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There had evidently also been complaints as to alienations of the possessions of the church, and their recovery was committed to the bishop of Winchester. It was probably at this time that Innocent wrote to Gervase exhorting him to still the murmurs in the house, and to administer its goods with the counsel of the brethren. He was to try to recover the churches and tithes which had been dispersed without the consent of the chapter, fn. The regalia of the Confessor and the insignia were not to be sold without common consent, and the brethren were to show canonical obedi ence to the abbot and to be of good conversation.

Laurence died on 11 April, , fn. Walter had been prior of Winchester, and his election is said to have been procured by bribery on the part of the king, who feared lest, if the great abbeys were allowed to choose abbots from their own numbers, his royal authority might be undermined.

Introduction

A curious story is told concerning the part played by the abbey during the absence of Richard I from England. It is said that the king on leaving Sicily for the East in gave special injunctions that the appointment of a new abbot to the then vacant chair at Westminster was to be left entirely to the will of the chancellor. Longchamp accordingly, by force of exactions and importunity, gradually persuaded the convent to allow him to introduce into the abbey, with a view to his election as abbot, his brother, who had been bred a monk at Caen, and for the better security of his plan he had the agreement committed to writing and sealed with the conventual seal.

Upon Longchamp's disgrace, however, the monks, 'qui ante dies istos tam magni cordis exstiterant ut pro more sua facta non infecerent,' seeing the times had changed, set aside their covenant and elected as abbot their own prior, William Postard. This exchange was probably an advantage to the abbey, for Postard's rule appears to have been frugal and wise; fn. A few scattered notices of Abbot Ralph Papillon or of Arundel occur. He is said, by Leland, fn.

The latter statement is supported by Ralph de Diceto, who says that he was elected at Northampton 'ne monachi emendicatis aliunde suffragiis uterentur. He is supposed to have held the saints in special reverence and to have added to the magnificence of certain festivals, fn. The exact grounds of Abbot Ralph's downfall are open to question. According to Wendover, who calls him William, the charges brought against him were dilapidation and incontinency.

Matthew Paris in one place repeats Wendover's story word for word, but later on he gives an account of the event in his own words, and seems to know nothing of the charge. The abbey bore its share in the disturbances of the next two years, fn. The history of the next thirty years is chiefly a record of rapid development. Internally the constitution was completely remodelled under Abbot Berking, and the new Lady chapel was begun under the auspices of the king; fn.

It was some time between the years and that the abbeys of Westminster and St. Edmunds entered into an agreement for mutual aid. In times of vacancy the surviving abbot was to visit the sister house, if desired, and to receive the profession of its novices.

Monks of either house were to be entertained honourably at the other, except in the case of those banished for grave misdemeanours. Prayers were to be mutually offered for deceased abbots and brethren. A similar treaty was made with Worcester in , and with Malmesbury before , and there is a tradition of one with the house of St.

Victor of Paris. In Bishop Eustace of London claimed jurisdiction in the abbey, and appeal was made to Rome. Westminster was one of the exempt houses which appealed against the visitation of the abbots of Boxley and Beigham and the precentor of Christchurch, Canterbury, in The papal mandate for the visitation seems to have been issued in due form, and upon the plea that several of the great houses were 'in spiritualibus deformata et in temporalibus.

Augustine's, Canterbury, behaved with such violence that the monks of that house, together with those of St. Edmunds, St. Albans, and Westminster, refused to acknowledge their authority. The chief offender in the matter was the Cistercian abbot of Boxley, fn. The compiler of the Customary, at the end of the thirteenth century, remarks that at one time Cistercians used to come to the abbey in great numbers, being received in the refectory and sleeping in the dormitory 'as brethren of our order,' and that not infrequently as many as four or more Cistercian abbots had dined together at the high table, but he implies that this had become a thing of the past since the repulse of the visitors.

Abbot Richard de Berking died at the close of the year From the pope he obtained the right to give episcopal benediction and first tonsure, and from the king he received a grant of the amercements of the abbey tenants. He gave to the abbey a reredos depicting the history of our Saviour, and another of the life of King Edward, as well as certain vestments, and the chronicler records with pride that he was molestus sive onerosus to his neighbours.

But his best claim to an honourable place in the annals of Westminster should be based on his division of the estates and organization of the constitution of the monastery. His successor, a second Richard, was elected on account of his friendship with the king. In Henry presented, and carried personally to Westminster, a portion of the blood of our Lord which had been sent to him from the Holy Land.

The procession from St. Paul's was attended by all the priests of London vested in copes and surplices, and the king himself on foot and with eyes cast down carried the relic 'through the uneven and muddy streets. Peter, and his dear St. Unfortunately Henry's piety was as injudicious as his administrative policy, and anyone to whom he showed favour could not fail, sooner or later, to become involved in the political strife of the day.

As early as the year indications had not been wanting of the possibility of an outbreak between the abbey and the City. In a wrestling match between the tenants of Westminster and the citizens of London, the former had suddenly, either on impulse or of set purpose, flown to arms and driven the Londoners back to the City. Here the common bell was rung, and in spite of the pacific efforts of the mayor, a serious political riot developed; the leader, Constantine son of Arnulf, encouraged his followers with the seditious cry 'Montis Gaudium, Montis Gaudium, adjuvet Deus et dominus noster Ludovicus.

Ultimately the justiciar held an inquiry, hanged the ringleaders, and, since the people still murmured, took sixty hostages and banished them to various castles throughout England. The king, however, failed to take permanent warning by this outburst. In he demanded for the abbey certain privileges prejudicial to the charters of the City. The mayor offered some resistance, and finally appealed to the earl of Leicester, who, with other barons, effectually complained to the king, and rebuked the abbot, who was regarded as the instigator to the aggression. Albans, confirmed the rights of Westminster in the manor of Aldenham—a step which at such a time was less judicious than just.

