Tuesday, May 26, 2015

QUEEN of HEAVEN

Fra Filippo Lippi
QUEEN of  HEAVEN is a title given to the Blessed Virgin Mary by Christians mainly of the Roman Catholic Church. The Catholic teaching on this subject is expressed in the papal encyclical Ad Caeli Reginam,issued by Pope Pius XII. It states that Mary is called Queen of Heaven because her son, Jesus Christ, is the king of Israel and heavenly king of the universe; indeed, the Davidic tradition of Israel recognized the mother of the king as the Queen Mother of Israel. .

The title Queen of Heaven has long been a Catholic tradition, included in prayers and devotional literature, and seen in Western art in the subject of the Coronation of the Virgin, from the High Middle Ages, long before it was given a formal definition status by the Church. The title derived in part from the ancient Catholic teaching that Mary, at the end of her earthly life, was bodily and spiritually assumed into heaven, and that she is there honored as Queen.

The word "Queen" appears about the sixth century, and is common thereafter. Hymns of the 11th to 13th centuries address Mary as queen: “Hail, Holy Queen,” “Hail, Queen of Heaven,” “Queen of Heaven.” The Dominican rosary and the Franciscan crown as well as numerous invocations in Mary’s litany celebrate her queenship. For centuries she has been invoked as the Queen of heaven.


Book of Hours- 1500

Pope Pius XII explained the theological reasons for her title of Queen in a radio message to Fatima of May 13, 1946:

    He, the Son of God, reflects on His heavenly Mother the glory, the majesty and the dominion of His kingship, for, having been associated to the King of Martyrs in the ... work of human Redemption as Mother and cooperator, she remains forever associated to Him, with a practically unlimited power, in the distribution of the graces which flow from the Redemption. Jesus is King throughout all eternity by nature and by right of conquest: through Him, with Him, and subordinate to Him, Mary is Queen by grace, by divine relationship, by right of conquest, and by singular choice [of the Father].

In his 1954 encyclical Ad caeli reginam ("To the Queen of Heaven"), Pius XII points out that Mary deserves the title because she is Mother of God, because she is closely associated as the New Eve with Jesus’ redemptive work, because of her preeminent perfection and because of her intercessory power. Ad caeli reginam states that the main principle on which the royal dignity of Mary rests is her Divine Motherhood. ... So with complete justice St. John Damascene could write: "When she became Mother of the Creator, she truly became Queen of every creature.".

Master of St. Lucy Legend
At present we are singing the "Regina Caeli", one of the four seasonal Marian hymns, prescribed to be sung  after Compline  (The last prayer of the day). The Regina Coeli is sung during the Easter season, from Holy Saturday through the Saturday after Pentecost.

While the authorship of the Regina Caeli is unknown, the hymn has been traced back to the twelfth century. According to Catholic Tradition, St Gregory the Great heard angels chanting the first three lines one Easter morning in Rome, while following barefoot in a great religious procession of the icon of the Virgin painted by Luke the Evangelist. He was thereupon inspired to add the fourth line.

Detail of Fra Filipo Lippi

    Regina cæli, lætare, alleluia:
    Quia quem meruisti portare, alleluia,
    Resurrexit, sicut dixit, alleluia,
    Ora pro nobis Deum, alleluia.
    Gaude et lætare, Virgo Maria, alleluia.
    Quia surrexit Dominus vere, alleluia.

Queen of Heaven, rejoice, alleluia.
The Son whom you merited to bear, alleluia.
Has risen, as He said, alleluia.
Pray for us to God, alleluia.
V. Rejoice and be glad, O Virgin Mary, alleluia.
R. For the Lord has truly risen, alleluia.


Thursday, May 21, 2015

FRIEND of the POOR- ENEMY of the STATE


On May 23 The Holy Father, will add another blessed to the roster of saints in the Americas.

Slain Salvadoran Archbishop Oscar Romero, the murdered prelate of the people whose sainthood cause languished under previous popes but has been fast-tracked by Pope Francis, is to be beatified in San Salvador.

