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” . Jacopone seems to agree.