The Sarabite: Towards an Aesthetic Christianity

There is a continuous attraction, beginning with God, going to the world, and ending at last with God, an attraction which returns to the same place where it began as though in a kind of circle. -Marsilio Ficino

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Starry sky above....

A Very Informal Meditation on the Veni Creator

I always have strange para-liturgical things that I do around holy days. The one I do for Pentecost is listen to Gustav Mahler's Eight Symphony, which opens with his choral rendition of the ancient hymn, Veni Creator Spiritus. I first bought this recording when I was fourteen when I had my first full time summer job. (Fourteen year olds should never listen to Mahler!) Only when I went off to seminary, however, did I learn the original Gregorian setting to this chant, and it has always been one of my favorites.

I remember back at the end of my first year as a seminarian that we spent an entire week working hard in preparation for the consecration of the seminary church. One of the days, we worked from nine in the morning to two o'clock the next morning! Needless to say, we were exhausted! But what I remember most from that night was running through the cloister under the starry summer sky and listening to the priests (who didn't have to work!) singing the Veni Creator Spiritus in a novena leading up to ordinations that would take place some days later.

Tu, septiformis munere,
digitus paternae dexterae,
Tu rite promissum Patris,
sermone ditans guttura.

I joined in for a snipet of it, and ran frantically to the next job during that long night.

I have always thought it a bit absurd to encourage devotion to the Holy Ghost. True, we should pray to Him often, but how can you have devotion to your own breath, your own heartbeat? The Holy Ghost was given to us as the supreme Gift of God given to us at baptism, sealed in confirmation, and strengthened in us during the Eucharist. He is the very Life of God, the Spirit of filial adoption. Pneuma, ruah.....

We are thus getting to know Him in our lives as Christians. He is acting in us, and the best way we can give Him homage is to lead our Christian lives as faithfully as possible, to feel Him not just in ecstatic moods but as the blood that runs in our veins. He is our Life; He is the Giver of Life.

Immanuel Kant, I believe, ends the Critique of Pure Reason praising "the starry sky above us, the moral law within." We, as Christians, have more than a moral law. We have the Grace of God, the very life of God in us. We are His temple, and that is more than enough.


At 11:35 PM, Blogger Rubrician said...

Simply beautful words.

Thank you.


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