In the meantime it became evident that the king's devotion to the abbey was even a stronger motive with him than his friendship for the abbot. About the year Richard attempted to repudiate his predecessor's division of the abbey revenues, and meeting with opposition from the convent set out for Rome.

He appears to have been a man of prepossessing appearance and manners, and no little business capacity, and was accordingly received with favour by the pope who made him one of his chaplains, and sent him home after a prolonged stay in Rome, armed with powers to reduce his convent to submission.

Both parties appealed to the king, the convent in a spirit of humility, and the abbot apparently with the utmost confidence, relying on the papal authority and his own friendship with Henry. He must accordingly have been somewhat surprised when his overtures were utterly rejected, and he was driven from the royal counsels and favour. Seeing that victory was not easily to be his, he submitted to the arbitration of Richard earl of Cornwall and John Mansel, provost of Beverley, but when they pronounced in favour of the convent he attempted a further appeal to Rome, which was only frustrated by the king's order forbidding anyone to lend him money or to accept his bonds.

In August, , an amicable settlement was reached with the convent, though Matthew Paris states that the abbot was never restored to Henry's favour; this statement, however, is open to doubt in view of the part Richard played in the crisis of The king, being determined not to confirm the charters, and unable to obtain financial aid from the constitutional party without so doing, appealed to the abbots of St. Albans, Reading, Waltham, and Westminster for help.

Abbot Richard at once acceded to this request, but the other three houses were proof against his evil example, and probably saved the political situation. Henry was forced to summon the Mad Parliament, and the committee of twentyfour was chosen, the abbot of Westminster being one of the twelve appointed by the king. Richard of Ware, the new abbot, reaped the fruits of his predecessor's anti-popular attitude. In Henry attempted to restore to the monks the liberties which had been taken from them by the City; fn. The chronicler remarks that 'by God's mercy the rebels spared the monks and their goods,' fn.

On their return they found the danger was over, and at the king's command they chanted Gaudent in coelis 'because he had recovered in answer to the prayers of the monks.


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About this time the character of the house seems to have fallen into somewhat unmerited disrepute. In the archbishop of Canterbury and Gregory de Neapoli held a visitation as commissaries of Cardinal Ottobon. The commissioners' report was to the effect that the monastery was in a much better condition than many had 'believed and hoped,' and their injunctions point rather to some slight slackness of administration than to any graver disorders.

It would therefore seem probable that the rumours had been set on foot by the popular party in London, or by rival houses which were jealous of Westminster on account of the extraordinary favours showered upon it by the king. The cardinal enjoined that in future the obedientiaries should not make alienations of their property without consultation with the abbot, and that they should render their accounts four times yearly; that the prior should have his room in a place accessible to the whole convent and not at a distance from the cloister as hitherto; fn.

Of the history of the next ten years little is known; the abbot was apparently frequently absent, for he was the king's treasurer, and was employed for long periods on foreign embassies and judicial eyres. Robert of Reading remarks that 'in his prosperity he despised many, especially the Benedictines. In he complained that the tenants of the abbey were defrauding his men of Lambeth at the ferry, fn.

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The occasion of the archbishop's visit and of the sacrist's outbreak is not specified, but it would seem that the latter had some interest—probably as a papal commissary—in a case then pending between Peckham and Theodosius de Camilla, dean of the royal chapel of Wolverhampton, as to the church of Wingham Kent. The parishioners of Wingham were inhibited by the sacrist from the payment of tithes, and the archbishop may have gone to Westminster in this connexion.

Possibly he asked to inspect the papal mandate for the inhibition, and it was this that the sacrist threw at him. In a quarrel arose between Westminster and the English Franciscans, and it was probably again owing to the influence of Peckham, himself a friar and conservator of the order of the Brothers Minor in England, that the abbey nearly had to submit to the utmost humiliation. It appears that a certain Brother William, once a Benedictine monk of Pershore, and subsequently professed a Friar Minor, had become apostate from his order and fled to Westminster.

According to the custom of the house truants seeking refuge in the abbey were to receive one day's victuals from the sub-almoner and go where they would, fn. On 30 July, , Peckham ordered the official of the bishop of London to publish sentence of excommunication against the apostate and his accomplices. On 7 October following the monks appealed to the pope. Apparently, however, the appeal was in vain, and the abbot and convent remaining obdurate, were excommunicated. Subsequently the proctors of both parties appeared before Matthew, cardinal of St.

Laurence, who gave judgement on 4 April, He ordered the abbot and convent to acknowledge that the apostate could not remain amongst them without the loss of his own soul, to purge themselves upon the most stringent conditions of having helped him to escape, and to undertake to aid the Franciscans in his recovery.

The abbot was to come specially to the next provincial chapter of Franciscans in London to humble himself publicly and to be received back to charity. He, however, protested that he would not submit to the pronouncement, and in December, , the more onerous terms were commuted for a sum of 60 marks, the last instalment of which was duly paid on 21 December, There is reason to suppose that the convent was in anything but a satisfactory condition at this time. In occurred the famous robbery of the king's treasury in the abbey, the story of which has so frequently been told that it scarcely requires repetition in detail.

The more salient facts of the case cannot be doubted, namely that the treasure was taken from the usual depository within the abbey precincts fn. He must have been guilty of extraordinary negligence to retain such men as Adam de Warefeld, Alexander of Pershore, and Ralph Morton as sacrist, subprior and cellarer, and a somewhat significant light is thrown upon his character by an entry in the annals of Worcester under the year As president of the General Chapter of Benedictines held at Oxford, Abbot Walter decreed, says the annalist, that every prelate might give his monks dispensation to eat flesh as seemed expedient to him; he also provided for the omission of lengthy prayers between the hours, and, adds the chronicler, 'dubito quod futuris temporibus superfluum videbatur Pater Noster.

