Dominus Historiae: Part II

Continuing my review of Jean Daniélou’s The Lord of History from here.

In these eight chapters, Daniélou transitions to exegesis, building on the foundation laid especially by the last chapter. The examination of sacred and secular modes of history served to define the space proper to the former; now, Daniélou returns ad fontes to fill that space. What does sacred history actually look like, according to scriptural Christian theology?

Chapters 1-3 thus examine divine action, human action, and the synergism implied in the incarnation respectively. Chapters 4-6 involve typology and progress, or the relationships between historical stages, and chapters 7-8 address eschatology.

Continue reading

O Rex Gentium: Meditations on the O Antiphons

The sixth O Antiphon is to the King of Nations.

O Rex Gentium, et desideratus earum,
lapisque angularis, qui facis utraque unum:
veni, et salva hominem,
quem de limo formasti.

O king of nations, and their desire,
and cornerstone, who makes them one,
come, and save humankind,
which you formed from clay.

This antiphon follows the theme of triumph begun in the last one. If O Oriens shows how the incarnation prefigured the cosmic dawn of Christ’s resurrection, O Rex Gentium depicts the ascended Christ enthroned over the world. He has taken up not only David’s scepter but the scepter of heaven, subjecting all powers in heaven and earth to himself.

Three messianic titles appear in the first two lines: “king of nations,” “desire of nations,” and “cornerstone, making them one” (cf. Jeremiah 10:7, Haggai 2:7, and Ephesians 2:20 respectively). These images together suggest the fullness of his presence: he is over us as king, he is with us as beloved, and he is at our foundation as cornerstone. He binds us to the Godhead, to his incarnate person, and to one another.

Continue reading

In Horto Fragranti: On the Feast of the Transfiguration

Today, August 6, the western church celebrates the Feast of the Transfiguration of Jesus. The eastern church will celebrate the same feast in thirteen days. In much of the east, including Georgia, custom dictates that growers of grapes and other fruits and vegetables present their harvest to be blessed on Transfiguration Day. Most of these grapes, which depending on their geography reach peak ripeness in August, will be turned into wine.

What does this custom, dating back to late antiquity, have to do with the transfiguration of Christ described by the synoptic gospels?

Continue reading

Devotedly I Honor Thee

As a Latin and creative exercise, I decided to translate one of St. Thomas Aquinas’s Eucharistic hymns, Adoro Te Devote. I’m afraid mine does not have anything to recommend it as poetry over the numerous other translations out there, but I found the exercise valuable. Domine, miserere mei.

Adoro Te Devote

Devotedly I honor thee, hidden and divine,
beneath these shapes truly hidden;
to thee I give over the fullness of my heart,
for its fullness is nothing in contemplating thee.

In thee, sight, touch and taste are misled,
but hearing alone can be safely believed.
I believe whatever God’s son has said;
nothing is more true than Truth’s own word.

Hidden on the cross was the divinity alone,
hidden here humanity as well;
yet believing both with assurance, I entreat
as the self-grieved thief entreated.

The wounds I cannot regard like Thomas,
yet my god I confess thee.
In thee, make me always more believe,
and in thee hope, thee hold dear.

O memorial of the Lord’s death!
Living bread, life supplied to man!
Supply of thyself for my mind to live,
and find thee ever sweet.

Good Pelican, Lord Jesu,
cleanse my unclean being with thy blood:
a single drop can restore
the fullness of the world from all evil.

Jesu, whom I now see veiled,
I pray what I thirst for may be:
that when I see revealed thy countenance,
I may be full in the vision of thy glory.


Tintoretto’s The Last Supper