More links about measures Catholics are taking during this COVID-19 epidemic, a link about Catholic storytelling, and a bit of literary humor.
Leah Libresco Sargeant begins this essay, Discernment in Plague-Times, “For some time, whenever I recommended Kristin Lavransdatter to friends I kept forgetting about the plague.” In the eponymous Sigrid Undset trilogy, after Kristin Lavransdatter entered a convent as a widow, she risked her life in several heroic incidents during a plague. During our own time of pestilence, most of us are not being called do anything nearly so dramatic. Libresco writes, “It’s hard to see the heroism in staying home,” then she explores how great deeds may be done and sanctification may be found merely by humbly performing the mundane things we are called to do. And she concludes, “We are in the epic of the everyday that makes up most of Kristin Lavransdatter, and our Author is not neglecting us in this period of quiet vigil keeping.”
The Rededication of England as the Dowry of Mary
The first dedication of England was made by King Richard II in 1381 in Westminster Abbey, when England was ‘set aside’ as a gift, a dowry, for Our Lady and placed under her guidance and protection.
As mentioned in Friday Links for March 6, 2020, a replica of the mediaeval statue of Our Lady of Walsingham was carried on pilgrimage to all of England’s cathedrals for the past two years. The pilgrimage culminated on March 29 with formal rededication of the country to Our Lady at Westminster Cathedral in London, at the rebuilt shrine at Walsingham, at all the other cathedrals of England, and in many parishes and homes. The English bishops had originally asked Catholics to gather in churches and cathedrals for the rededication, but as it turned out, because of the coronavirus lockdown, half a million viewers remotely witnessed the rededication online instead.
In a homily after the rededication, Monsignor John Armitage, Rector of the National Shrine and Basilica of Our Lady of Walsingham, said: “When our bishops decided three years ago to undertake this rededication, they could never have foreseen the extent of our need at this time. Today we undertake this dedication in the ‘eye of the storm’. We have long pondered and treasured the words of Pope Leo XIII to an earlier generation of bishops: ‘When England returns to Walsingham, Our Lady will return to England.’ In the hour of our need Our Blessed Mother has indeed returned to England.”
The Wilton Diptych at the London National Gallery
The Wilton Diptych shows King Richard II as a young crowned boy-king offering England to the Virgin as her dowry near the beginning of his reign. To learn the identities of the saints and angels and about the rich symbolism depicted in the altarpiece, click the Description tab at the linked page and then click In-depth in the left column.
Laura Pittenger’s essay, Catholic Storytelling as an Act of Faith, begins on page 137 of the Fall 2019 issue of Listening: Journal of Communication Ethics, Religion, and Culture, which is available as a PDF.
This Penguin Classics sale page reveals the hitherto unknown first names of several ancient authors. Jonathan Aristotle! Bernard Homer! Desmond Plato! And more . . .