O Sacred Head

Saturday, March 26, AD 2016

Something for the weekend.  O Sacred Head Surrounded.  The lyrics of this hymn derive from the latin poem Salve Mundi Salutare.  The authorship is open to doubt although I agree with those who attribute at least part of the poem to Saint Bernard of Clairvaux, based upon stylistic similarities with portions of his other writings.    The sanctity and eloquence of Saint Bernard alloyed with the musical genius of Johann Sebastian Bach makes a potent combination indeed.

On a personal note this hymn has always moved me as no other does.  I had it played at my son’s funeral and when I depart this Vale of Tears I have requested that it be played at mine.  It reminds me that God died for me, something I find absolutely stunning.  Love and sacrifice begin and end with God, who regards each man as if there were no other.

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5 Responses to O Sacred Head

  • I too have always been touched by this moving, immensely grave and awe-inspiring hymn, melody married with outstand lyrics.
    ….
    I am no expert, and no musicology expert, but just an erstwhile organist and choir member. But I have been taught that several great musicians, starting with master musician Hans Leo Hassler in the early 1600’s, he who apparently “re-wrote” a secular love song or tune into this hymn; through the gifted Johann Cruger (d. 1662), who created some of the harmonies here, and included it in a still-influential historic hymnal of great religious songs; to the great master of music, Bach, where the hymn yet benefited even more greatly from Bach’s genius, Bach who orchestrated the amazing passing tones and harmonizations that adorn the soprano voice of the version we know today, and as many of you know, it appears in the St. Matthew’s Passion.

    On the textual side, there are so many wondrous hands in the construction and development of the Latin hymn, Salve Mundi Salutare: St Bernard of Clairvaux, whom Don McClarey cites, and I understand there many others known only to God.

    But especially worth noting, at least in my humble opinion, is the great English poet Robert Bridges (d. 1930), a man never much recognized during his lifetime who achieved note only after his passing. It was Bridges who found a fresh and yet originalist meaning in the text in his re-translation (he also has outstanding, in my opinion, versions of “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring”, and “O Gladsome Light [the ancient hymn Phos Hilarion]), much of that translation which we use, sometimes slightly altered, today.
    ….
    I only wish those of you who read this could realize the joy of playing this slowly and serenely, like Don’s version of this hymn here, manuals and pedals, preserving all 4 marvelous Bach voices, on the organ. You leave the world behind.

  • In our Adoration Chapel Father has placed a likeness of the corpse of Christ on the altar. It’s very life like. A bloody and beaten Jesus is laying on a black cloth, a mace at his feet and the crown of thorns above his matted Sacred head. In His left open hand there are three large nails. The Holy souls in purgatory was my focus as prayers and meditations blanketed the life size Jesus grey and red.

    This visit wasn’t planned.

    After reading and listening to this hymn a dominant thought moved me to this tomb like depiction of Jesus at the Adoration Chapel.
    I might not have made the trip but for this gift of Grace placed before me on TAC.

    God is kind and merciful.
    Thanks for your contribution to the spreading of graces. I hope and pray many a soul was escorted home to Heaven from Purgatory by the actions and designs of Christ alone. If we were helpful at all may we only remember that it was our duty and responsibility to help neighbor….especially those neighbors in the the Church suffering on this quiet Holy Saturday in March.

    This experience and reflection I share with you so you know without a doubt that thoughts become actions, and yours sincerely moved me to do something for others today. A song in my heart hopefully gave pleasure to members of Christ’s elect.

  • http://wdtprs.com/blog/2016/03/thorn-of-the-crown-bleeds-with-good-friday-and-annunciation-fall-together/

    I hope you don’t mind, but if you do I understand. After all this isn’t my blog.

    I came across this rare event on Fr. Z’s site.
    The Annunciation and Good Friday falling on the same day, and the Miracle.

    I hope you enjoy it.

  • Philip, FYI, that is “The Dead Christ on the Shroud”, by Phillipe de Champaigne. Something truly marvelous, indeed.

  • Kmbold.

    That is it!
    Thank you.
    The dead Christ on the shroud.
    Have a great fifty days of Joy.

Report to the Emperor-First Draft

Friday, March 25, AD 2016

Ecce Homo 2

(I post this each year on Good Friday at The American Catholic.  Have a blessed Good Friday and Easter.)

