Saturday, 29 June 2013

Never too 'hyper interpretation' St. Peter in the Last Supper

Thank you, William, for the on going Links of Leonardo's Last Supper.   
Next right to Christ, John, Peter and Judas
----- Forwarded Message -----
From: Donald ....
To: William J ....
Sent: Thursday, 27 June 2013, 16:38
Subject: Fw: Two special feasts misfired

Dear William,
Completely mistaken about Sermon expected.
I was loving to search Leonardo focused on Peter, not St. Paul.
I was supposed to deliver the eve of Sts. Peter and Paul Sermon in the Chapter.

Totally mystified, and I learned that my turn is for the Sermon of St. Benedict on July 11th.
St. Benedict is very different oyster to be cracked.

The Guest House 'Our Lady of Perpetual Help' picture has the emblems of the Passion held by Angels - in a Blogspot too.....

A breather until July 11th.

In Dno.
P.S. 'hyper interpretation. Rudolf Steiner.  
  1. Leonardo Da Vinci, the Last Supper: A Cosmic Drama And an Act of ... - Page 86 - Google Books Result
    Michael Ladwein - 2006 - Art
    ... be a good deal of poor observation coupled with 'hyper-interpretation'.7 A prime ...Supper to the ground-plan of the first Goetheanum and to Rudolf Steiner's ...
+ + + 

----- Forwarded Message -----
From: William  ...
To: Donald....
Sent: Thursday, 27 June 2013, 15:08
Subject: Two special feasts

Dear Father Donald,
I thought I might share your browsing for your homily on the feast of St Peter and St Paul! Avenues to explore and delight!
It is a brilliant angle - a homily around a painting - on St Peter, through the Leonardo Last Supper.
This is a link I shared with you, with narrative
I have tried to find a painting expressive of St Paul's life to compliment that of St Peter but can find no narrative.
But then of course you have Sr Wendy's book! and are far more intuitive than I on the internet search engines!
I love today's feast of Our Lady - I have a metal plaque which hangs above my desk (attached). I remember a very fine large print in the lounge in the Guest House - the sandal that falls from the Child Jesus as He sees the emblem of the cross carried by an angel. The DGO have a nice piece:
Your 'racing moon' has become huge these last few nights/dawns, quite entrancing me. The weather-man spoke of the present tight orbit of the earth causing it to appear 30% larger. The universe is one vast source of wonder! 100% wiser than mankind!
With my love in Our Lord,
+ + + 

Sacristy - Tapestry of Leonardo Last Supper

Donald draft of:
Solemnity of Sts Peter and Paul 29 June 2013
The Peter and Paul Solemnity seems to have a great flourish by the Liturgy, the Church, the Vatican, the faithful teaching, a flourish of partiality.
In fact the key theme is better from Augustine, “One day for the passion of two Apostles ... they were as one”.
And in this community-sermon we highlight, not the special preference of Peter and Paul, but look for the preferential love of the brethren, the communion of our community life.
This week we had the celebration of the Birth of St. John of the Baptist and I was remembered by the paintings of Leonardo Da Vinci;
The Virgin of the Rocks The Virgin and Child with St. John the Baptist and an Angel, and Leonardo’s Charcoal Cartoon for the Virgin and Child with St. Anne and the Infant St. John the Baptist.
Why are these paintings of Leonardo the greatest expressions of communion and presence?
It takes the historians of paintings to articulate relationships and and mystery in the living frame..
The amazing Nations Gallery in London, Leonardo’s Charcoal Cartoon – the depth of Mary and St. Anne in the exchange and the mystery of Redemption of the children, the Child Jesus and the Infant of John the Baptist.

Leonardo’s story of ‘the Last Supper’ surpasses the TV directors today.. Against a distant background the action of the Last Super in an extreme drama..
‘The Last Super’ is the same painting subject on the wall of our reading room, donated by the Knights of Templar, and the same picture, as the tapestry in the Sacristy, shows surprising accuracy in details. The tapestry was donated ‘in remembrance  of Suzanne Mary Braniff, died 9-12-1986, age 15years.
Narrowed down to our interest is the role of St. Peter in the ‘Last Supper ‘ painting of Leonardo.
There were twelve apostles at Christ’s last supper. St. Paul not in sight.