The ceremony will be in Plaza Divino Salvador del Mundo (Plaza of The Divine Savior of the People) Cardinal Angelo Amato, prefect of the Congregation for Saints' Causes, will celebrate the Mass.


Oscar Romero was archbishop of San Salvador during the bloody and tension-filled time leading up to his country's 1979-1992 civil war. Shot dead while celebrating Mass in 1980, the archbishop has long been considered a saint by many in Latin America, but the official Vatican process of sainthood had lingered for years.  While some question his politics, all consider him a saint, who cared only for the welfare of his oppressed people.

Some had speculated that there was unease among church prelates, including Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI, because of the Archbishop's embrace of liberation theology, a type of Christian theology that posits that Christ did not just seek liberation only from sin but every type of oppression.  There was decades-long debate in the Vatican as to whether the people's archbishop’s death had more to do with politics or faith.



Francis, the first Latin American pope, paved the way for Romero's beatification in February when he formally decreed that the prelate was assassinated as a martyr for the Catholic faith. While in the sainthood process beatification normally requires that a miracle be proven to have been caused by the deceased person, martyrs of the faith do not have to meet that requirement.

Archbishop Romero is the most prominent victim of the 75,000 people believed to have been killed in El Salvador’s bloody civil war, which went on from 1980 to 1992. No one was ever prosecuted for his assassination, but right-wing death squads have long been suspected.

A single bullet hit him in the heart as he lifted the Consecrated Host.  He died a martyr and drew the attention of world leaders who began to suspect that something wasn't right in El Salvador. He purchased this attention with his blood.

Cerezo Barredo

Friday, May 15, 2015

STAR of the SEA

Dr. Stephane Rene

The STAR of the SEA is the most ancient of titles for Our Lady, yet obviously one we love- being in the middle of a sea!. It is premised that in the time of Our Lord the equivalent phrase of Our Lady in the Aramaic language of that day meant pilot, leader or guide, someone who could navigate through the sea or the desert by the stars and lead people to safety.  The stars were and are used as a guide to safety and to new life. The sea covers all the earth and symbolizes all the people of the earth. Our Lady was therefore identified from the very earliest days of the Church as the guiding light to her son, Our Lord, for all the people of the earth.

The words Star of the Sea are a translation of the Latin title Stella Maris.

The title was used to emphasize Mary's role as a sign of hope and as a guiding star for Christians, especially Gentiles, whom the Old Testament Israelites metaphorically referred to as the sea, meaning anyone beyond the "coasts", or, that is to say, sociopolitical, and religious borders of Israelite territory. Under this title, the Virgin Mary is believed to intercede as a guide and protector of those who travel or seek their livelihoods on the sea.


Lawrence Klimecki
"Stella Maris (The Star of the Sea) has long been the favorite title by which people of the sea have called on her in whose protection they have always trusted: the Blessed Virgin Mary. Her son, Jesus Christ, accompanied his disciples in their vessels, helped them in their work and calmed the storms.  And so the Church accompanies seafarers, caring for the special spiritual needs of those who for various reasons live and work in the maritime world".   Pope John Paul II


 Hail, bright star of ocean,
God's own Mother blest,
Ever sinless Virgin,
Gate of heavenly rest.

Taking that sweet Ave
Which from Gabriel came,
Peace confirm within us,
Changing Eva's name.

Break the captives' fetters,
Light on blindness pour,
All our ills expelling,
Every bliss implore.

Show thyself a Mother;
May the Word Divine,
Born for us thy Infant,
Hear our prayers through thine.

Virgin all excelling,
Mildest of the mild,
Freed from guilt, preserve us,
Pure and undefiled.

Keep our life all spotless,
Make our way secure,
Till we find in Jesus,
Joy forevermore.

Through the highest heaven
To the Almighty Three,
Father, Son and Spirit,
One same glory be. Amen.





