Sunday, July 8, 2012

Sunday, July 8, 2012
Inspiration, Mk 6:1-6, St. Grimbald, Dominus Illuminatio Mea, University of Oxford Motto

Good Day Bloggers! 
Wishing everyone a Wonderful Weekend!

We are all human. We all experience birth, life and death. We all have flaws but we also all have the gift knowledge and free will as well, make the most of it. Life on earth is a stepping to our eternal home in Heaven. Its your choice whether to rise towards eternal light or lost to eternal darkness. Material items, though needed for sustenance and survival on earth are of earthly value only. The only thing that passes from this earth to Heaven is our Soul, our's God's perpetual gift to us...Embrace it, treasure it, nurture it, protect it...

"Raise not a hand to another unless it is to offer in peace and goodwill." ~ Zarya Parx 2012

Today's wordInspiration   in·spir·a·tion   [in-spuh-rey-shun]  noun

Origin: 1275–1325; Middle English inspiracio ( u ) n  < Late Latin inspīrātiōn-  (stem of inspīrātiō ).

noun inspiring or animating action or influence: I cannot write poetry without inspiration.
2.something inspired, as an idea.
3.a result of inspired activity.
4.a thing or person that inspires.
5. Theology:

a. divine influence directly and immediately exerted upon the mind or soul.
b. the divine quality of the writings or words of a person so influenced

Today's Gospel Reading - Saturday, July 7, 2012 Mark 6:1-6

In Nazareth, where there was no faith,
Jesus could work no miracles!
Everybody’s Mission: to recreate the community

Sermon on the Mount
Fresco, 349 x 570 cm
Cappella Sistina, Vatican
The Gospel:Mark 6: 1-6

1 Leaving that district, he went to his home town, and his disciples accompanied him. 2 With the coming of the Sabbath he began teaching in the synagogue, and most of them were astonished when they heard him. They said, 'Where did the man get all this? What is this wisdom that has been granted him, and these miracles that are worked through him? 3 This is the carpenter, surely, the son of Mary, the brother of James and Joset and Jude and Simon? His sisters, too, are they not here with us?' And they would not accept him. 4 And Jesus said to them, 'A prophet is despised only in his own country, among his own relations and in his own house'; 5 and he could work no miracle there, except that he cured a few sick people by laying his hands on them. 6 He was amazed at their lack of faith. He made a tour round the villages, teaching.

a) Key to the today's scripture: 
In this 14th Sunday of Ordinary Time, the Church places us before the rejection of Jesus on the part of the people of Nazareth. Passing through Nazareth was painful for Jesus. That which was his first community, now it is not longer such. Something has changed. Those who first accepted him, now reject him. As we will see later, this experience of rejection led Jesus to go ahead and to change his way of acting.
Has something changed in your relationship with your family or with your friends, since you began to participate in the community? Has participation in the community helped you to accept and to have greater trust in persons, especially in the simplest and poorest persons?

b) A division of the text to help in reading the scripture:
Mark 6,1: Jesus arrives to Nazareth, his community of origin
Mark 6, 2-3: The reaction of the people of Nazareth before Jesus
Mark 6, 4: The way in which Jesus accepts the criticism
Mark 6, 5-6: The lack of faith prevents him from working the miracle

c) Context of yesterday and of today:
i) Throughout the pages of his Gospel, Mark indicates that the presence and actions of Jesus constitute a growing source of joy for some and a reason of rejection for others. The conflict grows, the mystery of God appears which envelopes the person of Jesus. With chapter 6 of the narrative we find ourselves before a curve. The people of Nazareth close themselves up before Jesus (Mk 6, 1-6). And Jesus, before this closing up of the people of his community, opens himself to the people of another community. He directs himself toward the people of Galilee and sends his disciples on mission, teaching them how the relationship should be with the persons, so that it will be a true community relationship, which does not exclude as it happens among the people of Nazareth (Mk 6, 7-13).
ii) When Mark writes his Gospel, the Christian communities lived in a difficult situation, without horizons. Humanly speaking there was no future for them. The description of the conflict which Jesus lives in Nazareth and in the sending out of the disciples, which extends the mission, makes it creative. For those who believe in Jesus there can be no situation without a horizon.

d) Commentary on the text
Mark 6, 1-3. Reactions of the people of Nazareth before Jesus
It is always good to go back to our own land. After a long absence, Jesus also goes back and, as usual, on Saturday he goes to a meeting of the community. Jesus was not the coordinator, but just the same he speaks. This is a sign that the persons could participate and express their opinion. But the people did not like the words pronounced by Jesus, they were scandalized. Jesus, who was known to them since he was a child, how is it that now he is so different? The people of Capernaum had accepted the teaching of Jesus (Mark 1, 22), but the people of Nazareth remained scandalized and had not accepted it. Which was the reason for this rejection? “Is this not the carpenter, surely, the son of Mary?” They did not accept God’s mystery present in such a common person, one like themselves! In order to be able to speak of God, he would have to be different from them!

