Tag Archives: Charity

A Laud of Jacopone da Todi

I highly recommend the reading of Jacopone da Todi, a Franciscan friar born in the 1230s. He was a poet–mystical, spiritual, theological. His Lauds, as they are called, are fascinating. At one level, they are enlightening. Yet, on another level, reading them–speaking the words aloud–prayerfully and reverently leads to song of the heart. It’s beautiful when the words of another become the words of the self that praise God. Jacopone’s Lauds surely evoke reflection and prayer. In this post, I want to go through one of his poems that I have recently spent some time reading. By no means do I intend to act as a scholar on Jacopone or what I will present. I hope that my commentary–inasmuch as it can be called that–simply provokes discussion, and by God’s grace, praise to Him, too!

The Laud examined is: “The Angels Ask the Reason for Christ’s Pilgrimage to This World”.

Reading this poem for the first time, I was struck with the underlying reason of God’s coming to the earth. It was because of love. In the Franciscan tradition, especially within the theology of Bonaventure, Christ came into the world not primarily due to the sin of man, but because in Christ is the fullest actualization of the created order. Now, obviously due to sin, the “form that the incarnation takes will be thoroughly shaped by that fact”; but, the point is that the “one cause of the incarnation…is the limitless love…of God” [1]. Jacopone seems to agree.

According to Saint Claude la Colombiére, S.J.

Saint Claude la Colombiére is a 17th century Jesuit saint. It is unfortunate that there are not more of his writings in English translation, yet. However, of what we have, a small book of excerpts, there is a great deal of spiritual wisdom and depth to be found. In this post, I would like to highlight and briefly examine a few of the beautiful passages of such a reverent and intelligent servant.

In an excerpt of some retreat notes, the Saint writes on the power and beauty of prayer:

[Prayer] is the only means of purifying us, of uniting us to God, and of allowing God to unite himself to us and be glorified in us. We must pray to obtain the apostolic virtues; pray that we may use them to help others, and pray also that we may not lose them while serving others.