The Mystery of the Our Father’s Ending

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Why do Christians say the Our Father (the “Lord’s Prayer”) slightly differently?

Catholics conclude with “deliver us from evil,” whereas most Protestants, following Matthew 6:13 in the King James Version, go on to say something like, “For yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever.”

Are Catholics leaving out this phrase from Jesus’ prayer, or are Protestants adding to it?

Neither seems to be a good idea for Christians (e.g., Deut. 4:2, 12:21; Prov. 30:6; Rev. 22:19). To some Protestants, the Catholic omission seems like a clear example of the Church “subtracting from Scripture” (due to some “tradition of men,” perhaps). However, the history behind this little phrase is a bit more involved—and it argues for the reliability of Church tradition, not against it.

The first thing to note is that the prayer differs even among the Gospels themselves. Although the form in Matthew is the one used by nearly all Christians today, a shorter version is recorded in Luke chapter 11, where it ends with “lead us not into temptation” (v.4). So technically, one would be completely biblically justified in simply ending the prayer there.

A second interesting thing is that the verse in question is not included in the “oldest and best” biblical manuscripts, and is therefore not considered by the majority of biblical scholars today, whether Catholic or Protestant, to be part of the original biblical text. The King James Version of the Bible is based on the Textus Receptus, which itself was not based on the oldest manuscripts we have today. Neither Codex Sinaiticus nor Vaticanus contains the verse—in fact, the earliest witness we have to the longer ending of the Our Father is a late fourth- or early fifth-century parchment called Codex Washingtonensis.

The English wording of the Our Father that Protestants use today reflects the version based on the English version of the Bible produced by Tyndale in 1525. Tyndale’s version was not found in the liturgical tradition of western Christendom until the 1637 Scottish Book of Common Prayer. And although the longer ending remains popular today, there are many Bibles that do not include it. Catholic Bible translations (e.g., the Vulgate, the Douay-Rheims, or the New American) have never included it, and most Protestant Bibles do not either.[1] Even modern versions of the King James includes a footnote stating that the phrase is omitted in older manuscripts.

Furthermore, although early Church Fathers such as Jerome, Gregory the Great, Ambrose, and Augustine wrote of the importance and beauty of the “Our Father” prayer, none of them included the phrase when they referenced it. The commentaries on the prayer by Tertullian, Origen, and Cyprian do not include it either. John Chrysostom did discuss the phrase in his fourth-century homily on Matthew (19:10).

When we turn from Scripture commentary to Church Tradition, we find this phrase (which resembles 1 Chronicles 29:11) in ancient liturgical use as a short doxology (praise response) to the Lord’s Prayer. The Christian manual known as the Didache (c. A.D. 95) has a short version of the doxology after the Our Father in chapter 8, and the longer reading is found in the fourth-century Apostolic Constitutions (7.24). From there it was incorporated into the Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom as well. Thus, it seems that this phrase might very well have been a doxology—a conclusion to the original prayer that Jesus instructed his disciples to say.

Scriptural and traditional evidence points to a fourth-century addition of the phrase to the original prayer. It is likely that around this time, a scribe familiar with the liturgy added the doxology to Sacred Scripture while copying the Our Father passage, and it found its way into later translations of the Bible itself. These copies eventually outnumbered the more ancient documents, and the phrase was included in the Gospels in the majority of ancient Bible manuscripts from then on.

When early Protestants produced their own Bible translations in the sixteenth century, they used the majority text as their source. The result was that their translations included the phrase as if it were part of the original Gospel writings. In England, Tyndale’s translation included it, and when Henry VIII split from the Catholic Church, he decreed its inclusion in worship. Finally, the virulently anti-Catholic Queen Elizabeth had it included in the Anglican Book of Common Prayer. Once it was brought over to America by the Puritans, the phrase’s addition was further solidified.

So, in conclusion, it seems that English Protestants added a traditional Catholic prayer to the Bible in order to distance themselves from what they thought were unbiblical Catholic traditions. Although Protestants have corrected many of their modern Bible translations, it seems their tradition(!) of adding a Catholic doxology to the scriptural Lord’s Prayer may take a bit more time to overcome.

[1]  The ASV, CEV, ESV, GWT, GNT, NET, NIV, NIRV, NLT, and TNIV do not include the phrase, and others such as the HCSB, NASB, and NCV often bracket the phrase to set it off from the original text.

by Douglas M. Beaumont, in catholic.com

A Mystic for Our Time

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I have a power in my soul which is ever receptive to God. I am as certain [of that] as that I am a man, that nothing is so close to me as God. God is closer to me than I am to myself: my being depends on God’s being near me and present to me. — Meister Eckhart (circa 1260-1328)

The scenario is bleak: Consumerism and materialism dominate all aspects of social life. Older people look with alarm at the crumbling of civic and religious institutions. Young people view the future with a sense of foreboding. Politicians appear self-interested, religious leaders hypocritical, business people ever more corrupt. Violence is escalating at home and abroad, with no ready solution in sight. Alienation and disorientation are pervasive.