The expression “brothers of Jesus” causes much polemics between Catholics and Protestants. Basing themselves on this and in other texts, the Protestants say that Jesus had more brothers and sisters and that Mary had more children! We Catholics say that Mary did not have other children. What can we think about this? In the first place, the two positions, that of Catholics and that of the Protestants, take arguments from the Bible and from the ancient Tradition from their respective Churches. For this reason, it is not convenient to discuss these questions using rational arguments, which are the fruit of our own ideas. It is a question of deep convictions which have something to do with faith and the sentiment of the people.
The argument supported by ideas alone does not succeed to bring about a conviction of faith the roots of which are found in the heart! It only irritates and disturbs! But even if I do not agree with the opinion of the other one, I must always respect it. In the second place, instead of discussing around the texts, all of us, Catholics and Protestants, should unite much more to fight in the defence of life, created by God, a life which is so transfigured by poverty, injustice, the lack of faith. We should remember other words of Jesus: “I have come so that they may have life and have it in abundance” (Jn 10, 10). “So that all may be one, so that the world may believe it was you who sent me” (Jn 17, 21). “You must not stop him. Anyone who is not against us is for us” (Mk 9, 39, 40).

Mark 6, 4-6b. Reactions of Jesus before the attitude of the people of Nazareth
Jesus knows very well that “the saint of the house does not work miracles”. And he says: “A prophet is despised only in his own country, among his own relations and in his own house!” In fact, there where faith is not accepted, people can do nothing. The prejudice prevents it. Jesus, even if he wanted, can do nothing and remains surprised before their lack of faith.

e) Information on the Gospel of Mark:
This year the Liturgy presents us in a particular way the Gospel of Mark. Because of this it is worth while to give some information which will help us to discover better the message which Mark wants to communicate to us.

· The design of the face of God on the wall of the Gospel of Mark
Jesus dies approximately in the year 33. When Mark writes his Gospel about the year 70, the Christian communities lived already dispersed in the Roman Empire. Some say that Mark writes for the community of Italy. Others say that he does it for those of Syria. It is difficult to know it with certainty. Nevertheless, one thing is certain. The problems were not lacking: the Roman Empire persecuted the Christians, the propaganda of the Empire infiltrated itself in the communities, the Jews from Palestine rebelled against the Roman invasion, there were internal tensions due to a diverse tendency, doctrine and heads…
Mark writes his Gospel to help the communities to find a response to the problems and concerns they have. He collects various episodes and parables of Jesus and joins them together as bricks on a wall. The bricks were already ancient and known. They came from the community, where they were transmitted orally in the meetings and celebrations. The design formed by the bricks was new. It came from Mark, from his experience of Jesus. He wanted that the community, reading what Jesus did and said, would find a response to these questions: “Who is Jesus for us and who are we for Jesus? How can we be his disciples? How can we proclaim the Good News of God, that he has revealed? How can we travel on the path that he traced?

 ~Three keys to understand the division of the Gospel of Mark
1st Key: The Gospel of Mark was written to be read and listened to in community. When a book is read alone, one can always turn back, to join one thing to another, but when one is in community and a person is reading the Gospel before us, it is not possible to say: “Stop! Read again once more! I did not understand well!” As we shall see, a book written to be listened to in the community celebrations has a different way of dividing the theme from a book written to be read by one alone.

