Sunday, 31 August 2014

Month of September is dedicated to the Seven Sorrows of Mary

Our Lady of Sorrows Old Roman Catholic Church
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Our Lady of Sorrows Old Roman Catholic Church. Coleman & Lonas Rds. area. Knoxville, Tennessee 37909 865-298-0422
    THE POPE'S MONTHLY INTENTIONS - August 2014. Universal Intention - Refugees. That refugees, forced by violence to abandon their homes, may find a ..   THE POPE'S MONTHLY INTENTIONS - September 2014

    • Universal Intention - Mentally disabledTThat the mentally disabled may receive the love and help they need for a dignified life.
    • Evangelization Intention - Service to the poor. That Christians, inspired by the Word of God, may serve the poor and suffering.
    • Month of the Seven Sorrows of Mary    
  3. The month of September (Overview - Calendar) is dedicated to the Seven Sorrows of Mary. Devotion to the sorrows of the Virgin Mary dates from the twelfth century, when it made its appearance in monastic circles under the influence of St. Anselm and St. Bernard. The Cistercians and then the Servites undertook to propagate it. It became widespread in the fourteenth and especially the fifteenth centuries, particularly in the Rhineland and Flanders, where Confraternities of the Sorrowful Mother sprang up. It was in this context that the first liturgical formularies in her honor were composed. A provincial council of Mainz in 1423 made use of these in establishing a "Feast of the Sorrows of Mary" in reparation for Hussite profanations of her images.
    In 1494 the feast appeared in Bruges, where the Precious Blood of Christ was venerated; later on it made its way into France. It did not, however, become widespread in France before Benedict XIII included it in the Roman Calendar in 1727 and assigned it to the Friday before Palm Sunday.
    Some Churches had previously celebrated this feast during the Easter season. Others, however, celebrated the Joys of the Blessed Virgin during the Easter season, as is still done today at Braga. In some places it was entitled "Recollection of the Feasts and Joys of the Blessed Virgin Mary."
    Excerpted from The Church at Prayer, Vol. IV A.G. Martimort.
    Fr. Faber on the Seven Sorrows
    God vouchsafed to select the very things about Him which are most incommunicable, and in a most mysteriously real way communicate them to her. See how He had already mixed her up with the eternal designs of creation, making her almost a partial cause and partial model of it. Our Lady's co-operation in the redemption of the world gives us a fresh view of her magnificence. Neither the Immaculate Conception nor the Assumption will give us a higher idea of Mary's exaltation than the title of co-redemptress. Her sorrows were not necessary for the redemption of the world, but in the counsels of God they were inseparable from it. They belong to the integrity of the divine plan. Are not Mary's mysteries Jesus' mysteries, and His mysteries hers? The truth appears to be that all the mysteries of Jesus and Mary were in God's design as one mystery. Jesus Himself was Mary's sorrow, seven times repeated, aggravated sevenfold. During the hours of the Passion, the offering of Jesus and the offering of Mary were tied in one. They kept pace together; they were made of the same materials; they were perfumed with kindred fragrance; they were lighted with the same fire; they were offered with kindred dispositions. The two things were one simultaneous oblation, interwoven each moment through the thickly crowded mysteries of that dread time, unto the eternal Father, out of two sinless hearts, that were the hearts of Son and Mother, for the sins of a guilty world which fell on them contrary to their merits, but according to their own free will.
    — Fr. Frederick Faber, The Foot of the Cross.
  4. Liturgical Year : SeptemberMonth of the Seven Sorrows of ...

      The month of September (Overview - Calendar) is dedicated to the Seven Sorrows of Mary. Devotion to the sorrows of the Virgin Mary dates from the twelfth ...

The parable of the talents. Fr. Raymond

Dear William,
Thank you for the response to the Email on the Parable of the Talents.
Your own inspiring quest of the trail on the third Talent set us on the trail.
The Homiletic prayer talk of Fr. Raymond by passes the supposed barriers.
And to crown your comments illuminate it more.
God bless
Fr. Doanld
St. Ninian Cave 31 Aug 2014
Fw: Fw: The parable of the talents. 

Homily of Father Raymond. 

