26 December 2017

A Difficult Ending to a Challenging Year

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This year ends with me having survived a recent auto accident, but since that accident I am once again having problems with the retinas in my eyes. St. Lucy, pray for me. 

Sadly, it appears that our effort at restarting Radio Walsingham will need to come to an end because promised contributions did not materialise.  It should continue at least through the Feast of the Epiphany, and God willing a bit longer.

I am so grateful to the Lord God for every day of eyesight that I have been given, and I am glad that I was able to bring back Radio Walsingham at least for the brief time we have been back on the internet.  Judging from listeners in the USA -- who are our only listeners at present because of USA laws and broadcasting fees -- many have enjoyed listening this Advent and these first days of Christmas.  If I had the money to pay to keep it going I would, but the many years of health problems and life as a private hermit have made this a very lean year.  And when those who promised contributions do not follow through, then perhaps God is telling me that I have done what I can do... it is enough.

I do not know how active this blog will be in the New Year.  It will remain up as long as blogger.com permits it, and some pages have been recorded at archive.org which is very nice to know.

Before this year ends I want to say a special word of thanks to the many kind readers who have continued to view this blog.  I had told a family member I would close this blog after the troubles with my eyes reemerged, but it seems God does not wish me to close this blog in a final way. So, as God permits, the blog will endure, and I hope from time to time I will be able to post.

May the Lord Our God grant to each of us and to those dear to us His divine protection and the abundant help of His Holy Angels.  And may the Infant Christ, His Holy Mother, and His all-pure Guardian bless our families and the family of the Church with their perfect love.

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25 December 2017

"Once He Came in Blessing"

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Johann Roh's hymn Gottes Sohn ist kommen has been known in several English translations as a traditional hymn of Advent and Christmastide. The following is the well known English translation by Catherine Winkworth that I believe first appeared in The Chorale Book for England, 1863, and it appears at No. 86 in the excellent Wartburg Hymnal: For Church, School, and Home published by the Wartburg Publishing House, Chicago in 1918 for  the Norwegian Lutheran Church of America:

Once He came in blessing,
all our ills redressing;
came in likeness lowly,
Son of God most holy;
bore the cross to save us,
hope and freedom gave us.

Still He comes within us,
still His voice would win us
from the sins that hurt us;
would to Truth convert us
from our foolish errors
ere He comes in terrors.

Thus, if thou hast known Him,
not ashamed to own Him,
but wilt trust Him boldly
nor dost love Him coldly,
He will then receive thee,
heal thee, and forgive thee.

He who thus endureth
bright reward secureth.
come, then, O Lord Jesus,
from our sins release us;
let us here confess Thee
till in heaven we bless Thee.
    
 Text: Jan Roh, 1544
Translation: Catherine Winkworth, 1863



This hymn and tune appear as No. 74 in The Lutheran Hymnal 1941 (an outstanding hymnal as sacred to some Lutherans as The Hymnal 1940 is sacrosanct for some Episcopalians).  Some newer hymnbooks have butchered the text or abandoned it, but the Editors of The Hymnal 1982 of the Episcopal Church (USA) very gently retouched the text in a masterful way that kept the integrity of Winkworth's original poetic translation and which encouraged congregations to embrace it as a seasonal favourite:


                                    Once He came in blessing,
                                        All our ills redressing;
                                        Came in likeness lowly,
                                        Son of God most holy;
                                        Bore the cross to save us,
                                        Hope and freedom gave us.

                                     2  Still he comes within us,
                                         still his voice would win us
                                        from the sins that hurt us;
                                        would to Truth convert us:
                                        not in torment hold us,
                                        but in love enfold us.

                                      3  Thus if thou canst name him,
                                         not ashamed to claim him,
                                         but wilt trust him boldly,
                                         nor dost love him coldly,
                                         he will then receive thee,
                                         heal thee, and forgive thee.

                                     4   One who thus endureth
                                         bright reward secureth.
                                         Come then, O Lord Jesus,
                                         from our sins release us;
                                         let us here confess thee,
                                         Till in heaven we bless thee.


