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Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Strength for the Week by Sr. Kathryn | Pauline Books & Media

Strength for the Week
What will last beyond the power of "politics"?
Reading 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."

There 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 beautiful Scripture 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!

Enjoy the article below and make sure you click into the Illuminate Your World presentation. You can download a free page to color here.

Sr. Kathryn

These 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 others. 

Illuminated Manuscripts: Shining the Light of Christ on a Violent World
While 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.

On June 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.

The 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....

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