St Malachy, Metropolitan Anthony, Tolkien and the Dark Night

St Malachy’s Prophecy of the Popes (Prophetia de Summis Pontificibus) has been again in the news after Pope Benedict’s resignation. We bring you this week the original Latin text together with an illuminating interpretation by Martin Lings, who examines soberly the import of the prophecy for our times.

“St. Malachy was a man of so many undoubted miracles, and so many visions which had proved true in his lifetime, that by comparison the prophecy of the Popes was not worth mentioning… Who would have been interested to hear that there would be 112 more Popes between then and Doomsday? It would have seemed incredible to almost everyone that the second coming of Christ could be so far off.”

From the Metropolitan Anthony of Sourozh Archive, we bring the first of hopefully many other texts by this reverend master of Orthodox spirituality: “Mysticism”.

“…the certainty of things unseen. What is no longer the object of contemplation; what is no longer love possessed, but the certainty that it exists, that it is there, that it can come back, but that it is willingly, freely discarded in an act of love which is more important than the possession of the experience. This is, I believe, the touchstone of a true mystical experience.”

Shedding light on the Christian theology underlying J.R.R. Tolkien’s fiction, including “The Lord of the Rings”, Damien Casey brings us his article “The Gift of Iluvatar”.

“If the world is fallen, it is also graced. The relationship between human frailty and grace is clearly encapsulated in the climax of The Lord of the Rings. It is crucial to the theological logic of the story that Frodo ultimately fails in his quest. The quest succeeds, ultimately, because it is taken out of his hands. Success, and ultimately redemption, is not the result of strength but of forgiveness.”

Finally, we start a new series of readings of mystical poetry with St John of the Cross and his “Dark Night of the Soul”, read in English and Spanish. Click here to listen or download.