Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Blessings For Christmas Eve

Blessings For Christmas Eve, In The 'Anderson' Pontifical
Ink and pigments on vellum
29.7 x 24.3 cm
MS 57337 f.103r
The British Library, London

This Anglo Saxon Pontifical is now in The British Library

The title in red capital letters at the top of the page identify this as a prayer of blessing delivered by the bishop on the vigil of the nativity (Christmas Eve).

The blessing itself begins with the large green first letter of 'Om[ni]p[oten]s D[eu]s' ('Almighty God...'), one of several conventional openings for blessings.

It is written as a series of prayers calling for light and joy in the world, with responses of 'Amen' (in red) to each.

I shall be away and unable to blog until probably 5th January 2010

May you have a Happy Christmas and Good New Year

Monday, December 21, 2009

Rupert of Deutz

Printed by Johannes Petreius 1497 - 1550
Title-page and print of Rupert of Deutz, 'Commentariorum in Evangelium Ioannis',
Nuremberg: Johann Petreius, 1526;
A black wax seal with a coat-of-arms at lower right of the opening.
Inscription Content: Title in 7 lines of letterpress: 'RUPER/ TI ABBATIS TUITIEN/ sis Commentarioru[m]...'
142 millimetres x 92 millimetres
The British Museum, London

Printed by Franz Birckmann fl.c.1520 - fl.c.1528
After Georg Lemberger fl.1520 - 1540
Print made by Anton Woensam c.1493-1496 - c.1541
The Woman of the Apocalypse and the seven-headed beast; after Lemberger (Hollstein 7)
From A series of 21 Apocalypse illustrations,  used in Rupert of Deutz, 'Commentariorum in Apocalypsim Iohannis Libri XII', Cologne: Franz Birckmann, 1526.
Woodcut on paper 123 x 79 mm
The British Museum, London

Printed by Franz Birckmann fl.c.1520 - fl.c.1528
After Georg Lemberger fl.1520 - 1540
Print made by Anton Woensam c.1493-1496 - c.1541
The emptying of the Seven Vials
From A series of 21 Apocalypse illustrations,  used in Rupert of Deutz, 'Commentariorum in Apocalypsim Iohannis Libri XII', Cologne: Franz Birckmann, 1526.
Woodcut on paper 123 x 78 mm
The British Museum, London

The above are illustrations to the works of Rupert of Deutz (c.1075-1080 - c.1129-1130), Benedictine Abbot and author.

Rupert of Deutz ?

Pope Benedict XVI explained at his General Audience on Wednesday 9th December 2009

There is no doubt from the talk by the Pope that Rupert of Deutz is not a historical footnote. He and his works should be given wider circulation.

Of particular note are his comments on the Eucharist. Again the Pope seems to want to emphasise the dangers of regarding "communion as socialisation alone". He quotes in full from the Catechism. There is no dilution of the Doctrine of Transubstantiation.

The other topics covered include Good and Evil, the Incarnation, Mary and the Church.

"Rupert of Deutz

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Today we become acquainted with another 12th-century Benedictine monk. His name is Rupert of Deutz, a city near Cologne, home to a famous monastery.

Rupert himself speaks of his own life in one of his most important works entitled The Glory and Honour of the Son of Man [De gloria et honore filii hominis super Matthaeum], which is a commentary on part of the Gospel according to Matthew.

While still a boy he was received at the Benedictine Monastery of St Laurence at Lièges as an "oblate", in accordance with the custom at that time of entrusting one of the sons to the monks for his education, intending to make him a gift to God. Rupert always loved monastic life.

He quickly learned Latin in order to study the Bible and to enjoy the liturgical celebrations. He distinguished himself for his moral rectitude, straight as a die, and his strong attachment to the See of St Peter.

Rupert's time was marked by disputes between the Papacy and the Empire, because of the so-called "Investiture Controversy" with which as I have mentioned in other Catecheses the Papacy wished to prevent the appointment of Bishops and the exercise of their jurisdiction from depending on the civil authorities who were certainly not guided by pastoral reasons but for the most part by political and financial considerations.

Bishop Otbert of Lièges resisted the Pope's directives and exiled Berengarius, Abbot of the Monastery of St Laurence, because of his fidelity to the Pontiff. It was in this monastery that Rupert lived. He did not hesitate to follow his Abbot into exile and only when Bishop Otbert returned to communion with the Pope did he return to Liège and agree to become a priest. Until that moment, in fact, he had avoided receiving ordination from a Bishop in dissent with the Pope.

Rupert teaches us that when controversies arise in the Church the reference to the Petrine ministry guarantees fidelity to sound doctrine and is a source of serenity and inner freedom.

After the dispute with Otbert Rupert was obliged to leave his monastery again twice. In 1116 his adversaries even wanted to take him to court.

Although he was acquitted of every accusation, Rupert preferred to go for a while to Siegburg; but since on his return to the monastery in Liège the disputes had not yet ceased, he decided to settle definitively in Germany. In 1120 he was appointed Abbot of Deutz where, except for making a pilgrimage to Rome in 1124, he lived until 1129, the year of his death.

A fertile writer, Rupert left numerous works, still today of great interest because he played an active part in various important theological discussions of his time.

For example, he intervened with determination in the Eucharistic controversy, which in 1077 led to his condemnation by Berengarius of Tours. Berengarius had given a reductive interpretation of Christ's presence in the Sacrament of the Eucharist, describing it as merely symbolic.

In the language of the Church the term "transubstantiation" was as yet unknown but Rupert, at times with daring words, made himself a staunch supporter of the Eucharistic reality and, especially in a work entitled De divinis officiis (On divine offices), purposefully asserted the continuity between the Body of the Incarnate Word of Christ and that present in the Eucharistic species of the bread and the wine.

Dear brothers and sisters, it seems to me that at this point we must also think of our time; today too we are in danger of reappraising the Eucharistic reality, that is, of considering the Eucharist almost as a rite of communion, of socialization alone, forgetting all too easily that the Risen Christ is really present in the Eucharist with his Risen Body which is placed in our hands to draw us out of ourselves, to incorporate us into his immortal body and thereby lead us to new life.

This great mystery that the Lord is present in his full reality in the Eucharistic species is a mystery to be adored and loved ever anew!