I would be remiss not to include the tune sometimes used in the Moravian Church in the USA.  The tune is found in an older Moravian hymn book, and for a number of generations the following tune was "the right tune" and still is "the right tune" according to a retired pastor friend of mine:

 
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24 December 2017

Uher Christmas Hymn: ALL GLORY BE TO GOD ON HIGH

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My hymn below is sung to the tune OLD 113TH which is well known in Wesleyan and Methodist circles as the tune for "I'll praise my Maker while I've breath".  My hymn text is appropriate for Christmastide and all feasts of the Incarnation and the Holy Family. 



ALL GLORY BE TO GOD ON HIGH


All glory be to God on high!

Peace, laud, and joy be our reply

To angels singing in the sky.

Praise Jesus Christ, true light from light.

Tender his love and great his might,

Christ Jesus, Saviour, our delight.



O Word and Wisdom, thee we name,

Jesus the Infant, God the same.

Praise and all worship to thy Name.

Son of blest Mary, spotless Lamb,

High Priest most holy, Great I AM,

Receive our lives into thy hand.



Praise God for Joseph, sainted man,

Brave Guardian of God’s saving plan,

Protector of the God-made-man.

Praise God for Mary Mother true,

Faithful to Jesus her life through,

Mother of God, our Mother too.



Lord Jesus Christ, most holy Lord,

With thy blest Spirit be adored

In God’s own glory here outpoured.

Joy now to hear thine infant cries!

Hope of the simple and the wise!

Love from all souls to thee arise!


© 2008 by Vincent William Uher III


WORDS: Vincent Wm Uher III

I'll Praise My Maker While I've Breath
[O Mensch, bewein] Strassburger Kirchenamt, 1525

88.88.88

23 December 2017

Hymn to the Holy Family of Walsingham

for Christmastide to Candlemas - A Hymn inspired by St. Odo


Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham, Houston, Texas

Mother of mercy, peace, and love,
Thy Child is God come from above.
As Christ thou lovest we would too
In all we ponder, say or do.

Joseph the Guardian, brave and wise,
Nothing was hidden from thine eyes.
By dreams the Lord God guided thee
May we follow with constancy.

Father of Jesus, God Most High,
Thy love so great brought Our Lord nigh,
Thy Child, thy gift to free a slave,
Gave thee his Life, the world to save.

A child for us, Friend crucified,
Arisen, present by our side,
Victim and Priest, Oh Mystery!
Lord Jesus Christ, we worship thee.

Glory to God, Father of lights
And to the Son, Lord Jesus Christ,
And Holy Ghost the Comforter:
One God in glory for ever.


Text: Copyright © 2005 by Vincent Uher. 
All rights reserved.
Suggested Tunes: Cornish by M. Lee Suitor



A new hymn tune has been written by Noel Jones that is splendid.

This text has also been sung to these tunes:
HursleyDe Tar by Calvin Hampton;
and Keble by J.B. Dykes
+Laus Deo.




Two Anglican Prayers for Advent's Conclusion

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O GOD, whose blessed Son was manifested that he might destroy the works of the devil, and make us the sons of God, and heirs of eternal life: Grant us, we beseech thee, that, having this hope, we may purify ourselves, even as he is pure; that, when he shall appear again with power and great glory, we may be made like unto him in his eternal and glorious kingdom; where with thee, O Father, and thee, O Holy Ghost, he liveth and reigneth, ever one God, world without end. Amen.

HOLY Father, our most merciful and faithful God, we pray thee that our King and Saviour Jesus Christ may soon come to us and establish his kingdom amongst us and finally deliver us from sin and pain and death. Grant this according to thy perfect will for his sake in whom alone we hope. Amen.

The Communion  Service
As It Might Be
(1935)
Hugh Cecil


18 December 2017

A Litany of the Incarnation

Offices of the Gospel: Monday at the Sixth Hour


HOLY art thou, O God; holy, Creator : Father most holy:
Have mercy upon us.

Holy art thou, O God; holy, most mighty; holy Incarnate:
Have mercy upon us.

Holy art thou, O God; holy, immortal; holy, Lifegiver:
Have mercy upon us.

Glory be to God on high;
And in earth peace, goodwill towards men.

