Can already tell that I'm going to give the lecture...

On 'God in St Augustine's Confessions' later this afternoon a pass. (The fact is that the Thomistic Institute will have the video available on YouTube after the live presentation is finished.) Have been reading a book called Integralism and am seeing stars whirling about-- principally because I'm unaccustomed to thinking so much for so long at one sitting. It's also true that I ought to have new eyes, if there is a retail store I can shop at....

Am wondering if I ought to cavil at the program note (I see no easy way to link to the text) for tonight's performance by Gabriel Martins of Biber's Passacaglia-- am not going to 'give that a pass'! I have never seen it suggested anywhere that relics were a standard element in the practice of the praying of the Rosary in common in late 17th century Austria, Bohemia, Moravia et al, and to suggest that the communal saying of the Rosary somehow necessarily or always happened in the context of a procession is, surely, misleading at best, although Rosary processions doubtless did occur. I don't know of course and perhaps there is some recent scholarly research that has taught us these things but I'd almost wonder if someone hasn't perhaps misinterpreted a German text or two. My bolding.

The Mystery Sonatas (c. 1676) are a collection of 16 pieces composed for the Christian Rosary devotional procession. During this procession, practiced since the 13th century, people walk around a cycle of 15 relics in a church, each representing a significant moment in the life of Christ. Bohemian composer Heinrich Biber wrote one sonata each for the 15 relics, to be played by violin and continuo following the appropriate relic’s prayer recitation. The 16th and final composition was presumably to be played at the conclusion of the procession. A Passacaglia for solo violin, this entire movement is based on a simple four-note descending scale. Although the manuscript was lost until the early 20th century, the work has since become celebrated as one of the first compositions for solo violin, as well as one of the first purely instrumental sacred compositions.

Given the state of the schools, it may be that whoever wrote the note is simply not very good at writing in general ('writing is hard', the Grammarly advertisement often repeated on YouTube reminds us-- far less irritating, however, than Mr Biden's cadaverous plea for my help!). Eh; am going to leave it alone.


Am reminded that Rosary customs vary widely. In my own experience there aren't stations for the mysteries remembered in the Rosary, there are texts announcing them. There are 'Stations' erected in every Catholic temple but those are the 'Stations of the Cross', the events and places involved in the via Domini dolorosa, not the events and places of the Rosary. Perhaps the program note writer has mixed up the Stations and the mysteries of the Rosary? The presence in so signal a way of relics in the text remains mystifying: how does one have a relic of the Finding of the Child Jesus in the Temple? or of the Coronation of Our Lady Queen of Heaven? certainly our ancestors were much more creative thinkers than we tend to be when it comes to relics but they were not generally in the habit of making stuff up, as it were, out of thin air.

Statio in our context is simply 'point, place of assembly for the purpose of prayer'. There is a sculpture or plaque or painting marking the Stations of the Cross in a church; as I wrote supra, ordinarily the Rosary mysteries are simply announced.