Whatever similarities we may find in our contemporary predicament, the society I’m describing is 14th-century Germany. As in 21st-century America, many people of the time, feeling battered by the world around them, sought spiritual wisdom and a more profound connection to the divine. In the early 1300s, this meant that a large number of practicing Christians, laypeople and clerics alike, were searching for a more direct and satisfying experience of God’s presence than what they found in familiar institutional practices.

The potential chaos embodied in these grassroots, subjective movements alarmed some Church leaders. From his seat in Avignon, Pope John XXII, while mostly concerned with matters of state, sought to rein in both the “radical” Franciscans, who preached the importance of apostolic poverty, and the women known as beguines, who formed what we would today call intentional religious communities — groups of spiritually likeminded laypeople, rather than members of a formal religious order, who lived and prayed together.

In the midst of this tumult, many Christian seekers in the Rhineland of what is today western Germany found life-altering wisdom in the preaching of a Dominican friar, Eckhart von Hochheim, better known as Meister (“Master”) Eckhart. An acclaimed scholar trained at the University of Paris, Meister Eckhart sought to bring the fruits of his many years of theological and philosophical study and contemplation to lay audiences — an unusual aspiration among priest-scholars, who typically considered such matters beyond the comprehension of average people.

Even more revolutionary was Eckhart’s message. Unlike most preachers of the day, who focused on sin and eternal punishment, he described a process he called “the divine birth,” in which true believers could experience God directly within them. The key lay in letting go of all worldly things, all desires and preconceptions — even one’s image of God himself: “The more completely you are able to draw in your powers to a unity and forget all those things and their images which you have absorbed, and the further you can get from creatures and their images, the nearer you are to this [divine birth] and the readier to receive it.”

Then, he said — “in the midst of silence” — God would come within the soul.

Meister Eckhart’s way to “know” God directly was shaped by two central insights, the products of many years of study and contemplation. The first was that the seeker must “unknow” everything he or she thinks about God. Human language and images are essentially metaphorical, comparing things to one another. But God is completely other. Obviously he is not an old man with a flowing white beard (or even a “he”), but he is also not a being in the sense that we normally mean. It is more accurate, according to Eckhart, to say that God is Being itself, since all existence derives from him. “We should learn not to give God any name . . . for God is above names and ineffable.” In fact, Eckhart warns, “if you think of anything he might be, he is not that.” This deconstruction of images of God, in which we come closer to knowing the ineffable divine by negative attributions — God does not exist in time or space, for instance — than by positive attributions, is known as negative theology, a tradition dating back to St. Augustine.

“We are the cause of all our hindrances. Guard yourself against yourself, then you will have guarded well.” — Meister Eckhart

God’s “unknowability” in word and image was a hard concession for a professional scholar who had invested himself in coming to know God through a rigorous probing of Scripture and Catholic tradition. But the more that Eckhart had tried to approach God rationally, the more frustrated he had become. Instead he came upon a second key insight: One could “know” God through direct experience. Later scholars would call such an approach “mystical,” but a more accurate and less loaded term for what Eckhart meant would be “intuitive”: Rather than trying to know God from the outside, through our senses and intellect, we should try to know him from the inside, from that divine presence already within each of us.

Eckhart called this presence “the divine spark.” He preached that, through a contemplative process of self-emptying, or “letting-go-ness,” the seeker will directly encounter the God within. Only with the death of the old and false self, in theological terms, could the new and true self be born.

The concept traces to St. Paul, who directed Christians to “put away the old self of your former way of life, corrupted through deceitful desires, and be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and put on the new self, created in God’s way in righteousness and holiness of truth.” In Eckhart’s interpretation, the resulting “divine birth” represented no mere metaphor but a direct encounter of the individual soul with the divine. The best news was that God was eager to fully embrace the seeker: “You need not seek him here or there,” he wrote. “He is no further than the door of your heart; there he stands patiently awaiting whoever is ready to open up and let him in. No need to call him from afar: He can hardly wait for you to open up. He longs for you a thousand times more than you long for him.”