By the archangel's salutation,
Grant us thy peace.

By Mary's glad obedience,
Grant us thy peace.

By the endless joy of Christmas,

Grant us thy peace.

By the love of Mary Mother,
Grant us thy peace.

By thy lowly birth and lodging,
Grant us thy peace.

By thy cradle in a manger,
Grant us thy peace.

By the song of herald angels,
Grant us thy peace.

By the homage of poor shepherds,
Grant us thy peace.

By the offering of princes,
Grant us thy peace.

By thy holy name of Jesus,
Grant us thy peace.

Glory be to God on high:
And in earth peace, goodwill towards men.

WE thy children do beseech thee to hear us, O Lord God, and to grant
That the glad light of the Incarnation may shine throughout the world;
Son of Man, we beseech thee to hear us.

That the Gospel of thy love may win the faith and homage of all hearts;
Son of Man, we beseech thee to hear us.

That all estates of men may know and find their unity at Bethlehem;
Son of man, we beseech thee to hear us.

That the questionings of all minds and the wants of all souls at Bethlehem may find their peace:
Son of Man, we beseech thee to hear us.

That thy birth as Man may hallow the whole life of man:
Son of Man, we beseech thee to hear us.

That we may ever wear in honour the robe of flesh which thou hast worn:
Son of Man, we beseech thee to hear us.

That thou for whom an inn could find no room may not again be crowded from our lives:
Son of Man, we beseech thee to hear us.

That thou for whom a stable-place sufficed wilt not disdain to dwell within our hearts:
Son of Man, we beseech thee to hear us.

Glory be to God on high:
And in earth peace, goodwill towards men.

THEREFORE with angels and archangels, with patriarchs and prophets, with Mary and Joseph, with wise men and shepherds, with all men and all creatures, let us bless the Lord;
Hosannah in the highest.

For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the governments shall be upon his shoulder;
Hosannah in the highest.

And his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace;
Hosannah in the highest.

For in the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God;
Hosannah in the highest.

And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us;
Hosannah in the highest.

And we have seen his glory, glory as of the only-begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth;
Hosannah in the highest.

GOD the Father, maker of men; God the Son, born among men; God the Holy Ghost, sanctifying men, bless, preserve, and keep us, evermore and evermore. Amen.

Cambridge Offices and Orisons
E. Milner-White, B.T.D. Smith
1921

13 December 2017

The most beautiful Ave Maria ... in Spanish

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William Gomez' setting of Ave Maria is one of the most beautiful settings of the prayer to the Blessed Mother.  I include below the video of Elina  Garanča, mezzo-soprano, singing it at Christmas in Vienna 2007.



Sancta Maria, ora pro nobis peccatoribus 
nunc et in hora mortis nostrae. Amen.

Sing of Mary, Blest is She - Text with Music

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Click or double-click on the image of the hymn below to see a larger version.  

This is my hymn "Sing of Mary, Blest is She" set to the tune TEMPUS ADEST FLORIDUM (the tune for 'Good King Wenceslas'). 

The hymn can be sung on the Fourth Sunday of Advent/Christmas Eve and from Christmas through the Feast of the Epiphany (January 6th).  Feel free to sing it whenever you like!



12 December 2017

Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe • Our Lady of Tepeyac

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"Blest is she who trusted that the Lord's words to her would be fulfilled." St. Luke 1:45

Our Lady of Tepeyac, Star of the New Evangelisation, pray for us.


Our Lady of Guadalupe, Patroness of us all,
help us and intercede for us with the Lord of All.




Links:

1. Star of the New Evagelization (Knights of Columbus website)


2. Mother Adela on Our Lady of Guadalupe


3. Zenit: Bishop Conley on Our Lady of Guadalupe  (Also, Lincoln Archdiocese)


4. "Our Lady of Guadalupe and the New Evangelization"


5. The Star of Evangelization (Catholic Charismatic Center, Houston)


6. Excerpts from an Address of Cardinal Burke:


Mary as our model in fostering the new springtime of faith

The following are excerpts of the address given by Archbishop Raymond Leo Burke, Archbishop emeritus of St Louis, U.S.A., and Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura, at the Springtime of Faith Summit. The event was held at the University of Dallas Campus in Rome on 14 November [2009] on the theme: "Mary as our Model in Fostering the New Springtime of Faith".

