Friday, November 16, 2007

Question the beauty of the earth

Interroga pulchritudinem terrae

The beauty of the sea
interroga pulchritudinem maris

The beauty of the wide air around you
interroga pulchritudinem dilatati et diffusi aeris

The beauty of the sky

interroga pulchritudinem coeli

Question the order of the stars

interroga ordinem siderum

The sun whose brightness lights the day

interroga solem fulgore suo diem clarificantem

The moon whose splendor
softens the gloom of night

interroga lunam splendore subsequentis
noctis tenebras temperantem

Question the living creatures
that move in the waters

interroga animalia
quae moventur in aquis

That roam upon the earth

quae morantur in terris

That fly through the air

quae volitant in aere

The spirit that lies hidden

latentes animas

The matter that is manifest

perspicua corpora

The visible things that are ruled

visibilia regenda

The invisible that rule them

invisibiles regentes

Question all these
interroga ista

They will answer you
Respondent tibi omnia

“Behold and see, we are beautiful.”
Ecce vide, pulchra sumus

Their beauty is their confession of God
Pulchritudo eorum, confessio eorum

Who made these beautiful changing things
Ista pulchra mutabilia quis fecit

If not one who is beautiful and changeth not?
nisi incommutabilis pulcher?

from a Sermon of St. Augustine (241, ii)

Thursday, November 01, 2007

In union with the whole Church we honor...

One of the many special things about the first Eucharistic Prayer
is its listing of saints.

Often, however, we hear these names rattled off like the reading a telephone directory or see priests taking the option of not reading all of them.

And yet each name is deep with meaning,
for each was chosen by the early Church in the city of Rome,
whose memory of these holy people was especially dear
and in some ways still very fresh.

As the Christians of Rome heard these names,
these blessed memories came back
and as they gathered before the table of the Lord on earth,
they felt specially united with these brothers and sisters
who were already gathered before the throne of God in heaven.

These names also brought them courage,
for many of these saints were marytrs,
who endured great suffering
rather than turn away from Christ.

As we celebrate the Solemnity of All Saints today,
it is good for us to take a little time
to go beyond just these lists of names
from the first Eucharistic Prayer
and to contemplate each of these heroes of our faith,
our brothers and sisters
who already stand before the throne of God.

* * * * *

First and foremost of these believers in Christ was

...Mary, the ever-virgin mother of Jesus Christ our Lord and God....

And, after Christ, closest to her would be...

...Joseph, her husband...

And then...
the apostles and martyrs...

beginning with the princes of the Apostles...


...and Paul...

(and then the rest of the Eleven)

(brother of Simon Peter, crucified on an X-shaped cross)

(brother of John)

(the beloved disciple, entrusted with Christ’s mother)



(first bishop of Jerusalem)


(the disciple of John the Baptist who brought Bartholomew to Christ)

(reportedly martyred by being skinned alive)

(the tax collector called to become an apostle and evangelist)

(reportedly martyred by being sawed alive)

...and Jude
(like his brother James, a relative of Christ, and who reportedly resembled the Lord)

(After the Apostles, the early Church in Rome remembered Peter’s immediate successors as their bishop: all of whom also followed him in martyrdom for Christ.)


(Peter’s immediate successor as Bishop of Rome – mentioned in 2 Timothy 4:21)


(the 3rd Pope -- also known as Anacletus – converted by St. Peter himself)


(the 4th Pope - wrote an important post-Apostolic letter to the Corinthians)


(Pope less than a year in the 3rd century – affirmed that baptism does not depend on virtue of minister)


(the 21st Pope – who reconciled the “fallen away”)

(...and then other martyrs whose memory was especially beloved by the Christians of Rome)


(North African bishop and theologian who worked with Cornelius)


(deacon of the Church of Rome under Sixtus – martyred by burning)


(an early 4th century martyr and patron of an ancient church)

...John and Paul...

(brothers and imperial servants martyred by a 4th century apostate emperor, patrons of a Roman basilica)

...Cosmas and Damian...

(twins and physicians martyred in the 4th century)]

...and all the saints.

* * *

Then, later...

For ourselves, too, we ask some share in the fellowship of your apostles and martyrs...

with John the Baptist...


(the first Christian martyr)


(chosen to replace Judas as an Apostle)


(companion of St. Paul)


(bishop of Antioch, mauled by animals in the 2nd century)


(martyred with his brothers and mother in 2nd century)

...Marcellinus, Peter...

(a priest and an exorcist of the Church in Rome, martyed in the early 4th century)

...Felicity, Perpetua...

(maid and noblewoman in north Africa, mauled by beasts and then beheaded)


(virgin martyr - disfigured and tortured)


(virgin martyr - blinded then martyred - patron saint of eyes)


(virgin martyr - martyred around the age of 12)


(virgin martyr - patron of music)


(wife of a pagan - martyred in the early 4th century)

...and all the saints.

Happy All Saints Day!

(adapted from an earlier post on A Penitent Blogger)