Eckhart’s message both excited and unnerved the Christians of his day. Although he never denigrated the external forms of piety around him — he was an active priest — his focus on the internal, on contemplation, was highly unusual, even unsettling to many lay listeners. The Church they knew preached that each person’s salvation depended on the performance of good works and acts of contrition, yet these were absent from Eckhart’s teaching. The Church they knew revolved around the veneration of saints and the celebration of sacraments, yet these played no apparent role in the internal self-transcendence Eckhart described. The Church they knew esteemed monks, nuns and other contemplatives as closer to God than the layperson, yet Eckhart preached that direct experience of God was accessible to any true seeker, regardless of social or religious status.

It is a testament to the truly “catholic” nature of medieval Christianity that what Eckhart called  “a wayless way” to divine union — and subsequent commentators would call apophatic or imageless mysticism — coexisted peacefully with Eucharistic devotions, pilgrimages and penitential self-flagellation. Not until late in his life did Eckhart become caught up in an inquisitorial procedure, based largely on local politics, that culminated in several of his statements being condemned in a papal bull as “evil-sounding.” After eliminating these more controversial statements, his disciples Johannes Tauler and Blessed Heinrich Suso continued to attract followers after the master’s death in the late 1320s. Still, after several decades the master himself faded into obscurity.

Fast forward seven centuries and the medieval Dominican friar has emerged as something of a modern spiritual celebrity. Millions of Roman Catholics and other Christians now claim Meister Eckhart as one of their own, not to mention many Zen Buddhists, Sufi Muslims, Advaita Vedanta Hindus, Jewish Cabalists and a variety of other seekers who describe themselves as “spiritual but not religious.” In the United States, interest in Eckhart owes much to the popularity of his namesake, Eckhart (born Ulrich) Tolle, a spiritual teacher and author whose beliefs weave together the medieval master’s teachings with an eclectic blend of contemporary Eastern and New Age concepts. Thanks in part to the massively influential endorsement of A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose by Oprah’s Book Club, the modern Eckhart’s books have together been translated into more than 30 languages and sold some 10 million copies worldwide.

What is it that all these people see in the words of this sage from a distant era? The most common denominator appears to be an attraction to Eckhart’s revolutionary method of direct access to God (or, for some, to ultimate reality) — a profoundly subjective approach that is at once intuitive and pragmatic, philosophical yet non-rational, and above all, universally accessible. Many modern Christian authors, such as the Franciscan priest Richard Rohr — who calls Eckhart a “mystic’s mystic” — view his teachings as part of a long Christian contemplative tradition.

“Where is this hidden God? It is just as if a man were to hide himself and then to give himself away by clearing his throat. God has done the same. No man could ever have found God, but he has revealed his presence.” — Meister Eckhart

Despite that noble pedigree, Meister Eckhart was late to gain notice among modern Christians. His attractiveness to many contemporary Catholics ironically owes much to the post-Vatican II Church’s intensified engagement with other world religions. The Council’s 1965 declaration Nostra aetate (“In Our Time”) is best known for its repudiation of Catholicism’s long tradition of anti-Semitic statements, but it also represented the Church’s first genuine outreach to Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism and other non-Christian religious traditions. By a vote of 2,221 to 88, the Council affirmed that the Holy Spirit can indeed be at work in these faiths as well, although obviously not to the same degree as in Christ’s ordained Church.

Already by that time, several Catholic thinkers had begun to explore affinities with non-Christian religions, particularly those of Asia. One of the most famous of those spiritual explorers, the Trappist monk Thomas Merton, engaged extensively with Zen Buddhist teachings before discovering a strikingly similar approach already present within his own tradition: Meister Eckhart. Merton agreed with his frequent correspondent, the Japanese scholar D. T. Suzuki, who called Eckhart “the one Zen thinker of the West.”

At the same time that medieval Japanese monks were formulating the core of Zen teaching, Eckhart drew deeply on centuries of Christian, Jewish, Muslim and pagan thought to develop a remarkably similar approach to experience of the divine. “Letting-go-ness” lines up with the Zen “no-mind” (wuxin) as well as the Taoist “no action” (wu wei). Buddhists also appreciate the master’s distinction between the constructed individual identity of each person — what we would call the ego and Eckhart calls the “false self” — and the common nature we all share, the authentic self, which the master identified as divine.

Like his Zen counterparts, Eckhart was wary of God-talk, which he thought more often obscured than revealed the divine, and he aspired to a unity with the ultimate. He called this a “second” or “divine” birth, which is in many ways similar to the Buddhist notion of satori, orenlightenment. The resulting “Christ nature” that he described, echoing St. Paul in Galatians 2:20 (“It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me”) looks remarkably similar to the internal “Buddha nature” of the Mahayana tradition.

