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May 14, 2006


Conscious some may call me a wee bit "unhinged," with such a long posting on this topic, but don't you love it that our Eternal Father called his chronicler of Tradition home on 5-13? The memorial of Fatima, when the mother of all Christians, breathing with one lung or separated, Hagia Maria taught the mysteries of salvation to simple uneducated children... Her message? Repent from dissent, unite in love:
Western* scholastic 'ratio' cannot redeem Mankind without Eastern** mystical trust in 'fides'

* see PBS's Catherine the Great documentary to begin to understand reference to "...if you do not repent Russia and her errors will spread..." abject neglect of the Mandatum, rulers oblivious to the suffering plight of their countrymen/neighbors leading to revolt of said countrymen/neighbors, in other words the tyranny of relativism in a nutshell called the Enlightenment

** devotion to Hagia Maria's Immaculate Heart is expressed differently in the East, IMHO with much more profound significance given to Her as the preeminent encounter with the Transcendant Trisagion, see Google image search for 'Burning Bush Icon.'

e.g. this Coptic Icon of Moses receiving the 10 commandments"

or this Russian one (contemporaneous to Tsarina Catherine's times)

and this one of Theotokos in a UK museum

"The space in the icon is divided into an eight-rayed star, in which the image of the Virgin Mary holding the Christ child is centrally places. Pictured in these segments and remaining picture space are cherubs, angels and evangelists. Often included in 'burning bush' icons are; Moses the Prophet having his vision of God in front of the burning bush on Mount Sinai, on which the icon is based; The gates of Ezekiel; the Tree of Jesse and Jacobs ladder. "

That shape - a four-lobed 'club' with four pointed 'stamen' is common in ecclesial interior decorating - but how much more profound when we see and understand the scriptures encoded within!

Consider how the apparition occured in a grove of trees... reminding us that throughout history she continues to intercede for us with her Son, ... as a kind of prick of conscience to our missing sense of shame at the divisions still prevalent amongst us... Pelikan's magnus opus, his life work, helps recall us to this truth, what a blessing!
Such "fides" inspires in me a 'strong contrition' (shame of having turned from the love of God written on my heart) as opposed to a 'weak contrition' (guilt and fear of punishment that keep so many away from the grace of Reconciliation). Perhaps the message of Fatima (Lourdes, Guadaloupe etc) has not yet been fully comprehended in East or West? Mary proposes penance and prayers, not as a strict school mistress to those who warm the pews but fail the test, but for those souls who haven't "got it" yet... Deus Caritas Est... she patiently appears as our "resource room" for those of us in need of "special ed", where the pride of our age enslaves us, victims of our own bad habits.

The sacred nature of the Tradition that Pelikan studied is the Wisdom the Christian world needs to rediscover for the Third Millenium - I imagine he's celebrating in heaven with JPII as we speak!

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