Sancta Maria Abbey: (Website)    
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On Saturday, 30 August 2014, 22:36, 
William ...> wrote:
Dear Fathers,
What a very fine homily Father Raymond! There lies the wonder of Grace, drawing out our responsiveness, to the fulfilment of God's investment in each and every one.
It doesn't lie in human 'measurement' (as I might, alas, have again misread... 'much given, much expected') but in the encouragement to fulfil the give of God's love, freely given - the Key words, the very title of your homily!
Oh I delight in, and will always remember, your 'coin of virtue' - the brass coin of humility, the silver coin of self sacrifice, 'all the way up to the gold coin of pure love' - what an investment in mankind!! 'All have the wealth of God's grace at their disposal' - such Talents beyond counting are truly 'priceless', 'available to the poorest of the poor and the richest of the rich'.
As ALWAYS, your homily contains a challenge...."How do we reach into the purse of our souls to bring out that coin [of love]?" and even more challenging, "How do we offer it to buy God's grace for ourselves - and for others of course?" The Talent has changed from something invested to something we are to invest! And - perhaps - one must add, to be invested wisely, else we buy negative equity, that is the bitterness and the reproach of love's envy, possession, jealousy, etc? "the painful realities of life on this earth". Can the gold coin of love ever be without impurities until it is cast into the heavenly fire of God's love?...
So, as Christ 'goes on His journey' and entrusts His gifts to men, are we bold enough - and humble enough and faithful enough - to take up His challenge, and expand our desire or do we bury it in our own lack of faith and commitment?
In modern parlance, if He is 'talent spotting' will his choice include us and recommend us to others?
That has been a wonderful excursion, THANK YOU indeed. I am the wiser for it, and I hope... the richer.
With my love in Our Lord,
----Original message----
From :Fr. Raymond    
Date : 30/08/2014 - 18:33 (GMTDT)
To : william   
Subject : Fw: The parable of the talents 

           “Come to the water all you who are thirsty; though you have no money, come!  Buy corn without money, and wine and milk at no cost!”
          This is one of the most beautiful and memorable sayings of Scripture.  This “gem” of a saying from the Prophet Isaiah is one of the most telling images we have of the workings of Grace.  Did even the words of Jesus ever surpass it in all the beautiful word pictures he gave us of God’s grace?
          This saying of Isaiah tells us that even the poorest of the poor have all the wealth of God’s grace at their disposal and simply for the asking.  Even in nature all the best things are free: love, friendship, family, the air we breathe, the sun and moon and the stars.  How much more are the priceless gifts of God’s grace.  Like Adam and Eve in Paradise, we need only reach out to take their fruits.
          However, it must be admitted that there is a certain price to be paid for God’s so-called “free gifts”.  But it is a price that has to be paid in a ‘coin’ which is as much available to the poorest of the poor as it is to the richest of the rich.  It is the ‘coin’ of virtue.  And the coin of virtue has many denominations;  from the brass coin of humility, to the silver coin of self sacrifice, and all the way up to the gold coin of pure love.  And each and every one of these coins can be found in the ‘money-bag of our own souls. And each and every one of us is free to spend it.  In this sense, everyone is a millionaire!
          But to consider now the most precious of these coins: the coin of love.  “Nothing can come between us and the love of Christ” as St Paul tells us in the second reading today.  That is Christ’s love for us.  But what about our love for Christ?  How do we reach into the purse of our souls to bring out that coin?  How do we offer it to buy God’s grace for ourselves – and for others of course?
          St Paul has a well known passage on love in his First Letter to the Corinthians.  But some of  the things he says about it are rather off-putting.  He says that love doesn’t envy, it doesn’t boast, it’s not rude, or easily angered; it doesn’t bear grudges etc.  Now if Heaven is to be a kingdom of love, is that what heaven is going to be like;  with everybody going around not envying, not boasting, not being angry, not bearing grudges etc.!?  A very negative kind of existence that!  But these things are not so much ‘love’ as the reaction of ‘love’ to the painful realities of life on this earth.  These are descriptions, not of the essence of love, but of how love copes with adversity.  But in heaven, of course, there will be no adversties.  How then can we define love simply and purely in itself , for what it is in its own essence?  If I would dare to attempt such a definition I would put it something like this “Love is the enjoyment of communion of life with another.”  “All I have and all I am is yours and I know that all you have and all you are is mine.  Come let us enjoy it together.”
This ‘definition’ can be applied to our life with God, whether on earth or in heaven.  And surely, to grasp it and to practice in can make even our life on earth a true beginning of heaven.  It is perhaps summed up in that other saying of St Paul: “Whether you eat or whether you drink do it all for the glory of God.”
          We could hardly begin each day better than with these words on our lips: “All I am and all that I have, Lord, is yours.  And I know that all you are and all that you have is mine.  Come let us live it and enjoy it together this day.”   
The surfing on some high waves -. 