At the same time, Eckhart’s embrace of meditation anticipates by seven centuries its popularity, along with the practice of “mindfulness,” among people of faith as well as among the ever-growing number of New Age seekers, agnostics and avowed atheists and others who list their religious affiliation as “none.”

Obviously many important differences remain between the Catholic Eckhart and other faith traditions, most notably on the role and identity of Christ. But the significant convergences have attracted increasing attention since the 1960s. In that sense, Eckhart, whom Merton called “my life-raft,” has brought the contemplative tradition to non-Catholics while deepening the modern Church’s ecumenical dialogue with other spiritual traditions.

Of course, not all Catholics would view the similarity of Eckhart’s teachings to Zen Buddhist practices as a recommendation. While more ecumenical Catholic writers such as the priests Aelred Graham, OSB, Robert E. Kennedy, S.J., and Richard Rohr celebrate the affinity, other more conservative thinkers, such as James Hitchcock, have remained cautious about a full embrace of the medieval friar (particularly given Eckhart’s sermons on the Godhead, in which detractors detect hints of pantheism).

Other modern advocates of lay contemplative practices — particularly Father Thomas Keating, OCSO, and the other founders of Centering Prayer — have bypassed Eckhart altogether in favor of other mystical writings such as The Cloud of Unknowing, a work composed in Middle English a few decades after Eckhart’s death. Yet during the past 20 years, the tide among Catholics has shifted definitively. The two previous popes have spoken favorably of the once-censured Meister Eckhart, leading the Dominicans to request a formal rehabilitation of their late brother in 1992, only to be informed by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in 2010 that, in the words of Father Timothy Radcliffe, O.P., former master of the order, “there was really no need, since he had never been condemned by name, just some propositions which he was supposed to have held, and so we are perfectly free to say that he is a good and orthodox theologian.”

“Mysticism” also remains a suspicious concept for many modern people, given its popular association with visions and other supernatural experiences. But Meister Eckhart never claimed any special powers or called himself a mystic — or anything other than a Catholic preacher of the gospel. If he was a mystic, he was a profoundly anti-obscurant, egalitarian and down-to-earth one, rooted in centuries of Catholic contemplative tradition. In that sense he may be the perfect mystic for our own troubled times.

By Joel Harrington in magazine.nd.edu

Joel Harrington is Centennial Professor of History at Vanderbilt University and the author or editor of seven books on premodern Germany. His Dangerous Mystic: Meister Eckhart’s Path to the God Within was published in March 2018 by Penguin Press.