I thank you Marcus for taking on the onerous task of acting as my secretary, in addition to your regular duties as my aide, in regard to this portion of the report.  The Greek, Aristides, is competent, and like most Greek secretaries his Latin is quite graceful, but also like most Greek secretaries he does not know when to keep his mouth shut.  I want him kept away from this work, and I want you to observe the strictest security.  Caiaphas was playing a nefarious game, and I do not think we are out of the woods yet.  I do not want his spies finding out what I am telling the Imperator and Caiaphas altering the tales his agents are now, no doubt, spreading in Rome.  Let us take the Jew by surprise for once!

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8 Responses to Report to the Emperor-First Draft

  • This nice article says “the Prefect”, so I assume it is not Pontius Pilate? Who is the author?

  • This is excellent, my favorite recurring article of yours, but the link to the document at “bethanyum” is broken (third link, “…revolt over standards…”).

  • Thanks for the heads up. I have now linked to a new source.

  • Thanks Donald for treating us to a secular version of the Passion. I would guess there are many today who would think about it the same way.

    Happy Easter to you and your family.

  • “In the fullness of time …” meant that Jesus was able to walk into a power struggle that guaranteed his death. Moreover, the competing jurisdictions between Imperial and Jewish law created a perfect storm that teaches us how our faith rocked both worlds. Well written!

  • Dear Donald,
    Just correct the word “Jesus” for Yeshua in some paragraphs, like the ones beginning with “probably” and “learning”.

    Fantastic post.
    Best regards,
    Pedro

  • Lou-
    I believe the author of the non-italic part is Marcus, writing for his boss Pilate, and the Italics are that Perfect’s comments as he reads over the draft.

  • “This nice article says “the Prefect”, so I assume it is not Pontius Pilate? Who is the author?”

    Lou, Pontius Pilate was not a Procurator, he held the rank of Prefect in the Roman bureaucracy. The term Procurator only came into use in Judea in 44 AD, eleven years after Pilate condemned Jesus. Since the Gospels and Tacitus refer to Pilate as Procurator, we have to assume they used the term that was in use when they were written. A bit sloppy as history, but understandable.

O Sacred Head

Saturday, April 4, AD 2015

Something for the weekend.  O Sacred Head Now Wounded.  The lyrics of this hymn derive from the latin poem Salve Mundi Salutare.  The authorship is open to doubt although I agree with those who attribute at least part of the poem to Saint Bernard of Clairvaux, based upon stylistic similarities with portions of his other writings.    The sanctity and eloquence of Saint Bernard alloyed with the musical genius of Johann Sebastian Bach makes a potent combination indeed.

On a personal note this hymn has always moved me as no other does.  I had it played at my son’s funeral and when I depart this Vale of Tears I have requested that it be played at mine.  It reminds me that God died for me, something I find absolutely stunning.  Love and sacrifice begin and end with God, who regards each man as if there were no other.

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3 Responses to O Sacred Head

  • I don’t want to go off on an “I hate new hymns” rant, but…yeah. Today we sang Jesus Christ is Risen Today: But the pains which he endured / Our salvation have procured. Do kids growing up listening to contemporary hymns get exposed to theology like that? It’s unequivocal. A friend of mine who grew up secular once told me that with his conversion to Catholicism, all the Christmas songs he knew now made sense. There’s a richness of teaching that people my age have absorbed without realizing it.

    Digression time: you’re a science fiction fan, right, Don? I remember a ST Next Generation episode where Worf found himself in a prison colony of Klingons who had forgotten their beliefs. He taught them their legends, explained to them the meaning of the songs they’d handed down and the trinkets they played with. I’m convinced the episode must have been written by a traditional (or traditionalist) Catholic. Do you know the one? It’s fascinating to watch and think about as a VII / ecumenism analogy.

  • We’re forgetting the things that made us different, the things worth defending. Peace is a valuable goal, but at what price? We’re a shrinking population, content to fade away. But there’s something else out there: the Borg. They can use our technology against us, and they don’t recognize the value of freedom and love. They’ll overrun us if we don’t remember who we are. All that we’ve worked to create will be lost, our inner rot leaving us unable to stand against the wind. If we did somehow manage to withstand the onslaught, do we still have the thing about us that’s worth protecting?

Knife Control

Wednesday, September 24, AD 2014

Charlton Heston never played Jesus in a film, to the best of my knowledge, but he famously was Moses and also played John the Baptist in The Greatest Story Ever Told. I so much wanted to hear him say, “You can have this sword when you pry it from my Cold. Dead. Hands!”

