Saturday, June 06, 2015

St Norbert: Live like an Angel day


Happy St Norbert's day to Frs Hugh and the Chelmsford community and any other Premonstratention readers.
There is a little biography of St Norbert here.

In the Ordinary Form Mass the readings from the Book of Tobit end today: Tobias' companion reveals himself as none other than the Angel Raphael, who lives in the presence of God and brings healing to men.

I don't if St Norbert was the first monastic reformer to introduce white habits, the Norbertine Canons do suggest that St Dominic nicked the idea from them.

What I am rather taken by is St Norbert gave them a white habit, "in imitation of the angels in heaven, to sing the divine praises on earth". It was also a sign of angelic witness to the resurrection and of baptismal purity of course.

In a world in which religion had become corrupt Norbert revived it by a return to purity in imitation of the angels, for Norbert it began in worship and living in God's presence, and seeking his will. Norbert was a proto "Save the liturgy, save the world" exponent.

Whilst, "What would Jesus do?" seems too complicated a question for most Catholics, "What would an angel do", seems more easily answered.

So celebrate St Norbert by making today "Live like an Angel day".

8 comments:

Jane said...

And to live like an angel is to live surrounded by angels, in an angelic company wherever we go : )

Liam Ronan said...

"What would the angels do?" Interesting question, Father.

"Then it happened that night that the angel of the LORD went out and struck 185,000 in the camp of the Assyrians; and when men rose early in the morning, behold, all of them were dead." 2 Kings 19:35 & Isaiah 37:36

"And immediately the angel of the Lord smote him (Herod), because he gave not God the glory: and he was eaten of worms, and died." Acts 12:23

"And there came two angels to Sodom at even..." Genesis 19:1

I suppose these were not, strictly speaking, angels of mercy.

John Fisher said...

I think white is the colour adopted by most canons. The original Norbertine habit is rather like the Dominican habit but without the black cappa. There is variation in the Norbertine habit and some wear habits like the Dominican one. If you think about it St Dominic was canon who founded and order of preachers. They wore what he wore but with a cappa for wearing while travelling. Before the 16th century all religious habits had hoods with capes joined at the front. Even diocesan clergy wore this but in black. The caped soutanes we witness now ere joined at the front and with a hood. Beretta's had no pom pom and looked like that worn but Archbishop Warham and Saint John Fisher.

Fr Ray Blake said...

Oh Liam, Angels are always battling, destroying the hosts of hell etc. Angels are definitely not fairies, something which escapes producers of nativity plays. One thing we do know is they have the appearance not of little girls but young men.

vetusta ecclesia said...

The canons of Spanish chapters ear a cappa in shape (not colour) exactly like that of the Dominicans.

Zephyrinus said...

Dear Fr,

Apropos "White Habits", I recently came across this item on Wikipedia:

"The Cistercians initially regarded themselves as Regular Benedictines, albeit the "perfect", reformed ones, but they soon came to distinguish themselves, from the Monks of unreformed Benedictine Communities, by wearing White Tunics instead of Black Tunics.

White was previously reserved for Hermits, who followed the "Angelic" life.

One of The Cistercians' first Abbots at Citeaux, France, was Alberic, formerly a Hermit"

This was at the end of the 11th-Century. Whether this is the first use of Monastic White Habits remains to be determined. No doubt by your Faithful and learned Readers.

JARay said...

So true Father. Angels are not fairies and it has always annoyed me to see them represented as glamorous little girls. There are many instances recorded in the Bible of angels appearing and they always appear as young men. The instance which I always think of is that after Jesus had ascended into heaven two men, dressed in white, spoke to the apostles and asked them why they were still looking up into the sky and told them that they would see Jesus come again as he had descended and that when he did he would come in his glory.
I have always had a fond spot for the book of Tobit and the way Tobias was assisted by the angel Raphael.

Liam Ronan said...

Speaking of angels, fire from above, and catastrophic punishment for sin:

"The third part of the secret revealed at the Cova da Iria-Fatima, on 13 July 1917.

After the two parts which I have already explained, at the left of Our Lady and a little above, we saw an Angel with a flaming sword in his left hand; flashing, it gave out flames that looked as though they would set the world on fire; but they died out in contact with the splendour that Our Lady radiated towards him from her right hand: pointing to the earth with his right hand, the Angel cried out in a loud voice: ‘Penance, Penance, Penance!'.

And we saw in an immense light that is God: ‘something similar to how people appear in a mirror when they pass in front of it' a Bishop dressed in White ‘we had the impression that it was the Holy Father'.

Other Bishops, Priests, men and women Religious going up a steep mountain, at the top of which there was a big Cross of rough-hewn trunks as of a cork-tree with the bark; before reaching there the Holy Father passed through a big city half in ruins and half trembling with halting step, afflicted with pain and sorrow, he prayed for the souls of the corpses he met on his way; having reached the top of the mountain, on his knees at the foot of the big Cross he was killed by a group of soldiers who fired bullets and arrows at him, and in the same way there died one after another the other Bishops, Priests, men and women Religious, and various lay people of different ranks and positions.

Beneath the two arms of the Cross there were two Angels each with a crystal aspersorium in his hand, in which they gathered up the blood of the Martyrs and with it sprinkled the souls that were making their way to God."

Tuy-3-1-1944” Servant of God Sister Lucia dos Santos