Cómo ser neotemplario hoy y la búsqueda espiritual en Occidente

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NOTA previa de A. Almazán:
Este texto forma parte de la conferencia pronunciada por frey Patrick Emile Bracco en Sigüenza dentro de los actos conmemorativos del 880 Aniversario de la fundación de la Orden del Temple, año de 1998 de la era de Cristo; actos organizados por el Gran Priorato Español de la Orden Soberana y Militar del Temple de Jerusalén (OSMTJ). En esta reunión estaban presentes los grandes priores de España, Portugal, Escocia y Escandinavia. Asimismo había delegados de los prioratos de Hungría, Inglaterra, Francia y Alemania.
Patrick Emile Bracco era, a la sazón, comendador y nuncio de la OSMTJ de España en Francia, Apoderado de la Comendadoría de las Tierras Ocitnas, y representante en Niza, París, Montpellier, Toulon y Limoges-Poitiers.
En nuestra opinión el espíritu rector de esta disertación de Bracco plasma lo que diversos investigadores del Temple y del neotemplarismo francmasónico estiman lo que posiblemente latía en los auténticos y orales (no escritos) “Estatutos Secretos del Temple”.
Obsérvese la crítica que realiza a muchos grupos neotemplarios e incluso a miembros de la propia OSMTJ no inmersos en ese “espíritu templario” que él expone. Asimismo véase su reiterada insistencia en la subsistencia de un esoterismo cristiano en el seno del Temple y de su constante tener presente a Dios, a Gloria de cuyo Nombre el Temple elevó su divisa y acción.
La conferencia tuvo lugar el 1 de octubre, víspera de San Saturio. Reitero, por mi parte, que nunca he formado parte de ninguna asociación neotemplaria, aunque como periodista especializado en estos temas he asistido a algunas celebraciones neotemplarias como invitado e incluso conferenciante.
En nuestros días, a través de toda Europa o América, se constata un florecimiento de movimientos templarios, como si el hecho de añadir la palabra Temple o Templario a cualquier grupo bastara para darle título.
Es cierto que en el seno de algunos de estos grupos se encuentra un verdadero espíritu caballeresco cristiano. Pero al lado de esto, ¿de cuántas manifestaciones patológicas podemos ser testigos?
No hablaré de estos bravos “Templarios” que no presentan más que el aspecto de guardianes de cementerios encargados de realizar el plan de las sepulturas, o todavía de estos hiper-especialistas históricos, más ratas de biblioteca que auténticos hombres de terreno. En todos estos casos, el espíritu templario está bien lejos. Pero ¿en qué términos podemos definir hoy el espíritu templario?
Cuando era aceptado como templario, este último debía conformarse con ciertas obligaciones de la Regla del Temple, que eran: la obediencia, la castidad, la pobreza, la fraternidad, la hospitalidad y el servicio a los ejércitos. No olvidemos que el Temple era una orden monástica y que sus miembros debían seguir sus reglas de una manera estricta.
El espíritu templario reposaba sobre ellas y su respeto representaba una apuesta sublime donde el honor y la fe tenían partes iguales.
Este espíritu animaba a los hombres que debían ser, a la vez, santos héroes, especulativos y hombres de acción, administradores y jefes de guerra. Debían aceptar, además, que la acción personal servía a la comunidad y no a la reputación de un hombre, por alto que estuviese en la jerarquía. Y todavía más que la gloria del Temple, servir a la gloria de Dios. Se trataba de ser digno del blanco manto y digno de sí mismo, saber conducirse en este mundo de ilusiones como un verdadero servidor de Cristo.
Pero hoy día, ¿cómo se puede, por una parte, conciliar estas obligaciones con la vida profana y, por otra parte, defender el ideal cristiano en un mundo donde reina la indiferencia?
Nuestra Orden actual no tiene una vocación monástica, así como también las obligaciones del Templario deben ser interpretadas con detenimiento. El mundo y las cosas han evolucionado desde el siglo XII, también es preciso saber adaptar estas reglas.
La castidad no debe ser una ausencia de relación carnal con el ser amado, sino más bien una huida de toda impureza y de todo desahogo malsano.
Tratar de reencontrar el verdadero sentido del amor físico, dándole su lugar como en el amor afable, una fusión de dos seres humanos no sólo por unos instantes, sino por toda una vida.
La pobreza: tampoco es cuestión aquí de comprometer a los Caballeros en la pobreza absoluta, sino hacerles comprender que en un momento se puede perder todo en la vida, pero la verdadera riqueza no está en los bienes exteriores, sino en lo que hay en el corazón.
Es preciso saber también, y esto concierne a otras dos obligaciones que son la fraternidad y la hospitalidad, que el templario debe saber compartir con su hermano menos afortunado que él (recordemos el simbolismo de dos templarios sobre el mismo caballo) y que él debe saber abrir su puerta y su corazón a los desgraciados que pueda encontrar en su camino.
La obediencia: cuando se entra en una orden, cualquiera que sea, el primero de los mandamientos es la obediencia. La obediencia y el respeto por las reglas son los únicos medios de mantener las estructuras de un organismo en función, sin no la anarquía se instala y nosotros tenemos demasiados ejemplos alrededor de nosotros para querer seguirlos.
El servicio a los ejércitos: la Orden del Temple no está aquí para batirse de una manera física; no llevamos espada, ni armadura; no es cuestión de restituir cualquier compromiso militar. Pero recordemos que, en caso de conflicto, hemos elegido un ideal espiritual, y que este ideal haría falta saberlo defender con las armas en la mano si fuera necesario.
Temo que muchos Hermanos, presentes o ausentes, no hayan ponderado de una manera suficientemente seria el peso de su compromiso en nuestra Orden. ¿Cuántos no han sido seducidos más que por la apariencia, el porte del manto blanco, el título de Caballero, pero los actos, los hechos, dónde están? ¿Qué han hecho ellos por la Orden en general y por su evolución en particular?
Si no se nace Caballero, se puede, sin embargo, llegar a serlo y para ello se debe tomar y seguir un cierto camino que comienza por una iniciación. Esta iniciación va a permitir al hombre profano que quiera entrar en el Temple, separarse de las coacciones exteriores y de su historia personal. Va a alejarse de su medio inmediato, limitado y obtuso por confiar al Universo y a la Humanidad todo, dándole una dimensión sagrada.
El sentido de esta ceremonia invariable es ayudar al nuevo Hermano a afrontar la angustia provocada por un compromiso profundo y permanente. Esta ceremonia vivida por los que obtienen el título y por los Hermanos crea un lazo entre los adeptos y, si es vivida intensamente, puede provocar una auténtica comunión.
Comprendemos que estas ceremonias iniciales son muy importantes en el sentido de que pregonan un deseo de despertar el hombre dormido y de hacerle tomar conciencia de un posible estado superior, lo que era una de las misiones del verdadero Temple.
Nosotros, que hemos elegido la vía de la Caballería Templaria, sabemos que la meta que nos hemos fijado no es la Jerusalén Terrestre, sino la Jerusalén Celeste.
Para hacer actos de beneficencia o tener una conducta moral irreprochable, no es necesario entrar en el Temple. En nuestro caso, esto debe ser la consecuencia directa de una búsqueda situada mucho más alto. Hace falta, pues, comprender que el Temple es también el vehículo de una búsqueda esotérica para cada Caballero, y la síntesis de esta búsqueda es la formación de una encrucijada de civilizaciones y de corrientes espirituales primordiales, cuyos participantes se harían Guardianes de la Tradición, transmitida por vía esotérica desde el cristianismo primitivo (comprendemos mejor así las relaciones entre los Templarios y los musulmanes durante las Cruzadas, mucho más hechas de comprensión mutua que de traición del cristianismo por parte de los primeros).
Guardemos el espíritu abierto a la diferencia y practiquemos la tolerancia, así podremos tener ya un estado de espíritu apto para una comprensión más sutil de las cosas.
Cuando comienza a existir, el hombre se interroga sobre el sentido de su vida; desgraciadamente las respuestas que aporta a estas interrogantes son vagas e insatisfactorias, y se ve obligado a contentarse con opiniones, de creencia o de fe. El sentido de esta verdadera búsqueda existencial no será dado más que por un camino interior, guiado a la vez por la Fe, la voluntad de alcanzar el logro marcado y la intuición; tres cualidades indispensables para cualquier éxito temporal o espiritual.
La corriente templaria es una de las grandes vías occidentales que ha llevado en su seno los medios de desarrollar esta búsqueda espiritual y, más allá de esta simple búsqueda, ha propuesto a los templarios realmente dignos una realización mucho más importante… Quien tenga orejas que oiga…
Hemos dicho que nuestra meta era la conquista de la Jerusalén Celeste, la que cada uno lleva en lo más profundo de sí y que le permitirá, si llega a conquistarla, trascender el simple estado mortal que tenía hasta ese momento. Para confirmar esto, miremos el símbolo que llevamos en el hombro izquierdo: es una cruz, sin el hombre crucificado, y no por ella directa y únicamente ligada al cristianismo, pero sí a una tradición muy anterior que creía que el hombre caído estaba estrechamente atado a los cuatro elementos de la manifestación y que sólo por el centro de esta cruz podía extraerse el hombre elegido y digno de figurar con los justos a la derecha del Padre Eterno.
Comprender, mis Hermanos, que el Temple ofrece esta posibilidad a los que tienen bastante coraje, voluntad y perseverancia para emprender y mantener tal camino, pero el resultado al final es digno de la gracia que nos ha hecho Dios permitiéndonos estar aquí, pues no olvidemos que este trabajo no se hace únicamente en un sentido egoísta, sino también, y sobre todo, por la Más Grande Gloria de Dios: “Non nobis, domine, non nobis sed nomini tuo da gloriam”.
Patrick Emile Bracco
(in templariosymas.blogspot.pt)

