SEA OF ROSARIES: THE MADONNA TEACHING HER CHRIST CHILD IN PRAYER

The Madonna teaching her Christ child in prayer ©2018 Alfred Eaker

Ave Maria by Hildegard of Bingen

Behold, Mary, you who increase life, who rebuilds the path,

You who confused death and wore down the serpent,

To you Eve raised herself up, her neck rigid with inflated arrogance.

You strode upon this arrogance

while bearing God’s Son of Heaven,

through whom the spirit of God breaths.

O gentle and loving Mother, I behold you.

For Heaven released into the world that which you brought forth.

This one, through whom the spirit of God breaths.

Glory to the Father, and the Son and the Holy Spirit.

And to this one, through whom the spirit of God breaths.

SEA OF ROSARIES: BLUE MADONNA AND THE HOLY INNOCENTS

Blue Madonna and the Holy Innocents ©2018 Alfred Eaker

AVE GENEROSA by Hildegard of Bingen

I behold you,
noble, glorious and whole woman,
the pupil of purity.
You are the sacred matrix
in which God takes great pleasure.

The essences of Heaven flooded into you,
and the Great Word of God dressed itself in flesh.

You appeared as a shining white lily,
as God looked upon you before all of Creation.

O lovely and tender one,
how greatly has God delighted in you.
For He has placed His passionate embrace within you,
so that His Son might nurse at your breast.

Your womb held joy,
with all the celestial symphony sounding through you,
Virgin, who bore the Son of God,
when your purity became luminous in God.

Your flesh held joy,
like grass upon which dew falls,
pouring its life-green into it,
and so it is true in you also,
o Mother of all delight.

Now let all Ecclesia shine in joy
and sound in symphony
praising the most tender woman,
Mary, the bequeather/seed-source of God.
Amen

SEA OF ROSARIES: Black Madonna of Antipolo

Black Madonna of Antipolo (Pentecost) ©2018 Alfred Eaker

At This Precise Moment of History by Thomas Merton

    At this precise moment of history
With Goody-two-shoes running for Congress
We are testing supersonic engines
To keep God safe in the cherry tree.
When I said so in this space last Thursday
I meant what I said: power struggles.

You would never dream of such corn. The colonials in
sandalwood like running wide open and available for
protection. You can throw them away without a refund.

Dr. Hanfstaengel who was not called Putzi except by
those who did not know him is taped in the national
archives. J. Edgar Hoover he ought to know
And does know.

But calls Dr. Hanfstaengel Putzi nevertheless
Somewhere on tape in the
Archives.

He (Dr. H.) is not a silly man.
He left in disgust
About the same time Shirley Temple
Sat on Roosevelt’s knee
An accomplished pianist
A remembered personality.
He (Dr. H.) began to teach
Immortal anecdotes
To his mother a Queen Bee
In the American colony.

What is your attitude toward historical subjects?
—Perhaps it’s their size!

When I said this in space you would never believe
Corn Colonel was so expatriated.
—If you think you know,
Take this wheel
And become standard.

She is my only living mother
This bee of the bloody arts
Bandaging victims of Saturday’s dance
Like a veritable sphinx
In a totally new combination.

The Queen Mother is an enduring vignette
at an early age.
Now she ought to be kept in submersible
decompression chambers

For a while.

What is your attitude toward historical subjects
Like Queen Colonies?
—They are permanently fortified
For shape retention.

Solid shades
Seven zippered pockets
Close to my old place
Waiting by the road
Big disk brakes
Spinoff
Zoom
Long lights stabbing at the
Two together piggyback
In a stark sports roadster

Regretting his previous outburst
Al loads his Cadillac
With lovenests.

She is my only living investment
She examines the housing industry
Counts 3.5 million postwar children
Turning twenty-one
And draws her own conclusion
In the commercial fishing field.

Voice of little sexy ventriloquist mignonne:
“Well I think all of us are agreed and sincerely I my-
self believe that honest people on both sides have got
it all on tape. Governor Reagan thinks that nuclear
wampums are a last resort that ought not to be re-
sorted.” (But little mignonne went right to the point
with: “We have a commitment to fulfill and we better
do it quick.” No dupe she!)

All historians die of the same events at least twice.

I feel that I ought to open this case with an apology.
Dr. H. certainly has a beautiful voice. He is not a silly
man. He is misunderstood even by Presidents.

You people are criticizing the Church but what are
you going to put in her place? Sometime sit down with
a pencil and paper and ask yourself what you’ve got
that the Church hasn’t.

Nothing to add
But the big voice of a detective
Using the wrong first names
In national archives.