2nd Key: The Gospel of Mark is a narrative. A narrative is like a river. Going through the river in a boat, one is not aware of the divisions in the water. The river has no divisions! It is constituted by one flow alone, from the beginning to the end. In the river, the divisions, are made beginning from the bank of the river. For example it is said: “ What a beautiful part which goes from that house up to the curve where there is a palm, three curves after that”. But in the water no divisions can be seen. The narrative of Mark runs like a river. Its divisions, those who listen, find them on the margin, that is to say, in the places through which Jesus passed by, in the geography, in the persons whom he meets, along the roads through which he goes by. These indications on the margin help those who listen not to get lost in the midst of so many words and actions of Jesus and on Jesus. The geographic framework helps the reader to walk with Jesus, step after step, from Galilee to Jerusalem, from the lake to Calvary.

3rd Key: the Gospel of Mark was written to be read in one only time. This is what the Jews did with the brief books of the Old Testament. For example, in the night of Easter, they read all the book of the Song of Songs. Some scholars affirm that the Gospel of Mark was written to be read, completely, in the course of the night in the long Paschal vigil. Or, in order not to get the people who listened tired, the reading had to be divided and to have some pauses. Besides, when a narrative is long, as that of the Gospel of Mark, its reading has to be interrupted quite often. In certain moments there is need for a pause, otherwise the listeners would be lost. These pauses were foreseen by the author of the narrative himself . And these pauses were marked by short summaries, between two long readings. Practically, the same thing that happens in television. Every day, at the beginning of the news are repeated some scenes of the preceding transmission. When they end, some scenes of the next day are presented. These summaries are like the hinges which collect what has been read and open to what will follow. They allow one to stop and to begin anew, without interrupting or disturbing the sequence of the narrative. They help those who listen to place themselves in the river of the narrative which flows. In the Gospel of Mark there are diverse summaries of this type or pauses, which allow us to discover and follow the thread of the Good News of God which Jesus has revealed to us and that Mark tells us. In the whole there is a question of seven blocks or longer readings, intermingled with short summaries or hinges, where it is possible to make a pause.

In this division the titles are important. They indicate the path of the Spirit, of inspiration, which the Gospel follows from the beginning until the end. When an artist has an inspiration, he tries to express it in a work of art. A poem or an image which is produced encloses in itself this inspiration. Inspiration is like an electric force which runs invisibly through the wires and lights the lamp in our houses. In the same way also the inspiration runs invisibly through the letters of the poem or the form of the image to reveal or light in us a light similar or almost similar to that which shone in the soul of the artist. This is the reason why artistic works attract and shake persons so much. The same thing happens when we read and meditate on the Gospel of Mark. The same Spirit or Inspiration which impelled Mark to write the text, continues to be present in the words of his Gospel. Through an attentive and prayerful reading, this Spirit acts and begins to act in us. And thus, little by little, we discover the face of God who has revealed Himself in Jesus and which Mark communicates to us in his book.

Reference: Courtesy of Order of Carmelites,

Featured Items from Litany Lane




Saint of the Day:  St Grimbald of Winchester, Abbot


St Grimbald, Abbot
First Prof of Divinity at Oxford
Feast Day; July 8
Birth/Death: 827 - 901

Benedictine abbot also called Grimwald, invited to England by King Alfred in 885. Grimbald arrived in England and declined the see of Canterbury, preferring to remain a monk. He became the abbot of New Minster Abbey at Winchester appointed by King Edward the Elder. Grimbald is credited with restoring learning to England.

Saint Grimbald (or Grimwald) (827 – July 8, 901) Born at Therouanne (Pas-de-Calais), France, c. 825; died 903.

Grimbald became a monk about 840, was ordained priest in 870, and was abbot of Saint-Bertin. He entertained King Alfred on his way to Rome in 885. As a well-known scholar, he went to Rheims in 886.

Upon the advice of Archbishop Eldred of Canterbury and through Fulk of Rheims, Alfred invited Grimbald to England in 887. Grimbald accepted the offer. He lived in Winchester in a small "monastery" and served as a court-scholar, assisting Alfred with his translations of Latin works into Old English, including Saint Gregory's Pastoral Care (Liber regulae pastoralis). Eventually, Grimbald was appointed the first professor of divinity at Oxford (some say that he actually founded the university).

Upon the death of Eldred in 889, Alfred tried to persuade Grimbald to become archbishop of Canterbury, but he refused and became instead dean of the secular canons of New Minster at Winchester, the town-church where prominent citizens had burial rights. Alfred's son, King Edward, reburied his father and mother (Queen Alswithe) in this new church, which probably absorbed the small community that Grimbald had previously governed. (Later, King Henry I removed New Minster to Hyde, now called Saint Grimbald's monastery.)

