Skip to comments.Lent and Beyond: Lenten Meditations, continued: Captain Yips Secret Journal
Posted on 04/05/2006 9:54:04 PM PDT by sionnsar
For today from Lent and Beyond's Anglican Bloggers' Collaborative Lenten Meditations Series, we have Scattered Secrets by the redoubtable Captain Yips. This is a continuation of his earlier meditation which can be found here; you won't want to miss this one.
Note: This meditation is essentially the third of a series. You can read the original litany here (English & Latin versions), and Captain Yips first reflections on the Latin translation here. Were so grateful Captain Yips agreed to provide this follow up to last weeks post since we received much positive feedback about it.
Where was I? Oh, yeah. Pandimus occulta.
This phrase doesnt contain quite the same challenges presented by contrito corde. The verb pandere means to spread out, to expose. Theres an element of disorder implied. You would pandere grapes to the sun to make raisins. It gained the meaning, to reveal, expose, disclose, reveal.
Occulta here means not so much things hidden as secrets, in the common not the religious or ritual sense. Occulta has also a sense of things held together tightly, covered, wrapped, so theres a dynamic tension between the spreading out and revealing of pandimus and the hiddenness and secrecy of occulta. On Christmas morning, we try to keep the presents occulta, wrapped up and secret, as long as possible, but the kids pandere them all over the place in no time.
Occulta, here, is also interesting as it deals with our tendency to try to reserve some precious part of ourselves from God. St. Augustines famous prayer for chastity- later, please- is probably the most famous example, but it merely echoes Jesuss frequent warnings about putting anything-buying property, our self esteem, even burying a parent-ahead of the Kingdom. When were invited to His great feast, wed better drop everything and go. Repentance involves complete reorientation toward the new creation that is breaking into the old. Once you get started, you cant go back to old ways; once the light of God is kindled, you cant hide it under a basket. And Anglicans should hear, of course, an echo of the Collect for Purity: from Whom no secrets are hid.
So the phrase might mean something like
We scatter our secrets (by implication, before You).
If we look back to contrito corde, we might get to something like
With hearts smashed to pieces, we scatter our secrets (before You)
(By means of) hearts scoured clean, we spread out everything we tried to hide
or even (and this is pretty loose and free)
Because Youve shattered the vaults of our hearts, we spread out our secrets before You
Personally, I keep coming back to an image of coarse gravel raked across a surface, under a bright and shadowless light. I think my imagination is being drawn towards an image of a heart hardened to stone, encased, by sin, but shattered by God Who spreads out the debris, and rummages among the pieces to find the precious gem that He polishes and makes glorious in His love.
Thats kind of a lot to get out of four Latin words, but one of the functions of high poetry (and I think that contrito corde pandimus occulta is very high poetry indeed) is to deal with nearly inexpressible concepts by implication. Part of what is powerful in this line is its realistic, compressed description of elements of a Christians life, both the harshness of repentance and the relief of giving up the keeping of secrets-or at least admitting to oneself that the keeping of secrets from God is futile.
Id like to thank Karen for so graciously offering me this space, and to wish all of Lent and Beyonds readers a blessed and joyful Easter.
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