Strength for the Week by Sr. Kathryn | Pauline Books & Media
Strength for the Week
What will last beyond the power of "politics"?
Jeannette's article below in today's newsletter was like reading an
intense mystery story. The most famous illuminated manuscripts were
almost lost in Viking Raids in the 6th and 8th centuries, and the monks
who had painstakingly created them were killed, banished from their
monasteries, and lost at sea. They
preserved the manuscripts as they fled their monasteries, absolutely
certain that the Word of God held the key to making sense of the violent
and chaotic centuries of history in which they lived.
It got me thinking about what the Word of God has to say to us today. So yesterday
on retreat I sought some direction from God's Word. I didn't have an
illuminated manuscript, just a small paperback Bible, probably something
like what you have. As I leafed through the pages of Scripture from
Genesis to Revelation what stood out to me was this: To maintain that God is the reference point of history is a truth that will last beyond the power of "politics."
are so many ways to immerse ourselves in the reassurance that God
offers us through his Word. Illuminated manuscripts aren't the usual way
for today's Christian...we find them now in specialized collections.
Our bibles are one way, the readings at the Liturgy and in Christian
Prayer are another, and the beautifulScripture Illuminated: A Coloring Book for Prayer and Meditation
is yet another. Sometimes we don't want to think alot. We just want to
connect with the God who promises us he is faithful. A coloring book may
be just what we need, a place to let the Word resonate within our
hearts as we "illuminate" the Word with our pencils.
We may not be monks fleeing from Viking raiders! But
we have been chosen by God to live THIS historical moment. The Word of
God is as vital for us today, as it was for the monks of old!
holy men were filled with faith that God would make sense of it all,
convinced that the Word of God had to be preserved to pass on to
Illuminated Manuscripts: Shining the Light of Christ on a Violent World
hundreds (if not thousands) of illuminated manuscripts remain in
existence, and still more individual pages have been saved from
once-extant manuscripts, there are two complete manuscripts that stand
out for their history, beauty, and intricately inspired workmanship: the
Lindisfarne Gospels and the Book of Kells.
What you’ll notice
first are the first letters of the “chapters,” made elaborate with the
interlacing and spiral patterns that were strongly influenced by
Anglo-Saxon jewelry and enamel work.
Few people could read
during Europe’s so-called Dark Ages (500–1000 AD roughly) so the work of
the monks was vital in passing down the Gospel of Jesus Christ and
preserving it in two wonderful works of art that providentially survived
the devastation wrought by Viking raids.
The Lindisfarne GospelsThis
manuscript was the product of a monastery founded by Saint Cuthbert in
the mid-seventh century. Lindisfarne is located off the coast of
Northern England and still is known as the Holy Island. Unlike most
illuminated manuscripts, which were typically created by a group of
artists and scribes, the entire Lindisfarne Gospels is the work of one
man, Eadfrith, Bishop of Lindisfarne between 698 and 721. What makes
these Gospels unique is the combination of styles used, which
incorporates Celtic, Mediterranean and Anglo-Saxon designs. The texts
are believed to have been dedicated to Saint Cuthbert, who died in 687
and who had a shrine dedicated to him at the monastery.
8th, 794, the Vikings raided Lindisfarne in the first and most infamous
of their attacks. Writing some centuries later, Simeon of Durham says
that many monks were killed outright, others driven into hiding or
drowned in the sea, and still others were "taken away in fetters." While
by no means a witness or even contemporary of the raids, Simeon’s
version mirrors descriptions of other forays by Vikings.
Lindisfarne Gospels were a foot high and enclosed in a bejeweled cover
that was either lost or looted. But the manuscript itself was saved from
Viking plunder by a group of monks who fled the invading Norsemen....