"Today the concept of truth is viewed with suspicion, because truth is identified with violence. Over history there have, unfortunately, been episodes when people sought to defend the truth with violence. But they are two contrasting realities. Truth cannot be imposed with means other than itself! Truth can only come with its own light. Yet, we need truth. ... Without truth we are blind in the world, we have no path to follow. The great gift of Christ was that He enabled us to see the face of God".Pope Benedict xvi, February 24th, 2012

The Church is ecumenical, catholic, God-human, ageless, and it is therefore a blasphemy—an unpardonable blasphemy against Christ and against the Holy Ghost—to turn the Church into a national institution, to narrow her down to petty, transient, time-bound aspirations and ways of doing things. Her purpose is beyond nationality, ecumenical, all-embracing: to unite all men in Christ, all without exception to nation or race or social strata. - St Justin Popovitch

Saturday 13 October 2012

CHARTRES CATHEDRAL: sorry for the New Age bits

In the Middle Ages, both in the Orthodox East and the Catholic West, a church was considered as a sacred space where heaven was joined to earth, where Christ in his heavenly existence made his earthly disciples one body with him in heaven, where we are lifted up into communion with Our Lady. the angels and the saints, where Christians on earth are transfigured by the heavenly Divine Light. Several Orthodox theologians, anxious to put a distance between Orthodox and Catholic mysticism, contrast falsely the mysticism of East and West. They contrast the light of Easter, experienced in the East, and the stigmata of the crucifixion experienced by Western mystics like St Francis of Assisi. They ignore, because they do not know, the story of the meeting of St Francis with St Clare and their companions. When the Spirit fell upon them, they engendered so much light that neighbours thought the house was on fire and rushed there with buckets of water to quench the flames. These Orthodox theologians know nothing of the testimony of mystics like Hildegarde of Bingen who saw everything and everybody bathed in light. In the orthodox East, the way to portray this was by countless icons dominated by the colour gold. In the Catholic West, once they had developed a technology to do this, portrayed the whole church as a space bathed in light. One of the most beautiful sights in the world is a Byzantine church, shining with its mosaics and icons. Another sight which rivals it is the sight of light entering the churches of Chartres or Sainte Chapelle. Both East and West portray the same mystery by different means. Chartres Cathedral expresses the Mysticism of Light in stone

1 comment:

Ric Ballard said...

In my own testimony I have had the privilege to experience many different kinds of spiritualities. Sometimes there is a temptation to say one is the best kind or the only right one. Also, I have noticed a false dichotomy that arises sometimes between Christians of the East and West in terms of spirituality. In the Church all things belong to us! There are so many riches to draw from and there are no isolated wells. However, I might go in a different direction then you have and say that there are significant differences in the Byzantine tradition and Roman. I believe there really are spiritualities that each tradition went on to develop uniquely. For example, the transfiguration spirituality of the Byzantine tradition and the Stigmata spirituality of the Latin tradition. This does not mean there isolated but rather different gifts each tradition developed in its own way for the good of the whole Church.

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