Dia de São Miguel

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Raffaello Sanzio - Tutt'Art@ - (46)

Hoje foi dia de São Miguel. O Arcanjo que encabeça as milícias celestes. O que eleva a espada ao céu e traz a justiça aos injustiçados. O que não dá tréguas às criaturas dos abismos nem paz aos senhores da guerra. Lâmina afiada, corta a direito. Desfaz a escamosa goela num golpe, esventra a peçonha, rompe a perfídia em farrapos finos. Não é mandado por Deus à cabeceira do doente para lhe dar força e confortar. Não canta no coro das esferas celestiais. Não traz novas de vida com o lírio na mão. Não sopra ao ouvido cândidas palavras. Não guarda do infortúnio. Não dá a mão ao débil. Não. Deus não o fez Senhor das Milícias para que fosse admirado, mas para que fosse temido. Não para que deslumbrasse em halo radiante, mas para espavorir os adversários da luz. Não é um anjinho de peanha. Não é uma cara fofa da renascença. Não agarra as saias da Virgem. É o medo na sua mais pura forma. O medo imparável do férreo castigo que tem por lei a lâmina, para quem tem por anima não ter lei. É o dia do fim dos que roubam na noite. É o tormento dos que atormentam. O suplício dos perversos. O carrasco dos assassinos. Algoz dos tiranos. Verdugo dos opressores. É a lei em forma de espada flamígera e fatal. Espada em brasa, rubor de lume e dor, golpe desferido do alto, certeiro, imparável e preciso como um diamante cortante.