In our Liturgy, the duo “Peter and Paul” is flattered or flattened in contrast to the drama of the twelve Apostles.
Peter is not singled out by Leonardo. Peter, himself, is one nub of a radar web net of the twelve zeroed to the heart of Christ.
The camera zooms on to Peter, in his right hand he has a knife behind Judas, James the Elder reaches to touch Peter, so that Peter is to nudge John, who in turn John asks Jesus ‘who betrayed him’. The six on stage, right of Christ are performing the ‘act’ in concert.
The more overt ‘acting’ is the language of the express by arms and hands, illustrated by view .

The Significance of Various Elements in the Composition of the Painting
Note on Peter.
Michael Ladwein
Leonardo da Vinci – The Last Super
The language and.meaning of gestures

... the ever-long forefinger of Thomas, pointing upwards very striking and energetically, might also be interpreted as indicating that the doubts he experienced regarding Christ's Resurrection could only be overcome by actually touching his wounds John 20,27). This in turn meant that in medieval theology Thomas became the actual witness of the Resurrection, so that his heavenward-pointing finger came to symbolize Christ's Ascension." Peter's right hand, propped on his hip (behind Judas' back) is holding a knife which at first sight can be regarded as a perfectly legitimate item of cutlery. But apart from the fact that it is the only knife in the whole picture, its size and shape also make it appear more like a weapon. Thus it points to the happening a few hours hence when Peter, militantly ready to defend Christ, will cut off the ear of Malchus (while here the ear of .John is willingly turned towards him and that of Judas involuntarily hears his urgent enquiry as to the name of the traitor). Thus the knife becomes in a sense an attribute of Peter.

Apart from Peter, only Judas is holding in his right hand an object open to ambivalent interpretation: the purse full of money (Fig.53).
Judas, Peter, John, 1999 restored
  Initially it can be seen as the common purse (John 12,6) which he administers, but we immediately and above all associate it with his traitor's reward of thirty pieces of silver. Moreover, as he recoils vehemently in surprise, he appears inadvertently to upset a salt-cellar. This is a most realistic touch," for he is symbolically rejecting Christ's promise that he too, like the others, shall be 'the salt of the earth', thus cancelling his links with Christ."

The mystery of the centre:
Judas and John
The relationship between Christ and Judas and the drama played out between them is the picture's centre of tension. They are the only two who are aware of the dark and pressing secret: the betrayal. The contrast between these two protagonists is vividly portrayed in the play of their hands. On the right, Christ's outstretched left arm ending in the 'giving' hand (which will soon be pierced by a nail) hovers freely and lightly in the air. On the left Judas' bent right arm ending in the fist clutching the full purse rests heavily on the table. (Or is Judas clinging to it to keep himself steady?) While the principle of polarity is most clearly expressed in these gestures, the 'drama of the hands' culminates in the tension-filled approach to one another of Christ's right and Judas' left hand with gestures that are so much alike.
Exactly between these two taut and active hands rest those of John, folded and interlinked - a counterpoint to all the other hands in the picture except for a degree of inner similarity with Christ's 'passive' left hand. In direct contrast to James the Great, his opposite number on the other side, whose hands are furthest apart, those of John together with the close-held arms (the only ones in this position) give incomparable expression to his inner withdrawal from all external happenings, the 'ocean stillness' of his soul. Of these hands it has been said quite rightly: 'With such a pair of folded hands Leonardo has achieved what other artists could portray only by painting the whole man John asleep.' (Monstadt)

A similarly subtle gradation can be observed in the faces, beginning with John - who apart horn Christ is the only figure portrayed frontally - via the pure profile of Peter and on to the profit perdu of Judas whose glance is directed slightly towards the rear of the picture. Peter's place between John and Judas gives expression to his spiritual position as well." It is upon him, the rock, that Christ intends to build his church, yet during this very night, on the other hand, he will also deny, though not betray, his Lord. 
 * * *

       BBC Art History



Friday, 28 June 2013

Henri Nouwen and Rembrandt Cosmic Drama


--- Forwarded Message -----
From: William W...
To: Donald...
Sent: Wednesday, 12 June 2013, 18:49
Subject: [Blog] 
Henri Nouwen and Rembrandt