Tuesday, May 12, 2015

CHASING WOODPECKERS



Last year we had a lovely and very talented woman come to stay at the monastery for a week. She was working on her journals (we usually discourage writers as they so often do not partake in our life- but Heather was of another ilk and someone who became a fast friend to us all).


Mother M Grace's Koi Pond- OLR

I first heard of Heather when our small Shaw store was selling some of her cards and journals.  I was taken with several images and wrote to ask her if I could purchase more. The generous woman she is, she sent me a whole box-gratis- including journals, which I was able to share with my 4-H birders.

Two weeks ago I had occasion to journey to her part of the state, over the Cascades, to visit a very ill friend.  I had told Heather that I was searching for the white-headed woodpecker and was it still in her “backyard”.  “Of course she said. Come”.  We won’t mention that the bird(s) decided it needed to roam a bit and we (with the help of her husband, Patrick) searched for 2 hours but find it we did- in fact two!

 
White-headed Woodpecker


HEATHER WALLIS MURPHY is a Pacific Northwest artist, wildlife biologist, and nature writer.  She lives in the little German village of Leavenworth, a true gem, totally surrounded by mountains. She holds a Forest Technology degree from Wenatchee Valley College and a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Washington where she also studied drawing.  Heather retired in 2005 after a 30-year career as a Wildlife Biologist with the United States Forest Service.

A traveler, Heather also teaches and takes courses on nature and art in  nooks and crannies around the world.  She is an advocate for conservation and the arts.  You may find her volunteering for local arts programs or leading Citizen Science projects for the U.S. Forest Service. She is currently a nature journal instructor and a consulting wildlife biologist. She continues to lead Citizen Science programs as a volunteer for the U.S.F.S.

Walleye Cards, LLC and Wildtales Journals, Heather’s naturalist notecard and journal business, was founded in 1997. Her small independent business donates over 10% of sales to conservation and arts organizations.

Hummingbirds

"Influenced by the early explorer-scientists of America's West, I mix natural history notes with watercolor field observations. The blending of science and art is intriguing to me both as a wildlife biologist and as an artist- painter.


"Traveling through wildlands across the world, I keep sketchbook memories of sights, sounds and smells; journaling, capturing the ‘sense of place'. It is enriching to learn about the uniqueness of an area through landforms, vegetation and wild things.”


Sleeping Lady Summer




  It was indeed an honor to be led by this very knowledgeable  and fun woman and her equally charming and fun husband, Patrick.  I look forward to more walks either here on our Island or in her mountains.

Pine Flowers
Eagle's Nest

Friday, May 8, 2015

OUR LADY'S TITLES

OUR LADY of PERPETUAL HELP is a title of the Blessed Virgin Mary as represented in a celebrated 15th-century Byzantine icon.

The icon has been in Rome since 1499, and is permanently enshrined in the church of Sant'Alfonso di Liguori, where the official Novena to Our Mother of Perpetual Help text is prayed weekly.

Due to the Redemptorist Priests, who had been appointed as both custodians and missionaries of this icon by Pope Pius IX in 1865, the image has become very popular among  Catholics in particular, and has been very much copied and reproduced.

On 23 June 1867, the image was granted a Canonical Coronation and its official recognition of the Marian icon under its present title. The Redemptorist priests are the only religious order currently entrusted by the Holy See to protect and propagate a Marian religious work of art.

In 1878, the Basilica and Shrine of Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Boston, Massachusetts obtained a certified copy of the icon being the first in the United States. Between 1927 and 1935, the first American novena service dedicated to the icon was recited in Saint Alphonsus "The Rock" church in St. Louis, Missouri and various other Redemptorist stations around the United States.

The feast day of Our Mother of Perpetual Help is celebrated on June 27, with novena devotions held every Wednesday. Under Pope Pius XII's Pontificate, our Mother of Perpetual Help was designated as the national Patroness of the Republic of Haiti and Almoradi, Spain. Many Haitians credit the Virgin Mary under this title in performing miracles to prevent a cholera and smallpox outbreak which ravaged the country in 1882.


