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Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Ecumenical Corpus Christi Procession in Erfurt

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Preacher carrying Bible next to the Blessed Sacrament.

I was reminded of Dom Bede Jarrett's anecdote in his History of the English Dominicans.

King Henry II of England was "in worldly affairs imprudent, but in Spiritual affairs most devout." It is the pious side of the King's character that is of most interest. For example, he notes that daily the King heard three sung Masses (cum nota, i.e., chanted to plain song) and several low Masses. To him Saint Louis of France urged one day, when the two lay encamped in France, in half-scandalized banter, that it was also a good thing to hear sermons, which Henry apparently avoided. The Saint's rebuke was answered with " courtly humour," says the chronicler (with deep mystic insight we would further add):

"I would rather see my Friend than hear another speak ever so well of Him."

2 comments:

Alexander said...

It would be Henry III, not II.

This is a subtle post, I think, but are you suggesting that Scripture - that myriad of images of God, that wellspring of thought and faith, the very cornerstone of our faith (and very different from a mere sermon) - is worth less than the Eucharist?

Anonymous said...

XXII. We cannot but lament here over the fundamental fallacy of a system which has so unhappily divided Europe. The partisans of this system have said, We believe only in the Word of God. What abuse of words! what a strange and melancholy ignorance of Divine things! We alone believe in the Word, whilst our dear enemies are obstinately resolved to believe only in scripture; as if God could or would change the nature of things of which He is the Author, and impart to scripture the life and efficacy which it has not! The Holy Scripture - is it not then a writing? Has it not been traced with a pen and a little black liquid? Does it know, what it is needful to say to one man, and what to withhold from another? (22) Did not Leibnitz and his maid servant read in it the same words? Can this Scripture be any thing else than the image of the Word? And though infinitely venerable in this respect, if we should interrogate it, must it not keep a divine silence? (23) If it should be attacked or insulted, can it defend itself in the absence of its Author? Glory to the truth! If the Word, eternally living, does not quicken the scripture, it will never become the word, that is to say, the life. Let others invoke then, as much as they please, the silent word; we will smile peacefully at this false god; always expecting, with a tender impatience the moment when its partisans, undeceived, will throw themselves into our arms, opened to embrace them for three centuries past.