But by far the most prejudicial evidence against him was given in the case of Prior Reginald de Hadham, which was only finally decided in , after Walter's death. It would seem by the notarial instruments fn. Walter thereupon conceived a violent prejudice against the prior, and without legitimate warning suspended him from his office. Reginald appealed to Rome, and Brother Roger of Aldenham, who drew up the instrument of the appeal, was consequently banished to the cell of Hurley. At the beginning of September, fn. During the remainder of the year no word appears to have come from Rome, and the abbot and his party remained supreme in the house until Walter's death on Christmas Day.

The following spring, however, the case was heard by papal commissaries, and as no one appeared on behalf of the late abbot and the witnesses were unanimous in praise of Reginald, the sentences against him and against Roger of Aldenham were reversed, and he was restored to his office. This, however, was not the end of the troubles at Westminster. A vacancy of two years and sixteen weeks followed, fn.

On 14 July, , the king wrote to the prior and convent complaining of dilapidations and appointing a commission of lawyers to inquire into the case. He exhorted the prior to keep the monks to the observance of their profession, and not to allow them to leave the close without permission. If visible reforms were not speedily made the king threatened so to lay hands upon the monks and their goods that all the other houses of the order 'se chastieront par ensample de vous. In the meantime, however, the new abbot had been admitted and consecrated.

His election, as might have been expected at a time of such great internal dissension, had not been unattended with difficulties. When the choice fell on Richard de Kydington several members of the house complained of his infamia et insufficiencia suggesting that he was supported by Piers Gaveston, fn. An attempt was made to sequester the abbot's manors in Worcestershire, and he himself was put under sentence of excommunication, which was only removed in after frequent remonstrances from the king.

A somewhat discreditable affray took place in the monastery at the end of August, A quarrel having arisen between one of the masons of the king's chapel and a serving man of Westminster, the monks flew to arms, and after wounding the masons were received back to the monastery by the prior. The abbot was absent at the time, but on his return took no steps to punish the culprits, who, when the case was summoned before the justices, were found to have escaped. The election of Abbot Thomas de Henley in was confirmed by the pope in spite of some irregularity, fn.

In he was in England and presided at the General Benedictine Chapter at Northampton, and In he and a fellow-monk were summoned for deer-stealing in Windsor Forest, though possibly the abbot was only involved as representative of the convent in all legal proceedings. The most important event of his rule was the dispute which arose in as to the visitation of the hospital of St. The king claimed that the right was annexed to the treasurership, and had only been exercised by such abbots of Westminster as held that office; Thomas, on the other hand, asserted that the hospital lay within the bounds of the parish of St.

Margaret, Westminster, and therefore within the jurisdiction of the abbey. The succeeding abbot, Simon de Bircheston, acquired a most unenviable notoriety. The circumstances of his election are unknown, but twenty years earlier he had been one of the monks involved in the attack on the king's stonemason, fn. In he received licence for three years to study in the schools or stay elsewhere where he would within the realm, with entire exemption from personal attendance at any Councils or Parliaments, and two years later he obtained a similar exemption for two years.

Early in May Abbot Bircheston and twenty-seven of the monks were dead, and Simon Langham, who had been chosen prior barely a month before, was left to administer the house.


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  4. Details of his rule at Westminster are not known, but the chronicler speaks of his love and care for the house, and the zeal with which he extirpated certain 'insolences, abuses, singularities, superfluities, and malices' which had crept into the monastery; fn. In Langham was promoted to the see of Ely, but throughout a somewhat stormy career he appears never to have lost his affection for Westminster.


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    4. The new abbot, Nicholas Litlington, was undoubtedly a vigorous administrator; already as a simple monk he had three times secured to the prior and convent the guardianship of the abbot's temporalities during vacancies, he had considerably improved some of the abbey estates, and he had been associated with Langham in the oversight of the finances of the monastery at the death of Simon de Bircheston; fn. But the period of his rule was a time of no little turmoil in the monastery. On 10 August, , two gentlemen named Shackle and Hawley who had escaped from the Tower and taken sanctuary at Westminster were pursued thither by their enemies; one of the fugitives was captured, and the other escaped to the choir of the church, where he was overtaken and slain at the moment when the gospel was about to be read at high mass.

      The service ceased immediately, but the mischief was already done, and the abbey, which had never before been violated, was polluted with the blood of Hawley and of one of the servants of the church who had attempted to stop the fray. The privilege of sanctuary which had thus been infringed was one of the most valued rights of the abbey; in his defence of it Abbot Nicholas quoted charters of Edgar and Saint Edward, but its real origin is doubtful; it was probably prescriptive, and based on a common consent and necessity in days when justice was primitive and summary.

      In a Westminster manuscript of the fifteenth century occurs the oath taken by a fugitive on admission. In the first place he must say truthfully why he came, then he must swear to behave properly and faithfully while there, to submit to all corrections and judgements of the president, and to observe all contracts which he might make while in sanctuary; if he came there on account of debt, he was to satisfy his creditors at the earliest opportunity, and without garrulous or insolent words; he was to promise not to sell victuals in sanctuary without special leave of the archdeacon, not to receive any fugitive or suspect person at his table, not to carry defensive weapons nor go out of sanctuary without permission, not to defame any of his fellow fugitives in any way, nor, finally, to do or permit any violence within the privileged precincts.

      As early as the time of Hawley's murder the custom was evidently unpopular, and when the archbishop of Canterbury, in the name of all the clergy of England, petitioned the king in Parliament against the late violation, the lords replied that they had no wish to encroach upon the liberties of the church, but that grave abuses were occasioned by people taking sanctuary for debts they were well able to pay, and other petitions were presented against the immense range of misdemeanour which the general terms of the charters were construed to cover.