Deacon Michael D. Harmon

 

 

Christopher Johnson, a non-Catholic who has taken up the cudgels so frequently for the Church that I have named him Defender of the Faith, takes a verbal axe at Midwest Conservative Journal to the latest bizarre explanation of why Christ was condemned by Pilate:

Premise: a Christian event that happened over 2,000 years ago has been pondered, studied and debated from the moment it occurred until the present day and general agreement about the significance of that event has been reached.  You, on the other hand, with the able assistance of “Christian scholarship,” have come up with a Radically New InterpretationTM of the meaning of that event:

Jesus may have been crucified because his followers were carrying weapons, according to a scholarly analysis of New Testament books.

Dale Martin, a professor of religious studies at Yale University, says that this aspect of stories about Jesus, as told in the gospels, has received too little attention, but could alone explain Jesus’s execution and also show that the man from Nazareth was not the pacifist he’s usually made out to be.

The biblical books of Mark and Luke both state that at least one (and probably two or more) of Jesus’s followers was carrying a sword when Jesus was arrested shortly after the Last Supper, at the time of the Jewish festival of Passover. One disciple, Simon Peter, even used his sword to cut off the ear of one of those arresting Jesus, according to the Gospel of John.

This militant behavior almost certainly wouldn’t have been tolerated by the Romans, led by the prefect Pontius Pilate, Martin tells Newsweek. For example, historical documents show that it was illegal at the time to walk about armed in Rome and in some other Roman cities. Although no legal records survive from Jerusalem, it stands to reason, based on a knowledge of Roman history, that the region’s rulers would have frowned upon the carrying of swords, and especially wouldn’t have tolerated an armed band of Jews roaming the city during Passover, an often turbulent festival, Martin says.

“Just as you could be arrested in Rome for even having a dagger, if Jesus’s followers were armed, that would be reason enough to crucify him,” says Martin, whose analysis was published this month in the Journal for the Study of the New Testament.

Conclusion: you’re not only wrong but you’re dumber than a bag of hammers.

Paula Fredriksen, a historian of ancient Christianity at Hebrew University in Jerusalem, says Martin’s paper has several holes “that you could drive trucks through.”

For one, she doesn’t think it’s legitimate to assume that since carrying arms was illegal in the city of Rome, the same laws necessarily applied in Jerusalem. Control of the city wasn’t too tight, she argues, and the Roman prefect visited only during Passover, to help keep the peace. And during this time it probably would’ve been impossible to police the thousands of Jews that spilled into Jerusalem.

“I can’t even imagine what a mess it was,” she says.

Furthermore, she says, the Greek word used in the Gospels that Martin interprets as sword really means something more akin to knife. And these could be easily concealed, she adds. “Only professionals,” like soldiers, “carried swords,” she says.

While we’re on the subject of weapons, people didn’t carry staffs back then only because they needed help navigating the terrain.  Staffs also offered [limited] protection against wild animals.  Or wild people, whatever the case may have been.

Dear Newsweek or the Daily Beast or the Daily Tina Brown’s Ego or whatever you’re calling yourselves this week.  Stop writing about the Christian religion.  Just stop.  You people have no idea how stupid you’re making yourselves look.

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18 Responses to Knife Control

  • “Jesus may have been crucified because his followers were carrying weapons…”
    – Dumbo’s synopsis.

    If true, then it wouldn’t be a far reach to assume that St. Peter would of been hauled off or possibly executed for lopping off the centurions ear. Hello?

    The reinventing of history is one of the liberals favorite toys. They just can’t help it. They wish to cast doubt and dissuade the public to achieve their goals. Sick little puppies.

  • Yeah, knife control did a good job preventing Julius Caesar’s death, didn’t it? And a host of others, as I recall.

  • Post-modern religious studies: making up stuff about God.

  • Referring to Pontius Pilate as a “Prefect” does not exactly inspire confidence in an historian. Prefect is a military title; Pilate was an Imperial Procurator. That is why St Paul, as a Roman citizen had to be sent to the governor of Syria, a magistrate of the Roman People, typically a proconsul or propraetor.

    Of course, everyone carried knives. The Romans regarded tearing ones food with one’s teeth as, literally, bestial; everything, even bread or fruit had to be cut into bite-size pieces, before popping it into the mouth. “Minuere,” from which our words minutes and seconds derive, originally referred to slicing bread or cake (second is an ellipsis for “secundum minutum” or second slicing or cutting up of the hour).