Dear Father Donald,
Such finely perceptive meditations - with such skill to express them - delight me in Henri Nouwen's writings that you record on your Blog: these I have captured for myself, together with images of Rembrandt's affective drawings of Leonardo's great work, The Last Supper (tempting me to make however poor a sketch myself...)
I hardly begin to know how to filter and then to express the thoughts and feelings that drift through my mind as I rest before the Eucharist at early Vigils: I have noted down those few highlights (below) which will give me moorings to hold onto against the constant tide of the movement of my mind. This Henri Nouwen book you have discovered, and Sr Wendy Beckett's also, place such thoughts as these before us in both words and reflective images as we contemplate the wonder of it all!
Thank you for sharing your delight... that indeed 'our joy may be complete'.
Truly a great joy!
With my love in Our Lord,
PS. My fabulous screen saver bathes my room in light (your photo on the Blog of the South Cloister, of the 'Sunset - silhouettes, reflections, mirrors, shadows.' P1014796 South Cloister sunset Silhouette.jpg')
Extracts from 'Jesus, A Gospel' by Henri Nouwen
The Eucharist is the most ordinary and the most divine gesture imaginable. That is the truth of Jesus. So human, yet so divine; so familiar, yet so mysterious; so close, yet so revealing!
We all know of this desire to give ourselves at the table. We say: "Eat and drink; I made this for you. Take more; it is there for you to enjoy, to be strengthened, yes, to feel how much I love you." What we desire is not simply to give food, but to give ourselves. "Be my guest," we say.
This moment when Jesus is handed over to those who do with him as they please is a turning point in Jesus' min­istry. It is turning from action to passion...
It is important for me to realize that Jesus fulfills his mission not by what he does, but by what is done to him. Just as with everyone else, most of my life is determined by what is done to me and thus is passion... 
[Note: contrast the old adage, to be ‘active or passive’… which latter suggests a state of resignation, but here ‘passion’… negation itself, the sacrifice of disinterested love]
 "Those who love me," Jesus says, "will be loved by my Father" (John 14:21).  My true spiritual work is to let myself be loved, fully and completely, and to trust that in that love I will come to the fulfillment of my vocation.
I continue to see in myself and others how often we try to make unity among ourselves by focusing all our attention on each other and trying to find the place where we can feel united. When we direct our inner attention not first of all to each other, but to God to whom we belong, then we will discover that in God we also belong to each other.

Last Supper. Name the Apostles
----- Forwarded Message -----
From: Donald Nunraw <>
To: William J Wardle <>
Sent: Wednesday, 12 June 2013, 21:43
Subject: Fw: [Blog] Henri Nouwen and Rembrandt Cosmic Drama

Hi, William,
This book arrived from Amazon.
You cannot surprise that I must be suffering with read-salivating.
At the moment, very happy with your selections from Henri Nouwen.

At the evening Chapter, we enjoyed the report by the monks returned from Iona.

Leonardo Da Vinci, The Last Supper: A Cosmic Drama and an Act of Redemption Michael Ladwein 

Book Description

Publication Date: 13 Mar 2006 | ISBN-10: 1902636759 | ISBN-13: 978-1902636757
Numerous great works have been created within the realm of Christian art, but none has received as much acclaim as Leonardo da Vinci's "Last Supper". Art lovers venerate it for its composition and noble aesthetics, while for Christians it epitomises the intimate relationship between Christ and his disciples. In recent years it has also become the focus of intrigue, controversy and speculation, following the publication of some bestselling fictional narratives and questionable historical studies. Given the recent restoration that has exposed remnants of the original paint-work and removed falsifications created by over-painting, we are now able to contemplate Da Vinci's masterpiece in its original form for the first time since its creation over 500 years ago. In this lavishly-illustrated, full-colour book - which reproduces many details of the restored work - Michael Ladwein turns his attention to newly-revealed aspects that allow for fresh interpretations. The philosopher, Rudolf Steiner, called "The Last Supper" the world's most important work of art, adding that it revealed 'the meaning of earth existence'. Ladwein throws light on many aspects of the spiritual message that can be discovered in this immortal painting - one that has lost nothing of its urgency in our modern world.

About the Author

MICHAEL LADWEIN is an art historian and expert on religions who now conducts art study tours. He is also an author and translator. His published works include Chartres, Ein Fuhrer durch die Kathedrale (Chartres, A guided tour of the cathedral) and Raphaels Sixtinische Madonna (Raphael's Sistine Madonna). For more information see:  
Leonardo Study of figures Venice  Academy

Monday, 24 June 2013

Solemnity of the Birth St. John the Baptist

Child Jesus with infant John the Baptist

----- Forwarded Message -----
From: Nivard ...
To: Donald ...
Sent: Monday, 24 June 2013, 17:11
Subject: Happy Day

Dear Donald,

Happy Congrats on the fifty-fourth Anniversary of Ordination.

