Wednesday, December 19, 2012


A Quick Study

Life of St. Brendan, XV (tr. Denis O'Donoghue):
It was during the winter season, in the third year of his pilgrimage, that St. Brendan arrived at the monastery, and snow had fallen copiously so as to cover the ground, but none of it fell on St. Brendan or his disciples while they waited before the barred door. The door porter, noticing this from within, called out to them: "Come in at once, and let your own merits open the door unto you." Whereupon St. Brendan directed his disciple Talmach to open the door for them in the name of Christ; and when he, in obedience, put forth his hand towards the door, the bolts at once flew back, and were no longer visible. They then entered, and went towards the church of the monastery, the doors of which were closed against them in like manner; but St. Brendan knowing that this was done as a trial of his virtue, only placed his hand on the folding door, and said: "Oh, church of Christ, my true mother, open unto me;" instantly the seals or locks were broken, and the church lay open before them, when they went at once into the choir.

Here St. Gildas had a missal written in Greek characters, and this was placed on the altar for use at Mass. Then the sacristan said to St. Brendan, by order of St. Gildas: "Man of God, our father abbot commands you to offer the holy sacrifice; here is the altar prepared, and a missal in Greek letters, in which you are to read the Mass, as our abbot does." When St. Brendan opened the missal he prayed: "Grant unto me, O Lord Jesus, a knowledge of those unknown letters, as Thou hast by Thy power opened these doors that were barred against us." Truly all things are possible to the true believer, for St. Brendan knew at once those Greek characters as well as he did the Latin ones he had learned from his infancy.
The Latin:
Tunc yems erat et post tres annos in illa peregrinacione Sanctus Brendanus ad illum locum pervenit. Nix tunc pluit cooperiens terram sed nichil supra Sanctum Brendanum vel discipulos suos ante ostium clausum manentes fluxit. Hoc videns hostiarius de intus dixit eis: venite et merita vestra aperiant vobis. Tunc Sanctus Brendanus vocato discipulo suo Talmach dixit: vade et in Xti nomine aperi nobis ostium. Illico ille extendens manum recesserunt intus serae et ultra non apparuerunt; et ad templum venientes simili modo clausum erat ante eos. Sciensque Sanctus Brendanus quod temptacio erat ei, possuit manum suam duabus valvis et ait: Vera mater, Ecclesia Xti, aperi mihi. Et statim sigillis fractis aperta est ecclesia et intraverunt chorum.

Et habebat Sanctus Gylldas missalem librum scriptum Graecis litteris et possitus est ille liber super altare. Et custos templi ex jussione Sancti Gilldae dixit Sancto Brendano: vir Dei, praecipit tibi sanctus senex noster ut offeras corpus Xti: ecce altare hic (et) librum graecis litteris scriptum et canta in eo sicut abbas noster. Aperiensque Sanctus Brendanus librum ait: demonstra michi Domine Jhesu istas litteras ignotas, sicut aperuisti ostia clausa ante nos. Profecto possibilia sunt omnia credenti. Ilico jam litteras grecas scivit Sanctus Brendanus sicuti latinas quas didicit ab infancia.

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