Saturday, March 29, 2003

Luke 2:29-32 : Nunc dimittis
(Msgr Ronald Knox)

Ruler of all, now dost thou let thy servant go in peace, according to thy word; for my own eyes have seen that saving power of thine which thou hast prepared in the sight of all nations. This is the light which shall give revelation to the Gentiles, this is the glory of thy people Israel.
Hosea (Osee) 6:1-6
as translated by Msgr Ronald Knox

Ay, in their distress they will be waiting full early at my door; Back to the Lord! will be their cry; salve he only can bring, that wounded us; hand that smote us shall heal. Dead men to-day and to-morrow, on the third day he will raise us up again, to live in his presence anew. Acknowledge we, cease we never to acknowledge the Lord, he will reveal himself, sure as the dawn, come back to us, sure as the rains of winter and spring come back to the earth. What way will serve with you, men of Ephraim? Juda, what way will serve? Ruth of yours is but momentary, fades like the early mist, like morning dew. What wonder I should send prophets first, to shape men to my will if they could, and then utter my sentence of ruin? Believe me, this doom of thine shall be clear as daylight. A tender heart wins favour with me, not sacrifice; God's acknowledging, not victim's destroying ...
Wisdom 7.7 to 8.2
in the translation of Msgr Ronald Knox (Sheed & Ward, NY 1956)

Whence, then, did the prudence spring that endowed me? Prayer brought it; to God I prayed, and the spirit of wisdom came upon me. This I valued more than kingdom or throne; I thought nothing of my riches in comparison. There was no jewel I could match with it; all my treasures of gold were a handful of dust beside it, my silver seemed but base clay in presence of it. I treasured wisdom more than health or beauty, preferred her to the light of day; hers is a flame which never dies down. Together with her all blessings came to me; boundless prosperity was her gift. All this I enjoyed, with wisdom to prepare my way for me, never guessing that it all sprang from her. The lessons she taught me are riches honestly won, shared without stint, openly proclaimed; a treasure men will find incorruptible. Those who enjoy it are honoured with God's friendship, so high a value he sets on her instruction.

God's gift it is, if speech answers to thought of mine, and thought of mine to the message I am entrusted with. Who else can shew wise men the true path, check them when they stray? We are in his hands, we and every word of ours; our prudence in act, our skill in craftsmanship. Sure knowledge he has imparted to me of all that is; how the world is ordered, what influence have the elements, how the months have their beginning, their middle, and their ending, how the sun's course alters and the seasons revolve, how the years have their cycles, the stars their places. To every living thing its own breed, to every beast its own moods; the winds rage, and men think deep thoughts; the plants keep their several kinds, and each root has its own virtue; all the mysteries and all the surprises of nature were made known to me; wisdom herself taught me, that is the designer of them all.

Mind-enlightening is the influence that dwells in her; set high apart; one in its source, yet manifold in its operation; subtle, yet easily understood. An influence quick in movement, inviolable, persuasive, gentle, right-thinking, keen-edged, irresistible, beneficent, kindly, gracious, steadfast, proof against all error and all solicitude. Nothing is beyond its power, nothing hidden from its view, and such capacity has it that it can pervade the minds of all living men; so pure and subtle an essence is thought. Nothing so agile that it can match wisdom for agility; nothing can penetrate this way and that, etherial as she. Steam that ascends from the fervour of divine activity, pure effluence of his glory who is God all-powerful, she feels no passing taint; she, the glow that radiates from eternal light, she, the untarnished mirror of God's majesty, she, the faithful image of his goodness. Alone, with none to aid her, she is all-powerful; herself ever unchanged, she makes all things new; age after age she finds her way into holy men's hearts, turning them into friends and spokesmen of God. Her familiars it is, and none other, that God loves. Brightness is hers beyond the brightness of the sun, and all the starry host; match her with light itself, and she outvies it; light must still alternate with darkness, but where is the conspiracy can pull down wisdom from her throne?

Bold is her sweep from world's end to world's end, and everywhere her gracious ordering manifests itself.

She, from my youth up has been my heart's true love, my heart's true quest; she was the bride I longed for, enamoured of her beauty.

Conceptual poem




Friday, March 28, 2003

Out of hospital

and many thanks -- in fact, thanks of incalculable quantity & unfathomable profundity to those of you who prayed, wrote, sent well-wishes cybernetically or via the mails. My physical health was never in danger, nor even appreciably impaired. But it was necessary for me to spend the last 11 days within the secular cloister, if you will, of a psychiatric hospital.

I mention this only to assure all of you that my physical health remains good (but for that gross and laggard girth which obstinately balks at self-diminishment), and to convey that I did not undergo any great degree of physical suffering or pain. There are those in St Blog's (Mr Serafin and Miss Knapp, most notably) who have borne heavier crosses than I. But it is no small cross to have one's liberty restricted, and to be subjected to sundry interviews and medications, to be sundered most cruelly from one's friends in blogdom!

But owing to the exceedingly humane and gracefully sagacious staff at (name invented) Robin Grove Hospital, my stay in the ward was for the most part pleasant, and exceedingly rehabilitative.

I may have more tonight; if not, condone my Cal Coolidge-ism. Although I raise the topic of the nature of my hospitalization, I don't see the need to expatiate about the precise circumstances that got me in. But, I do have to say :

Thank you ! ! !

to those members of the parish I spoke to in person, to those whose emails and good wishes I received through the offices of a diligent and faithful and loyal and most loving and sisterly intermediary ... and to those two incredible souls (New Englanders, both -- and one outside Massachusetts!!) who offered to visit me.

I marvel at the Christian charity of all those to whom I have alluded in this all too hasty summary of the kindnesses paid to me in recentest days and weeks. God bless you all.