Modern Version- Daniel Mitsui
The icon of Our Mother of Perpetual Help is an example of the Western influence on Eastern art. Especially in the 12th and 13th centuries, as Franciscans traveled through the eastern Mediterranean, this influence became evident in a new class of icons called Cardiotissa, from the Greek word kardia, which means heart. Cardiotissa, then, refers to a type of icon which shows tenderness, compassion, and mercy. Our Lady’s face, though serene and dignified, shows great sorrow in contemplating the sufferings of her Son.

The Child Jesus is not portrayed with the physical proportions of an infant, but appears almost as an adult in miniature form. This has been interpreted to indicate that He is God, having infinite knowledge. Yet He is human as well, for He clings to His Mother’s hand in fear, while gazing up toward the angel over His shoulder. One of His sandals has come loose, indicating the haste with which He had run to her.

Seeing the picture, should assure us of the loving concern and tenderness our Blessed Mother has for us, and her ardent desire to be a source of perpetual help to all who call upon her.

Friday, May 1, 2015

WHY MAY- NAMES OF MARY



Rosa Mystica- Richard Soler
For the month of May I thought we would focus on some of the names given to the Blessed Virgin, who is specially honored this month.

Many of the titles given to Mary are dogmatic in nature. Other titles are poetic or allegorical and have lesser or no canonical status, but which form part of popular piety, with varying degrees of acceptance by the Church. Many titles refer to depictions of the Blessed Mother in the history of art.

Mary is known by many different titles: Blessed Mother, Virgin, Madonna, Our Lady and epithets such as Star of the Sea, Queen of Heaven, Cause of Our Joy, and invocations, Mother of Mercy, and other names such as Our Lady of Loreto and Our Lady of Guadalupe. 

 Everyone has a favorite devotion and every country has a title for Our Heavenly Mother. There are several stories on the significance of the large number of titles given to Mary. Some titles grew due to geographic and cultural reasons, e.g. through the veneration of specific icons as Our Lady of Częstochowa. Others were related to Marian apparitions (Fatima, Lourdes).

Mary's help is sought for a large spectrum of human needs in varied situations. This led to the formulation of many of her titles (good counsel, help of the sick, etc.). Moreover, meditations and devotions on the different aspects of the Virgin Mary's role within the life of Jesus led to additional titles such as Our Lady of Sorrows. Still further titles have been derived from dogmas and doctrines, e.g. the Mother of God, the Immaculate Conception and the Assumption.  I would like to focus on some of the perhaps lesser known names in our modern world.
 Mystical Rose- Michele Livingston

Since May is the month we most associate with spring and flowers we will begin with the
Mystical Rose. "Saint Brigid says: "The Virgin may suitably be called a blooming rose. Just as the gentle rose is placed among thorns, So this gentle Virgin was surrounded by sorrow."   

During the Middle Ages, Mary’s name was associated with flowers in order to celebrate the awakening of new life, especially on May 1 and during the whole month of May. The expression “bringing in the May” is well known. It meant carrying flowering branches in procession on the first day of May.  Our Lady was honored as the mother of all growing and living things.




ROSA MYSTICA
           
One of the most beautiful and significant symbols of the Western Mysteries is the Rose. The symbolism of the Rose is complex given the beauty of its form, the number and arrangement of the petals with their velvety texture, the intoxicating perfume and, deep inside, the hidden golden heart enfolded within the petals.

Mary was given many rose-names, including Rose of Sharon, the Rose-garland, the Wreath of Roses, and Queen of the Most Holy Rose-garden. The litany of Loreto called her ‘Rosa Mystica,’ the Mystic Rose.