She sat in shocking pink with an industrial zipper spe-
cially designed for sitting on the knees of presidents in
broad daylight. She spoke the president’s mind. “We
have a last resort to be resorted and we better do it
quick.” He wondered at what he had just said.

It was all like running wideopen in a loose gown
Without slippers
At least someplace.

SEA OF ROSARIES: Our Lady of Manaoag

Our Lady of Manaoag ©2018 Alfred Eaker

The Divine Dew by Therese of Lisieux

My Sweet Jesus, You appear to me
On your Mother’s breast, all radiant with love.
Love is the ineffable mystery
That exiled you from your Heavenly Home…
Ah! let me hide myself under the veil
Concealing you from all mortal eyes,
And near you, O Morning Star!
I shall find a foretaste of Heaven.

From the moment a new dawn awakens,
When we see the first lights of the sun,
The young flower beginning to open
Awaits a precious balm from on high.
It is the good-giving morning dew,
Which, producing an abundant sap,
Makes the flower of the new bud open a little.

Jesus, you are that Flower just open.
I gaze on you at your first awakening.
Jesus, you are the ravishing Rose,
The new bud, gracious and scarlet red.
The ever-so-pure arms of your dear Mother
For for you a cradle, a royal throne,
Your sweet sun is Mary’s breast,
And your Dew is Virginal Milk!…

My Beloved, my divine little Brother,
In your gaze I see all the future.
Soon, for me, you will leave your Mother.
Already Love impels you to suffer.
But on the cross, O Full-blossomed Flower!
I recognize your morning fragrance.
I recognize Mary’s Dew.
Your divine blood is Virginal Milk!…

This Dew hides in the sanctuary.
The angels of Heaven, enraptured, contemplate it,
Offering to God their sublime prayer.
Like Saint John, they repeat: “Behold.”
Yes, behold, this Word made Host.
Eternal Priest, sacerdotal Lamb,
The Son of God is the Son of Mary.
The bread of Angels is Virginal Milk.

The seraphim feeds on glory.
In Paradise his joy is full.
Weak child that I am, I only see in the ciborium
The color and figure of Milk.
But that is the Milk a child needs,
And Jesus’ Love is beyond compare.
O tender Love! Unfathomable power,
My white Host is Virginal Milk!

SEA OF ROSARIES: OUR LADY OF THE PILLAR

Our Lady of the Pillar ©2018 Alfred Eaker

Landscape: Wheatfields (Thomas Merton)

Frown there like Cressy or like Agincourt,
You fierce and bearded shocks and sheaves
And shake your grain-spears,
And know no tremor in your vigilant
Your stern array, my summer chevaliers!

Although the wagons,
(Hear how the battle of those wheels,
Worrying the loose wood with their momentary thunder
Leaves us to guess some trestle, there, behind the sycamores.)
Although the empty wagons come,

Rise up, like kings out of the pages of a chronicle
And cry your courage in your golden beards;
For now the summer-time is half-way done,
Gliding to a dramatic crisis
Sure as the deep waters to the sedentary mill.

Arise like kings and prophets from the pages of an
ancient Bible,
And blind us with the burnish of your message in our June:
Then raise your hands and bless us
An depart, like old Melchisedech, and find your
proper Salem.

The slow hours crowd upon us.
Our days slide evenly toward the term of all our liturgy,
And all our weeks are after Pentecost.

Summer divides his garrisons,
Surrenders up his strongest forts,
Strikes all his russet banners one by one.
And while these ancient men of war
Casting us in the teeth with the reproof of their surrender
(By which their fruitfulness is all fulfilled,)
Throw down their arms.

Face we the day when we go up to stake our graces
Against unconquerable God:
Try, with our trivial increase, in that time of harvest
To stem the army of His attributes!

Oh pray us full of marrow, Queen of Heaven,
For those mills, His truth, our glory!
Crown us with alleluias on that day of fight!

(Light falls as fair as lyres, beamy between the branches,
Plays like an angel on the mill-dam, where the lazy stream
Suddenly turns to clouds of song and rain,)
Oh pray us, Lady, full of faith and graces,
Arm us with fruits against that contest and comparison,
Arm us with ripeness for the wagons of our Christ!

SEA OF ROSARIES: OUR LADY OF MOUNT CARMEL (THE ASSUMPTION)

SEA OF ROSARIES: OUR LADY OF MOUNT CARMEL (THE ASSUMPTION) ©2018 Alfred Eaker

To the Blessed Virgin Mary
Of Mount Carmel

by Therese of Lisieux

A place of beauty and green serenity
Blowing breeze of coolness
Transported from the sea.
Earth’s creation finds abode in thee
With the holy hermits of Elias’ glory
This is Carmel
a mountain most heavenly.