Dia de São Miguel. Da milícia de justiça. Vértice celeste da Cavalaria terrestre. Protege-nos, nosso chefe arquiangélico. Tu, que ouviste o nosso humilde murmúrio nos corredores do Templo: ao Teu nome dá glória. Ao teu nome dá glória. Ao teu nome dá glória; e respondeste no teu silêncio sereno: Quis ut Deus?

Luis de Matos

Prior, Osmthu Portugal

A Jug of Wine, A Loaf of Bread – and Thou; Isis, Iraq and the real Islamic caliphates

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A Book of Verses underneath the Bough,
A Jug of Wine, a Loaf of Bread — and Thou
Beside me singing in the Wilderness —
Oh, Wilderness were Paradise enow!

As a bunch of gun-toting religious maniacs tear apart the Middle East, I’ve been thinking about this verse. It’s from Edward FitzGerald’s 19th-century translation of the 12th-century Persian poet-philosopher-mathematician Omar Khayyam’s quatrain. There have been a few rather different translations, but they seem largely to address the same thing: being with the person you love, singing songs and drinking wine.

That’s the image I tend to associate with an Islamic caliphate, although there is some argument over whether or not Khayyam was a religious Muslim: he is described as a Sufi, a member of a spiritual branch of Islam, but also as a hedonist and agnostic. But according to Remi Hauman, a Khayyam scholar, a version of that verse goes even further back, to an actual Umayyad caliph, Walîd Ibn Yazîd, who ruled briefly in AD 743 to 744:

Leave me, Sulaymâ, wine, a singing girl, and a cup. I don’t need any more possessions.
When life is pleasant in Ramlat ‘Alij, and I hold Salmâ in my arms, I would not change places with anyone.

I’ve been thinking about this because the Sunni fanatics of Isis have now called the little territory they’ve carved for themselves on the Iraq-Syria border a new Islamic State, and in fact a “caliphate”. Isis believe that Shias are heretics who should be killed, demand that all Muslims worldwide pledge allegiance to their leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who they call the Caliph, and wish to impose an especially brutal form of Sharia.

“They want to build a caliphate,” says Tom Holland, the author of In the Shadow of the Sword, “and that raises the question of what they mean by that.” The original caliphate was the Islamic Arab empire that arose in the years after Mohammed’s death. And, like the Roman empire and the British empire, says Holland, it evolved over centuries – and then “invented its own backstory”, created a tale in which it was set up in the way that Mohammed was instructed by God to set up an empire. “Caliph” means “successor”: the caliphs were supposed to be the successors of the Prophet.

The Sunni/Shia divide, incidentally, stems from a disagreement over whether the caliph should be chosen by the Muslim people, as the Sunnis believe, or appointed by God.

Anyway. As the Khayyam poem suggests, the caliphates were not always what Isis would think of as Islamic. The Caliph al-Mutawakkil, we are told, was murdered by his guard after a night of heavy drinking. As well as the wine, at least one caliph, Al-Hakam II, the Caliph of Cordoba, was openly homosexual, and had a harem of boys; he only bore an heir by having a female concubine dress up in male clothes and take a male name, Jafar. According to the Encyclopedia of Medieval Iberia, in the final centuries of Islamic Spain:

…because of Christian opposition to it and because of immigration and conversion of those who were sympathetic, homosexuality took on a greater ideological role. It had an important place in Islamic mysticism and monasticism; the contemplation of the beardless youth was “an act of worship”, the contemplation of God in human form.

And the harems, the world of Scheherazade and the 1,001 Arabian Nights:

The girls sat around me, and when night came, five of them rose and set up a banquet with plenty of nuts and fragrant herbs. Then they brought the wine vessels and we sat to drink.

With the girls sitting all around me, some singing, some playing the flute, the psalter, the lute, and all other musical instruments, while the bowls and cups went round. I was so happy that I forgot every sorrow in the world, saying to myself, ‘This is the life; alas, that it is fleeting’. Then they said to me, ‘O our lord, choose from among us whomever you wish to spend this night with you’.

Of course this wouldn’t have been the whole story of an Islamic caliphate. But this is part of the story; the caliphates were not, always, harsh puritanical places, but places of learning, places of sybaritic pleasure, places of wine and song.

