Saturday, February 04, 2012

 

The Company of Saints

Erasmus, Convivium Religiosum (The Godly Feast, tr. Craig R. Thompson):
Sacred scripture is of course the basic authority for everything; yet I sometimes run across ancient sayings or pagan writings—even the poets—so purely and reverently and admirably expressed that I can't help believing their authors' hearts were moved by some divine power. And perhaps the spirit of Christ is more widespread than we understand, and the company of the saints includes many not in our calendar. Speaking frankly among friends, I can't read Cicero's De senectute, De amicitia, De officiis, De Tusculanis quaestionibus without sometimes kissing the book and blessing that pure heart, divinely inspired as it was.

Sacris quidem literis ubique prima debetur auctoritas; sed tamen ego nonnunquam offendo quaedam vel dicta a veteribus, vel scripta ab ethnicis, etiam poetis, tam caste, tam sancte, tam divinitus, ut mihi non possim persuadere, quin pectus illorum, quum illa scriberent, numen aliquod bonum agitaverit. Et fortasse latius se fundit spiritus Christi, quam nos interpretamur. Et multi sunt in consortio sanctorum, qui non sunt upud nos in catalogo. Fateor affectum meum apud amicos: non possum legere librum Ciceronis de Senectute, de Amicitia, de Officiis, de Tusculanis Quaestionibus, quin aliquotiens exosculer codicem ac venerer sanctum illud pectus, afflatum coeesti numine.
Later in the same colloquy, another character exclaims, "Saint Socrates, pray for us!" (Sancte Socrates, ora pro nobis!) Among those I would like to see canonized is Erasmus.



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