The apparitions of Our Lady of Guadalupe at Tepeyac Hill and at the home of Juan Bernardino, uncle of St Juan Diego, from December 9th through 12th in 1531, are most remarkable among the approved apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The maternal tenderness and directness of the conversations of Our Lady with St Juan Diego are truly striking. The five apparitions over four days are marked by a certain urgency and insistent message, and have their culmination in the altogether remarkable divine writing of the image of Our Lady on the tilma of St Juan Diego. By means of the tilma  miraculous both for the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe and for the uncharacteristic durability of its cactus-cloth material  Our Lady of Guadalupe has never ceased to appear to pilgrims who look upon the tilma which is truly alive with her image.

The apparitions and message of Our Lady of Guadalupe underline both the infinite transcendence of God and his unceasing mercy toward all men without boundary. At the very beginning of the first apparition, Our Lady of Guadalupe immediately identifies herself to St Juan Diego with these words: "I am the perfect and ever virgin Holy Mary, Mother of the God of truth through whom everything lives, the Lord of all things near us, the Lord of heaven and earth".1 The Blessed Virgin Mary [then] declares the intention of her apparition: "I want very much to have a little house built here for me, in which I will show him [God], I will exalt him and make him manifest".2

The Mother of God continues: "I will give him to the people in all my personal love, in my compassion, in my help, in my protection: because I am truly your merciful Mother, yours and all the people who live united in this land and of all other people of different ancestries, my lovers, who love me, those who seek me, those who trust in me. Here I will hear their weeping, their complaints and heal all their sorrows, hardships and sufferings".3

Coming to Our Lady of Guadalupe on pilgrimage, the pilgrim experiences her divine maternity in an ever greater closeness to her Divine Son, our Savior. It is by drawing pilgrims to her Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ  above all, in the Sacraments of Penance and the Holy Eucharist  that the Mother of God hears the cries of God's children.

Rightly, Our Lady of Guadalupe is called the Star of the New Evangelization because she announces and presents the mystery of God's love and mercy in all of its newness, as if for the first time, so that once again men may come to know and have faith in her Divine Son, place their hope in him alone, and live in his love. In the same way, Our Lady of Guadalupe is our model in fostering the New Springtime of Faith, the new encounter with Christ, which leads each of us to the conversion of our life and transforms our society ever more into a civilization of love.

Historical Context
Certainly, the apparitions and message of Our Lady of Guadalupe respond to the condition of man in every period of Christian history, for, even though souls have been purified of the stain of original sin through the life-giving waters of Baptism, the effects of original sin have continued to cause men the greatest suffering and sorrow. The Christian vocation received at Baptism is the call to carry the Cross with Christ, in order that the Christian may reach the destiny of his earthly pilgrimage in the Kingdom of Heaven.4 Our Lady's apparitions and message at Tepeyac Hill and at the home of Juan Bernardino in December of 1531 responded, however, to a most dolorous manifestation of
man's sinfulness.


Our Lady appeared on the American continent at a time when many men were drifting far from God. The situation in what is today Mexico City was marked then by the violence and darkness which are always the fruit of man's rebellion against God. On the one hand, under a long and macabre leadership, the religion of the native Americans was increasingly marked by a diabolical worship which demanded constant and mass human sacrifice. Warren H. Carroll, historian and founder of Christendom College in Fort Royal, Virginia, has described the horror of the situation in his book, Our Lady of Guadalupe and the Conquest of Darkness.5

On the other hand, the arrival and activity of European explorers in the same territory had developed into a conflict between the Spanish and Native Americans, which threatened an increasingly massive destruction of human life and goods. The story of the conflict is quite complicated. It was marked both by the sincere desire to evangelize a pagan people, including the elimination of the practice of human sacrifice, and by the lack of respect for the human dignity of the Native Americans, manifested in cruel executions and other violations of human life.6