O Virgin Mary, Queen most holy
You are our Lady inspiring many.
Your quiet life, simplicity, purity
All speak to me of Carmel’s story.

Glorious Lady, our mother too!
Who comes to us when life is blue.
In gentle stillness of your ways
You whisper softly, firmly,
“You do exactly as Jesus says.”

To be with us forever,

not to leave us ever
Her Scapular she gave us.
To those with true devotion,

a token of compassion
a garment of salvation.

As Saint Elias beheld your image
God and Father whose Spouse thou art
Behold your image in our lives and hearts.

Dear Lady of Carmel,
Virgin of our solitude,
Teach us how to please the Spirit
Show us God our only good.
To climb life’s mountain heights
In the steep ways of the spirit
Faith, hope and love

Our surest guides.

When life’s burden weighs heavy
And the journey makes me weary
Mother of Carmel, come quickly
With your mantle covering me
I will find repose in thee
Like a child asleep

with confidence
So deep.

SEA OF ROSARIES: THE MARRIAGE OF OUR LADY TO ST. JOSEPH

The Marriage of Our Lady to St. Joseph ©2018 Alfred Eaker

A Christmas Card (Thomas Merton)

When the white stars talk together like sisters
And when the winter hills
Raise their grand semblance in the freezing night,
Somewhere one window
Bleeds like the brown eye of an open force.

Hills, stars,
White stars that stand above the eastern stable.

Look down and offer Him.
The dim adoring light of your belief.
Whose small Heart bleeds with infinite fire.

Shall not this Child
(When we shall hear the bells of His amazing voice)
Conquer the winter of our hateful century?

And when His Lady Mother leans upon the crib,
Lo, with what rapiers
Those two loves fence and flame their brillancy!

Here in this straw lie planned the fires
That will melt all our sufferings:
He is our Lamb, our holocaust!

And one by one the shepherds, with their snowy feet,
Stamp and shake out their hats upon the stable dirt,
And one by one kneel down to look upon their Life.

THE CATHOLIC ART OF PAUL GAUGUIN

As is well known, Paul Gauguin and Vincent Van Gogh lived together for a disastrous three months. Among the many disagreements they had was the question of depicting iconographic images. For Van Gogh, a Protestant, that was anathema. For Gauguin, who was Jesuit educated, it was essential. Although he was fleeting in his practice of Catholicism (he embraced Buddhism and Theosophy as well), the iconography Gauguin had been exposed to was in his DNA. As many will sophistically point out, Gauguin was hardly a model of morality, but much of the negativity about him is exaggerated and/or downright myth (i.e. he left his job, wife and children to go paint. Actually, the stock market crashed and he lost his job, after which his wife, being used to a more substantial income, kicked him out). Still, ultimately, Gauguin was an aesthetic Catholic and, for a painter that is perfect. There have been several superb books and articles on the religious art of Gauguin, who, for me, with El Greco, is the most essential of Catholic painters.

Christmas Night 1902

Self-Portrait with Yellow Christ 1891

Self-Portrait with Yellow Christ 1891

Adam and Eve, Expulsion from Paradise 1889

Breton Calvary 1898

Breton Woman In Prayer 1894

Eve, Don’t Listen to the Liar 1889

Hail Mary 1891

Joan Of Arc 1889

Month of Maria 1899

Nativity 1896

Self Portrait with Halo 1889

Tahitian Eve 1892

Tahitian Eve 1892

Eve 1892

Eve- The Nightmare 1892

The Day of God 1895

The Day of the God, 1894

The Encounter 1892

The Green Christ 1889

The House of Hymns 1892

The Universe is Created, 1894

The Yellow Christ 1889

Vision After the Sermon 1888

Le Paradis Perdu 1890

Where do we come from? What are we? Where are we going? 1897

The Nativity 1896

Tahitian Nativity 1896

We Hail Thee Mary 1891

THE CATHOLIC ART OF SALVADOR DALI

Madonna of Port Lligat (1950)

Although, I’m not a fan of the earlier work of Salvador Dali (having seen too many stickers of his art on the folders of angst-ridden teenage boys in the 70s- they all seemed to be fanatical lovers of the Doors and Lynard Skynard-I’m not sure the connection), I respond most to his work in film (‘Spellbound’ and ‘Porky Pig in Dodo land’) and his later Catholic work.

Virgin of Guadalupe 1959

At one time, a self-proclaimed atheist, Dali reconciled with his Catholic faith and became devout, espousing devotion to saints, daily prayer, sacrament of marriage, lifelong fidelity, Mariology, etc and saw these as being authentically revolutionary, especially in his later years when all of the above was anathema to the I, ME, MINE mindset (the horrors of WWII was also a factor in his conversion).