But, says Tom Holland, Isis aren’t interested in the historical realities as they try to make their own “Caliphate”. “They’re not interested in Omar Khayyam, they’re not interested in the real caliphates: they want to bring to light God’s plan, to restore the civilisation they believe Mohammed built in Medina.” Their image of that civilisation has no basis in historical reality, and they wouldn’t care if it did. But the real story of the caliphates is both more interesting and more complex than their simplistic, brutal vision.

No doubt it would do no good at all. But I wish someone would read Omar Khayyam to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

in The Telegraph

by: Tom Chivers
Tom Chivers is the Telegraph’s assistant comment editor. He writes mainly on science.

Visita ao Convento dos Capuchos – Instrução de Escudeiros

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Realizou-se no dia 13 de Julho uma visita ao Convento dos Capuchos de Sintra, organizada pela Comendadoria de Sintra do Priorado Ibérico da Osmthu, com o intuito de proceder à Instrução de Escudeiros.

Esta segunda visita de Instrução versou o tema da via monástica, depois de se ter estudado o tema da via cavaleiresca através das lendas da Demanda do Santo Graal, há poucas semanas em visita ao Palácio da Pena e seus jardins. Completa-se assim a abordagem aos dois pilares fundamentais da Cavalaria Templária, ao mesmo tempo militar e monástica, numa contradição aparente apenas resolvida pela prática estrita da Regra.

O grupo, composto de Cavaleiros, Damas, Escudeiros e Escudeiras bem como de alguns familiares, foi convidado a explorar o Convento dos Capuchos de forma autónoma, sem mais explicações para além das fornecidas pelos elementos escritos dados a qualquer turista pelos Parques de Sintra ao adquirir uma entrada. Contudo foi-lhes dito que observassem com atenção cada detalhes e que questionassem tudo o que vissem, abrindo o coração às impressões intuitivas de modo a poder trazer dados relevantes quando todos se juntassem no pátio de entrada pouco depois.


E assim partiu cada um por si, em demanda. A maioria não conhecia o Convento ou a sua história. O Convento dos Capuchos em Sintra fazia parte da Província da Arrábida dos Capuchinhos Franciscanos, mas era um lugar especialmente humilde e inóspito, mesmo para os padrões franciscanos. Estende-se ao longo de uma colina da Serra de Sintra, pejada de largos rochedos, que as construções contornam e assimilam como parte integrante do seu corpo. A penha imensa que constitui o tecto da capela, ao mesmo tempo que é o soalho de suporte das celas e parede do refeitório, antes de mergulhar misteriosamente no chão telúrico do lugar, impressiona e está de tal modo organicamente integrada na construção que, aos poucos, se vai tornando quase invisível ao olhar do visitante. A pobreza é absoluta e não existem decorações sumptuosas ou obras de arte de relevo. Mais depressa faz lembrar uma casa de aldeia antiga ou um mosteiro nos confins do Tibete do que uma casa de religiosos cristãos, não fosse pela altura insignificante das portas das celas, a exigir uma vénia para se transporem e pelo seu tamanho exíguo e impraticável como lugar de descanso.


Cada um destes pormenores não deixou de chamar a atenção aos Escudeiros, que os reportaram, um após o outro quando se reuniram no átrio de novo, após a primeira volta de reconhecimento. Numa segunda volta foram então abordados vários aspectos relacionados com a via monástica e conventual, procurando sempre entender de que modo se enquadravam no caso particular dos Templários, na sua época. Mergulhando num meio somente conventual, pode o grupo perceber essa vertente sem mais distracções e, depois, recordando a experiência da instrução anterior, compreender como um Cavaleiro pode ser humilde, mesmo numa cela com varanda e vista sobre o mar e senhor numa cela exígua e humilde com a dos Capuchos, numa feliz expressão de um dos Escudeiros. A história do lugar foi  depois contada, sem esquecer as suas associações a várias figuras ilustres (e notáveis de todos os pontos de vista), que incluem D. João de Castro, Vice-rei da Índia e Cavaleiro da Ordem de Cristo; D. Sebastião e o Cardeal (depois Rei) D. Henrique, bem como o incontornável Frei Honório.


O dia terminou com uma reflexão conjunta e um período de perguntas e respostas no claustro conventual. Tinham passado quatro horas desde a entrada, voando que nem uma ave. Não se deu pelo tempo passar. Foi então que um dos Escudeiros do Alentejo mostrou que se tinha preparado para a viagem, tão longe da sua terra, exibindo pão e um belo salpicão que fizeram as delícias de todos, numa improvisada refeição fraternal de encerramento, de regresso ao pátio dos Capuchos de Sintra.




Com logo “Templar Globe”, por: Susana Ferreira

Outras: Internet e Parques de Sintra