As the setting of the Sun was at, oh, half past six last evening; golly. We appear to have a rainless day ahead. It is the feast of Saint Hilary of Poitiers, bishop, confessor, and Doctor Ecclesiae (CE, Introibo, Wiki), while Saint Felix is commemorated.
Now, at half past seven, the eastern skies are quite reddened, horizontal ribbons of dark red alternating with mauve and rose and pink ones. From the allocution of Pope Benedict XVI on Saint Hilary, given in the general audience of October 10, 2007.
To sum up the essentials of his doctrine, I would like to say that Hilary found the starting point for his theological reflection in baptismal faith. In De Trinitate, Hilary writes: Jesus "has commanded us to baptize in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit (cf. Mt 28: 19), that is, in the confession of the Author, of the Only-Begotten One and of the Gift. The Author of all things is one alone, for one alone is God the Father, from whom all things proceed. And one alone is Our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom all things exist (cf. I Cor 8: 6), and one alone is the Spirit (cf. Eph 4: 4), a gift in all.... In nothing can be found to be lacking so great a fullness, in which the immensity in the Eternal One, the revelation in the Image, joy in the Gift, converge in the Father, in the Son and in the Holy Spirit" (De Trinitate 2, 1). God the Father, being wholly love, is able to communicate his divinity to his Son in its fullness. I find particularly beautiful the following formula of St Hilary: "God knows not how to be anything other than love, he knows not how to be anyone other than the Father. Those who love are not envious and the one who is the Father is so in his totality. This name admits no compromise, as if God were father in some aspects and not in others" (ibid., 9, 61).
For this reason the Son is fully God without any gaps or diminishment. "The One who comes from the perfect is perfect because he has all, he has given all" (ibid., 2, 8). Humanity finds salvation in Christ alone, Son of God and Son of man. In assuming our human nature, he has united himself with every man, "he has become the flesh of us all" (Tractatus super Psalmos 54, 9); "he took on himself the nature of all flesh and through it became true life, he has in himself the root of every vine shoot" (ibid., 51, 16). For this very reason the way to Christ is open to all - because he has drawn all into his being as a man -, even if personal conversion is always required: "Through the relationship with his flesh, access to Christ is open to all, on condition that they divest themselves of their former self (cf. Eph 4: 22), nailing it to the Cross (cf. Col 2: 14); provided we give up our former way of life and convert in order to be buried with him in his baptism, in view of life (cf. Col 1: 12; Rom 6: 4)" (ibid., 91, 9).
Fidelity to God is a gift of his grace. Therefore, St Hilary asks, at the end of his Treatise on the Trinity, to be able to remain ever faithful to the baptismal faith. It is a feature of this book: reflection is transformed into prayer and prayer returns to reflection. The whole book is a dialogue with God.
I would like to end today's Catechesis with one of these prayers, which thus becomes our prayer: "Obtain, O Lord", St Hilary recites with inspiration, "that I may keep ever faithful to what I have professed in the symbol of my regeneration, when I was baptized in the Father, in the Son and in the Holy Spirit. That I may worship you, our Father, and with you, your Son; that I may deserve your Holy Spirit, who proceeds from you through your Only Begotten Son... Amen" (De Trinitate 12, 57).
Now to breakfast, after I've fed some peanuts to the squirrels and jays.
Backhaus was the first pianist to record Chopin's études.
Ante Tertiam. Am finishing breakfast whilst listening to the Danish state broadcaster's channel P2-- the Octave being done, I decided to 'listen to the radio' for the first time in... since before Christmas, anyway. At the moment there is a flowing stream of Danish but there was some pleasant orchestral music happening when I first switched on. There is, in a couple of hours, a concert broadcast/streamed from the DR Koncerthuset in Copenhagen: the Nighingale String Quartet and Katrine Gislinge, piano, performing Mozart's Piano Concerto no 12 in A major, arranged for the five of them, and then works of Bent Sørensen, a waltz, Unter dem Meer, and 12 Nocturnes. Entirely unfamiliar with him. Ha, it is program of film scores ongoing; 'pleasant orchestral music' indeed.
Reading in Dom Prosper Guéranger's L'Année liturgique for today's feast, this sentence struck me.
... If tyrants, who insist on being Christians without Christianity, carry on a persecution in which they are determined that no one shall have the glory of martyrdom-- these brave champions raise their voice and boldly reproach the persecutors for their interference with that liberty which is due to Christ and His Ministers.... Nowadays, we have to do with a disguised persecutor, a smooth-tongued enemy, a Constantius who has put on Antichrist; who scourges us, not with lashes, but with caresses; who instead of robbing us, which would give us spiritual life, bribes us with riches, that he may lead us to eternal death... he honors Bishops, that they may cease to be Bishops....
The entire page is well worth reading and reflecting on; some of the text is evidently a quotation from Louis-Édouard-François-Desiré Cardinal Pie.
Post Vesperas. Am watching the nightly episode of New Tricks. I did check in at the World Concert Hall site a few minutes and they now have a link to the MacMillan Christmas Oratorio on Saturday; it wasn't there yesterday when I looked and that it is now reassures me that I haven't imagined it all.