The Ecumenical Council 1960

Dali’s reconciliation with his faith caused a heated row with Andre Breton (who considered himself the spokesperson head of the surrealists and authored the Surrealist Manifesto). Breton insisted that a true surrealist HAD to be a practicing atheist and there was NO room for religion in the movement. Dali rightly saw Breton’s prerequisite as hypocritically transforming surrealism into a dogmatic religion. Famously, Dali left and eventually the movement collapsed while Dali persisted.

Christ of Saint John of the Cross 1951

For years, art historians and theologians criticized Dali’s later Catholic-themed work as kitsch. They were off. Dali had the pulse of that blue-collar Catholic surrealism. Now, his later work has been reassessed (imagine that). There’s a wonderful portrayal of him that captures his spirit in Woody Allen’s “Midnight in Paris.

Assumption 1952

Crocifissione (1954)

Madonna 1943

Day of the Virgin 1947

God sends Gabriel to the Virgin Mary, 1964

Madonna of Port Lligat 1972

Microphysical Madonna 1954

The Ascension of Christ, 1958

The Sacrament of the Last Supper 1955

The Temptation of Saint Anthony’ (1946)

Corpuscular Madonna 1952

Cosmic Madonna 1958

I knew him in the breaking of bread, 1964

Madonna 1952

Madonna 1960

St. Helena of Port Lligat 1956

St. Jerome 1960

The Madonna and the Mystical Rose Salvador 1963

The Sacred Heart of Jesus 1962

Pieta 1982

Pieta 1982

SEA OF ROSARIES: Our Lady of Kibeho

Our Lady of Kibeho ©2018 Alfred Eaker

Canticle for the Blessed Virgin (Thomas Merton)

Die, Boreas,
And drown your ruins in the gaudy sea,
December, clash your cymbals once again
And put them away.
The crops come thronging from the ground.
The land is green with strength.
The harvests sing like confidence
In the ascetic earth.
Let there be no more patience
With your iron music, death:
Stand, continents, and wear the spring your crown!

The ox-eyed land,
The muted lakes,
The cloudy groves that praise you,
Lady, with their blooms,
Fuse and destroy their lights
And burn them into gold for you, great Virgin,
Coining your honor in the glorious sun.

The skies speed up to meet you, and the seas
Swim you the silver of their crests.
If you delay to come, we’ll see the meteors, by night,
Skimming before your way,
Lighting the time of death’s dismay
In lights as lithe as animals.
And God will blaze your pathway with the incandescent stars.

But oh! Queen of all grace and counsel,
Cause of our joy, Oh Clement Virgin, come:
Show us those eyes as chaste as lightning,
Kinder than June and true as Scripture.
Heal with your looks the poisons of the universe,
And claim your Son’s regenerate world!

Because your Christ disposed Orion and Andromeda
And ordered the clean spheres,
And interplayed the chiming suns to be your toy,

Charm you with antiphon and psalmody
And canticle, and countersong;

Because your Christ
Fired the fair stars with argent for your raiment,
And charged the sinner’s tears
With clean repentent lights –
(As on the day you found me in the dens of libraries
And crushed the jeweled head of heresy) –
He gave you every one of the redeemed to be your dowry
And angels for your crown.

Come from the compass quarter where the thunder sleeps
And let the pity of those eyes
Rout all the armies of our million dangers
Here where we lie in siege:
For you unlock the treasures of the bleeding Wood.
You hold the Mass-keys, and the locks of Calvary,
And All-grace springs in the founts of your demand.

Lady, whose smiles are full of counsel and theology,
Never have you withheld those seas of light
Whose surf confounds the keenest eye.
Grace me to be the soldier of your Scotus,
Arming my actions with the news
Of your Immaculate command.

You, who have saved me from the ones about to break me
On the iron wheels of sin,

And brought me from the torturer
With all the florins of the Parasceve:
If Christ will burn me clean
Of my red-handed perjuries,
Win me His Blood again, and blazon me His priest.

But if my hands that one time wore the stench of death
Are too unworthy of the Liturgy
That speaks our deathless Pasch in veils of Bread,
Make me, until my death, His priest in secret
Offering Mass in all-day’s sacrifice.

Teach me to take all grace
And spring it into blades of act,
Grow spears and sheaves of charity,
While each new instant (new eternity),
Flowering with clean and individual circumstance,
Speaks me the whisper of His consecrating Spirit.
Then will obedience bring forth new Incarnations
Shining to God with the features of His Christ.

Tower, stars, and oh! You sun in Aries,
Shatter a way for her through the embattled weather,
Until the hills
Tidy their fields, and fill them full of flowers
For those Annunciations:

And hell shall melt his onsets
Faster than January’s brawling clouds
Doomed by the music of her chariot.