I would like here to quote the words of the Catechism of the Catholic Church which bear the fruit of 2,000 years of meditation on the faith and theological reflection: "The mode of Christ's presence under the Eucharistic species is unique and incomparable.... In the most blessed sacrament of the Eucharist "the Body and Blood, together with the soul and divinity, of our Lord Jesus Christ... is truly, really, and substantially contained'.... It is a substantial presence by which Christ, God and man, makes himself wholly and entirely present... by the Eucharistic species of the bread the wine" (cf. n. 1374). Rupert too contributed with his reflections to this precise formulation.

Another controversy in which the Abbot of Deutz was involved concerns the problem of the reconciliation of God's goodness and omnipotence with the existence of evil. If God is omnipotent and good, how is it possible to explain the reality of evil?

Rupert, in fact, reacted to the position assumed by the teachers of the theological school of Laon, who, with a series of philosophical arguments, distinguished in God's will the "to approve" and the "to permit", concluding that God permits evil without approving it and hence without desiring it. Rupert, on the other hand, renounces the use of philosophy, which he deems inadequate for addressing such a great problem, and remains simply faithful to the biblical narration. He starts with the goodness of God, with the truth that God is supremely good and cannot desire anything but good. Thus he identifies the origin of evil in the human being himself and in the erroneous use of human freedom. When Rupert addresses this topic he writes pages filled with religious inspiration to praise the Father's infinite mercy, God's patience with the sinful human being and his kindness to him.

Like other medieval theologians, Rupert too wondered why the Word of God, the Son of God, was made man. Some, many, answered by explaining the Incarnation of the Word by the urgent need to atone for human sin. Rupert, on the other hand, with a Christocentric vision of salvation history, broadens the perspective, and in a work entitled The Glorification of the Trinity, sustains the position that the Incarnation, the central event of the whole of history was planned from eternity, even independently of human sin, so that the whole creation might praise God the Father and love him as one family gathered round Christ, the Son of God.

Then he saw in the pregnant Woman of the Apocalypse the entire history of humanity which is oriented to Christ, just as conception is oriented to birth, a perspective that was to be developed by other thinkers and enhanced by contemporary theology, which says that the whole history of the world and of humanity is a conception oriented to the birth of Christ.

Christ is always the centre of the exegetic explanations provided by Rupert in his commentaries on the Books of the Bible, to which he dedicated himself with great diligence and passion.

Thus, he rediscovers a wonderful unity in all the events of the history of salvation, from the creation until the final consummation of time: "All Scripture", he says, "is one book, which aspires to the same end (the divine Word); which comes from one God and was written by one Spirit" (De glorificatione Trinitatis et procesione Sancti spiritus I, V, PL 169, 18).

In the interpretation of the Bible, Rupert did not limit himself to repeating the teaching of the Fathers, but shows an originality of his own.

For example, he is the first writer to have identified the bride in the Song of Songs with Mary Most Holy. His commentary on this book of Scripture has thus turned out to be a sort of Mariological summa, in which he presents Mary's privileges and excellent virtues.

In one of the most inspired passages of his commentary Rupert writes: "O most beloved among the beloved, Virgin of virgins, what does your beloved Son so praise in you that the whole choir of angels exalts? What they praise is your simplicity, purity, innocence, doctrine, modesty, humility, integrity of mind and body, that is, your incorrupt virginity" (In Canticum Canticorum 4, 1-6, CCL 26, pp. 69-70). The Marian interpretation of Rupert's Canticum is a felicitous example of harmony between liturgy and theology. In fact, various passages of this Book of the Bible were already used in liturgical celebrations on Marian feasts.

Rupert, furthermore, was careful to insert his Mariological doctrine into that ecclesiological doctrine. That is to say, he saw in Mary Most Holy the holiest part of the whole Church.

For this reason my venerable Predecessor, Pope Paul VI, in his Discourse for the closure of the third session of the Second Vatican Council, in solemnly pronouncing Mary Mother of the Church, even cited a proposal taken from Rupert's works, which describes Mary as portio maxima, portio optima the most sublime part, the very best part of the Church (cf. In Apocalypsem 1, 7, PL 169, 1043).

Dear friends, from these rapid allusions we realize that Rupert was a fervent theologian endowed with great depth.

Like all the representatives of monastic theology, he was able to combine rational study of the mysteries of faith with prayer and contemplation, which he considered the summit of all knowledge of God.

He himself sometimes speaks of his mystical experiences, such as when he confides his ineffable joy at having perceived the Lord's presence: "in that brief moment", he says, "I experienced how true what he himself says is. Learn from me for I am meek and humble of heart" (De gloria et honore Filii hominis. Super Matthaeum 12, PL 1168, 1601).

We too, each one of us in our own way, can encounter the Lord Jesus who ceaselessly accompanies us on our way, makes himself present in the Eucharistic Bread and in his Word for our salvation."

Fray Juan Bautista Maíno de Castro

Fray Juan Bautista Maíno de Castro 1578 -1649
Adoración de los pastores / Adoration of the Shepherds 1612 -1614
Oil on canvas
315 cm x 174 cm
Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid

Fray Juan Bautista Maíno de Castro 1578 -1649
Adoración de los Reyes / Adoration of the Kings 1612-1614
Oil on canvas
315 x 174.5cm
Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid

In 1612 Maino was commissioned by the Dominican monastery of San Pedro Martir in Toledo to paint the main altarpiece of the church and the frescoes inside the entrance portal, under the choir.

In the two pictures above Maino comes close to what is now called 'superrealism' in some sections of the pictures.

The altarpiece decoration consists of four large paintings - including the two above and four small landscapes with saints, together with two half-length portraits.

Both paintings are the works a painter fully immersed in the art of Caravaggio and the Italian Baroque and it will come as no surprise to learn that he did spend a number of years in Italy.

Maino's artistic career virtually came to an end on 20 June 1613, when he professed as a Dominican in the very monastery of San Pedro Martir.

A few years later, he moved to Madrid and was appointed the drawing master of Prince Philip, the future Philip IV.

Maino seldom picked up his brushes from 1613 to the day he died in March 1641

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Blind Man

Eugene Laermans 1864 -1840
Blind Man 1898
Oil on canvas 134 x 174cm
Royal Museum of Fine Arts, Brussels,

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Decrees on Heroic Virtues of Pius XII and John Paul II

The New Liturgical Movement has a post on the Decrees signed by Pope Benedict XVI this morning. Amongst the expected decrees on Pope John Paul II and Mary McKillop is the long awaited decree on Pope Pius XII which heralds the long awaited beatification of Pope Pius XII

The Art of Desecration

Cardinal Ruini

Recently there was a a three-day conference in Rome "God Today: With Him or Without Him, That Changes Everything".