      Abbot Nicholas made a vigorous defence, and Richard II, while he acknowledged the losses and inconveniences which had arisen, and pronounced that henceforth the immunity should not be construed to cover fraudulent debtors, still maintained all the privileges of the church touching cases of felony, and because of his great love for the abbey extended its protection to such debtors as had lost their wealth by fortune of the sea, robbery, or other mischief.

      The abuses seem to have increased as time went on, for in Edward IV wrote to the archdeacon of Westminster, saying that he had heard that great resort was made to the sanctuary, and grave crimes and abominable excesses committed there, and exhorting him to restrain and punish them; fn. Though the abbey does not appear to have suffered much from the rising of , there must have been consternation in the hearts of the monks when they heard that the rebels were attacking Lambeth Palace, and their fears were not allayed when the warden of the Marshalsea, flying before the insurgents, took refuge in the church on Saturday, 14 June.

      There he was found by the mob a few hours later clinging to the pillars of St. Edward's shrine, and thence he was borne away to be beheaded in mid Chepe. At the door of the monastery Richard sprang from his horse, and in tears upon his knees kissed the cross, which was borne before the convent; thence he proceeded to the shrine, where he knelt long in prayer before returning to meet the rebels at Smithfield.

      Nicholas died at the close of the year , leaving to the abbey a considerable quantity of plate 'because of the love which the prior and convent bear and have borne him. It is an English letter to the king from 'the senior and more part of the convent' complaining of the 'gret waste and destruction' which 'dayly encreceth' through the 'misgovernaunce' of the abbot. If this really refers to Litlington, and may be taken in conjunction with another entry fn. The ultimate impression left by these various indications of his character is that of a man of great vigour and business capacity, but at the same time worldly and vain-glorious.

      It is traditionally reported that in the last year of his life, when he was quite an old man, on the rumour of French invasion he bought armour and set out with two fellow monks to assist in the defence of the coast. It was, however, to Litlington's lavishness and love of splendour that Westminster owed the famous missal known by his name, and left by him to the high altar of the abbey.

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      There are, however, certain differences in the introits and grails, and the sequences of St. Thomas of Canterbury, St. Edward the Confessor, St. Peter ad Vincula, and the Common of the Apostles are peculiar to Westminster, as are also the distribution of lessons on Easter Eve and the collect before the first lesson on that day. The missal also contains a greater number of prayers for private use by the celebrant than any other English mass book. On hearing of Litlington's death the king sent John Lakyngheth, a candidate of his own, to Westminster; but the convent, disregarding the royal wishes, elected their archdeacon, William of Colchester.

      Richard was greatly annoyed, and for some time refused to admit the new abbot; eventually, however, he was pacified, and wrote to Rome, satis gratiose , on William's behalf. A long-continued dispute with the canons of St. Stephen's, Westminster, was decided largely in favour of the abbey; fn.

      Peter's, fn. He was with the king in Ireland at Whitsuntide, but the following autumn he was one of the commissioners sent to the Tower to receive Richard's abdication, fn. Very few details of the history of Westminster in the fifteenth century survive. Beyond a statement by one of the chroniclers of the day to the effect that if the Lollards succeeded, one of their first enterprises would be the destruction of the abbey, fn.

      About the middle of the century a discontented monk accused the abbot of having recourse to a necromancer to discover the thief of certain plate from his chapel and wine-cellar; fn. The debt incurred amounted to at least 3, marks 6 s. A certain Brother Thomas Ruston, evidently a partisan of the abbot, was holding four offices, and had brought them to decay by his neglect; he had burdened the house with his own debts, and was suspected of having embezzled six or seven copes at the time when he was keeper of the vestry.

      The memorial presented to the abbot was signed by thirteen monks, two of whom, Thomas Milling, the prior, and John Eastney, were afterwards themselves abbots. Milling was elected to succeed Norwich as abbot in , fn. He was succeeded by John Eastney, who, like Norwich, was appointed by papal provision. That the abbey should surrender its cherished privilege of free election to the pope twice within a period of twelve years was without precedent; in moreover, the king complained to Sixtus IV that the house was going to decay on account of the civil war and floods, fn.

      In the eleventh century Abbot Gilbert had made provision for eighty monks, fn. But if numbers were declining the old splendour of ceremonial was still maintained. The funeral of Abbot Islip in must have been one of the most impressive scenes ever witnessed at Westminster. The abbot had been an energetic statesman, an able administrator, and a great builder, fn. The magnificent obituary roll which was circulated amongst the religious houses of England announcing his death has an interest apart from the beauty and skill of its workmanship, due to the fact that it commemorates the last Englishman who died as abbot of this most national of English monasteries, and perhaps it is not altogether without significance that while the four pictures of the roll are mediaeval in character the drawing of the initial letter of the brief shows signs of renaissance influence.

      Not very much is known of William Boston, the last abbot. He seems to have acquiesced without much question in the dealings of Henry VIII and of Cromwell, and to have felt that private judgement was no match for authority. At the examination of Sir Thomas More in he said that however the matter seemed to the prisoner he had reason to think he was wrong seeing that the Great Council had determined otherwise; More, he argued, ought to 'change his conscience.

      Legh, which, to judge from Ap Rice's report to Cromwell, was by no means respectful. Benedict and the custom of the house, 'notwithstanding any injunctions' given by the vicar-general or his commissaries; the monks were to be allowed to leave the monastery, with permission, for honest recreation; they might occasionally entertain women of upright life at their table, and when they were sick they were to be kept by the infirmarer, with help, in cases of need, from the abbot himself.