1. Joachim Jeremias, The Parables of Jesus, maybe  regarded as the definitive book on this subject. Matthew. p.58 ff.

2. Sacra Pagina, Gospel of Matthew, D. J. Harrington S.J., Interpretation p.352 ff.

3. Knox-Cox, The Gospel Story, Harmony Mt. 25; 14-30, Lk. 19:11-27

Scotland Independent Referendum

COMMENT: The Circular was read at the Sunday Mass 31 August 2014
Saint Ninian Pigrimage; Intercessions include prayer for the pilgrims at Whithorn, Cave of St. Ninian....

Fw: News from the Catholic Church

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On Friday, 29 August 2014, 11:44, "" <> wrote:

29 August 2014

Scotland’s Archbishops urge Referendum participation

Both of Scotland’s Catholic Archbishops; Archbishop Philip Tartaglia of Glasgow and Archbishop Leo Cushley of St. Andrews and Edinburgh, will this weekend ((30 & 31 August) distribute pastoral messages on the Independence Referendum to be read at all Masses.

Both Archbishops will urge participation in the referendum and ask Catholics to engage with the issues being raised in the period up to 18 September.

Archbishop Tartaglia commented:

"The Scottish Independence Referendum is now just a short time away. Along with the Bishops of Scotland, who are deeply conscious of the importance of this referendum, I encourage and urge all those eligible to vote to do so with complete freedom of choice and in accordance with their prayerful judgment of what is best for the future. May God guide us and bless us in whatever choice we make in good conscience.”

Archbishop Cushley said:

"I encourage you, in the light of Catholic social teaching, carefully to consider the issues and to do your civic duty on the day itself. No matter the result of the Referendum, I would hope that all Catholics will continue to engage positively in public discourse, and ensure that the Christian message and its values are better expressed and understood, to the benefit of the whole community.  By doing so, our beloved land will be a more just, peaceful and prosperous place for all its citizens. “


Peter Kearney
Catholic Media Office
5 St. Vincent Place
G1 2DH
0141 221 1168(T)
0141 204 2458(F)
07968 122291(M)

Note to Editors:

1. The full text of both messages are shown below:

My dear Brothers and Sisters,

The Scottish Independence Referendum is now just a short time away. Along with the Bishops of Scotland, who are deeply conscious of the importance of this referendum, I encourage and urge all those eligible to vote to do so with complete freedom of choice and in accordance with their prayerful judgment of what is best for the future. May God guide us and bless us in whatever choice we make in good conscience.

Yours devotedly in Christ,

+Philip Tartaglia
Archbishop of Glasgow

My dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

On the occasion of the referendum on Scottish independence, I have been approached several times now by some who would like to know where Scots Catholics, or where I personally, may stand on the matter.  To those of you who wish a word from me in this regard, I would say the following.

Like everyone else, Catholics are a part of the world.  Urged by the love of Christ, we are called, to be citizens who contribute positively to the common good and who strive always to consider others and their good before our own.  We are called to promote peace, integral human development and authentic human rights, and to have a special care for the poorest and the weakest in society.

We are also concerned for the rights of all people, to freedom of conscience and to the right to believe and to practise their faith.  These freedoms are as important as they are fragile, as has been proven all too often, to the dismay and death of many millions. These freedoms are absolutely essential to a modern democratic society and we should always be vigilant of those who would seek to limit them.

Since all of us are made in the image and likeness of God, no matter our race, our beliefs or the way we live, we also have a concern for moral values based upon our common humanity.

The promotion, therefore, of laws which allow us to believe, teach and live our faith and morals is and will always be of concern to us, whether at the Scottish, UK or European levels. So I encourage you, in the light of Catholic social teaching, carefully to consider the issues and to do your civic duty on the day itself.

No matter the result of the Referendum, I would hope that all Catholics will continue to engage positively in public discourse, and ensure that the Christian message and its values are better expressed and understood, to the benefit of the whole community.  By doing so, our beloved land will be a more just, peaceful and prosperous place for all its citizens.

With my prayerful good wishes to you all, I willingly invoke God’s blessings upon you.

+ Leo Cushley
Archbishop of St Andrews & Edinburgh

Saturday, 30 August 2014

Matthew 25: 14-30 ...' you can be faithful in small things, I will trust you with greater; come and join in your master's happiness. ...'