With her apparitions and her message, the work of the Franciscan Friars who had been laboring diligently to evangelize the Native Americans and to bring their fellow Spaniards to an ever greater conversion of heart, under the spiritual leadership of their confrere, Fray Juan de Zumárraga, First Bishop of Mexico, bore fruit which was truly miraculous. While it is estimated that until the time of the apparitions of Our Lady of Guadalupe some 200,000 Native Americans had received the gift of faith and Baptism, among them St Juan Diego and his wife, from the time of her apparitions until the deaths of Bishop Juan de Zumárraga and St Juan Diego, who died within days of each other in the Spring of 1548, some 9 million Native Americans were baptized.7

Our Lady of Guadalupe chose as her messenger one of the Native Americans who had been evangelized and baptized by the Franciscan Friars. When Our Lady first appeared to St Juan Diego, he was, in fact, on his way to receive post-baptismal instruction in the faith, on 9 December 1531, then observed as the Feast of the Immaculate Conception in the Spanish Empire.
St Juan Diego advanced the First Evangelization by following the Star, the Mother of God. He told pilgrims about her apparitions and message over the remaining 17 years of his life. The place of his catechesis was Our Lady's chapel, constructed by both the Spanish and the Native Americans, the chapel in which her miraculous image was enthroned by Bishop Juan de Zumárraga on 26 December 1531, just fourteen days after her final apparition.8 St Juan Diego shows us how to follow the model of the Mother of God in advancing the New Springtime of Faith.

Through the gift of faith and Baptism, the Spanish and the Native Americans became one people, a new race, the mestiza people whose distinctive features are seen most perfectly in the face of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Since the time of the apparitions of Our Lady of Guadalupe, the unity of the people in the Catholic faith has been severely tested, especially during times of persecution of the Church in Mexico, but the Mexican people has remained united, invoking the intercession of Our Lady of Guadalupe.


A sterling example of the fruit of the unceasing spiritual maternity of Our Lady of Guadalupe is seen in the martyrdom of Blessed Miguel Agustin Pro on 23 November 1927, during a cruel persecution of the Church. On one of the walls of the cell in which he awaited execution, Blessed Miguel Pro inscribed the prayer: "¡Viva Cristo Rey! ¡Viva la Virgen de Guadalupe!",9 "Long live Christ the King! Long live the Virgin of Guadalupe!".



Painting by the hand of Antonella Cappuccio
in 2009 for the Knights of Columbus

Our Lady of Guadalupe, Star of the New Evangelisation, pray for us.

11 December 2017

Advent with Radio Walsingham

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Advent with Radio Walsingham

Streaming link:


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04 December 2017

Uher Hymn: ALL GLORY BE TO GOD ON HIGH - for Christmastide and other times

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My hymn below is sung to the tune OLD 113TH which is well known in Wesleyan and Methodist circles as the tune for "I'll praise my Maker while I've breath".  My hymn text is appropriate for Christmastide and all feasts of the Incarnation and the Holy Family. 


ALL GLORY BE TO GOD ON HIGH


All glory be to God on high!

Peace, laud, and joy be our reply

To angels singing in the sky.

Praise Jesus Christ, true light from light.

Tender his love and great his might,

Christ Jesus, Saviour, our delight.



O Word and Wisdom, thee we name,

Jesus the Infant, God the same.

Praise and all worship to thy Name.

Son of blest Mary, spotless Lamb,

High Priest most holy, Great I AM,

Receive our lives into thy hand.



Praise God for Joseph, sainted man,

Brave Guardian of God’s saving plan,

Protector of the God-made-man.

Praise God for Mary Mother true,

Faithful to Jesus her life through,

Mother of God, our Mother too.



Lord Jesus Christ, most holy Lord,

With thy blest Spirit be adored

In God’s own glory here outpoured.

Joy now to hear thine infant cries!

Hope of the simple and the wise!

Love from all souls to thee arise!


© 2008 by Vincent William Uher III


WORDS: Vincent Wm Uher III

I'll Praise My Maker While I've Breath
[O Mensch, bewein] Strassburger Kirchenamt, 1525

88.88.88

02 December 2017

Enid Chadwick: The Season of Advent

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The illustrator and artist Enid Chadwick's name is inseparable from the Anglican Shrine at Walsingham.  The following are two pages in her Church Year series concerning Advent:






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01 December 2017

THE ADVENT PROSE

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A repost for today

Years ago a friend in the USA gave me a version of the Advent Prose in the sacred register of English (by which I mean Prayer Book English, my friends), and it has sat in a thumb drive gathering dust. My poor mind cannot recall who sent it to me but thanks to the sender nonetheless.  