May the Lord continue to bless you in our wonderful vocation.

Love        Nivard 
+ + + 

12th Week Ord Time
Monday 24th  
On the Solemnity of the Birthday of St. John the Baptist, it is the 54th anniversary of Ordination of Priesthood. The 1959 souvenir cards long gone. The motto words of Psalm 26(27):4, remain at heart.
There is one thing I ask of the Lord
for this I long,
to live in the house of the Lord,
all the days of my life,
in the savour of the sweetness of the Lord,
to behold his temple. [Ps. 26:4, Grail 1963] 


The most interesting subject for the Birthday of St. John of the Baptist in the Leonardo Charcoal Cartoon for the Virgin and Child with St. Anne and the Infant St. John (Burlington House, London).

Painted 1499-1501
Charcoal heightened with white on brown paper
National Gallery, London

The face of the Virgin in the Burlington House Cartoon accords with the type Leonardo had established seventeen years before in the Virgin of the Madonna of the Rocks in the Louvre (colour plate 18), yet it betrays the deep changes these long years had wrought in his art and that the other Madonna of the Rocks, the London version, first began to reveal. Something of that sweet harmony and well-being have survived, but now the face is that of a mature woman and is suffused with feelings and compassion that arc the direct result of an emotional and human concern with the actions of the children. Realistic behaviour has replaced elusive ethereality. The Virgin's head is voluminous and its structure more systematically defined than in Leonardo's earlier work. Moreover, the slight incline of the head is no longer a convention, as it was in the Madonna of the Rocks, but the result of a conscious movement. However, she still has the force of an idealized and universal presence.

The contrast between St. Anne's strange face and the pleasantly candid one of the Virgin could not be more striking. The older woman's narrow, deep set eyes, her deliberately compressed lips, and her curious mannered smile give the face an animation and a seer-like wisdom befitting one who attempts to communicate to a contented Virgin the dreadful knowledge of her son's future sacrifice. Leonardo's persistent search into the realm of the inner mind has given him access to emotions and psychological states that have now a mystical substance, which acts to expand upon and enrich the mere human condition.
Professor Wasserman

Who do people say I am? Lk. 9:20

 Twelfth Sunday in Ordinary Time - Year C  
Sunday, 23 June 2013

----- Forwarded Message -----
From: William J. W...
To: Donald.....
Sent: Sunday, 23 June 2013, 19:53
Subject: Today's Gospel: Who do people say I am? The person of Jesus

Dear Father Donald,
I am fascinated by today's Gospel... and have been meditating about it before I knew it was scheduled, the study of Christology being alive in my mind.
My study book is "Christology - a Biblical, Historical, and Systematic Study of Jesus' by Gerald O'Collins.
When someone tells us of someone they have met, our question is inevitably, 'what kind of person are they, what are they like?'
The mission of the Twelve had clearly been asked this question about Jesus, but even more directly - 'who is He'?!
Peter answers for us, and are we not so often considering how we might then have answered regarding the person of Jesus...
The identity of a person, who they are, what they are like... we 'feel' our way through life's introductions, so what of our meeting with Jesus?
If we turn the question to our embarrassment upon ourselves, what kind of person are we? what is our identity? what / who are we like?
Do I represent Christ as I follow Him, is my imitation a true representation of Him? The question to the Twelve must have needed this answer.
I do not think I dare to take this reflection further than that of the prayer of the publican...
It begs the question of us - WHO ELSE do we want to be like, if not Jesus? 
This passage in the Gospel is the litmus paper of our faith.
... in Our Lord,
Dear William,
Thank you.
You were in bright hearing the Lord at V20 He said to them, ‘But who do you say that I am?’
You are the best Reader for a tutor, and stear me to more details from Gerald O'Collins.
Our organist was away to serve the Mass at our neigbour Parish, over from the Lammermuirs, at Duns. I asked Fr' Raymond to bring his camera to the place of Blessed John Duns Scotus.
So we have the famous Immaculate Concepthion stained glass window in the RC Church. 
Potuit - Decuit - Ergo - Fecit (Dun Scotus)
Pictures attached.
... yours Donald