    On the language point, μάχαιρα can mean a sword or a dirk – the short stabbing broadsword of ancient infantry, channelled and double-edged. The blade was typically a foot or 18″ long. It definitely refers to a weapon.

  • MPS, Wikipedia, that totally true and never wrong source of information, lists a number of types of Roman prefects, including both military and civil roles:

    • Praefectus praetorio: the Praetorian prefect began as the military commander of a general’s guard company in the field, then grew in importance as the Praetorian Guard became a potential kingmaker during the Empire. From the Emperor Diocletian’s tetrarchy (c. 300) they became the administrators of the four Praetorian prefectures, the government level above the (newly created) dioceses and (multiplied) provinces.
    • Praefectus Augustalis, the title of the governor of Egypt, indicating that he governed in the personal name of the august emperor.
    • Praefectus urbi, or praefectus urbanus: city prefect, in charge of the administration of Rome.
    • Praefectus vigilum: commander of the Vigiles.
    • Praefectus aerarii: nobles appointed guardians of the state treasury.
    • Praefectus aerarii militaris: prefect of the military treasury
    • Praefectus annonae: official charged with the supervision of the grain supply to the city of Rome.
    • Praefectus alae: commander of a cavalry unit.
    • Praefectus castrorum: camp commandant.
    • Praefectus cohortis: commander of a cohort (constituent unit of a legion, or analogous unit).
    • Praefectus classis: fleet commander.
    • Praefectus equitatus: cavalry commander.
    • Praefectus equitum: cavalry commander.
    • Praefectus fabrum: officer in charge of fabri, i.e. well-trained engineers and artisans
    • Praefectus legionis: equestrian legionary commander
    • Praefectus legionis agens vice legati: equestrian acting legionary commander.
    • Praefectus orae maritimae: official in charge with the control and defense of an important sector of sea coast
    • Praefectus socium (sociorum): Roman officer appointed to a command function in an ala sociorum (unit recruited among the socii, Italic peoples of a privileged status within the empire).
    • Praefectus Laetorum (Germanic auxiliary troop, notably in Gaul)
    • Praefectus Sarmatarum gentilium (auxiliary troop from the steppes, notably in Italy)

    In reference to Pontius Pilate, the infallible Wikipedia states:
    “The title used by the governors of the region varied over the period of the New Testament. When Samaria, Judea proper and Idumea were first amalgamated into the Roman Judaea Province (which some modern historians spell Iudaea), from AD 6 to the outbreak of the First Jewish Revolt in 66, officials of the Equestrian order (the lower rank of governors) governed. They held the Roman title of prefect until Herod Agrippa I was named King of the Jews in 41 by Claudius. After Herod Agrippa’s death in 44, when Iudaea reverted to direct Roman rule, the governor held the title procurator. When applied to governors, this term procurator, otherwise used for financial officers, connotes no difference in rank or function from the title known as “prefect”. Contemporary archaeological finds and documents such as the Pilate Inscription from Caesarea attest to the governor’s more accurate official title only for the years 6 through 41: prefect. The logical conclusion is that texts that identify Pilate as procurator are more likely following Tacitus or are unaware of the pre-44 practice…The procurators’ and prefects’ primary functions were military, but as representatives of the empire they were responsible for the collection of imperial taxes”

  • The Pilate stone discovered in 1961 settled the fact that Pilate’s title was prefect:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pilate_Stone

    In practical terms when ruling a province prefects and procurators in the time of Pilate had precisely the same powers. After 44 AD the prefects of Judaea were known as procurators after the death of Herod Agrippa and the imposition of direct Roman rule. If it is confusing to us, I suspect it was confusing also to the Jews who probably used both titles.

  • I agree Don. The Gospel writers at the time were undoubtedly not fans of Roman governance nor legal connoisseurs, so they just ran with the title in use at the time of composition.

  • Goodness, I thought I’d have to rethink my knowledge of Roman history– I was pretty sure it wasn’t possible to ban knives, sometimes that’s the only thing folks ate with, and I was going to have to try to find the sources that I’d read that said everyone had swords when traveling, because you’d get robbed if you didn’t. The Good Samaritan story wasn’t outlandish in its setup.