Today I thought I would share it because so few hear (or see printed) the Advent Prose during Advent.  What a pity that so few of the treasures of the Church are shared with the laity in the parishes.  There are many translations of Rorate caeli of which this is one.

If I have done things properly, dear Reader, a click or double-click on each image below should give you a much enlarged version for viewing. (After viewing each image I think you will need to use a back button to get back to the blog.) Also, I have included a treat via YouTube of the Rorate caeli chanted in Latin.

God send you a blessed Advent Season!






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THE GREAT DANCE - C.S. Lewis, Perelandra

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“The splendour, the love, and the strength 
be upon you.” 

The extended excerpt printed below comes from C.S. Lewis' Perelandra, one of the books in his Space Trilogy.  I think everyone should read everything C.S. Lewis wrote, but I acknowledge that in this day and age it is unlikely that most of those who read this and other blogs shall have had the time or the inclination to read Lewis' Space Trilogy.  This Trilogy is in many ways the beginning of Science Fiction and Space Fantasy as we know it, but these books are so much more.

The following quotation may prove confusing at first, but imagine you have entered a temple on a non-terrestrial plane and beings greater than yourself are praising the Creator and trying to explain to you how things really are in the Great Creation all about you in this Universe.  Drink in the words, and keep on reading.  One can read it through and then come back and pour over each paragraph.

No one knows the extent of C.S. Lewis' own mystical experiences.  Some have believed that he experienced such things of God that he struggled for language to explain to the average Joe precisely what he had encountered in God.  I think the following passage from Perelandra goes a long way towards touching upon those things that would make certain kinds of christians very, very nervous.  And other believers like me, well, such words delight the soul as they do touch on bright and luminous things of God that are beyond the pages of a sacred book or the precise rendition of liturgical choreography ... the substance of which leads to the very Heart of the Creator of All.



C.S. Lewis writes:


“We would not talk of it like that,” said the first voice. “The Great Dance does not wait to be perfect until the peoples of the Low Worlds are gathered into it. We speak not of when it will begin. It has begun from before always. There was no time when we did not rejoice before His face as now. The dance which we dance is at the centre and for the dance all things were made. Blessed be He!”


Another said, “Never did He make two things the same; never did He utter one word twice. After earths, not better earths but beasts; after beasts, not better beasts but spirits. After a falling, not recovery but a new creation. Out of the new creation, not a third but the mode of change itself is changed for ever. Blessed be He!”


And another said, “It is loaded with Justice as a tree bows down with fruit. All is righteousness and there is no equality. Not as when stones lie side by side, but as when stones support and are supported in an arch, such is His order; rule and obedience, begetting and bearing, heat glancing down, life growing up. Blessed be He!”


One said, “They who add years to years in lumpish aggregation, or miles to miles and galaxies to galaxies, shall not come near His greatness. The day of the fields of Arbol will fade and the days of Deep Heaven itself are numbered. Not thus is He great. He dwells (all of Him dwells) within the seed of the smallest flower and is not cramped: Deep Heaven is inside Him who is inside the seed and does not distend Him. Blessed be He!”


“The edge of each nature borders on that whereof it contains no shadow or similitude. Of many points one line; of many lines one shape; of many shapes one solid body; of many senses and thoughts one person; of three persons, Himself. As in the circle to the sphere, so are the ancient worlds that needed no redemption to that world wherein He was born and died. As is a point to a line, so is that world to the far-off fruits of its redeeming. Blessed be He!” 


“Yet the circle is not less round than the sphere, and the sphere is the home and fatherland of circles. Infinite multitudes of circles lie enclosed in every sphere, and if they spoke they would say, For us were spheres created. Let no mouth open to gainsay them. Blessed be He!” 