 She was often addressed as the ‘Rose without a Thorn’ because she was as pure as the original rose that grew in the Garden of Eden. According to the Christian legend, the thorns came only when it was planted on earth after Adam and Eve were expelled from the garden. Mary was regarded as a ‘second Eve’ whose purity restored her to the paradise from which Eve had been driven. She was considered the perfect example of our union with God, so the Rose became a symbol of the union between Christ and Mary.

J. Tejibo- Manila- Woven Fibers

           

Friday, April 24, 2015

THE GOLDFINCH- SAVIOR BIRD

European goldfinch
As the goldfinches return to the area in their full glory, this is a good topic for Spring in the Northwest. There is a tradition of the late Middle Ages and Renaissance Periods of featuring a GOLDFINCH  in paintings of the Madonna and the Christ Child.

American goldfinch
Before I continue I must mention that there is quite a difference between our American goldfinch and the European species, as seen in these photos.

So what was it about the goldfinch that warranted its inclusion in these paintings?  The answer lies in the bird’s plumage and lifestyle, which had produced in the medieval mind powerful symbolic associations. What mattered for the artists was not ornithological accuracy but the bird’s symbolic or allegorical meaning. When depicted with Our Lord as a Child, the goldfinch associated the Incarnation with the Passion.

Paolo Veronese (+1588)
Joos van Cleve  (+1540)
All members of the finch family are seed eaters, and goldfinches eat mainly thistle seed. Thistles, having thorns, had a symbolic association with the crucifixion, being symbolic of the thorns in Jesus' crown at the time of His death. Because it symbolized the Passion, the goldfinch was considered a "savior" bird and was sometimes pictured with the common fly (which represented sin and disease).

Through its association with thistles, the goldfinch came to be seen as a good-luck charm, ‘warding off contagion and bestowing symbolic health both upon those who viewed it and upon the person who owned it’. Thus the goldfinch came to be a symbol of endurance, and in the case of paintings of the Madonna and Child, this symbolism was an allegory of the salvation Christ would bring through his sacrifice.

Giovanni Tiepolo (+1770) Detail
What did the colors of the goldfinch represent? First, there was the bar of gold across the bird’s wings, a color which, since the ancient Greeks, had been associated with the ability to cure sickness.  Then there was the splash of red on the cheeks, which like the robin’s red breast, was a sign to medieval Christians that the bird had acquired blood-colored feathers while attempting to remove the crown of thorns from while Christ was being crucified.

Lorenzo Veneziano (+1372)

Since the early medieval period, the finch was thought to have the gift of healing sight. It was said that a finch could cure a person’s disease just by looking at him or her. The artists gave us Christ  with a symbol not only of his eventual suffering and sacrifice, but also the healing power, presented  in both physical and spiritual terms, of that sacrifice.

 Guercino- early 1600s

 It is estimated that nearly 500 paintings in this period included the goldfinch, which often occupied a central place in the composition, perched on the Virgin Mary’s fingers or nestled in Christ’s hands.

 The goldfinch paintings were attributed to 254 artists, 214 of them Italian.
Some of the most famous artists to make use of the theme were Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, Zurbarán, and Tiepolo. One of my favorites is Guercino's "Madonna and Child with Escaped Goldfinch". I can find no explanation of the artist's deviation from the tradition of Madonna or Child holding the bird. Is the escape to represent the finch's relieving Christ of the sufferings to come, a sign of His Resurrection or relief of our own sufferings? In a16th C. German painting we see the goldfinches sitting on the fence behind the Madonna and Child. Another interesting, but rare setting for the bird.

Vittore Crivelli (+1502)

16th C. German
So we have not only the bird as a symbol of Jesus death, suffering and Resurrection but also a symbol that the goldfinch stood for  recovery from illness, and the raising up of a person out of their sick-bed- another kind of symbolic Resurrection.

As seen by the paintings below, all 21 C., the theme has not died out, though is much less common today. However, this bird is a good reminder to us of endurance, fruitfulness, and persistence, and in the end, hope of life eternal.

Modern
Brian Whalen- 21 C. English
Fr. John Guiliani- USA