  • It’s true, weapons were officially banned from the city of Rome. Only the lictors were allowed to carry weapons, and they functioned as bodyguards for the city’s officials.
    See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lictor
    and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lucius_Junius_Brutus#Brutus_in_literature_and_art

  • Only the Pomerium which was only a portion of the city of Rome. The Senators who stabbed Caesar to death did so outside the area of the Pomerium.

  • Ah, I didn’t know that. Thank you.

  • TomD
    The lictors were the equivalent of macers. They carried the fasces, an axe tied up in a bundle of rods before magistrates possessing imperium. It was the symbol of his authority to beat and behead Roman citizens. The king had been preceded by 12 lictors and, when the Republic was established, Brutus ordered that the two consuls should be preceded by 12 lictors on alternate days, so that the citizens should not be overawed by more lictors than under the kings. The fasces were lowered before assemblies of the Roman People, as the magistrates’ powers were suspended in their presence.
    The axe was not borne within the pomerium; the reason is disputed. Some say it is a reference to the Valerian-Hortensian laws that gave a right of appeal to the people (provocation) in capital cases.

  • The original Pomerium was the furrow ploughed by Romulus, when laying out his new city. The plough was lifted to indicate the sites of the three gates. According to Livy, Remus jumped over the furrow in derision and Romulus slew him for this act of sacrilege.
    It was repeatedly extended, both in Republican and Imperial times
    http://tinyurl.com/yllnqyv
    Magistrates could take the auspices only within the pomerium and these preceded assemblies of the people and certain other official acts.
    According to Mommsen’s theory, the ban on weapons in certain sacred sites was part of a wider ban on iron objects. The Flamen Dialis, the priest of Juppiter, was forbidden to touch iron and sacrificial knives were always of stone or bronze.

  • It’s so strange. I think these liberals spend more time thinking about Jesus than I do. I should be ashamed of myself.

  • “The reinventing of history is one of the liberals favorite toys.” Scholarship be blessed.

  • Most professions, pre-computer, required the carrying of weapons.

  • According to Mommsen’s theory, the ban on weapons in certain sacred sites was part of a wider ban on iron objects. The Flamen Dialis, the priest of Juppiter, was forbidden to touch iron and sacrificial knives were always of stone or bronze.

    Sounds like an origin for the “cold iron” being nasty for fae thing. Cool.

  • It’s all about fame and money. Revisionist history and controversial theories unsupported by facts are written by authors who hope for 15 minutes of fame and maybe a book deal or a speaking tour. Editors include such articles hoping to sell more issues of their magazines and newspapers and boost their declining readership.

Report to the Emperor-First Draft

Friday, April 18, AD 2014

(I post this each year on Good Friday at The American Catholic.  Have a blessed Good Friday and Easter.)

I thank you Marcus for taking on the onerous task of acting as my secretary, in addition to your regular duties as my aide, in regard to this portion of the report.  The Greek, Aristides, is competent, and like most Greek secretaries his Latin is quite graceful, but also like most Greek secretaries he does not know when to keep his mouth shut.  I want him kept away from this work, and I want you to observe the strictest security.  Caiaphas was playing a nefarious game, and I do not think we are out of the woods yet.  I do not want his spies finding out what I am telling the Imperator and Caiaphas altering the tales his agents are now, no doubt, spreading in Rome.  Let us take the Jew by surprise for once!

 

Your first effort on this matter is rather good, but I think we can improve upon it.  Incidentally, tell the Greek in his portion of the report to work in a subtle reference to one of Tiberius’ victories with the legions.  Tiberius claims to despise flattery.  The old fraud, he loves flattery if it isn’t obvious, and I want him in a good mood when he is reading this report, probably the most important report of my career.

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5 Responses to Report to the Emperor-First Draft

  • A Blessed Easter to you and yours, Donald McClary. One Hail Mary

  • “Perfect! No changes needed.”

    Thank you Mr.McClarey for adding more perspectives for my contemplation.
    Last night at Holy Mass the veil between heaven and earth was so very thin.
    What a GREAT GIFT we have in Him who was slain for our offences. God is SO GOOD to us. Happy Easter and blessings to your family as well.

  • And to you and yours Philip. Holy Week reminds us of ultimate realities that too many of us, and I put myself firmly in that category, blithely ignore for most of the rest of the year.

  • Pilate wants out of politics to enjoy a quiet life in Rome, but that ’empty tomb business’, his wife’s dream, and his rationale about that life saving many others will probably not allow it.
    We probably are graced with enough of a lifespan to figure out the direction of our hearts and consciences if we try .
    Politics every which way from Holy Week to Holy Week – I think your posts and the comments steadily keep the backdrop of the ‘ultimate realities’ and appreciate them. Thank you. Happy Easter season to all.