      The injunctions stated that the abbot was to render an account to the vicar-general as often as it seemed good, but Boston erased the entry, adding at the side 'oute w t this elles he and hys deputys may call me weeklye to accopt. By the beginning of the year Boston was anxiously pleading to 'be delivered from the governance of this house' and seeking to avoid the king's indignation. He seems to have been thoroughly afraid of incurring Henry's wrath, for he wrote to someone in authority—probably Cromwell—'As for my pension, I pass not how little soever it be, so I may have the King's Highness my gracious lord.

      There is no lack of information as to the administrative details and daily life of the abbey. The composition goes on to say that the abbot in chapter deputed one or two brethren for the keeping of hospitality, while for keeping the manors assigned to the convent 'he made some of the brethren proctors and obedientiaries as many as the convent thought fit. With regard to the maintenance of hospitality, the convent was to undertake all entertainment except that of kings, legates, archbishops, and nuncios with twelve or more horsemen; for these the abbot was to provide, as also for all guests whom he had himself invited.

      The abbot retained the advowsons of all churches on the conventual manors, as well as the service and wardship of all who owed knight's service, and he received the homage of every free tenant of the abbey. In return he had to answer to the king for all scutages, and to defend the abbey and its property in all suits ecclesiastical and secular; he was also bound to provide fuel and a dish of meat for the 'misericorde' of the convent from the feast of the Epiphany to Septuagesima, and gruel in Lent, as well as bread and beer on the occasion of the ceremonial feetwashing of the poor on Maundy Thursday and wine for the wassails of the convent on the same day.

      He had to secure the convent against inundations of the Thames, and to repair the walls of the monastery. The convent, on the other hand, undertook to pay any fines which might be exacted by the king's court from any of their manors, to answer for the hidage on their own lands, and not to waste or alienate their woods or emancipate their villeins without the consent of the abbot.

      No abbot or prior was to visit the conventual manors without the consent of the whole convent, lest by too frequent visits its share should be diminished. With regard to the abbot's maintenance, he might eat in the refectory with the convent when he liked, and might at any time bring as many as four people with him; and when resident within the monastery or at Eye he was to receive six loaves daily from the cellarer, but when elsewhere he could not claim bread or any other food from the convent.

      He was responsible for certain anniversaries and the liveries liberationes of the servants on the principal feasts. This arrangement, with certain modifications, remained in force throughout the Middle Ages, but it was not always acquiesced in without question.

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      In the convent complained that their share was not sufficient, and the bishops of Bath, Salisbury, and Chichester were called upon to mediate; the manors of Ashford Midd. After the great quarrel with Abbot Crokesle in , the bishop of Bath and John Mansel, provost of Beverley, made certain provisions which seem to point to an attempt on the part of the convent to interpret the original composition wholly in their own interests. The abbot was to be allowed to remove the obedientiaries according to the rule of St.

      Benedict, and for reasonable cause; he was not to be bound to find flesh for the convent, and was to be admitted to visit the five principal manors assigned to the cellarer, one day in the year, for purposes of correction, with reasonable procuration. For the appointment of the cellarers the prior and convent were to nominate four brethren, from whom the abbot was to make choice of two, and the guest-masters were to be chosen in the same way; the celararius extrinsecus was to choose honest seculars to act under him, and to hear such causes as ought not to be entertained by monks.

      The common seal was to be kept under four keys, held respectively by a monk appointed by the abbot, the prior, the sub-prior, and a monk appointed by the convent. The obedientiaries were to show their accounts annually or oftener, and any surplus was to be spent on hospitality; the abbot was not to send the brethren from place to place unnecessarily or without consultation; fn.

      That further difficulties as to the compositions arose at the end of the century may be gathered from a decree passed by the prior and convent during the vacancy on the death of Abbot Richard de Ware in Some of the clauses are merely in confirmation of the original compositions, others point to fresh difficulties; thus the new abbot was to provide a grange for the conventual tithes at Staines; he was not to remove the cellarer, almoner, or guest-master without consent; he was not to imprison the brethren except for open theft, or on conviction of enormous crime; he was not to hand over the care of the walls against the Thames to any obedientiary; he was to have the appointment of only seven of the servants; he was to furnish the king's clerks at the Exchequer with bread and beer; he was not to extort money from the officers of the monastery, nor gifts on feast days from the gardener, keeper of the granaries, or others; he was to demand nothing from the chamberlain beyond one light for his bedroom.

      It was also arranged that the gifts to the abbot from the obedientiaries on the ten principal feasts were not to exceed 4 s. The agreement was to be enrolled in the martyrology, and read in chapter once a year. This provision, however, was not sufficient to prevent Abbot Wenlac from once more attempting to override the constitution; fn. Christian repentance which is never unac- companied by its ally, Christian confidence, parrhesia is much different: It is the awareness that I—in my fragmentary, imperfect, struggling self—am not fully what God in his love has called me to be, and therefore that the appropriate act before him is humility, contrition, sorrow for sins.

      In order to understand the nature of contrition, St. Thomas goes to the etymology of contritio cordis, a breaking of the heart in sorrow for sin. Augustine learns in his pilgrim- age that throwing oneself down exhausted before the cross of Christ is not a reckless last resort when safer options fail. He would cure them of the pride that swelled up in their hearts and would nurture love in its place, so that they should no longer stride ahead confident in themselves, but might realize their own weakness when at their feet they saw God 43 In IV Sent. The clarification in note 23 above also holds good for St.

      Thomas: the annihilation spoken of is not absolute but relative; its purpose is plenitude and fruition. The answer is that it is above all the experience of being torn by a contradiction between the all which I aspire to possess, to annex, or, still more absurd, to monopolize, and the obscure consciousness that after all I am nothing but an empty void; for, still, I can affirm nothing about myself which would be really myself; nothing, either, which would be permanent; noth- ing which would be secure against criticism and the passage of time.