“The peoples of the ancient worlds who never sinned, for whom He never came down, are the peoples for whose sake the Low Worlds were made. For though the healing what was wounded and the straightening what was bent is a new dimension of glory, yet the straight was not made that it might be bent nor the whole that it might be wounded. The ancient peoples are at the centre. Blessed be He!”


“All which is not itself the Great Dance was made in order that He might come down into it. In the Fallen World He prepared for Himself a body and was united with the Dust and made it glorious for ever. This is the end and final cause of all creating, and the sin whereby it came is called Fortunate and the world where this was enacted is the centre of worlds. Blessed be He!”


“The Tree was planted in that world but the fruit has ripened in this. The fountain that sprang with mingled blood and life in the Dark World, flows here with life only. We have passed the first cataracts, and from here onward the stream flows deep and turns in the direction of the sea. This is the Morning Star which He promised to those who conquer; this is the centre of worlds. Till now, all has waited. But now the trumpet has sounded and the army is on the move. Blessed be He!”


“Though men or angels rule them, the worlds are for themselves. The waters you have not floated on, the fruit you have not plucked, the caves into which you have not descended and the fire through which your bodies cannot pass, do not await your coming to put on perfection, though they will obey you when you come. Times without number I have circled Arbol while you were not alive, and those times were not desert. Their own voice was in them, not merely a dreaming of the day when you should awake. They also were at the centre. 


“Be comforted, small immortals. You are not the voice that all things utter, nor is there eternal silence in the places where you cannot come. No feet have walked, nor shall, on the ice of Glund; no eye looked up from beneath on the Ring of Lurga; and Ironplain in Neruval is chaste and empty. Yet it is not for nothing that the gods walked ceaselessly around the fields of Arbol. Blessed be He!”


“That Dust itself which is scattered so rare in Heaven, whereof all worlds, and the bodies that are not worlds, are made, is at the centre. It waits not till created eyes have seen it or hands handled it, to be in itself a strength and splendour of Maleldil. Only the least part has served, or ever shall, a beast, a man or a god. But always, and beyond all distances, before they came and after they are gone and where they never come, it is what it is and utters the heart of the Holy One with its own voice. It is farthest from Him of all things, for it has no life, nor sense, nor reason; it is nearest to Him of all things for without intervening soul, as sparks fly out of fire, He utters in each grain of it the unmixed image of His energy. Each grain, if it spoke, would say, I am at the centre; for me all things were made. Let no mouth open to gainsay it. Blessed be He!”


“Each grain is at the centre  The Dust is at the centre  The Worlds are at the centre  The beasts are at the centre. The ancient peoples are there. The race that sinned is there. Tor and Tinidril are there. The gods are there also. Blessed be He!”


“Where Maleldil is, there is the centre  He is in every place. Not some of Him in one place and some in another, but in each place the whole Maleldil, even in the smallness beyond thought. There is no way out of the centre save into the Bent Will which casts itself into the Nowhere. Blessed be He!”


“Each thing was made for Him. He is the centre  Because we are with Him, each of us is at the centre  It is not as in a city of the Darkened World where they say that each must live for all. In His city all things are made for each. When He died in the Wounded World He died not for me, but for each man. If each man had been the only man made, he would have done no less. Each thing, from the single grain of Dust to the strongest eldil, is the end and the final cause of all creation and the mirror in which the beam of His brightness comes to rest and so returns to Him. Blessed be He!”


“In the plan of the Great Dance plans without number interlock, and each movement becomes in its season the breaking into flower of the whole design to which all else had been directed. Thus each is equally at the centre and none are there by being equals, but some by giving place and some by receiving it, the small things by their smallness and the great by their greatness, and all the patterns linked and looped together by the unions of a kneeling with a sceptred love. Blessed be He!”


“He has immeasurable use for each thing that is made, that His love and splendour may flow forth like a strong river which has need of a great watercourse and fills alike the deep pools and the little crannies, that are filled equally and remain unequal, and when it has filled them brim full it flows over and makes new channels. We also have need beyond measure of all that He has made. Love me, my brothers, for I am infinitely necessary to you and for your delight I was made. Blessed be He!”


