Monday, August 11, 2008

Wisdom from…

Mater Dei, Salus Populi Romani

St. Francis d'Assisi was our Lady's juggler, a holy clown, whereas as I am just a clown, yet one whom God has mysteriously granted a place at the table of eternal life known as the Catholic Church. I seem, however, intent on falling out of my chair. What else can a clown do with such infirm legs as I have? Though it is offered with weak, oversized, fumbling hands, like those worn by Mickey Mouse, but soiled and tattered by contrast, this post is made in honor of our Lady, glorified in the heavens with her dear Son who took on the form of a clown, in the eyes of the world, but who is determined to deliver me from my sinful folly––my abominable clownishness––by reforming me in His own image.

GERMANUS OF CONSTANTINOPLE (640–733): The Assumption of Mary

Most truly and with grateful heart I say: You, O Mother of God, are not cut off from us even though you have been removed from our midst. You are not far from this perishable world, you who now live in imperishable life; but on the contrary you draw near to those who call on you, you are found by those who seek you in faith.

Indeed you left the earth to prove that the mystery of the awe-inspiring incarnation did in fact take place. Through your awaiting the natural end of human life, God who was born of you would be believed to have come from you also as perfect man, son of a true mother who was herself subject to the constraints of nature, the decrees of God [as when Jesus was circumcised, was baptized by John the Baptizer, honored the priestly sanctions around his healings, etc.––EBB], and the limitations of an earthly lifetime. For because you had a body like the rest of us, you could not escape death, the lot of all humankind.

And so, having undergone death to finite things, you have moved to God's dwelling in the imperishable mansions of eternity. You are his companion, O Mother of God: your communion with him will never end.
(In dormitionum B. Mariae I: PG 98, 345-348.)

Germanus was the patriarch of Constantinople; his writings witness to the developing doctrine about our Lady.

ST AUGUSTINE: Mary and the Church

Mary gave birth to your Head, and the Church gave birth to you. For the Church also is both mother and virgin. She is mother by her entrails of charity, and virgin by the integrity of faith and piety. She gives birth to many, but they are all members of one whose Body and spouse she herself is. In this she is like Mary, because in many she is the mother of unity.
-- Sermon 192, 2

Prayer. Come let us adore him whom the Virgin conceived without concupiscence, to whom she gave birth as a virgin and remained thereafter a virgin.
-- Sermon 231, 2


In the presence of our queen assumed into Heaven, we profoundly vow our heart that she may flood it with the "dew of Hermon," distilled from the holy fullness of grace. How sublime is the perfection of this love in comparison to all of us! Oh, how I have desired that amid the immensity of our miseries she will find and bring the olive branch of holy love. In purity, in gentleness and in prayer, may she carry it as a sign of peace to our dear Jesus! Long live Jesus, long live Mary!
(Letters 1230; O. XVII, p. 271)


ONE instant in a still light
He saw Our Lady, then
Her dress was soft as western sky,
And she was a queen most womanly,
But she was a queen of men.

And over the iron forest
He saw Our Lady stand,
Her eyes were sad withouten art
And seven swords were in her heart,
But one was in her hand.
('Ballad of Alfred.')


Brad Haas said...


the Cogitator said...