Thursday, September 11, 2008

VI. SERMO IN MONTE, Occasio, Beatitudines

We will come to the answer later in the Lord's sermon. Beloved, I promised this to you some time ago, but my duties in the fields and in the city have prevented me from continuing my translation. Now here is an earlier part of the sermon, the beginning. Matthew and Luke record it. You can see the rest of his record in the coloured threads as before. We do not yet see the answer to the question of how to cut off our limbs without blood, but there are hints.

Here is my translation for you - you who are now so distant. I wonder if you remember the estate at Corinth where you delivered your posts to our master Gaius so often.

And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying:
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Beati pauperes spiritu: quoniam ipsorum est regnum cælorum

I wrestle with this word blessed, Beloved. Beati is not the right word in your tongue, but there are so many decisions to make when translating. When I grew up the word was happy. Felicitas would be a closer approximation to the Hebrew I hear behind the Greek and to the Greek itself. If we are happy, then it is the Most High who is blessed.You are to be happy, Beloved. What other prayer could I have for you.

- a company of evildoers have closed in on me
- young lions they are, voracious
- how can I say that I will not lack any good

Why though, does the Master teach such opposites? I have inherited this enormous estate. I am better off than the owner's son who surely was poor in spirit. I remember what Gaius told me about him.
I had dutifully married, but not well. My wife was not gentle in her use of our products. Too much wine filled our house. After our son was born, we drifted away from each other, as if having a premonition of what he would become. We divorced. He grew up on the estate, an affectionate but unruly child. When he reached adolescence, he spent his time at the gaming houses and the temples on the Acrocorinth. I seldom saw him except when he ran out of money. One day at the Pirene springs, he was in a fight. Impulsive, he hit a man much stronger than he, and he was removed from the earth and flung against the rocks. I suspect that his adversary, as impulsive as he was, was also from a womb filled with too much wine as Aristotle has recorded.
What happiness is this? Surely troubles came to this man. Yet later I also came to him as a blessing and almost a substitute for his troubled son. What shall I do who am now rich in this world's goods? Will woes apply to me?

It has not been so, and if it were, if I were to be classed with the wicked, I would have to welcome it as if I were with my Lord himself, for that was his lot. If I were without his correction and judgment, I would worry more. If I were without his consolation, I would worry more. But I do not judge either the one nor the other. I do what I can in the day that the opportunity is given to me.

How could Uncle Mark have left out such teaching? Yet he did, carissime. The single eye that he had did not allow him to distract the reader with anything that would draw attention away from his focus - at least not yet. So also there is little mention of his most recent teacher, Simon Peter, except where his character teaches us our own. This prominence of Peter he leaves to Matthew and John. I say – 'not yet', for Mark has such a sense of humour as we might not imagine if we are very serious. When you get to the young man in the garden and in the open tomb, you will see what I mean. There the distraction is deliberate.

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