Saturday, 30 August 2014  

Saturday of the Twenty-first week in Ordinary TimeHoly Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Matthew 25:14-30.Jesus told his disciples this parable: “A man going on a journey called in his servants and entrusted his possessions to them. 

Fw: faithful in small things, I will trust you with greater; come and join in your master's happiness
Sancta Maria Abbey: (Website)    
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On Saturday, 30 August 2014, 14:44, 
William ...> wrote:
Dear Father Donald,
I delight in your reply, thank you!
George is the answer to the conundrum... responding to the grace afforded to him, to develop his talents for the furtherance of his living in correspondence with his charitable vocation. 
I sometimes puzzle over how it is that contradictions challenge me so! Perhaps, like St Matthew, I spent too long in the world of commerce with its worldly ambition?
Happy now, thank you! Talent is not just openness to Grace, but its responsiveness. Hans von Balthasar looks to the mind of God in His gifts, not our strengths or weaknesses. 
----Original message----
From : nunrawdonald...
Date : 30/08/2014 - 13:30 (GMTDT)
To : william..........
Cc : .........
Subject : faithful in small things, I will trust you with greater; come and join in your master's happiness

 The parable of the talents
On Saturday, 30 August 2014, 7:20, William ...> wrote:
Dear Fathers,
I again feel troubled by the presentation of today's Gospel parable in Matthew, where Talents are said to be apportioned "according to each person's ability".
On the BBC news yesterday there was discussion of the 'findings' of a review into career opportunities relating to background, claiming that the top positions in society mostly seem to fall to those with privileged backgrounds.
: the Eton boy, then, given five talents, could be expected to make (at least!) five more: his father works in the city as a banker.
: the Grammar school boy, given two talents, would be expected to do well too: his father is a doctor / other professional.
: the less well educated boy, whose father is a miner / shop worker - unless born to caring parents - would nervously guard such wealth entrusted to him.
Perhaps it is that Matthew's account is coloured by his 'worldly' experience with finance as a tax collector?
Peter, the humblest of fishermen, helps me to restate the parable, for he rose to the most influential position of all time!
And then, there are the exceptional use of talents given to loving mothers, carers, humble pastors.. those whose ambition is not of 'worldly' attainment.
A talent surely represents one's openness to grace... not 'according to each person's [worldly] ability'.
If one of the Community gives a homily on this parable, I would delight in reading it!
Just a 'backroom' boy,
COMMENT: from Donald
We have been pondering the paradox/contradiction this morning. George and Fr. Raymond in the Reception were thinking. They both help in the tearoom. Later they went to help George in fixing the organ. While there I mentioned the George is professional employed in the University technical trainings, full-time! Does the Lord criticise him for the security of his job, his talent, blame him for that.
The comment came to mind, it is obvious that George is here at weekends helping us at the monastery; he has so many our charitable tasks.
What the conclusion.
In the same MAGNIFICAT monthly has this Meditation by HANS URS VON BALTHASAR queries the obvous contradiction.
How is my addled brain to match Hans and William (Comment), after my siesta?
God love.

Matthew 25: 14-30
... you can be faithful in small things, I will trust you with greater; come and join in your master's happiness. ...'

The Parable of the Talents
In the parable, the man who received only talent failed to catch sight of the unity of gift and could not see the gift's mercy, only its requirem he then found himself trapped in obvious contradiction.
When called to account, he confessed, "I you are a stern man: you reap where you do not sow, and gather where you have not scattered," and because I was afraid, I buried the money in the earth. Here. You can have it back again." One might think that he would have worked with all his might to please such a stern master, but no, he "was afraid". He received his existence under his cloud of anxiety–a paralysing fear–and accomplished something that corresponded to the meaning with which he received the gift. What he buried was the sense for gift and fruitfulness, and thus the gift itself became meaningless to him. He does not return the gift with the fruitfulness it possesses; rather, he throws it back at the giver like Judas threw down the silver pieces in the temple, since neither he nor the high priest had any more use for them (Mt 27:5).
The "lazy servant" is deprived of what he had without depriving it of any value, and it is given to the one who recognises the essence of gift. "From him who has not, even that which he has will be taken away" (Mt 25:29) means that whoever fails to recognise in the "God who has gone away" the one who is present in his gift, de­spite his ability to do so (as his self-contradictory words make clear), considers the existence "he has" to be so worthless that he no longer possesses anything in the existence he has.
FATHER HANS URS VON BALTHASAR Father von Balthasar (+ 1988) was an eminent Swiss Catholic theologian and co-founder of a religious community. His extensive writings were an important influence on Saint John Paul 1/.
PS. It was the end of bother finding Fr. Raymond's PASSWORD to his Mobile phone. Eventually we succeeded in the forge of the Computer Room. D.G. 


