has lost its reason; that is its reason for existing. The Old Greeks summoned godlike things to worship their god. The medieval Christians summoned all things to worship theirs, dwarfs and pelicans, monkeys and madmen. The modern realists summon all these million creatures to worship their god; and then have no god for them to worship. Paganism was in art a pure beauty; that was the dawn. Christianity was a beauty created by controlling a million monsters of ugliness; and that in my belief was the zenith and the noon. Modern art and science practically mean having the million monsters and being unable to control them; and I will venture to call that the disruption and the decay. The finest lengths of the Elgin marbles consist of splendid horses going to the temple of a virgin. Christianity, with its gargoyles and grotesques, really amounted to saying this: that a donkey could go before all the horses of the world when it was really going to the temple. Romance means a holy donkey going to the temple. Realism means a lost donkey going nowhere.

GK Chesterton
Read the Whole Essay
Image: Pieta -Bouguereau

Monday, September 26, 2005

Seasons

The morns are meeker than they were,
The nuts are getting brown;
The berry’s cheek is plumper,
The rose is out of town.


The maple wears a gayer scarf,
The field a scarlet gown.
Lest I should be old-fashioned,
I ’ll put a trinket on.

Emily Dickinson
Image: 'Autumn' John W Godward

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Feast of the Stigmata

The Parchment given to Friar Leo
This document had its origin in the incident reported by both Bl. Thomas Celano and St. Bonaventure. Friar Leo, a close companion of St. Francis, came to him, revealing that he was in the midst of a severe interior trial, and asked for the Saint's assistance. To satisfy his request, St. Francis wrote "The Praises of God Most High" [LaudDei] and the "Blessing given to Friar Leo" [BenLeo] on a single piece of parchment: the former on the obverse, the latter on the reverse. Upon receiving it, Friar Leo was instantly freed of his temptation. This parchment is preserved to this day at the Sacro Convento in Assisi, and bears a note of authentication by Friar Leo himself. For this reason the place and date of its composition are known very accurately: sometime after St. Francis received the stigmata (Sept. 14) and before the Feast of St. Michael (Sept. 29) in the year 1224 A.D., while both were in retreat on Mount Alverna.

The Praises of God Most High [LaudDei]
The praise of God is one of the most characteristic and essential aspects of St. Francis spirituality, so much so, that for him it was a solemn duty, borne of the most profound gratitude and love of the Most Holy Trinity, our Creator and Redeemer. It is thus quite consistent with the spirituality of the Saint that these Praises are associated with a miracle worked by him during his life.

Thou art" the Holy Lord, the only "God, who works wonders" 12 (Ps 76:15).
Thou art strong, Thou art great (cf. Ps 85:10),
Thou art the Most High, Thou art the Omnipotent King,
Thou "Holy Father" (cf. Jn 17:11) King "of Heaven and Earth." (Mt 11:25).
Thou art Three and One Lord, God of gods (cf. Ps 135:2),
Thou art good, all good, the Highest Good, Lord God living and true (cf. 1 Thes 1:9).
Thou art Charity; Thou art Wisdom, Thou art humility,
"Thou art patience" (Ps 70:5), Thou art Beauty,
Thou art gentleness; Thou art security, Thou art quiet, Thou art our Hope
Thou art joy; and gladness, Thou art justice, all
Thou art temperance, Thou art riches unto sufficiency.
Thou art beauty, Thou art gentleness,
"Thou art Protector" (Ps 30:5), Thou art guard and our defender,
Thou art fortitude (cf. Ps 42:2), Thou art refreshment. Thou art our hope,
Thou art our faith. Thou art our charity,
Thou art our eternal life:
Thou art our entire sweetness, Great and admirable Lord, God Omnipotent, merciful Savior.

The Blessing given to Friar Leo [BenLeo]
Friar Leo was one of St. Francis' close companions. This writing of St. Francis has the unique honor of containing the signature of St. Francis, in the form of a Tau Cross drawn in red ink, between the letters of Leo's name [i.e. Le-T-o]. This blessing has become the customary one in Franciscan communities, and is recited over the friars by the local superior as the last prayer of the day. St. Francis' ability to use language emphatically is seen particularly in the last sentence of this blessing.

May the Lord bless thee and keep thee; may He show His face to thee and be merciful to thee. May He turn His countenance to thee and give thee peace (cf. Num 6:24-26). May the Lord bless, friar Leo, thee (cf. Num 6:27b).

Text: The Writings of St. Francis of Assisi
Translated from the Critical Latin Edition, edited by Fr. Kajetan Esser, O.F.M.

Images: El Greco 'St Francis Recieves the Stigmata'
Hermano Leon 'Cruz'

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Ineffable: A Song For Mary

Καί πάντων τέλος έσσί, καί εϊς καί πάντα καί ούδείς, ούχ έυ εών, ού πάντω—πανώνυμε, πως σε καλέσω, τόνον άκλήϊστον.

The End of all art Thou,
being One and All and None,
Being one thou art not all,
being All thou art not one,
All names are Thine,
how then shall I invoke Thy Name
Alone Indefinite.

Saint Gregory Nazianzen
ϋμνος είς θεόν

Image: Bernardino Luini

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Why We Study, Fight, and Love

FREEDOM, a continuing conquest,
It cannot simply be possessed!
It comes as a gift,
but keeping it is a struggle.
Gift and struggle are inscribed on pages, hidden, yet open.
For freedom you pay
with all your being,
therefore call that your freedom
Which allows you,

in paying the price,
to possess yourself ever anew.
At such a price do we enter history
and touch her epochs.
Where is the dividing line between
those generations that paid to little,
And those who paid too much?
On which side of the line are we?

…Over the struggles of consciences,
history places a layer of events
Brimming with victories and defeats.
History does not conceal them –it proclaims them.
How weak the people that accepts defeat,
That forgets its call to keep vigil
Until its hour should come.
The hours continually return on the great clock face of history.
Herin the liturgy of life,
That vigil is the Lord’s word and the people’s word
Which comes to us ever anew.
The hours become a psalm of ceaseless conversions.
Let us take part in the Eucharist of the worlds…

O earth, you do not cease
To be an atom of our age.
Learning new hope,
We pass through this time towards a new earth.
And we raise you, ancient earth,
Fruit of the love of generations,
To the love that overcame hate.

Karol Wojtya
Poezoe-Poems Krakow, 1998

Image: 'God Speed' Edmund Blair Leighton