Monday, 30 June 2014

Pentecost illumination COMMENT

Pentecost illumination 
window in Cenacle, 
on closer view, the eleven Apostles are to be seen. 
And check Lk. refs. 9:29, 9:32.     Butfurtherthe artist representa gath­ering in the UppeRoom where all are clothed in white "brillianas lightning(Lk 9:29)just as Christ at thTransfiguration. Taking inspiration from the Evangelistwho continuesthe"saw [Jesus'glory(Lk 9:32), the miniaturist here offerus a visioof the glory of the Churchencapsulating at the same time botits divine origin awell as itfulfilment as the Body of Christ.                    
We keep the crop of Paraclete image. Below.

Pentecost, illumination from Hours of the Usage of Rome, French School, 16th c., fol. 48r, Musée national de la Renaissance, Écouen, France. © The Bridgeman Art Library.

Sunday, 29 June 2014

Pentecost illumination

... the mission of our own monthly book of hoursouMAGNIFICAT
The Glory of the Church
                                                                _______ Pierre-Marie Dumont   _
Front Cover Artwork
This miniature from a book of hours illustrates the conclusion of the Hours of the Holy Spirit. Painted on velum in Paris around the year 1500, the manuscript begins with the prologue: "In these present Hours is briefly proclaimed the Old as well as the New Testament; and, with a view to the salvation of every soul, in the calendar is noted the form and manner of living in this world, during the little time God grants us, to grow in goodness and in virtue." Here already is what was to become the mission of our own monthly book of hours, our MAGNIFICAT: at every hour of the day, to inspire our prayer through the word of God, and to spiritu­ally accompany us throughout our pilgrimage on this earth, that each day we may grow in the imitation of Christ.
Central to this illustration of the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the disciples is the Blessed Virgin Mary dressed in widow's garb: the Mother of God, she is also the Mother of the Church. Shown at prayer, Mary intercedes for her "daughter" at the moment of her birth at Pentecost, just as she will constantly intercede for her to the end of time. Kneeling in the right foreground is Saint Peter, the first pope, wearing the mozetta in cloth of gold. Opposite him is Saint John, a handsome reddish-blond young man. In the mid­dle ground, between Mary and Peter, stands Saint James. The first bishop of the Church, in the see of Jerusalem, he is recognisable by his ermine rnozetta. symbol of the episcopacy. In a most stunning way, all are clad in white. For, at Pentecost, the Apostles underwent a kind of baptism. Like catechumens, they have cast off their old clothes to be robed anew in white. Through this divestiture and reclothing, the artist seeks to express a radical change in function and vocation: to receive this immaculate uniform is a royal, priestly, and prophetic investiture. But, further, the artist represents a gath­ering in the Upper Room where all are clothed in white "brilliant as lightning" (Lk 9:29), just as Christ at the Transfiguration. Taking inspiration from the Evangelist, who continues, they "saw [Jesus'] glory" (Lk 9:32), the miniaturist here offers us a vision of the glory of the Church, encapsulating at the same time both its divine origin as well as its fulfilment as the Body of Christ., June 2014-06-29 Front cover:Pentecost illumination fromHours of the Usage of Rome, French School. 16 c. Fol. 48r, ...

Saint Peter and Saint Paul, apostles - Solemnity 29 June 2014

Night Office Readings,
"Saint Peter and Saint Paul"
by Jusepe de Ribera (1591-1652)

From the Letters of Paul to the Galatians 1:15 – 2:10.
Responsory: John 21:15-16

Second Reading
From a sermon by Saint Aelred
(Sermo 16, 298-301)
You know, brethren, that of all our Lord's apostles and martyrs the two whose feast we celebrate today seem to possess a special grandeur. Nor is this surprising, since to these two men the Lord entrusted his Church in a special way. For when Saint Peter proclaimed that the Lord was the Son of God, the Lord told him: You are Peter, and on this rock I will build my Church. And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven. But in a way the Lord put Saint Paul on the same level, as Paul himself said: He who worked through Peter in the apostolate also worked through me among the Gentiles.
These are the men whom the Lord promised to the Church when he said through the prophet: In place of your fathers, sons are born to you. The fathers of the Church are the holy patriarchs and prophets who first taught the law of God and foretold the coming of our Lord. Our Lord came, and to replace the prophets he chose the holy apostles, thus fulfilling what the prophet had said: In place of your fathers, sons are born to you. See, moreover, how he shows the responsibility of the apostles to be greater than that of the prophets. The prophets were leaders of a single people and lived in a single nation and one part of the world, whereas he said of the apostles: You will make them princes over all the earth. And indeed, brethren, is there any place on earth that has not seen the power and grandeur of these apostles?
These are the pillars that support the Church by their teaching, their prayers, their example of patience. Our Lord strengthened these pillars. In the beginning they were very weak and could not support either themselves or others. This had been wonderfully arranged by our Lord, for if they had always been strong, one might have thought their strength was their own. Our Lord wished to show first what they were of themselves and only afterwards to strengthen them, so that all would know that their strength was entirely from God . Again, these men were to be fathers of the Church and physi­cians who would heal the weak. But they would be unable to pity the weaknesses of others unless they had first experienced their own weakness.
And so our Lord strengthened these pillars of the world, that is, of the Church. One pillar, Saint Peter, was very weak indeed, to be overthrown by the words of a single maidservant. Afterwards the Lord strengthened this pillar. He did so first when he asked him three times: "Peter, do you love me?" and Peter three times answered, "1 love you." For when he had three times denied the Lord, his love for him was to some extent lessened and this pillar became weak and broke, but by three times confessing his love for him it was strengthened. This strengthening was followed by another when the Holy Spirit was sent. Then this pillar became so strong that he could not be moved by being flogged, stoned, threatened, and at last even by being put to death.
Again, that other pillar, Paul, was undoubtedly weak at first, but hear how strong he became afterwards. I am certain, he said, that neither death nor life, nor angels nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate me from the love of God.

Commentary of the day : 

Saint Aelred of Rielvaux (1110-1167), Cistercian monk 
Sermon 18, for the feast of Saints Peter and Paul ; PL 195, 298 

"Upon this rock I will build my church"

“Though the earth and all who dwell in it quake, I have set firm its pillars” (Ps 74[75],40). All the apostles are pillars of the earth but, at their head, the two whose feast we are celebrating. They are the two pillars who support the Church with their teaching, their prayer and the example of their steadfastness. The Lord himself strengthened these pillars. For at first they were weak, completely incapable of supporting either themselves or others. And in this the Lord's great design appears: it they had always been strong people could have thought their strength came from themselves. That is why the Lord wanted to show what they were capable of before strengthening them, so that all might know their strength came from God... Peter was thrown to the ground by the voice of a mere servant... and the other pillar was very weak too: “I was once a blasphemer and persecutor and an arrogant man” (1Tm 1,13)...

Hence we must ought to praise these saints with all our heart: our fathers who bore such trials for the Lord's sake and who persevered with such determination. It is nothing to persevere in joy, happiness and peace. But this is what is great: to be stoned, scourged, struck for Christ (2Cor 11,25) and in all this to persevere with Christ. With Paul it is a great thing to be cursed and to bless, to be persecuted and to endure, to be slandered and to console, to be like the world's rubbish and to draw glory from it (1Cor 4,12-13)... And what shall we say of Peter? Even if he had undergone nothing for Christ, it would be sufficient to celebrate him today in that he was crucified for him... He well knew where he whom he loved, he whom he longed for was...: his cross has been his road to heaven.