      Hence the craving to be confirmed from outside, by another; this paradox, by virtue of which even the most self-centered among us looks to others and only to others for his final investiture. And at last, from weariness, they would cast themselves down upon his humanity, and when it rose they too would rise. One should rather say: the failure to reach unity with God, who is Truth and Love—this is my inadequacy and my anguish, the wounded condition of my being.

      There is greater humility in saying that this is true not just for a time, but simply speaking. We are riddled with contradictions that will only be overcome in the vision of God, the supreme gift of his eternal life. Kwasniewski hunger for, the infinite;51 if the infinite does not invade and pervade him, he cannot attain self-unity. A basic law of life is shadowed forth: Identity comes to me in propor- tion to my surrender to something outside myself.

      And I learn, sooner or later, if I am fortunate, that the crisis is not resolved but exasperated by turning to find in a creature the answer to the question my very self is posing to me, even should I turn to another man or woman deeply perhaps desperately loved, who is similarly ill-equipped to be a center of gravity around which the crumbling elements of my mind can gather and solidify.

      For sure, one must have acquired a certain degree of self- knowledge to realize that clinging to a creature, however exciting or enriching in finite terms—be it a lover, riches and an elegant life, a healthy body, fine art, natural beauty, or something more subtle like dedi- cation to scholarship, social work, or political affairs—is not going to make one happy, and cannot do so. Helpful on these matters are Thomas V. Aquinas on Eucharistic Ecstasy of a darksome world within, much vaster, and thirsty for light.

      There is a kind of inward sensitivity that is as necessary for the possibility of a fully human life as food is for the possibility of ongoing animal life. If a person never becomes sharply aware of a longing for totality, of a profound need for love on the basis of truth, and of a frustration with fragmentation and finitude, he is blind to what is most basic in the human condition. It is true that one who does become aware of these things might, at that point, opt for a nihilis- tic exit, a skeptical shrug of the shoulders, or a psychologistic salve, but he would at least have attained the beginnings of self-knowledge, and thus the raw materials of prayer and unselfish love.

      Lack of such primal insight into oneself would be no less morbid—on the contrary, probably more so—than excessive preoccupation with the same self; the one would be a defect, the other an excess. Geoffrey Preston says of this malaise and its cure: The gospel offers a diagnosis of the human condition in terms of a universal and pervasive sickness unto death, one man alienated from another and each man a stranger to himself. Probably no one has ever described this phenomenon better than Paul himself [in Rom —23].

      This distance or rivalry, as Paul calls it, is one of the ways in which we experience the fundamental sickness that afflicts us in being human: split personality, sick personality, man at war with himself. Holiness entails wholeness, which in turn implies healing. This is a healing prior to the individual sin.

      It is a restoration of the image of God in man in accordance with the Genesis myth of man as he was meant to be, at peace with himself, with the animals, and with God. Healing has to do with the restoration 54 Dom Pius de Hemptienne, O. Benedictines of Teignmouth London: Sands, , What I search for, explicitly if I know myself to be a nothing that could be everything, and implicitly if I think myself to be someone whom I am not, is one who is like me in all ways of being alive and energetic, unlike me in all ways of being diseased or dead.

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      I seek a man who is divine, a creature who is infinitely more than created, a master who lets himself be shattered, torn apart, dissolved like me, not as punishment, not from weakness, but solely to meet me where I am, and take me where I could not go—into an indestructible life, communion with all, substantiality of self, surrender to One. Robert Barron draws out the implications: Nothing less than everything, than Being itself, than the divine energy will fill up the emptiness of the human heart.

      Nothing other than a concrete and complete imitation of Christ, the ecstatic lover of God, will bring us to life. Enfleshed, built for ecstasy, destined for a deify- ing beatific vision, we are all [called to be] in the image of Jesus Christ. The teaching on extasis is particularly important for our purposes. Elders, S. There is not space to go into all of them here, but one could cite the following as exam- ples. ST I—II, q. And so the world is crucified to him and he to the world Gal McEvoy and M. Dunne Dublin: Four Courts Press, , 16— Rom — Paul, trans. Sikora, S.

      Aquinas on Eucharistic Ecstasy ment has power to originate, deepen, or repair a direct relationship between man and God, a communion of like-minded friends having a shared beat- itude for its goal. The mediation of the Son as head of mankind and head of the Church prepares for and establishes in souls an immediacy of divine indwelling for all who belong to him as his members.

      What is more, each of the sacraments configures one to Christ in a specific way by communi- cating the grace associated with the saving deeds and sufferings of the Lord. For each sacrament Aquinas identifies 1 the past reality it stems from and evokes; 2 the present sacramental encounter in its threefold aspect—mere sign, a reality that is also sign, and a pure reality; and 3 the future reality this encounter promises and accomplishes.

      The first of these, the past real- ity of the sacraments, is most worthy of attention here. Berger, Aquinas and the Liturgy, 27— It must be emphasized, and we shall have occasion to point this out, that for St. Walsh O. And yet, because he was not to remain bodily present to all the faithful, he chose minis- ters, that through them he might give that same body to the faithful. Having arrived at III, question 1, he then says it remains to consider the Savior Jesus Christ who showed in his very person the way of truth whereby we may attain to eternal bliss by rising again, a consideration to be unfolded in three stages: the Savior himself; the sacraments whereby we attain our salvation; the goal of immortal life.

      At the start of the second stage q. This truth is the key principle for the remaining questions qq. When a human being, properly disposed, receives one of the seven sacraments, he is at that moment in mystical contact with the person of the Savior, who pours out as much grace as the soul is ready to receive. Super ad Eph. See also Torrell, Spiritual Master, — Scheeben, The Mysteries of Christianity, trans.