Friday, 29 August 2014

The Passion of Saint John the Baptist

Salome with the Head of John the Baptist,
Caravaggio (London)

Mass Introduction.
Fr. Nivard
Sancta Maria Abbey: (Website)  
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On Friday, 29 August 2014, 19:02, 
Nivard McGlynn ...> wrote:

Magnificaat, adapted,

21 Fri. 29 Aug 2014 

Mk 6 17-29. 

Give me his head.
   The task set before the Baptiswas to become blessed bhi unquestioning acceptance of God's obscure will.
   He reached the point of not asking for external, visible signs.
   He discovered God in the darkness of this world. He was blessed.
   John had to respond to his own call for metanoioa change omentality.       
   Only when we act like this does the greatest saying of thBaptisreveal itfull significance, 'He must increase, must decrease'.
   Pope Benedict said that we will know God to the extent that we are set free from ourselves.
Father in heaven, Give us hope and joy in the promise of everlasting life with you in your kingdom, through Christ Jesus our Lord.

Saint Augustine, bishop (Lib. 7, 10, 18; 10, 27) 'O Eternal truth, true love and beloved eternity'

Saint of the day: 28th August
St Augustine of Hippo

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COMMENT: The revolving of doors at the airport remind me of  my following the paragraphs of St. Augustine. If I skip one step in the round, I have to jump in a next step.....
Yesterday Post gives the Link for the the On-line Audio.
(Lib. 7, 10, 18; 10, 27: )  
   C:\Users\Donald\Downloads\   {Libri Vox - in public domain]   

From the Confessions of Saint Augustine, bishop
(Lib. 7, 10, 18; 10, 27: CSEL 33, 157-163, 255)

O eternal truth, true love, and beloved eternity

Urged to reflect upon myself, I entered under your guidance into the inmost depth of my soul. I was able to do so because you were my helper. On entering into myself I saw, as it were with the eye of the soul, what was beyond the eye of the soul, beyond my spirit: your immutable light. It was not the ordinary light perceptible to all flesh, nor was it merely something of greater magnitude but still essentially akin, shining more clearly and diffusing itself everywhere by its intensity. No it was something entirely distinct, something altogether different from all these things: and it did not rest above my mind as oil on the surface of water, nor was it above me as Heaven is above the Earth. This light was above me because it has made me; I was below it because I was created by it. He who has come to know the truth knows this light.

O Eternal truth, true love and beloved eternity. You are my God. To you do I sigh day and night. When I first came to know you, you drew me to yourself so that I might see that there were things for me to see, but that I myself was not yet ready to see them. Meanwhile you overcame the weakness of my vision, sending forth most strongly the beams of your light, and I trembled at once with love and dread. I learned that I was in a region unlike yours and far distant from you, and I thought I heard your voice from on high: “I am the food of grown men; grow then, and you will feed on me. Nor will you change me into yourself like bodily food, but you will be changed into me.”

I sought a way to gain the strength which I needed to enjoy you. But I did not find it until I embraced the mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who is above all, God blessed for ever. He was calling me and saying: I am the way of truth, I am the life. He was offering the food which I lacked the strength to take, the food he had mingled with our flesh. For the Word became flesh, that your wisdom, by which you created all things, might provide milk for us children.

Late have I loved you, O Beauty ever ancient, ever new, late have I loved you! You were within me, but I was outside, and it was there that I searched for you. In my unloveliness I plunged into the lovely things which you created. You were with me, but I was not with you. Created things kept me from you; yet if they had not been in you they would not have been at all. You called, you shouted, and you broke through my deafness. You flashed, you shone, and you dispelled my blindness. You breathed your fragrance on me; I drew in breath and now I pant for you. I have tasted you, now I hunger and thirst for more. You touched me, and I burned for your peace.


St John Co-Cathedral Valletta Malta

Martyrdom of John the Baptist
Friday, August 29, 2014
Feast Day: Friday, August 29, 2014
Salome with the Head of John the Baptist, Caravaggio (London)
Uploaded on 10 Mar 2009
St.John Co-Cathedral Valletta Malta

The Pope and Caravaggio, 
Eddie Lalor. Africa  St Patrick's Missions,May 2014 

Who Is Jorge Mario Bergoglio?