It successfully brought together leading theologians, philosophers, artists, politicians and Church leaders to discuss, rationally and calmly, the importance and relevance of God to people's daily lives.

An estimated 2,500 people -- many of them young people -- filled the auditorium near the Vatican, despite some secularists predicting they would never turn up.

It was chaired by Cardina Camillo Ruini. It was sponsored by the Italian Conference of Bishops and the Rome City Council. Can you imagine any Council in the United Kingdom sponsoring such an event ?

One of the conference speakers was the renowned English philosopher, writer and composer, Roger Scruton.

"The essence of Scruton's talk was how, until relatively recently, artistic creation of beauty was about giving glory to God, but now is often about desecrating the human form. He explored the reasons why.

"Artists in the post enlightenment period tried hard to hold on to the idea of beauty precisely to compensate for the loss of their faith," he explains.

Musicians such as Wagner, he adds, saw it as "the unique vestige of the sacred in our world," and modernism tried to reconnect with the sacred through art created by writers and musicians such as Eliot, Messiaen, and Brittan.

"Then suddenly in our time, since the 1960s and all the rest, we have a new kind of art which is repudiating beauty and putting ugliness in its place," Scruton explains. "I'd say it's an 'art of desecration' which looks not to desecrate beauty, but to desecrate the human form."

He refers to "the examples of the usual young British art types" such as Damian Hirst, and in particular the conceptual artists Jake and Dinos Chapman, two brothers whose work Scruton describes as "particularly repulsive."

"So I asked myself: What does this mean? Why should people want to desecrate the human form and the ordinary ideals of human life? And I say, you only desecrate what is sacred. Only something sacred can be desecrated. So there's this cry from the heart here for the religious meaning of things. It's showing the yearning for God and the sense that these things make no sense without him."

He adds that we have "lost all that idea that beauty is something we create together by way of embellishing our world."

In the past, Scruton has pointed to the difficulties of proving "the truth of religious sentiments." He is well aware of the challenges, having debated the well-known atheists Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens in the past.

So how can Christians find a better way of communicating the truth of the faith in the world today?

"Intelligent people don't see a problem in seeing that there can be truths which lie beyond the reach of scientific argument and there can be truths whose content was only revealed through a way of living – that's the task of theology and philosophy, to make that clear," he says. "But ordinary people don't see religion in that way. For them it's a matter of basic certainties. Certainties are very hard to rediscover once they've been lost."

I ask how the faith could be brought back to Britain which appears to be in desperate need of a return to its Christian roots. Just this week a survey revealed that only half of Britons now consider themselves Christian after a "sharp decline" in religious belief over the past quarter of a century.

"To re-evangelize the English, you'd need a new Augustine [of Canterbury]," Scruton replies.

But he warns that if the Christian faith has vanished completely from Britain, then that leaves a vacuum into which another faith will flow.

"The Christian faith might flow back but then it's in competition with all the other things that might flow in: the New Age type religions, Hinduism, and Buddhism. There may be a complete fragmentation as under the late Roman Empire: before Christianity took over, there were thousands of little cults. But, of course, Islam will then have a big following because it will be the only thing that establishes a unity."

I put it to him that perhaps the Pope's expected visit to Britain next year, the beatification of Cardinal John Henry Newman and the new provisions for disaffected Anglicans point to some urgency toward the re-evangelization of the country. "Yes, that might be a possibility," he says, adding that a general election is also expected in 2010. "Maybe we'll see a wholesale conversion of the English to their faith."

We then turned to today's prominent atheists and the best way to debate them. "You've got to have the right people up against them," he says. "You need people who are stronger and wittier than they are in an argument. You have to get the right audience as well."

He says he doesn't mind debating people like Dawkins and Hitchens. "The problem is what I have to say doesn't directly confront what they have to say," he says. "There's nothing in what Dawkins says that I can actually disagree with -- it's just that it leaves out half of life. He talks perfectly reasonably about the explanation of human life, but not about its meaning."

Although an Anglican, the philosopher is particularly sympathetic to Benedict XVI's stand against what Scruton calls the vandalism of the liturgy and the musical traditions of the Church.

"That resonates with me," he says. "I've felt it was so unnecessary giving way to temporary fashions which have now disappeared. But now the Church has to work to rediscover what it could have had without working for it."

Thursday, December 17, 2009

The Tree of Jesse

Jan Mostaert (c.1475 - c.1555)
The Tree of Jesse 1485
Oil on panel
89 x 59 cm
Rijksmuseum Amsterdam

At the bottom there is an old man from whose abdomen grows a huge tree.

The old man is Jesse, ancestor of the royal house which traditionally produced the likes of Solomon, David and Christ.

Sitting on the branches of the tree are Jesse's descendants.

At the top of the tree, the very crown, is the Virgin Mary with her child on her lap and surrounded by angels

Included are the twelve kings of Israel, from David on the lowest branch, to Manasseh, top right. David is recognisable with his harp. He was the son of Jesse.

Isaiah 11, verse 1 reads: 'And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots'

Isaiah 11:10 reads:`On that day the root of Jesse shall stand as a signal to the peoples; the nations shall inquire of him, and his dwelling shall be glorious`

See also Romans 15:12 which reads: `And again, Esaias saith, There shall be a root of Jesse, and he that shall rise to reign over the Gentiles; in him shall the Gentiles trust`

The rod of the tree of Jesse is seen as the Virgin Mary. The branch is Christ

The young patron kneeling in devotion who commissioned the painting is beside the tree of Jesse. She would appear to be a white nun from the Haarlem convent of Magdalenes or 'white sisters'.

The Jesse Tree has been depicted in almost every medium of Christian art. In particular, it is the subject of many stained glass windows and illuminated manuscripts. It is also found in wall paintings, architectural carvings, funerary monuments, floor tiles and embroidery.

December 19th is when O Radix Jesse (O Root of Jesse) is used as the O Antiphons. The O Antiphons are used at daily prayer in the evenings of the last days of Advent. The Antiphons were sung at Vespers before and after the Magnificat.