      Cyril Vollert, S. Louis: Herder, , —; Emile Mersch, S. Louis: Herder, , — See Berger, Aquinas and the Liturgy, 61—87, for discussion of the sacra- mental realism according to which sacraments are not merely symbolic occasions of grace but physical causes emanating from the risen Christ and bringing men into contact with his personal saving work. This theme is central to two valuable studies by Colman E. Kwasniewski he himself had suffered and had died. And so the one who is baptized is freed from the debt of all the punishment due to him for sins, as though he himself had sufficiently satisfied for his own sins.

      Being true man, Christ could act and undergo as a creature acts and undergoes; being true God, he can, in the power of the Spirit, make his accomplishments ours. As Cardinal Ratzinger explains: What Paul is describing is an event of birth and death. Only from such deep renewal of the individual does Church come into being as a communion that binds us together and sustains us in life and death.

      Illumination comes, not through pain, but through the communication of knowledge. Baptism is no longer a conjuring-up of fire and light. John R. Kelly, S. Milwaukee: Bruce, Kwasniewski communicate with Christ himself through it—both because we partake of his flesh and Godhead, and because we communicate with and are united to one another through it.

      The soul is not, of its nature, naturally or anonymously Christ. It rather approaches man from outside; man may receive it as a gift from a higher darkness. Once man has recognized this, he will come to appreciate the extent of the chasm that separates creator and creature. Aquinas on Eucharistic Ecstasy though fixed upon it; and then it is said to love it.

      The Unique and Its Property

      Whence love is noth- ing other than a certain transformation of affection into the thing loved. It breaks in from outside. That is still always the way. Nobody is born a Christian, not even in a Christian world and of Christian parents. Being Christian can only ever happen as a new birth. Being a Christian begins with baptism, which is death and resurrection Rom 6 , not with biological birth.

      But this is not the crux of the matter. Kwasniewski divine love. This is a dramatically anti-Pelagian gesture in which individual helplessness is met and mended in solidarity with others. He was living, yet not in himself but in another by whom he was living, even as a body is alive, yet has not life in itself but rather has life in the soul by which it lives. Thus, therefore, does Christ renew in us a new life, the oldness of sin being destroyed. For further discussion, see Peter A. Aidan Nichols, O. Herefordshire, England: Gracewing, , 32— In both this passage and the former,Thomas cites Galatians to support his point.

      Aquinas on Eucharistic Ecstasy act well, now not I according to the flesh, because I no longer have the oldness which I once had, but Christ liveth in me, that is, the newness which has been given us through Christ. Or, in another way: a man is said to live according to that in which he chiefly establishes his affection, and in which he most of all takes delight. Hence men who take their greatest delight in study or in hunt- ing say that this is their life. Now, each and every man has his own private affection by which he seeks that which is his own.

      When there- fore someone lives seeking only what is his own, he lives only unto himself; but when he seeks the good of others, he is said to live for them. And Christ died for all, that they also who live may not now live to themselves, but unto him who died for them. Then when he says, and the life I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God, he answers a twofold difficulty. First of all, the first one, namely: how he lives and yet it is not he who lives. He answers this when he says: And the life I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God. Here it should be noted that, strictly speaking, those things are said to live which are moved by an inner principle.

      Now the soul of Paul was set between his body and God; the body, indeed, was made to be alive and was moved by the soul of Paul, but his soul by Christ. Second, he shows that he is nailed to the cross, saying: [I live by faith in the Son of God] because the love of Christ, which he showed to me in dying on the cross for me, brings it about that I am always nailed with him.

      The translation is adapted from that of F. Larcher, O. Hence it is clear that the destruction of death, which Christ accomplished by his death, and the restoration of life, which he accomplished by his resurrection, are effects of this sacrament. One reason that might be overlooked is psychological. Christianity does not automatically rid people of all sin and every stain of sin; sincere Christians are not necessarily better behaved than their unbe- lieving neighbors, and they can at times be worse.

      See, e. Ratzinger, Called to Commu- nion, 61—65, — All the same, the truth and effectiveness of the Christian faith must, in fairness, be judged not by its lukewarm half-practitioners or its apostates should one blame a medi- cine that was never taken for a sickness that was not thereby ameliorated?

      Moreover, it is all too easy to take for granted how Christianized our assump- tions, mores, and institutions have become due to centuries of ecclesial presence. What is routinely attributed to secular reason, to an ethic of fairness or a noble humanism, is often enough the last sputter of gospel influence.

      The popes of modern times, from Leo XIII onward, have warned that if the gospel is not welcomed as the animating principle of individuals and societies, the West will degenerate ever more rapidly into a kind of high-tech barbarism at the service of pride, greed, and lust, contemptuous of human dignity and rights. The papal prog- nosis has been correct, above all for the Western Europe of today—spiritually bankrupt, culturally exhausted, demographically dried up.

      Aquinas on Eucharistic Ecstasy blood. It is this prevenient offering of the sinless for the sinner and its coun- terpart, the surrendering of assailant to victim, that the cross symbolizes and the Mass makes present in a mirror and in an enigma. Its protection will require, and will not stop at, murder.

      Here, with open eyes, we see explicitly what we really want—but we also see that God knows this and is ready to forgive us, that he wants to heal and convert our desire. It should not be necessary to add that I differ with Moore as I do with Schillebeeckx concerning matters on which they dissent from the Magisterium. Each has valuable insights that deserve to be retained, like gold extracted from ore.

      See also Sebastian Moore, O. Frederick C. Christians pursue detach- ment only for the sake of deeper attachment. The cumulative message is this:The love of God is made manifest and communicated in the broken body of Jesus, who gave his life on the cross in order to give it ever anew in the sacrament of his love.