Grimbald restored learning in England. He may have brought to England the 9th-century manuscript of Prudentius, now at Corpus Christi College in Cambridge, as well as the famous Utrecht Psalter.

During his last illness, the extremely feeble Saint Grimbald rose out of bed and prostrated himself on the ground to receive the holy viaticum. Thereafter, he asked to be left alone with God for three days. On the fourth day the community was called into his chamber, and amidst their prayers the saint calmly breathed forth his happy soul in his 83rd year.

His body was reposed in New Minster and honoured amongst its most precious relics together with those of Saint Judocus. It was taken up by Saint Alphege, and exposed in a silver shrine. Other translations occurred in 938, c. 1050, and 1110, when the whole establishment was moved to Hyde Grimbald's vita was written by Goscelin, monk of Saint-Bertin's. While his cultus centred on Winchester, it was extended by Malmesbury to other Benedictine abbeys and to York and Hereford (Benedictines, Encyclopaedia, Farmer, Husenbeth).

Reference: Courtsey of Celtic  and Old English Saints,

Today's Snippet: 


Dominus Illuminatio Mea (Latin) - The Lord is My Light

University of Oxford's Motto 

University of Oxford Motto
Dominus illuminatio mea is the motto of the University of Oxford and the opening words of Psalm 27, meaning The Lord is my light. It has been in use at least since the second half of the sixteenth century, and it appears on the University's arms.
 An article by Ivan Illich may help to better understand the possible role of this mention to God on ancient university arms, at the very moment that scientists were progressively replacing the concept of vision as a gaze radiating from the pupil by the retinal perception of an image formed by reflected sunlight:

"To interpret De oculo morali, the relationship of things to God "who is light" must be understood. This is the century [i.e., the thirteenth century] suffused by the idea that the world rests in God's hands, that it is contingent on Him. This means that at every instant everything derives its existence from his continued creative act. Things radiate by virtue of their constant dependence on this creative act. They are alight by the God-derived luminescence of their truth." [1]

A brief history of Oxford University

1605 Oxford
As the oldest university in the English-speaking world, Oxford is a unique and historic institution. There is no clear date of foundation, but teaching existed at Oxford in some form in 1096 and developed rapidly from 1167, when Henry II banned English students from attending the University of Paris.
In 1188, the historian, Gerald of Wales, gave a public reading to the assembled Oxford dons and in 1190 the arrival of Emo of Friesland, the first known overseas student, set in motion the University's tradition of international scholarly links. By 1201, the University was headed by a magister scolarum Oxonie, on whom the title of Chancellor was conferred in 1214, and in 1231 the masters were recognized as a universitas or corporation.

In the 13th century, rioting between town and gown (townspeople and students) hastened the establishment of primitive halls of residence. These were succeeded by the first of Oxford's colleges, which began as medieval 'halls of residence' or endowed houses under the supervision of a Master. University, Balliol and Merton Colleges, which were established between 1249 and 1264, are the oldest.

Less than a century later, Oxford had achieved eminence above every other seat of learning, and won the praises of popes, kings and sages by virtue of its antiquity, curriculum, doctrine and privileges. In 1355, Edward III paid tribute to the University for its invaluable contribution to learning; he also commented on the services rendered to the state by distinguished Oxford graduates.

From its early days, Oxford was a centre for lively controversy, with scholars involved in religious and political disputes. John Wyclif, a 14th-century Master of Balliol, campaigned for a bible in the vernacular, against the wishes of the papacy. In 1530, Henry VIII forced the University to accept his divorce from Catherine of Aragon, and during the Reformation in the 16th century, the Anglican churchmen Cranmer, Latimer and Ridley were tried for heresy and burnt at the stake in Oxford.

The University was Royalist in the Civil War, and Charles I held a counter-Parliament in Convocation House, and in the late 17th century, the Oxford philosopher John Locke, suspected of treason, was forced to flee the country.

The 18th century, when Oxford was said to have forsaken port for politics, was also an era of scientific discovery and religious revival. Edmund Halley, Professor of Geometry, predicted the return of the comet that bears his name; John and Charles Wesley's prayer meetings laid the foundations of the Methodist Society.
The University assumed a leading role in the Victorian era, especially in religious controversy. From 1833 onwards The Oxford Movement sought to revitalise the Catholic aspects of the Anglican Church. One of its leaders, John Henry Newman, became a Roman Catholic in 1845 and was later made a Cardinal. In 1860 the new University Museum was the scene of a famous debate between Thomas Huxley, champion of evolution, and Bishop Wilberforce.