O RADIX Iesse, qui stas in signum populorum,
super quem continebunt reges os suum, quem gentes deprecabuntur:
veni ad liberandum nos, iam noli tardare.

O Root of Jesse, who stand as a sign for the peoples (Isaiah 11:10),
the kings of the earth are silent before you (Isaiah 52:15) and the nations invoke you:
come to free us, do not delay (Habakkuk 2:3).

Les Très Belles Heures de Notre Dame

Miniaturist from The Netherlands
(around 1400)
Page depicting The Nativity and the Annunciation of the Shepherds from the Très Belles Heures de Notre Dame de Jean de Berry (folio 4 v.)
c. 1400
Illumination on parchment, 203 x 284 mm
Museo Civico d'Arte Antica, Palazzo Madama, Turin

The Turin Les Très Belles Heures de Notre Dame de Jean de Berry, was once attributed to Jan van Eyck

The Très Belles Heures de Notre Dame was begun about 1384 but was left unfinished

In 1413 the still incomplete manuscript appears in an inventory compiled by the Duke's "registrar", Robinet d'Etampes, who shortly thereafter divided it into two parts.

The finished section was kept by Robinet, and the rest was acquired by the House of Bavaria-Holland, which promptly commissioned the Van Eyck brothers, Jan and Hubert, to complete it.

This portion of the manuscript was again divided in two, half of which burned with the Royal Library of Turin in 1904 and the rest of which, known as the Heures de Milan, is presently in the Museo Civico of Turin.

Thus the Très Belles Heures de Notre-Dame is presently divided among the Bibliothèque Nationale (ms. nouv. acq. lat. 3093) and the Louvre (RF 2022-2024) in Paris, and the Turin museum.

The part that perished is known only through reproductions published in 1902.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Cardinal Alessandro Barnabò

Aleksandr Antonovich Rizzoni 1836-1902
Church of S. Onofrio, Rome: The Interior with a Cardinal 1872
Oil on panel
35 cm (approx.) x 46 cm
Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Inscription: "'A Rizzoni 1872 Roma'" Signed and dated by the artist, lower right

The Victorian and Albert Museum in London is always a pleasure to visit.

The website has recently been much improved by a "Search the Collection" facility. It show not only those items which are exhibited but also those "in store".

Many of the entries are accompanied by learned commentary. The Museum is still imbued with the spirit of docere et delectare, which sadly is not as fashionable as it once was.

The above picture presently in "storage" and not exhibited would appear at first sight not to be of much interest. Another nineteenth century painting depicting a historical and beautiful Church in Rome with a depiction of a cardinal. As seen in previous posts for some reason pictures of Cardinals in full canonicals were a popular subject of paintings in the nineteenth century. The magnificence of the costume had a great deal to do with it.

See Egerton Beck , Ecclesiastical Dress in Art. Article I-Colour (Part I) The Burlington Magazine for Connoisseurs, Vol. 7, No. 28 (Jul., 1905), pp. 281-288 which only mentions the painting in the context of a discussion about Ecclesiastical Dress.

But on closer inspection of the painting and of the website entry, the painting might be much more than that.

The painting was painted in 1872 and bequeathed by the owner John Forster to the Museum in 1876. The painting seems to have been bought by John Forster at the International Exhibition in London in 1873

More intriguingly the website states:

"A note by the artist concerning this picture is preserved in the Forster Collection in the Museum Library (MSS, x, p. 2, no. 23):

'L'interno della chiesa del convento di Sant'Onofrio a Roma ove more il Tasso. La Madonna dipinto al fresco (supra il monumento del Vescovo) è del Pinturicchio, e l'altro fresco a destra è del cavaliere d'Arpino. La scena rappresente il cardinale Barnabo (Prottettore della chiesa) accompagnato del . . . suo segretario e del servitore dopo d'aver assisto allo funzione religiosa. Roma il 27 Ottobre 1873. Alessandro Rizzoni.'

(The interior of the Church of S. Onofrio, Rome where Tasso died. The fresco of the Madonna (above the Monument to the Bishop) is by Pinturicchio and the other fresco on the right is by the cavaliere d`Arpino. The scene depicts Cardinal Barnabo (Protector of the Church) accompanied by ... his secretary and servant after having presided at a religious ceremony. Rome 27 October 1873. Alessandro Rizzoni)"

This cardinal was no ordinary cardinal.

Cardinal Alessandro Barnabò (1801-1874) was Prefect of the Sacred Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith (Sacra Congregatio de Propaganda Fide) for 18 years from 1856 until his death in 1874. He was one of the right hand men of Pope Pius IX (1792-1878)

Prior to becoming Prefect, he was vice-secretary of the Congregation of Propaganda in 1847-1848, then secretary from 13 August 1848 until June 19, 1856.

According to the Catholic Encyclopedia of 1913, the Congregation of Propaganda was the department of the pontifical administration charged with the spread of Catholicism and with the regulation of ecclesiastical affairs in non-Catholic countries ( i.e. Great Britain, North America, Africa, Asia, Australia).

Its intrinsic importance of its duties and the extraordinary extent of its authority and of the territory under its jurisdiction caused the cardinal prefect of Propaganda to be known as the "Red Pope".

If one "googles" the Cardinal`s name, one can see how important he was and in how many important matters he was involved in during the pontificate of Pope Pius IX especially in the then Mission Lands which included Africa, North America and the territories of the then British Empire.

Opinions seem to be divided about the Cardinal.

In A History of the Popes, 1830-1914, (2000) (Clarendon/Oxford University Press. 614 pp) Professor Owen Chadwick writes:

"The Church was governed with the aid more of monsignors than of cardinals. Cardinal Antonelli dominated the Papal State, Cardinal Barnabò was the secretary of Propaganda and controlled the missions like an empire, Cardinal Reisach directed the policy towards Germany. Cardinal Patrizi had weight as an adviser less because he was a cardinal than because he was a close friend of the Pope [Pius IX]. These cardinals were exceptions." (pages 118-119)

Again, Professor Owen Chadwick in his book Acton and History (2002) (page 122) writes:

"Cardinal Barnabò ran Propaganda like a dictator and Propaganda ran the Roman Catholic Church in England ... Acton heard that Cardinal Barnabò was `especially violent` against Newman."

It was Propaganda which issued the "secret instruction" not to allow Newman to set up an Oratory in Oxford.

However there are many other points in the Cardinal`s favour.

