1 Corinthians 15:41 . Ostia Antica

‘There is one glory of the sun another glory of the moon and another glory of the stars, for one star differeth from another star in glory’

Amber Giles

 

Being me, I simply adore (in fact I Love) the poetry of the King James Bible.  The Catholic side of me giggles and is challenged, and learns from the beauty of the protestant translation which I have come to Love.  Poetry which I believe allows us to be embraced by the very essence, presence and inspiration of our Creator Father beyond mere absolute translation.  In fact what I find so breath-catchingly beautiful in the words, are the pictures, images and so too the impression left on the soul, inspired by the writings. It captures something so beautiful which allows me to put my fingertips together in prayer against His.  In some other translations I am left starched and cold.

This world is a world of veils.

In moments we become so close to the Divine we can sense Him, taste Him, we can feel His presence.  He reaches us and stills us, and fills us with His Peace.   His Being merging with our being, is a momentarily veiled encounter unveiled.

When my Daddy died I was holding his hand, and He was holding our hands without a shadow of a doubt, so when I first discovered this beautiful piece of writing capturing the moment, I was deeply touched in my knowing that the Truth has also been known by St Augustine, whom I have found at times difficult to find peace with.

St Augustine captures the moment perfectly in His Confessions when he describes the beautiful transcendent moment at Ostia with his mother shortly before she died, when it is said they were carried together to somewhere near the very presence of God – ‘And while we spoke of the eternal Wisdom, longing for it and straining for it with all the strength of our hearts, for one fleeting instant we reached out and touched it.  Then with a sigh, leaving our spiritual harvest bound to it we returned to the sound of our own speech, in which each word has a beginning and an ending – far far different from your word, our Lord, who abides in himself for ever, yet never grows old and gives new life to all things.’

On pilgrimage in Rome we spent a beautiful afternoon right there, in the once sophisticated port side town of Ostia Antica.  It was incredible, and left a tranquil but amazing impression within its Roman ruins.   Ghostly shells of buildings and dwellings, many with their structures and columns still in tact, their pathways and foundations, their windows and doorways, their amphitheatre, markets and mosaics whispering of ancient days gone by.  I was so delighted to discover and sit for a short while at the well.

At the deepest point into our afternoon in Ostia we took rest and evening prayer in the ruins of one of the earliest Christian places of worship.  This town is where St Monica (who is St Augustine’s mother) lived, worshipped and died.  Just before we settled around the sleepy footings nestled within the sunshiny grass, I wandered around the ruins and I laid my hands in prayer upon the back wall of the chapel,  I allowed the warmth and the presence of the sandy stone, to merge with my own warmth and presence.  1600+ years ago this same building inspired and evoked the timeless spirit of God into the bodies and souls of our spiritual brothers, sisters and Saints.  That it still does so today is for me somewhat beyond wonder.

Evening prayer was so perfect here, the closing line of the scripture promised that ‘When Christ, the Chief Shepherd, comes, you will get a glorious crown that will never lose its beauty’      As I looked up in wonder the first thing I noticed before anything else was a  brightly shining single wild flower.

Today back home Richard Rohrs daily meditation drops into my inbox, I should like to end todays post with it.  It took me straight back to the beginning, 1 Corinthian 15:41

‘In the first six centuries most of the mystics were identified with the early desert fathers and mothers of Egypt, Asia Minor, Syria, and the area of Palestine. Then the search for encounter moves into the monasteries where it becomes more academic trying to explain itself. And later St. Francis would bring mysticism from the monasteries to the streets and cities. He said “Don’t speak to me of Benedict and Augustine. God has shown me a different way!” (Although Francis had nothing personal against these saints, he did have great inner clarity about what was his to do, and knew that the church would try to put him inside of its known modes of religious life.)

Franciscan men are not monks (from Greekmonos, “alone”). We are called friars (“brothers”). A friar is one who mixes with the people. Often we were found near city centers in Europe, because we were a part of city life, the working people, and the poor. This was the beginning of a real “alternative orthodoxy,” a kind of practical mysticism of the streets, and with those who were on the edges of society. In fact, our poorly named “vow of poverty” was to structurally assure that we would stay on the edge and not become establishment people. St. Clare and the “Poor Clare” Sisters tended to live this much better than we, the later “ordained” friars. (Francis himself refused ordination to the priesthood.)’

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‘There is one glory of the sun another glory of the moon and another glory of the stars, for one star differeth from another star in glory’

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About mags

Beloved apostle of His Soul x
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