{    Cnytr   }

{Monday, February 25, 2013  }

.:{Ad te levavi}:.

Right as I said I'm no longer thinking the same sort of thoughts as when I was studying, I came across a huge cache (thank you, Pinterest!) of Medieval illuminations. This one, from a 14th century manuscript from the Netharlands, was too striking not to post.

Plus, the description given on its page on the collections leaves something to be desired:

Cut-out initial A illuminated in water-based pigment on parchment with a gold-leaf background with cusped outline. This historiated initial shows tonsured priest with a white habit kneeling before an altar. His hands are raised in prayer as he performs the Elevation of the Host, and offers his soul up to God. God the Father blesses from clouds above. The left bar of the initial A is formed from a dragon, it's neck is elongated and stretches along the top, so that the dragon's head comes out at the top right corner of the initial. The right bar of the initial is a column with a red, blue and gold chequered pattern and the cross bar is red with blue outline and white decoration. The initial is set against a gold, blue and white chequered background below the cross bar and foliage with acorns above. A dog stands in the top margin and there is further decoration of grotesque heads, flowers and foliage in red, white, blue and green.

Yes to that, but of course it misses the point. This is not just the priest "offering his soul to God", this is the very moment of transubstantiation, of Christ's "do this in memory of me". This image is working hard to affirm the Truth of the faith, the presence of Christ in the Eucharist, who is as Vatican II put it, the "source and summit" of the Christian life. Christ is the fruitful vine (which we see above the crossbar in the "A"), the New Adam who creates us all anew (the blessing God the Father at least recalls to my mind the creation, and thus in this context the New Creation).

Ad te levavi oculos meos, qui habitas in coelis. Ecce sicut oculi servorum in manibus dominorum suorum, sicut oculi ancillae in manibus dominae suae, ita oculi nostri ad Dominum Deum nostrum, donec misereatur nostri. Miserere nostri, Domine quia multum repleti sumus despectione.

I have lifted my eyes up unto you, who dwell in the heavens. Behold, as the eyes of servants look to the hands of their masters; And as the eyes of a maidservant to the hands of her mistress; So do our eyes look unto the Lord our God until he have mercy on us. Have mercy on us, O Lord, have mercy on us.

This is the "Ad te levavi" from the first sunday of Advent that accompanies the "A":

posted by Lauren, 11:48 AM


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