The website of The Church of Santa Susanna in Rome says that Cardinal Barnabò became friend and protector to Father Isaac Thomas Hecker, the founder of the Paulist Fathers, after Hecker's dismissal from the Redemptorist Order in 1857. It was Cardinal Barnabò who arranged for Hecker to meet Pius IX and explain his ideas about evangelizing America. It was this event that led to the creation of the Paulist Fathers in July 1858

He met many of the great Catholic religious of the period and greaty encouraged them in their efforts.

For example, in 1873, Mary McKillop, Mother Mary of the Cross, went to Rome and later wrote:

" “I had not a friend here when I left Adelaide . . . I knew that our dear Lord would not let his work want a friend to advance His interests here, but Monsignor Kirby (Rector of the Irish College) is more than I dared expect. Cardinal Barnabò enquired minutely into many things connected with my voyage, spoke of my title ‘of the Cross’ and of its signification, and altogether, warmly encouraged me. He said that he was much pleased with our struggles, that we had struggled for things of which he highly approved . . . On Sunday, the Feast of Pentecost, I had the happiness of seeing the Holy Father (Pius IX) and of obtaining a warm blessing from him for myself and my dear Sisters . . . He let me see that the Pope had a father’s heart, and when he laid his loved hand upon my head, I felt more than I will attempt to say.”

Saint Daniele Comboni (1831-1881) was a great friend of the Cardinal. In 1864, the Saint came up with the "Comboni Plan" and recommended a regeneration of Africa by Africans. Missionaries would establish training centres for various trades. From these centres would come the leaders of regenerated black society, and leaders for evangelization. At the same time, major associations would be formed to finance the charity.

Cardinal Barnabò, prefect of the Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith, to whom this plan was submitted, obtained an audience for Father Comboni with Pope Pius IX, who gave him his blessing. It was the Cardinal who helped the saint overcome obstacles such as those placed in his way by the Bishop of Verona.

Another friend and confidant whom the Cardinal encouraged was Eugene of Mazenod (1782-1861), the founder of the Oblates.

In a letter dated August 12, 1860 the Founder wrote to the Cardinal :

“When I take the liberty of writing confidentially to Your Eminence, it is in order to open my heart to you in the freedom of the most complete trust. I leave aside all the customary precautions of formal language to state frankly and without circumspection everything I think about people and matters in general. In this disposition of my soul which places itself open before you, without fear and in all simplicity, you should not take offence over any of my thoughts, any of my judgments. I may be mistaken, undoubtedly, but I should not be blamed since the more harsh my appraisals the more will I have shown you my affectionate trust and my total friendship.” (Oblate Writings I, vol. 5, no. 70, p. 142)

After Bishop de Mazenod’s death, Cardinal Barnabò continued to take an interest in the Oblate missions. Several times he received Father Fabre on the occasion of his visit to Rome in December 1862 as well as Father Augustin Gaudet in 1865 and Bishop Grandin in 1874

As regards the artist, Alexander Rizzoni was born in Riga, on the territory of Tsarist Russia in 1836. He was a son of Antonio Rizzoni from Bologna, who serving in the Napoleon I army in the course of the campaign of 1812, had married in Riga a city-dweller of German origin. All the three sons of Antonio Rizzoni – Paul (1823-1913), Edward (1833-1903) and Alexander (1836-1902) — had become professional artists. It seems that Alexander Rizzoni was the most talented representative of this family. He studied at the Academy of Arts in St. Petersburg. In 1866, he was elected an academician of this Academy, and in 1868 – professor on the staff.

As well as many of the bursar-graduates of the Academy in Petersburg, Alexander Rizzoni lived and worked mostly in Italy. The last period of life he lived in Rome where in 1902 had died

The artist and subject would seem not to have much in common. However there is a French connection. The Cardinal was educated at the École militaire de La Flèche, 1812-14 as many of the sons of Italian nobility were forced by Napoleon to attend military schools in France between 1800 and 1814. The artist was the son of Antonio Rizzoni from Bologna, who served in the Napoleon I army in the course of the campaign of 1812

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Christ and the Virgin

Francisco de Zurbarán
Christ and the Virgin in the House of Nazareth
Oil on canvas
59 1/2 by 80 5/8 in; 151.2 by 204.8 cm.
Private collection

This is an unusual composition. It was Zurbarán’s own pictorial invention.

The Virgin is sitting on a low bench. She looks up from her sewing towards her now half-grown Son who is seated on a stool beside her.

The young Christ, apparently amusing himself with the odd pastime of weaving a wreath of brambles, has pricked his finger on one of the thorns.

The supernatural burst of light coming in from the top of the composition leaves no doubt as to the significance of the event

The Virgin raises her hand to her face to brush away tears.

Note the symbols: of the Eucharist (the cup); the Scriptures (books); Original Sin (the fruit); the Holy Ghost (the doves), the purity of the Virgin (the lilies); and the rosary (the roses).

There is an almost identical picture by Zurbarán in the Cleveland Museum of Art, acquired in 1960

The theme was used for an important series of paintings for the Jeronymites of the monastery of Guadalupe: eight for the sacristy and three for the chapel by the sacristy.

The Cleveland work is at: the Museum website

Piazza of Trinità dei Monti with Scalinata ("the Spanish Steps")

At the foot of the Spanish Steps in Rome, the Pope on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception places a bouquet of roses at the base of a statue dedicated to the Immaculate Conception

This year was no exception.

The Pope said, "Hearts harden and thoughts darken" with a daily diet of the news media in which "evil is recounted, repeated, amplified, accustoming us to the most horrible things, making us become insensitive and, in some way, intoxicating us, because the negative is not fully disposed of and accumulates day after day."

Because of this, the pope said, "the city has need of Mary, who with her presence speaks to us of God, reminds us of the victory of grace over sin, and induces us to hope."

So let us look at brighter things. Where the Pope spoke is one of the sights of Rome - one of the "must sees". Let us recount briefly the history of the site: a good "thing" not evil. Its beauty has drawn many to it throughout the ages. It also speaks of the great achievement of mankind when its will is focused on good and beauty. It is about a Church on a hill. And the means to get to it.

With money obtained from King Charles VIII of France, in 1494 Saint Francis of Paola, a hermit from Calabria bought a vineyard from the Papal scholar and former patriarch of Aquileia, Ermolao Barbaro, and then obtained the authorisation from Pope Alexander VI to establish a monastery (the order of the convent was called the Minims).