Report to the Emperor-First Draft

Friday, April 22, AD 2011

ecce-homo

 (I post this each year on Good Friday.)

I thank you Marcus for taking on the onerous task of acting as my secretary, in addition to your regular duties as my aide, in regard to this portion of the report.  The Greek, Aristides, is competent, and like most Greek secretaries his Latin is quite graceful, but also like most Greek secretaries he does not know when to keep his mouth shut.  I want him kept away from this work, and I want you to observe the strictest security.  Caiaphas was playing a nefarious game, and I do not think we are out of the woods yet.  I do not want his spies finding out what I am telling the Imperator and Caiaphas altering the tales his agents are now, no doubt, spreading in Rome.  Let us take the Jew by surprise for once!

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7 Responses to Report to the Emperor-First Draft

  • Yes, from all that we know about Pilate, he had the same lack of squeamishness when it came to executions as most Romans, so his reluctance to condemn Jesus is haunting.

    As part of my Good Friday meditations, I intend to read selected passages from Fr. Richard John Neuhaus’s fine book “Death on a Friday Afternoon,” which had a great impact on me when I returned to the Church in 2005.

    One observation Fr. Neuhaus made that always haunts me is that the very tall cross common in Christian art is an invention of the Middle Ages. The real Cross was probably around 7 feet tall (that makes sense when you think about it. Wood is a more precious commodity in the rocky, sandy Mediterranean countries than it was in lushly forested Northern Europe. From the Roman POV: why waste such a resource dangling criminals high overhead when it was just as effective to raise them a foot or so above the ground?) That meant that when Mary and John stood she was actually face to face with her Son. As Fr. Nuehaus put it “The sweat, the blood, the tearing tendons, the twitching, the wrenching, the bulging eyes – she would have seen it all quite clearly, as clearly as she saw him so long ago when she held him safely to her breast.”

  • Saint Remigius, the Apostle to the Franks, was instructing King Clovis of the Franks prior to his baptism about the Faith. He had just described the crucifixion. Clovis was greatly affected by this. Clutching his battle ax, he said, “If only my Franks and I could have been there! We would have avenged the wrongs done to our God!” That has always struck me as a very Catholic reaction when we recall the agony of Christ on the cross and the agony of the Blessed Virgin in having to watch this agonizing death of her beloved Son.

  • “We adore You, Christ, and we bless You. Because by Your Holy Cross You have redeemed the world.” A prayer said before each of the Stations of the Cross.

    The Fifth Sorrowful Mystery, The Crucifixion, pray for the grace of final perseverence. Meditate on the love (for us unworthy sinners) which filled Our Lord’s Sacred Heart during His three hours’ agony on His Holy Cross. And, pray that Jesus be with you at the hour of death.

    Contemplate the sword which pierces Our Lady’s Immaculate Heart when she met jesus on His way to Calvary; and as she stood by Him as he was crucified for our sins and salvation, and as the Body of Jesus was laid in the tomb.

    “We adore You, Christ, and we bless You. Because by Your Holy Cross You have redeemed the world.”

  • Clutching his battle ax, he said, “If only my Franks and I could have been there!”

    Ah, Clovis. Now there’s a character. Got to love the guy.

    Back when I was a teen, my Dad did both Gregory of Tours’ History of the Frank and Njal’s Saga as family read alouds. Man, you don’t get converts like those anymore…

  • Thanks for this Don.
    The links you give provide a quite fascinating insight into not only corroborative accounts of the events of our Easter celebration, but also of the personalities, their histories and their associates, and the various historical intrigues that influenced and guided their actions.

    For example, I had heard and unconfirmed story many years ago that it was possible that Pilate had later become a convert to Christianity at the insistence of his wife; that would appear to be a bit of pious bunkum.

  • “Man, you don’t get converts like those anymore…”

    Another favorite vignette from the conversion of Clovis:

    “Remigius addressed the king by a name on which the noblest among the Franks prided themselves,—”Sicambrian, gently bow thy neck, worship that which thou hast burnt, and burn that which thou hast worshipped.”

  • Thank you Don. The legends that grew up about Pilate and his wife are endless with people eager to fill in what history simply left blank.

