Friday, November 23, 2012

French Travels Pt. 1.

Orleans, though a city with a great history, would have to wait for another visit from us, as our schedule did not permit a visit.  Our next days would involve travel from Orleans to Lyon, and no time to spare.  We left somewhat later this day, having slept in and breakfasted on bread and Nutella.  We drove to the small town of Benoit-sur-Loire, where the relics of St. Benedict are held by a sizable abbey.

Though Monte Cassino in Italy claims that they have St. Benedict's relics, they have not produced anything, and there is a strong tradition of the relics having been moved to France for safekeeping.  Anyway, we venerated the relics after the mass for the day. The mass was a strange mixture of old and new, (like much in France) with chanted propers and common parts of the mass, and random elements like the faithful placing their own host in the ciborium of clay, etc.  Odd, to say the least.  I had noticed, both at St. Benoit and Chartres, that though there was a monastic presence, it was severely curtailed in comparison to what had once been.  It was as if monastic living was withering with age and harsh exposure in the modern world.  The somewhat bizarre juxtaposition of  modern liturgical practices with Gregorian Chant only served to accentuate the diminishing of Benedictine glory.
  After St. Benoit, we drove another few hours until we reached the town of Nevers, where we prayed before the body of St. Bernadette Soubirous.  The Saint is preserved for public veneration in a shrine at the convent she had joined (the Motherhouse of  the Sisters of Charity)
partly in order to flee the publicity in Lourdes.  Her body is incorrupt,
with the slight discolorations of the skin covered over with a light wax
mask.  One can easily discern her character by regarding her coun-
tenance, one of determination and stern resolution, yet one of devotion.
   After shopping for a picnic dinner in Nevers, we continued on to our evening destination, Autun. Autun is a fascinating location, settled by the Romans, once under Moslem control before Charles Martel defeated them near Tours.  It was also the home of the military school where Napoleon studied, and learned French as a nine-year-old.  We stayed on the outskirts of town and did not go exploring due to a migraine on my part.  It did provide an opportunity for one of my favorite pictures from the trip, of the Cath├ędrale Saint-Lazare d'Autun at night.  Stay tuned for more.


Of Quiet Men

Pat Archbold, one of the Creative Minority Report blogging brothers, has a fantastic article on quiet men.  It calls to mind the words of Proverbs about the wise man who speaks not, and the fool who prattles.  Alas that we could say otherwise of our times, but it is a time of fools.


The link:

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Where did time go?

Coming back from Europe meant we were thrust back in to our daily lives, and it would seem that they are lives without time.  At least we would seem to have insufficient amounts of it.  That missing time is right there, I'm just not good at using it well.  That means all the blog posts we had are still unfinished, and we are at Chartres!  Well, more updates are coming, I promise.  For now, enjoy a sight we saw in Europe.