In 1502, Louis XII of France began construction of the church of Trinità dei Monti next to this monastery

The church was consecrated in 1585 by Pope Sixtus V

In the 1580s Pope Gregory XIII decided on constructing a stair to the recently-completed façade of the French church. However nothing was done until the beginning of the eighteenth century. The French diplomat Étienne Gueffier bequeathed funds of 20,000 scudi for the project

Van Wittel`s depiction shows how the area looked before the construction.

Gaspar Adriaensz van Wittel 1653-1736
View of Piazza of Trinità dei Monti, Rome on the North 1683
Tempera on parchment 22.8 x 43.5cm
Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Antica, Palazzo Barberini, Rome

In 1717 a competition was held for the design of the Scalinata and until recently scholars thought that it had been won by Alessandro Specchi (1668-1729).

First there is drawing of the area in 1699 showing the piazza and the palace in the background. Next is shown his pen and ink project.

Alessandro Specchi 1668 - 1729
Santissima Trinità dei Monti with Palazzo Zuccari in the Background 1699
From Il quarto libro del nuovo teatro delle pallazzi di Roma moderna

Alessandro Specchi (1668-1729).
Pen and ink project for Santissima Trinità dei Monti 1717
Biblioteca dell'Istituto Nazionale di Archeologia e Storia dell'Arte, Rome

However it now appears that it was the design of the little known Francesco de Sanctis who was the preferred architect of the French. De Sanctis' drawing was engraved by Girolamo Rossi in 1726 with a long dedication to Louis XV. See below.

Girolamo Rossi
Engraving after De Sanctis's drawing 1726

The Scalinata was competed in 1725 It became an attraction to Romans and tourists alike. Panini`s depiction illustrates the new attraction and the interest in it. As does the engraving by Piranesi also below

The Scalinata is the longest and widest staircase in Europe.

Giovanni Paolo Panini ( 1691 /92-1765)
Scalinata Trinità dei Monti known as "The Spanish Steps" ca. 1756-58
Pen and black ink, brush and gray wash, watercolour, over graphite 13-11/16 x 11-9/16 in. (34.8 x 29.3 cm)
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Giovanni Battista Piranesi (1720-1778)
From Vedute di Roma - 1760


Decorated Initial And Incipit, In Gregory The Great's Register Of Letters
Illuminated manuscript c. 1110
Royal MS 6 C.ii f.19v
34.3 x 21.4 cm
The British Library, London

"§ 120. [A]t fixed hours time should be given to certain definite reading. For haphazard reading, constantly varied and as if lighted on by chance does not edify but makes the mind unstable; taken into the memory lightly, it goes out from it even more lightly. But you should concentrate on certain authors and let your mind grow used to them.

§ 121. The Scriptures need to be read and understood in the same spirit in which they were written. You will never enter into Paul's meaning until by constant application to reading him and by giving yourself to meditation you have imbibed his spirit. You will never understand David until by experience you have made the very sentiments of the psalms your own. And that applies to all Scripture. There is the same gulf between attentive study and mere reading as there is between friendship and acquaintance with a passing guest, between boon companionship and chance meeting.

§ 122. Some part of your daily reading should also each day be committed to memory, taken as it were into the stomach, to be more carefully digested and brought up again for frequent rumination; something in keeping with your vocation and helpful to concentration, something that will take hold of the mind and save it from distraction.

§ 123. The reading should also stimulate the feelings and give rise to prayer, which should interrupt your reading: an interruption which should not so much hamper the reading as restore to it a mind ever more purified for understanding.

§ 124. For reading serves the purpose of the intention with which it is done. If the reader truly seeks God in his reading, everything that he reads tends to promote that end, making the mind surrender in the course of the reading and bring all that is understood into Christ's service."

From: William of Saint Thierry (d. 1148), The Golden Epistle: A Letter to the Brethren at Mont Dieu 1.120-124, trans. Theodore Berkeley, The Works of William of St. Thierry, Cistercian Fathers 12 (Spencer, Mass.: Cistercian Publications, 1971) 51-52

Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Golden Epistle

Guillelmus de Sancto Theodorico (William of St-Thierry) (1075-1148)
Epistula ad fratres de Monte Dei /Lettre aux Frères du Mont-Dieu/ Letter to the Brothers of Mont-Dieu (The Golden Epistle)
Manuscript 1145-1148
From Abbaye Notre-Dame, Signy
Charleville-Mézières - BM - ms. 0114 , f.003
La bibliothèque de Charleville-Mézières

Guillelmus de Sancto Theodorico (William of St-Thierry) (1075-1148)
Epistula ad fratres de Monte Dei /Lettre aux Frères du Mont-Dieu/ Letter to the Brothers of Mont-Dieu (The Golden Epistle)
Manuscript 1145-1148
From Abbaye Notre-Dame, Signy
Charleville-Mézières - BM - ms. 0114 , f.001v
La bibliothèque de Charleville-Mézières

"[W]e can distinguish two elements [about medieval monasticism]: the knowledge of letters and the search for God. The fundamental fact that stands out in this domain is that one of the principal occupations of the monk is the lectio divina, which includes meditation ...

[M]onastic life is entirely disinterested; its reason for existing is to further the salvation of the monk, his search for God, and not for any practical or social end ...

Medieval monastic literature is, in large part, a literature of compunction, whose aim is to possess, to increase, and to communicate the desire for God. And this fact opens up to us a whole conception of monastic culture and of monastic life. The latter is considered as an anticipation of celestial life; it is a real beginning of eternal life. Everything is judged according to its relationship with the final consummation of the whole of reality. The present is a mere interlude."

Leclercq, Jean. (Trans. Catharine Misrahi.) The Love of Learning and the Desire for God: A Study of Monastic Culture. pages 13, 18-19, 66 New York: Fordham University Press, 1961

The above images are from an ancient manuscript. It is of a work written by William of St-Thierry (1075-1148) called the Letter to the Brothers of Mont-Dieu (The Golden Epistle).

The original work was written in 1145 after William had returned from a visit to the Carthusian Monastery of Mont-Dieu in the Ardennes.

The above manuscript was at that time kept at the Monastery of Notre-Dame, at Signy which was the monastery of which Wiliam was Abbot and in which he died.

