Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Catholic balance: source of joy and calm in the Light Ages

Ávila, muralhas. Glória da Idade Média
(The walled city of Avila, Spain.)
There is something that speaks of battle and war in the walls of the cathedrals and castles and cities of the Middle Ages.

At the same time, these walls express something of balance and harmony, and joy of soul.

The famous walls of Avila were built to repel the Moorish invasions.  The walls are high, the towers are strong - they express days of tragedy.

From the top of one of these towers, you can imagine the sentries watching, from afar, the advance detachment of an Arab army that was approaching.

Here they prepared for an arduous fight, to defend the city from a rough siege, with all the dangers and risks involved in siege warfare of the time.

Ávila, muralhas. Glória da Idade Média

The Spanish defenders could lose the city and be enslaved by the Moors.  Husband and wife, for example, could be enslaved and sold in different markets and never see one another again.  Parents could see their children killed before their eyes.  Worst of all, they could be deprived of the Sacraments.

In the immoral and degraded civilization of the Moors, the occasions of sin were everywhere.

The captive ran the risk of dying without contrition for sin and end up in Hell.  Therefore, at the moment of battle, the mouth of hell could open for those who fought with heroism.

On the other hand, we see balance of soul expressed by those walls, and expressed in the dignity of those who faced all risks with Faith.  And this calm dignity seems to transmit joy to the very stones that shine in the light of the brilliant afternoon sun.

What equilibrium!

Ordem e alegria medieval, Glória da Idade Média

The virtue of equilibrium was the cornerstone of the happiness of the Middle Ages.

In this equilibrium, all licit states of soul were balanced and lived side by side in harmony.

As a result, the soul felt secure, calm, and grounded.   The soul had the psychological distance to consider beautiful things, ultimately reaching the consideration of Our Lady and God.

This equilibrium was the starting for all the great joy, heroism and sanctity of the Middle Ages.

It is this equilibrium, therefore, that Catholics should strive for more than anything else.

Search for this equilibrium and you will have the happiness of the Middle Ages and of the Holy Catholic Church.

by Plinio Correa de Oliveira, taken and translated and adapted by me from:


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