Saturday, July 23, 2005

Dance of the Blessed

St Bridget of Sweden sang praises to Our Lord, as we read in today's Office of Readings, that are like a dance--wave after wave, turn after turn, movement after movement of praise after praise, each introduced by such invocations as "Blessed are You, my Lord Jesus Christ . . .", and then praising Him for the successive mysteries of His Love.

These dancing praises remind me of the great cosmic dance in C.S.Lewis' Perelandra, in which, in a similar fashion, the voices of the angels sing the beauty of God's Creation and His Love, each wave after wave, each movement after movement ending with the musical refrain, "Blessed be He!"
Perhaps Lewis was inspired by such medieval mystics as St Bridget, or perhaps they were both inspired by the same Music and the same Dance.

Lewis' hymn in Perelandra was reset into Spenserian stanzas by Ruth Pitter (found in C.S. Lewis: Poet pp. 275ff.); her first stanza sings of the same Music and the same Dance, the Art of God's Beauty:

"We do not wait till you are gathered in,
You of the little inward earths and low;
We speak not, we, of when it will begin.
Before forever and the long ago,
Before the stream of time began to flow,
We dance before His face rejoicingly.
We at the centre ever praise Him so:
For the great Dance have all things come to be,
And all was made that we might praise Him.
Blest be He!"

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