The manuscript above is the oldest extant manuscript of the work. It is also notable for the fact that the author himself has made a number of corrections in his own hand

Filled with wise counsel and prudent directives, the work is an apology for the Carthusian order and way of life, a vision of the perfect hermit and hermitage, a manua of asceticism and a treatise on the mystical life. It describes in one part the material duties of the ascetic; in the other part the way to perfection.

When the Abbey at Signy was sacked at the French Revolution, luckily the manuscript made its way to Charleville for safekeeping and into the care of Abbé Grégoire (1750-1831)

Likewise the Carthusian monastery at Mont-Dieu survived until the Revolution when it was destroyed. The pictures below are of the site of the medieval Chartreuse or Charterhouse.

The Chartreuse de Mont-Dieu

The Holy Father on 2nd December 2009 continued his catechesis on medieval figures of note with a talk on William of St-Thierry (1075-1148). One part of his talk was devoted to the Letter to the Brothers of Mont-Dieu (The Golden Epistle). This is what he said:

"A synthesis of the thought of William of Saint-Thierry is contained in a long letter addressed to the Carthusians of Mont-Dieu, to whom he had gone on a visit and who he wished to encourage and console. The learned Benedictine Jean Mabillon already in 1690 gave this letter a significant title: "Epistola aurea" (Golden Epistle).

In fact, the teachings on the spiritual life contained in it are noteworthy for all those who wish to grow in communion with God, in sanctity. In this treatise William proposes an itinerary in three stages. One must pass, he says, from "animal" man to "rational" man," to come to "spiritual" man. What does our author intend to say with these three expressions?

At the beginning, a person accepts the vision of life inspired by faith with an act of obedience and trust. Then with a process of interiorization, in which reason and will play a great role, faith in Christ is received with profound conviction and one feels a harmonious correspondence between this real and satisfying communion with God.

One lives only in love and for love.

William bases this itinerary on a solid vision of man, inspired by the ancient Greek Fathers, above all Origen, who, with an intrepid language, taught that man's vocation is to become like God, who created him in his image and likeness. The image of God present in man drives him toward likeness, namely, toward an ever fuller identity between his own will and the divine will. One does not attain to this perfection, which William calls "unity of spirit," with personal effort, even if it is sincere and generous, because another thing is necessary.

This perfection is attained by the action of the Holy Spirit, who makes his dwelling in the soul and purifies, absorbs and transforms in charity every outburst and every desire of love present in man. "There is then another likeness with God," we read in the "Epistola aurea," "which is no longer called likeness but unity of spirit, when man becomes one with God, one spirit, not only by the unity of an identical will, but by not being able to will something other. Thus man merits to become not God, but that which God is: Man becomes by grace that which God is by nature" (Epistola aurea 262-263, SC 223, pp. 353-355)."

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Lorenzo Monaco

Lorenzo Monaco (Piero di Giovanni) (ca. 1370 - 1423/24)
The Nativity, 1409
Tempera on wood, gold ground; 8 3/4 x 12 1/4 in. (22.2 x 31.1 cm)
Robert Lehman Collection,
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Lorenzo Monaco (Piero di Giovanni) (ca. 1370 - 1423/24)
The Adoration of the Magi 1421-1422
Tempera on wood, gold ground
144 × 177 cm
The Uffizi Galery, Florence

Lorenzo Monaco (Piero di Giovanni) (ca. 1370 - 1423/24)
The Adoration of the Magi
Tempera on panel
20.9 cm x 32.5 cm
The Courtauld Gallery, London

Lorenzo Monaco (Piero di Giovanni) (ca. 1370 - 1423/24)
The Flight into Egypt 1405
Tempera on poplar,
21,2 x 35,5 cm

Staatliches Lindenau-Museum, Altenburg

Lorenzo Monaco (Piero di Giovanni) (ca. 1370 - 1423/24)
The Virgin and Child Enthroned
about 1418
Tempera and gold on panel
101.60 x 61.70 cm
The National Gallery of Scotland, Edinburgh

Lorenzo Monaco (Piero di Giovanni) (ca. 1370 - 1423/24)
Madonna and Child Enthroned c.1400
Tempera and gold on panel
150.5 cm x 78.5 cm
Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

Piero di Giovanni joined the Camaldolese monastery of Santa Maria degli Angeli in Florence in 1391, but he left monastic life in 1395 before making a lifetime commitment. He rose to the rank of deacon

Despite this fact, he has traditionally been called "Lawrence the Monk"

An early document suggests that he was from the parish of San Michele Visdomini in Florence, although a document of the 29th of January 1415 mentions him as "don Lorenzo dipintore da siene" (see J. Czarnecki, "Lorenzo Monaco," in Grove Dictionary of Art, 1996, vol. 19, p. 678).

In the period 1408–10 he was the leading master in Florence.

He became an master for the young artists who went on to become protagonists of the early Renaissance such as Beato Angelico who can be considered his most obvious pupil and who went on to eclipse somewhat his master's greatness

He is known primarily as a panel painter, but he also worked in the medium of fresco. Scholars believe he designed miniatures in illuminated manuscripts also

His paintings display the delicacy of expression and decorative design that characterized the traditions of his native Siena and the popular International Gothic style.

His reputation suffered in the years immediately following his death with the startling innovations of the subsequent generation of Florentine artists, and thus early sources treated him scantily.

It was only in the latter half of the 19th and the early part of the 20th century that scholarship restored Lorenzo to his rightful place, and that a clearer picture of his primacy in Florentine painting in the final two decades of the 14th century was understood.

Santa Maria degli Angeli was first built in 1295 and originally housed only six monks. At one point it supported at least sixty religious. Santa Maria degli Angeli became the sixth wealthiest religious institution in the city-state by 1428. It is well-known to Medieval and Renaissance art historians as an important centre of illuminated manuscript production

Leading painters of the day, like Nardo di Cione and Lorenzo Monaco, filled manuscripts and decorated altars with richly ornamented pictures that related directly to liturgical passages recited – and theological positions embraced – by members of the institution

The monks in Santa Mara degli Angeli counted among their staunchest allies families associated with the most important political alliances in Florence, and by 1378 the monastery was considered by many to be closely linked to the city’s most powerful families

"The Flight to Egypt" is part of a Predella to which belong three more preserved pieces: "The Visitation","The Adoration of the Magi" in the Courtauld Institute Gallery in London, and "The Nativity" in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. Several attempts were made to reconstruct the altar. However, these paintings can neither be assigned to the "Annunciation" in the Accademica in Florence nor to the Monte Olivieto Altar from 1407 - 10 to which they would match stylistically, but the latter most probably never possessed a Predella. All these paintings have the Gothic four-pass framing that was used often by Lorenzo, such as a transverse rectangle.

