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Saturday, February 11, 2006

The Prayer of a Martyr

This is a prayer written by Fr. Andrea Santoro, the priest who was killed in Turkey ten days ago. It is one of the most striking Marian prayers I have ever seen. (There is a little information on the prayer here, as well as many links to other stories about Fr. Andrea.)

Meryem anà

Mary, Woman of Jerusalem

Where you offered yourself with Jesus at the foot of the Cross

Mary, Woman of the Last Supper

Where you gathered the breath of the Holy Spirit,

Mary, Woman of Ephesus,

Where you came with John, ‘Your Son’

Sent in mission by the Spirit: Pray for us.

Mary, Mother of the sheep outside the fold,

Mother of those who do not know your son,

Mother of those who know not what they do: Pray for us.

Mary, Mother of lifeless souls,

Mother of lightless minds,

Mother of hopeless hearts,

Mother of sons, who killed your son,

Mother of sinners, Mother of the thief who did not repent,

Mother of the son who did not come back: Pray for us.

Mary, Mother of those who did not follow Him,

Mother of those who repudiated Him,

Mother of those who went back,

Mother of those who were not called: Pray for us.

Mary, Mother of those who like John

Seek the lost children of God,

Mother of those who descend in hell

To announce life to the dead: Pray for us.

Mary, Mother, come and live with me:

Come to the house where I am asked to live,

Come to the land where I am asked to go,

Come among the men I am asked to love,

Come to the divisions that I am asked to heal,

Come into the hearts that I am asked to visit.

Come to my home and be my mother,

Come Mary; give me your heart as mother.

“Meryem anà” “Mary, Mother” of all peoples: Pray for us.

What can I say about these words? They cannot be spoken about... only spoken.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Sacred Art at Christendom College

     Art must make perceptible, and as far as possible attractive, the world of the spirit, of the invisible, of God. It must therefore translate into meaningful terms that which is in itself ineffable. Art has a unique capacity to take one or other facet of the message and translate it into colours, shapes and sounds which nourish the intuition of those who look or listen. It does so without emptying the message itself of its transcendent value and its aura of mystery. - John Paul II, Letter to Artists

Christendom College is hosting Contemplating the Sacred: Religious Works of Contemporary Artists through March 17 (St Patrick's day!). It opened on February 5 with a talk by Catholic sculptor H. Reed Armstrong. You can read more about the exhibit here.

H. Reed Armstrong leads a tour of the exhibit

Detail, Descent from the Cross by Roxolana Luczakowsky
(She lives right here in Front Royal!)

My favorite artist in the exhibit is Edmund Sullivan, who is from Gloucester, Massachusetts. I love this Anunnciation:

...and his Madonna and Child with Rose:

(full size and detail)

My camera simply refused to capture the colors in these two paintings. I keep coming back to the library to look at them, and they put one instantly into a sort of prayerful quiet. If you live somewhere in the vicinity of Front Royal or DC, you might consider coming out to see this exhibit. There will be special events on the next four Sundays:

Feb. 12 - H. Reed Armstrong, Talk on Faith, Imagination, and Reason in Art, 7 PM, St. John the Evangelist Library, Ground Level.

Feb. 19 - Madison Brass, Concert of the Antiphonal Music of Gabrieli, 4 PM, library main level.

Feb. 26 - Dramatic Readings from T.S. Eliot's Murder in the Cathedral, 7 PM, library ground level.

Mar. 12 - Round Table Discussion on Art, 7 PM, library ground level.

Mmmmm... I can't wait to hear that Gabrieli!

Friday, February 03, 2006

LotR: The Musical

A stage setting of The Lord of the Rings will be premiering this March in Toronto. More stories can be found in the news archive of The Council of Elrond.

''[The story is] crying out for illusions, great dramatic, emotional scenes between strong characters. Spectacle. Transformations. Music. Action sequences… Aerial work, circus things, stilt walking. And I love all those things, and the idea that they could all coexist in one show is a very, very rare opportunity, and it's unusual for a piece of spectacle to have such a strong story, and vice versa. It's kind of the culmination of everything I'm interested in about theater, and it should be, if it works, a celebration of everything theater can do.''
- Matthew Warchus, director

The show is aspiring to be something like the Broadway Lion King, only bigger, if you can imagine. (I got to see that production last summer and it amazed me with its ingenuity and beauty, even though I had expected to hate it.) When I first heard about this thing, I rolled my eyes as disturbing visions of Legolas belting out the most irritating songs from Wicked pranced through my head - but now I'm thinking furtively of hitchhiking to Toronto. It sounds like it might turn out to be really cool - "circus things" and "stilt walking" aside. In any case, you can't deny that Tolkien was just asking for it when he said this:

"But once upon a time (my crest has long since fallen) I had a mind to make a body of more or less connected legend, ranging from the large and cosmogonic, to the level of romantic fairy-story....I would draw some of the great tales in fullness, and leave many only placed in the scheme, and sketched. The cycles should be linked to a majestic whole, and yet leave scope for other minds and hands, wielding paint and music and drama." (Letters)

Tolkien called his dream "absurd," but it is becoming more and more real as time passes.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Happy Candlemas!

Another of Eliot's devotional poems...

A Song for Simeon
T.S. Eliot

Lord, the Roman hyacinths are blooming in bowls and
The winter sun creeps by the snow hills;
The stubborn season has made stand.
My life is light, waiting for the death wind,
Like a feather on the back of my hand.
Dust in sunlight and memory in corners
Wait for the wind that chills towards the dead land.

Grant us thy peace.
I have walked many years in this city,
Kept faith and fast, provided for the poor,
Have given and taken honour and ease.
There never went any rejected from my door.
Who shall remember my house, where shall live my children's children
When the time of sorrow is come?
They will take to the goat's path, and the fox's home,
Fleeing from the foreign faces and the foreign swords.
Before the time of cords and scourges and lamentation

Grant us thy peace.
Before the stations of the mountain of desolation,
Before the certain hour of maternal sorrow,
Now at this birth season of decease,
Let the Infant, the still unspeaking and unspoken Word,
Grant Israel's consolation
To one who has eighty years and no tomorrow.

According to thy word.
They shall praise Thee and suffer in every generation
With glory and derision,
Light upon light, mounting the saints' stair.
Not for me the martyrdom, the ecstasy of thought and prayer,
Not for me the ultimate vision.
Grant me thy peace.
(And a sword shall pierce thy heart,
Thine also).
I am tired with my own life and the lives of those after me,
I am dying in my own death and the deaths of those after me.
Let thy servant depart,
Having seen thy salvation.

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