“He has no need at all of anything that is made. An eldil is not more needful to Him than a grain of the Dust: a peopled world nor more needful than a world that is empty: but all needless alike, and what all add to Him is nothing. We also have no need of anything that is made. Love me, my brothers, for I am infinitely superfluous, and your love shall be like His, born neither of your need nor of my deserving, but a plain bounty. Blessed be He!”


“All things are by Him and for Him. He utters Himself also for His own delight and sees that He is good. He is His own begotten and what proceeds from Him is Himself. Blessed be He!”


“All that is made seems planless to the darkened mind, because there are more plans than it looked for. In these seas there are islands where the hairs of the turf are so fine and so closely woven together that unless a man looked long at them he would see neither hairs nor weaving at all, but only the same and the flat. So with the Great Dance. Set your eyes on one movement and it will lead you through all patterns and it will seem to you the master movement. But the seeming will be true. Let no mouth open to gainsay it. There seems no plan because it is all plan: there seems no centre because it is all center. Blessed be He!”


“Yet this seeming also is the end and final cause for which He spreads out Time so long and Heaven so deep; lest if we never met the dark, and the road that leads no whither, and the question to which no answer is imaginable, we should have in our minds no likeness of the Abyss of the Father, into which if a creature drop down his thoughts for ever he shall hear no echo return to him. Blessed, blessed, blessed be He!”



And now, by a transition which he did not notice, it seemed that what had begun as speech was turned into sight, or into something that can be remembered only as if it were seeing. He thought he saw the Great Dance. It seemed to be woven out of the intertwining undulation of many cords or bands of light, leaping over and under one another and mutually embraced in arabesques and flowerlike subtleties.


Each figure as he looked at it became the master figure or focus of the whole spectacle, by means of which his eye disentangled all else and brought it into unity— only to be itself entangled when he looked to what he had taken for mere marginal decorations and found that there also the same hegemony was claimed, and the claim made good, yet the former pattern not thereby dispossessed but finding in its new subordination a significance greater than that which it had abdicated.


He could see also (but the word “seeing” is now plainly inadequate) wherever the ribbons or serpents of light intersected, minute corpuscles of momentary brightness: and he knew somehow that these particles were the secular generalities of which history tells— peoples, institutions, climates of opinion, civilisations, arts, sciences, and the like— ephemeral coruscations that piped their short song and vanished.


The ribbons or cords themselves, in which millions of corpuscles lived and died, were things of some different kind. At first he could not say what. But he knew in the end that most of them were individual entities. If so, the time in which the Great Dance proceeds is very unlike time as we know it. Some of the thinner and more delicate cords were beings that we call short-lived: flowers and insects, a fruit or a storm of rain, and once (he thought) a wave of the sea. Others were such things as we also think lasting: crystals, rivers, mountains, or even stars.


Far above these in girth and luminosity and flashing with colours from beyond our spectrum were the lines of the personal beings, and yet as different from one another in splendour as all of them from all the previous class. But not all the cords were individuals; some were universal truths or universal qualities. It did not surprise him then to find that these and the persons were both cords and both stood together against the mere atoms of generality which lived and died in the clashing of their streams: but afterwards, when he came back to earth, he wondered.


And by now the thing must have passed altogether out of the region of sight as we understand it. For he says that the whole solid figure of these enamoured and interinanimated circlings was suddenly revealed as the mere superficies of a far vaster pattern in four dimensions, and that figure as the boundary of yet others in other worlds: till suddenly as the movement grew yet swifter, the interweaving yet more ecstatic, the relevance of all to all yet more intense, as dimension was added to dimension and that part of him which could reason and remember was dropped farther and farther behind that part of him which saw, even then, at the very zenith of complexity, complexity was eaten up and faded, as a thin white cloud fades into the hard blue burning of the sky, and a simplicity beyond all comprehension, ancient and young as spring, illimitable, pellucid, drew him with cords of infinite desire into its own stillness. He went up into such a quietness, a privacy and a freshness that at the very moment when he stood farthest from our ordinary mode of being he had the sense of stripping off encumbrances and awaking from trance, and coming to himself. With a gesture of relaxation he looked about him. . . .


C.S. Lewis
Perelandra
The Macmillan Company
(1944)




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