I have the first question ready, but then I decide not to follow the script that I had prepared for myself, and I ask him point-blank: “Who is Jorge Mario Bergoglio?” The pope stares at me in silence. I ask him if this is a question that I am allowed to ask.... He nods that it is, and he tells me: “I do not know what might be the most fitting description.... I am a sinner. This is the most accurate definition. It is not a figure of speech, a literary genre. I am a sinner.”
The pope continues to reflect and concentrate, as if he did not expect this question, as if he were forced to reflect further. “Yes, perhaps I can say that I am a bit astute, that I can adapt to circumstances, but it is also true that I am a bit naïve. Yes, but the best summary, the one that comes more from the inside and I feel most true is this: I am a sinner whom the Lord has looked upon.” And he repeats: “I ​​am one who is looked upon by the Lord. I always felt my motto,Miserando atque Eligendo [By Having Mercy and by Choosing Him], was very true for me.”
The motto is taken from the Homilies of Bede the Venerable,who writes in his comments on the Gospel story of the calling of Matthew: “Jesus saw a publican, and since he looked at him with feelings of love and chose him, he said to him, ‘Follow me.’” The pope adds: “I think the Latin gerund miserando is impossible to translate in both Italian and Spanish. I like to translate it with another gerund that does not exist: misericordiando [“mercy-ing”].
Pope Francis continues his reflection and tells me, in a change of topic that I do not immediately understand: “I do not know Rome well. I know a few things. These include the Basilica of St. Mary Major; I always used to go there.” I laugh and I tell him, “We all understood that very well, Holy Father!” “Right, yes”—the pope continues – “I know St. Mary Major, St. Peter’s...but when I had to come to Rome, I always stayed in [the neighborhood of] Via della Scrofa. From there I often visited the Church of St. Louis of France, and I went there to contemplate the painting of ‘The Calling of St. Matthew’ by Caravaggio.” I begin to intuit what the pope wants to tell me.
 “That finger of Jesus, pointing at Matthew. That’s me. I feel like him. Like Matthew.” Here the pope becomes determined, as if he had finally found the image he was looking for: “It is the gesture of Matthew that strikes me: he holds on to his money as if to say, ‘No, not me! No, this money is mine.’ Here, this is me, a sinner on whom the Lord has turned his gaze. And this is what I said when they asked me if I would accept my election as pontiff.” Then the pope whispers in Latin: “I am a sinner, but I trust in the infinite mercy and patience of our Lord Jesus Christ, and I accept in a spirit of penance.”

... Why Live with art: The Calling of St Matthew, Caravaggiovivreaveclart.blogspot.com640 × 613Search by image... Matthew for the same church, The Martyrdom of St Matthew and The Inspiration of Saint Matthew. The scene is an episode of the New Testament: Matthew was ... 

The Calling of St Matthew, Caravaggio

There's a huge debate about Caravaggio going on these days.
I won't go into the details of this matter because I simply don't have the authority nor the competence to discuss about it, but I'm carefully following every step of this affair.
And since there's this interesting discussion going on, what a better time to do a closer examination on this artist?

The work I choose for today's post is The Calling of St Matthew, made by Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio in 1600 for the Roman church of San Luigi dei Francesi. Caravaggio made two other paintings of Matthew for the same church, The Martyrdom of St Matthew and The Inspiration of Saint Matthew.

The scene is an episode of the New Testament: Matthew was a tax collector, and while he was sitting in the custom house Jesus told him "Follow me" and so he did. Matthew's job is suggested by the presence of some coins on the table.

The light enters from a point we can't see, on the right high angle, and it strikes Jesus' face, his hand and the men sitting at the table. In this way, it establish a direct bond between Jesus and Matthew.

Jesus is pointing right at Matthew with a gesture that has probably been inspired by the scene of the creation of Adam in the Sistine Chapel by Michelangelo.

The experts are still debating over Matthew's identity, as some believe that he's the bearded man, pointing at himself, while some others propose that he may be the younger man counting the coins (according to this interpretation, the bearded man would be pointing at him).

The painting is also useful to show how the artist worked. Every character has a particular, carefully prepared, almost theatrical pose: in fact, Caravaggio used to create some sets in which every model posed alone, and only in the end he had the complete composition depicted on his canvas.

Some studies proved that Jesus' figure is entirely painted even if we can see only his head and arm, so we can assume that Caravaggio started his painting portraying the figures on the background, then added those on the first ground over the ones he previously painted.  
The Ca