From 1878, academic halls were established for women and they were admitted to full membership of the University in 1920. Five all-male colleges first admitted women in 1974 and, since then, all colleges have changed their statutes to admit both women and men. St Hilda's College, which was originally for women only, was the last of Oxford's single sex colleges. It has admitted both men and women since 2008.

During the 20th and early 21st centuries, Oxford added to its humanistic core a major new research capacity in the natural and applied sciences, including medicine. In so doing, it has enhanced and strengthened its traditional role as an international focus for learning and a forum for intellectual debate.
Oxford is a member of the Russell Group of research-led British universities, the Coimbra Group, the G5, the League of European Research Universities, and the International Alliance of Research Universities. It is also a core member of the Europaeum and forms part of the 'Golden Triangle' of British universities.

Oxford at a glance

University of Oxford, Present Day
  • There are over 21,000 students at Oxford, including 11,752 undergraduates and 9,621 postgraduates.
  • The University, including the colleges and Oxford University Press, is the largest employer in Oxford and the second largest in Oxfordshire, supporting more than 18,000 jobs and injecting £750 million annually into the regional economy.
  • Oxford's research activity involves more than 70 departments, the colleges, over 1,600 academic staff, more than 3,800 research and research support staff, and over 5,300 graduate research students. 
  • Oxford has more world-leading academics (rated 4* in the 2008 national Research Assessment Exercise) than any other UK university. Oxford also has the highest number of world-leading or internationally excellent (4* or 3*) academics in the UK.
  • Oxford was ranked first in the UK and fourth in the world in the Times Higher Education Supplement’s World University Rankings 2011-2012. In the disciplinary tables, Oxford was ranked first in the world in clinical, pre-clinical and health subjects; third for social sciences; fourth for life sciences; seventh for the arts and humanities and for engineering and technology; and tenth for physical sciences.
  • "Oxford Thinking", Foundation for the Future has three major priorities driven by the joint academic priorities of the University and the colleges. First, to attract and support the very best students, irrespective of their financial situation, by providing the bursaries and scholarships for future generations of Oxonians to thrive and succeed when they are at Oxford. Second, to invest in academic posts and programmes, securing permanent posts and research funding to attract and retain the world’s finest academics. And third, to provide the buildings and infrastructure to support some of the world’s most advanced research and teaching facilities and to preserve the unique spirit of the collegiate University.

Oxford Museums:

The Radcliffe Camera,
built 1737–1749
as Oxford's science library,
now holds books from the English,
History, and Theology collections.
Oxford's museums and collections are world renowned. They provide an important resource for scholars around the world, and welcome visits from members of the public. More than a million people visit the University’s museums and collections every year.

  • Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology houses the University’s extensive collections of art and antiquities, ranging back over four millennia. Established in 1683, it is the oldest museum in the UK and one of the oldest in the world. Free admission.
  • University Museum of Natural History houses the University's scientific collections of zoological, entomological, palaeontological and mineral specimens. With 4.5 million specimens it is the largest collection of its type outside of the national collections. Free admission.
  • Pitt Rivers Museum holds one of the world’s finest collections of anthropology and archaeology, with objects from every continent and from throughout human history. Free admission.
  • Museum of the History of Science is housed in the world’s oldest surviving purpose-built museum building. It contains the finest collection of historic scientific instruments from around the globe. Free admission.
  • Bate Collection of Musical Instruments celebrates the history and development of the musical instruments of the Western Classical tradition, from the medieval period to present day.
  • University of Oxford Botanic Garden is the oldest botanic garden in Britain, and forms the most compact yet diverse collection of plants in the world. Admission charge.
  • Harcourt Arboretum is home to informal gardens, walks and rides. Situated six miles south of Oxford, it is an integral part of the plant collection of the Botanic Garden. Admission charge.
  • Christ Church Picture Gallery houses an important collection of 300 Old Master paintings and almost 2,000 drawings in a purpose-built gallery of considerable architectural interest. Admission charge


[1] ^ Ivan Illich, "Guarding the Eye in the Age of Show". Online Book, 2001, p. 16-17.

Courtesy of A Brief History of the University. University of Oxford. Retrieved 7 July 2012.