[ Isenheim Altarpiece , Matthias Grunewald (painted 1506-1515)]
SANCTUS, Sanctus, Sanctus, Dominus Deus Sabaoth. Pleni sunt caeli et terra gloria tua. Hosanna in excelsis. Benedictus qui venit in nomine Domini. Hosanna in excelsis.
HOLY, holy, holy, Lord God of hosts. Heaven and earth are full of Thy glory. Hosanna in the highest. Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest.
Some of the most prophetic works of art given us by the Medieval Period were numerous alter pieces. Most of these elaborate STORIES were created for churches that were popping up all over Europe in the last days of the Great Plague and the Spanish Inquisition, preceding the co-emergence of the Renaissance, Reformation, and Enlightenment. Some were designed to be portable—so that the picture story of the Risen Lord could be transported to rural communities and hamlets across the coalescing city-states. They were deemed to be HOLY religious objects, as sacred as the ancient relics.
In great contrast is our culture today. Very little, in developed nations, is held as sacred or holy. Almost everything has been reduced to the lowest common denominator—from language to faith, beauty to vocabulary (dude), commitment to individual integrity. About the only commodity to rise above our daily banality are experiences that pump the adrenalin and give us a momentary spurt of ecstasy. We are not, in general, given over to the Holy in any natural way.
So I ask you, no matter your faith, non-faith, or business ethics— What do you hold as Holy? What do you consider to be precious, sacrosanct, or hallowed? What days or celebrations or individuals do you revere as most sacred? If your reply is nothing, then you have placed yourself on a very unstable pedestal. If your answer points to things, BMWs, Caribbean cruises, promotions, or notoriety, for example, then your enjoyment will be short lived; though, truly, it will of-a-truth be pleasurable.
What entity, in and of itself, deserves to be held in highest esteem in our lives? Integrity, honesty, bravery, truthfulness, innocence, purity? What of beauty, creation, sacrifice, devotion or unwavering commitment? Does your faith compel you to hold anything above all others as holy, set apart, or sacred?
However you answer, please, keep yourself in a proper place and embrace something outside your great, mediocre, or small life to be truly Holy. Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus.
Have a nice week,