Fra Angelico and Chesterton on Palm Sunday

 

 

When fishes flew and forests walked

And figs grew upon thorn,

Some moment when the moon was blood

Then surely I was born;

With monstrous head and sickening cry

And ears like errant wings,

The devil’s walking parody

On all four-footed things.

The tattered outlaw of the earth, Of ancient crooked will;

Starve, scourge, deride me: I am dumb,

I keep my secret still.

Fools! For I also had my hour;

One far fierce hour and sweet:

There was a shout about my ears,

And palms before my feet.

10 Responses to Fra Angelico and Chesterton on Palm Sunday

  • Mary De Voe says:

    Fra Angelico painted on his knees. There is a shadowy donkey in the background, no doubt, as every artist paints himself into his pictures. Jesus blesses the people, all people, for all time. We were all there, riding the shadowy donkey.

  • Donna V. says:

    I just had my leftist, “social justice” and dearly beloved young nephew to dinner.

    My much-beloved young man has informed me that he is an agnostic who has paid for 2 abortions. I can not stop weepingl His grandparents, my dad and mom, were staunch Catholics who ahhored abortion. Oh,dear Lord, the seeds of our destruction are sown! Oh my Lord, this hurts!

  • My prayers for you Donna. Why was he telling you this? Was it out of spite, or is he uneasy in his conscience? I assume he knew how you would react, so I am curious as to his motivation. Did his parents raise him without religion? Has this been a family sore point over the years between you and his parents?

    As for your nephew, I would suggest saying this prayer to Saint Monica each day:

    Dear St. Monica,
    troubled wife and mother,
    many sorrows pierced your heart during your lifetime.
    Yet, you never despaired or lost faith.
    With confidence, persistence, and profound faith,
    you prayed daily for the conversion
    of your beloved husband, Patricius,
    and your beloved son, Augustine;
    your prayers were answered.
    Grant me that same fortitude, patience,
    and trust in the Lord.
    Intercede for me, dear St. Monica,
    that God may favorably hear my plea for

    (Mention your intention here.)

    and grant me the grace to accept His Will in all things,
    through Jesus Christ, our Lord,
    in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
    one God, forever and ever.

    Amen.

  • Nancy J. Thorner says:

    Although not a Catholic, I did find the poem to be profound. As a member of the new Presbyterian Church prayer is important, believing as I do that God is looking over all of us, cares for us, and is there in times of need if only we are willing to share our needs with Him. God is there and will hear our prayers. We must trust in Him as he is the Almighty One.

  • Kathryn van N. says:

    Some, perhaps many, people, may be so taken by the beauty of Fra Angelico’s painting and of Chesterton’s poem that they don’t realize that the painting and poem are the introduction to a fine article “The Triumph of the Will”.

    I did not realize this at first because the two works can stand together as commentary with nothing added. I was also distracted by trying to remember if I’ve seen that painting at San Marco in Florence. Not being sure whether it was at San Marco or somewhere else, I left the site to do a search about the painting, and to read more of Chesterton’s poetry.

    When I returned to experience the poem and painting for a second time, I noticed the small letters spelling “Triumph of the King” on the bottom left of the page, clicked on them, and found the article. Mary De Voe and another reader have commented on the article itself so at least three of us have found it. Perhaps a clickable link saying “This Way to the Egress” or “Click me” is needed? Or perhaps I’m the only dolt who didn’t realize this page was an introduction to an article!

  • Donna V. says:

    Thank you for the prayer, Donald. I apologize for mentioning something so personal in the comments section here. I was so distraught and I don’t have anyone to talk to about it – he told me in confidence and I don’t know if even his parents know.

    Donald,his mom and dad belong to a parish and regularly attend Mass and he was raised in the Faith. Without going into too much detail, I can tell you he has been a very troubled young man since his high school years, when he fell into a bad crowd and got into trouble with pot smoking and drinking. He is a very bright guy (much of our conversation was about our favorite books), but his grades were poor in high school and since then he has gone from one low paying job to another, never employing his intelligence. He is now in his mid-20′s and, from what I know, no longer uses drugs, but has had problems with depression. He seems to have no direction in his life.

    I don’t think he told me to hurt me. I’m inclined to think it was “uneasy conscience” (although he quickly told me that he doesn’t regret it at all, he protested a bit too much)

    The real kicker (which I reminded him of) was that he is adopted. Good thing for him his birth mother didn’t share his view on abortion.

  • Pinky says:

    Donna, you obviously hate the sin and love the sinner. That comes through. I’m sure your nephew picked up on it. You were a witness for the Faith in both word and deed, and that’s the best possible thing in that situation.

    As for his agnosticism, it could easily be a phase; probably every left-leaning, intelligent young adult goes through it. I know that I was a mess in my mid-20′s, directionless. Keep him in your prayers (I’ll try to remember to do the same) and don’t discount the seed planted in his youth. I’m glad someone brought up St. Augustine, another bright young man who by the grace of God finally got his life in order and became a beacon of truth.

  • “I apologize for mentioning something so personal in the comments section here. I was so distraught and I don’t have anyone to talk to about it – he told me in confidence and I don’t know if even his parents know.”

    Not at all Donna. I am glad that the blog could perform that service. An uneasy conscience can be the first step on a path to amending one’s life. It sounds like he is adrift in life, and when that happens it is all too easy for a person to quickly drift into evil. I assume that he now proclaims that he doubts God’s existence in order to avoid contemplating his sins. In some ways that is a healthier moral state than embracing God and also embracing one’s sins and assuming that one can have both. He is a young man and hopefully has a long journey in this life ahead of him. I trust that he will have many opportunities to turn to God and hopefully take advantage of one of them eventually. Your prayers will help in that process.

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