Pange Lingua Gloriosi

Thursday, September 3, AD 2009

Composed by Saint Thomas Aquinas for the Office of Corpus Christi (see CORPUS CHRISTI, FEAST OF). Including the last stanza (which borrows the words “Genitori Genitoque”—Procedenti ab utroque, Compar ” from the first two strophes of the second sequence of Adam of St. Victor for Pentecost ) the hymn comprises six stanzas appearing in the manuscripts

Pange, lingua, gloriosi corporis mysterium,
Sanguinisque pretiosi quem in mundi pretium
Fructus ventris generosi Rex effudit gentium.

Written in accentual rhythm, it imitates the triumphant march of the hymn of Fortunatus, and like it is divided in the Roman Breviary into stanzas of six lines whose alternating triple rhyming is declared by Pimont to be a new feature in medieval hymnody. In the  Roman Breviary the hymn is assigned to both Vespers, but of old the Church of Salisbury placed it in Matins, that of Toulouse in First Vespers only, that of Saint-Germain- des-Prés at Second Vespers only, and that of Strasburg at Compline. It is sung in the procession to the repository on Holy Thursday and also in the procession of Corpus Christi and in that of the Forty Hours’ Adoration.[1]

_._

[1] Henry, H. (1911). Pange Lingua Gloriosi. In The Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. Retrieved September 3, 2009 from New Advent: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/11441c.htm

Note: For more information click here.

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Who Killed Christ

Friday, April 10, AD 2009

When Pilate saw that he was not succeeding at all, but that a riot was breaking out instead, he took water and washed his hands in the sight of the crowd, saying, “I am innocent of this man’s blood. Look to it yourselves.”

And the whole people said in reply, “His blood be upon us and upon our children.”

Then he released Barabbas to them, but after he had Jesus scourged, he handed him over to be crucified.
Matthew 27:24-27

These short lines have, through the fallen nature of humanity, caused their fair share of trouble over the centuries. The gospel message, through primarily one of hope and redemption, contains one dark undertone: Christ died for our sins. The one truly perfect being suffered horrifically because of our too clear imperfection.

It is in our nature to shy away from that which is unpleasant, and so it is perhaps no surprise that throughout history some Christians have attempted to assuage their own consciences by pointing the finger of blame at an obvious target: the Jews.

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7 Responses to Who Killed Christ

  • Mirrors are always good when asking the question who killed Christ. They are also good when asking the question who can be saved by Christ.

  • The real answer to the question, “Who killed Christ?” is: We did.

    More correctly: I did.

    “anti-Semitic one.

    At the same time, one can acknowledge the historical fact that Jewish leaders and individuals are directly responsible for the historical crucifixion, without being “anti-Semitic”. The New Testament is full of references to the “Jews” persecuting Christ, would that mean the author was anti-Semitic?

  • At the same time, one can acknowledge the historical fact that Jewish leaders and individuals are directly responsible for the historical crucifixion, without being “anti-Semitic”. The New Testament is full of references to the “Jews” persecuting Christ, would that mean the author was anti-Semitic?

    Not at all. The sense in which I wanted to refer to an “anti-Semitic” interpretation would be if one is saying, “The Jews, those people over there, certainly no one like me, they were the one’s who killed Christ.”

    As a historical matter, it was clearly the Jewish leaders and mob who called for Christ’s death.

  • DC,

    thanks for clarifying, you are of course quite right.

  • More correctly: I did.

    Why is this “more correct” than “we did”? Can you explain? Are you some kind of liberal individualist?

  • Pontius Pilot, personally believing in Our Lord’s innocence, did not want to impose his views upon the masses. He, thus, washed his hands of guilt.

    Much as we do when we remain silent in defense of the unborn!

    Primary Principle: Thou Shalt Not Kill Innocent Human Life! Silence is complicity!

Passion Narrative

Friday, April 10, AD 2009

Paraclete Press has done us all the service of making available for free listening on Good Friday a recording of the passion narrative from the Gospel of St. John in beautiful chant tones.

Paraclete invites you to take part in a Good Friday tradition that dates back to the eighth century, with the chanting of the Passion Narrative according to Saint John. Take half an hour apart from the events of the day, and listen to these sacred words, chanted by monastic members of the Gloriae Dei Cantores Schola, in Latin, in Gregorian chant.

[Click the small “Play Passion Narrative” or “download music” links in the top header of the page — they can be a little hard to find.]

fra_angelico_crucifixion

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