A forgotten Scotsman

Giovanni di Paolo di Grazia ca. 1400–1482
Higher: Dante meeting "The Twelve Lights" in the Fourth Circle of Prudence: St. Thomas introduces Dante to other souls in the Heaven of the Sun
St Thomas Aquinas and Albertus Magnus meet Dante. In the circle are: John Gratian; Peter Lombard; Dionysius the Aeropagite; Solomon; Boëthius; Paul Orosius (above the circle); Isidore of Seville (facing the star); Bede the Venerable (beside Isidore); Richard of St Victor; Siger de Brabant
(Paradiso' X.130) (1444-1452)

Lower: Detail showing Richard of St Victor
Manuscript (made for Alphonso V, King of Aragon, Naples and Sicily (reigned 1416 to 1458))
Yates Thompson 36, fol. 147
The British Library. London

Richard of St. Victor (c. 1123–73) is not celebrated on any lists of famous Scotsmen or Scotswomen. He seems to have been forgotten about.

However he was born in Scotand and was a Scotsman before going to the famous Augustinian abbey of Saint-Victor in Paris. He was prior of the Abbey from 1162 until his death there in 1173.

However he was remembered recently by Pope Benedict XVI in a recent discourse at the Vatican.

Richard of Saint Victor was one of the most important mystical theologians of 12th century Paris, then the intellectual centre of Europe.

In Dante's Paradise (Paradiso' X.130), he is mentioned among theologians and doctors of the church alongside Isidore of Seville and the Englishman Bede (the latter is the only other Briton in Dante's Paradise).

His writings on mystical contemplation earned for him the title "Magnus Contemplator", the great contemplator.

In Dante's Paradise he is described as "che a considerar fu più che viro" ("he whose meditation made him more than man") and being in the company of the Circle of heaven (the Fourth Circle of Prudence) containing some of the greatest theologians and philosophers: Thomas Aquinas: Gratian; Peter Lombard; Albertus Magnus; Solomon: Dionysius, the Aeropagite: Boëthius; Isidore of Seville; Paulus Orosius; Sigier of Brabant; and Bede. He is one of the "Twelve Living Lights" in that canto.

In real life, Richard of St Victor was a friend of Saint Bernard of Clairvaux (1090-1153)

He wrote an important treatise on the doctrine of the Trinity, the first serious alternative to Augustine's approach in the latter's own On the Trinity. In De Trinitate ("On the Trinity") he stressed that it was possible to reach the essentials of the doctrine of the Trinity by the process of speculative reasoning. Richard had great influence on Saint Bonaventure and the Franciscan mystics. Pope Benedict described this work as "one of the great books of history"

"A worthy disciple of Hugh of St. Victor is Richard, from Scotland. He was prior of the Abbey of St. Victor between 1162 and 1173, the year of his death. Richard also, naturally, assigns an essential role to the study of the Bible but, as opposed to his teacher, he favors the allegorical sense, the symbolic meaning of Scripture with which, for example, he interprets the Old Testament figure of Benjamin, son of Jacob, as symbol of contemplation and summit of the spiritual life.

Richard treats this argument in two texts. Benjamin minor and Benjamin major, in which he proposes to the faithful a spiritual way, which first invites the exercise of the different virtues, learning to discipline and order with reason the feelings and interior affective and emotional movements. Only when man has achieved a balance and human maturity in this field is he prepared to accede to contemplation, which Richard describes as "a profound and pure look of the soul directed to the wonders of wisdom, associated to an ecstatic sense of wonder and admiration" (Benjamin Maior 1,4: PL 196,67).

Contemplation is, therefore, the point of arrival, the result of an arduous journey, which entails dialogue between faith and reason, that is -- once again -- a theological discourse. Theology begins from the truths that are the object of faith, but it attempts to deepen its knowledge with the use of reason, appropriating the gift of faith. This application of reasoning to the understanding of faith is practiced in a convincing way in Richard's masterpiece, one of the great books of history, the De Trinitate (The Trinity). In the six books that make it up he reflects with acuity on the mystery of God one and triune.

According to our author, given that God is love, the only divine substance entails communication, oblation and affection between two Persons, the Father and the Son, who meet one another with an eternal exchange of love. But the perfection of happiness and of goodness does not allow for exclusiveness and narrow-mindedness; on the contrary, it calls for the eternal presence of a third Person, the Holy Spirit.

Trinitarian love is participatory, harmonious and entails a superabundance of delight, enjoyment of incessant joy. That is, Richard assumes that God is love, analyzes the essence of love, which is what is involved in the reality of love, thus coming to the Trinity of Persons, which is really the logical expression of the fact that God is love.

Richard, nevertheless, is aware that love, though it reveals God's essence to us and makes us "understand" the mystery of the Trinity, is, however, only an analogy to speak about a mystery that exceeds the human mind, and -- poet and mystic that he is -- he takes recourse also to other images. For example he compares divinity to a river, to a loving wave that springs from the Father, flows back in the Son, later to be happily diffused in the Holy Spirit.

Dear friends, authors such as Hugh and Richard of St. Victor raise our soul to the contemplation of divine realities. At the same time, the immense joy we get from thought, admiration and praise of the Most Holy Trinity, establishes and sustains the concrete commitment to inspire us in that perfect model of communion and love to build our everyday human relations.

The Trinity is truly perfect communion! How the world would change if in families, in parishes and in all other communities relationships were lived following always the example of the three Divine Persons, where each one lives not only with the other, but for the other and in the other! I recalled it some months ago in the Angelus: "Love alone makes us happy, because we live in relation, and we live to love and to be loved" (L'Osservatore Romano, June 8-9, 2009, p. 1).

It is love that realizes this incessant miracle: as in the life of the Most Holy Trinity, plurality is repaired in unity, where everything is pleasure and joy. With St. Augustine, held in great honor by the Victorines, we can also exclaim: "Vides Trinitatem, si caritatem vides" -- you see the Trinity, if you see charity (De Trinitate VIII, 8,12)."