      For all ages, this sacrament—whether anticipated in pre-Christian cults or realized in the Mass—is the pulsing heart of the world, the center of gravity toward which everybody is attracted. Journet, Theology of the Church, — In context, it is the beginners, says Thomas, who are occu- pied with getting away from sin and fighting against fleshly desires; their aim is primarily negative, viz. Those advancing, for their part, are concerned with the growth of charity—they want to run ahead, doing good.

      Francis Izard, O. Aquinas on Eucharistic Ecstasy matter and, should there be surplus, an increase of bodily substance. Bodily food has its effect, to restore lost flesh and increase its quantity, by being converted into the one fed. Spiritual food, on the contrary, is not converted into the one eating; the one eating is rather converted into it, for it acts upon him, so as to turn him into itself. Cyril of Alexandria, who is the first patristic auctoritas Thomas cites in the important question on the effects of the Eucharist: The life-giving Word of God, uniting himself to his own flesh, made it life-giving.

      It was becoming, therefore, that he be in a certain way united to our bodies through his sacred flesh and precious blood, which we receive in a life-giving blessing in bread and wine. Kwasniewski This it can do because it is none other than the Lord in person, under the appearances of bread and wine.

      This is a food capa- ble of making man divine and inebriating him with divinity. And since the increase of virtues caused by this sacrament comes about through the changing of the one eating into the spiritual food eaten, therefore to this sacrament is specially attributed the increase of charity rather than an increase of other virtues. In the same question, cf. But this special food, the Eucharist, is above man and stronger than man. Consequently the whole process involved is reversed: the man who eats this bread is assimilated by it, taken into it; he is fused into this bread and becomes bread, like Christ himself.

      What is striking is how Thomas links up this idea with extasis, a link reminiscent of the Eucharis- tic doctrine of an author whom Thomas never explicitly cites on the matter, St. Gregory of Nyssa. We are likely dealing with a coincidence proceeding from a heart similarly moved, a mind similarly disposed. It causes accelerating alienation from a pseudo-self, to bring the healing of reintegration and divinization in the Lord.

      Here we catch a glimpse of that stout and often silent Dominican friar whose contemporaries testified far more often about his tears at Mass, his vigilant prayer and virginal purity, than about his disputations and publi- cations. During Mass he often would be seized by such strong feelings of devotion that he dissolved in tears, because he was absorbed in the holy mysteries of the great sacrament and invigorated by its offerings. He was convinced that of all the good things Jesus wants for us, foremost is an intimate friendship between him and each person who believes in him cf.

      Jn —5. Alcuin Reid, O. Angelico Ferrua, O. I, The Person and His Work, trans. Yet meanwhile, his bodily presence has not abandoned us in this sojourning; rather, he joins us to himself in this sacrament through the truth of his body and blood. All of this takes place in the dark, the darkness of faith; it is with good reason that Aquinas insists on the cloudy, enigmatic nature of the sacramen- tal event.

      Thomas had similarly argued in q. Thomas, Extasis, and Union with the Beloved. This is a hard saying; who can listen to it? Simon Peter answered him: Master, to whom shall we go? Kwasniewski neither him nor his gifts, for we can hardly come to grips with a love so unlike ours in its generosity and humility, yet so longed-for by us in our soli- tude and poverty. Can it be true? The mind baulks; the response is often bewilderment. John Chrysostom chants. No wonder we are bewildered. We are torn apart by a love that defies our logic, that multiplies our longings and frustrates our desires, which are always too few and too small.

      God would have it this way, for unless he rends us and remakes us, we cannot enter into his rest, be one with him, be the temple of his glory, bear him in our bodies, become his sons in our souls. This is the merciful cruelty of God, the blessed wounding spoken of by the mystics, and like its exemplar, the wise folly of the cross, it belongs to the heart of the Christian experience. But connected to this goal is a subordinate one. If ecstasy is the hallmark of Eucharistic communion, the perfectly adapted silence, the one whose name is Word?

      Illtyd Trethowan, O. Nicholas Ashen- brener, O. This tabernacle is the sacred liturgy, which is worthily cele- brated when celebrated in a manner that accords with the great mystery it contains and diffuses. Thomas presents a detailed exegesis of the Mass in all its aspects: word, song, and silence, rubric and ritual, exterior architecture, interior mysticism. Klaus D. Groeschel, C. We can be sure there will be many more such books in years to come. It scarcely needs mentioning that the tradition and Magisterium of the Roman Church have always favored solemnity, dignity, contemplativity, and symbolic richness in liturgical praxis.

      In some ages and places this ensemble of qualities has translated into the idiom of courtly pomp and lavish display, but it has not always done so, nor need it do so. A passage in Borella seems to offer an appropriate answer. You who are worn out by the whirl of time and things, you who have been torn to pieces, divided further and lost; come and see, I will gather you together again, unify you, calm you, for I am always the same; I am the language with which your fathers and mothers prayed.

      I am the long and still fresh memory of people when they remember God. Preston and McCabe emphasize how the mysteries enacted with bread and wine at Mass, far from being anom- alous rituals disconnected from daily life, ought to be opening our eyes to the potential sacredness of every table and every meal.

      Hence, making the liturgy more common, more everyday, casual, horizontal, is self-defeating; it obliterates the liturgical as such, Levering, Sacrifice and Community, ch. Candler Jr. All four authors, of course, also speak of the differences between this meal and every other.

      Aquinas on Eucharistic Ecstasy exactly where it cultivates the holy, the divine, the Other who is more myself than I. And so, it would be effectively sterilized in its power to fecundate outlying culture, prevented from casting an otherworldly light on the potential sacredness of the ordinary elements of this-worldly life.