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Friday, 19 September 2014

A Medieval Heart

When I was studying for the doctoral degree, (I did not finish my dissertation), I had taken all the courses for both a doctorate in Medieval and one in Modern Poetry, Drama, and Literature. Later on, I added Theology to the mix as one of my undergraduate degrees was in theology (the others being history and philosophy)

Needless to say, I took a lot of classes. One of the things I discovered was that the Medievals had a unified view of the person which was lost in later times, especially after Descartes.

This unified view involved a great simplicity arrived at by sophisticated philosophy and intense mysticism. Remember that the great age of the mystics happened in the 12th century.

I was drawn to authors who seem to have what I would call a Medieval Heart, one focused on God and on the goal of heaven.

A Medieval Heart has a set of priorities which were all but destroyed both in the Renaissance and in the Protestant Revolt. This set of priorities had to do with a strong identity of the person as a child of God and history as the working out of God's plan for humanity.

Notice-God's plan, not our plans....

Writers such as Gregory the Great, Bede, Benedict, Anselm, Johannes Scotus Eriugna, Hildegard of Bingen, Bernard of Clairvaux, Francis of Assisi, Dominic, Anthony, Bonaventure, Angela of Foligno, Mechtild, Tauler, Suso, Richard Rolle, Walter Hilton, Julian of Norwich, Catherine of Siena, the authors of the Cloud of Unknowing and Thomas a Kempis, to name some, provided a rich soil for the growth of meditation, contemplation and the pursuit of holiness.

These saints have a Medieval Heart set on God's Kingdom here on earth in a refreshingly radical dedication to the Trinity and the Gospel message. The Catholic Church was at the heart of these people, who loved Christ and His institution on earth.

This is missing in our Catholic leaders. I do not see this weaving of deep, deep prayer and activity found in those times, which is many cases, were are chaotic as our own.

This Medieval Heart produces a zeal for the Church and a love for the Bridegroom Christ.

I pray some priests and bishops will rediscover the heart of those who were not afraid to love in a scary world, not afraid to be cheerful in chaos, not timid in the face of hatred from those outside the Church.