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The life of Mary

The life of Mary (8)

Monday, December 02, 2019 16:53 am

Death of Mary

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by Rainer Maria Rilke

The same great angel, 

the one who had already given her the announcement of the birth once, 

he was there, waiting for her to look up at him, and said: 

"It's time for you to appear." 

Monday, September 09 2019 14: 27

The wedding at Cana

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What else could she but be proud

of him, who embellished what was simplest in her?

It was not the night itself - the solemn, living, immense -

as if he were beside himself when he appeared?


And that time he was lost, it hadn't ended

all in glory to him, how did he ever feel?

The wisest ears were not there

exchanged with the mouth? And it wasn't the house


as new in front of his voice? Ah,

hundreds of times, certainly,

she had refrained from letting her joy shine,

the one that came from him.

He followed him, and he was amazed.


But there, at that wedding banquet,

when suddenly the wine ran out, -

she looked at him and begged him to give a sign

and she didn't understand that he didn't want it.


And then he did it. She understood it later,

how she had pushed him on his path:

he was the man, now, of miracles,

and the bloody offering was decided,


unstoppable. Yes: it was written.

But was she prepared even then?

She: she had pushed him this far

in the blindness of one's own lightness.


Around the table full of fruits and vegetables

he shared his joy with others, and he didn't understand

that the water, where tears flow,

it had changed into blood for her, with wine.


Saturday, 06 July 2019 12pm

Rest during the escape

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by Rainer Maria Rilke

These, they who are still breathless

they fled through the massacre of children;

oh, how inadvertently they had grown

                       on their way.


As soon as he disappeared, turning back in terror,

the torment of their fear,

they were already drawing on their grey

mule entire cities into danger;


and when, small in the immense region, 

- almost nothing - the strong temples approached,

the idols were shattered, all of them, as if unmasked,

and they completely lost their reason.


It is conceivable that for their going

did everyone have such blind rage within themselves?

They began to be troubled with themselves -

only the child rested in unspeakable peace.


Yet they had to for a short while

resign yourself. Then it passed -

see: the tree, silent above them,

he now reached out like a servant:


he bowed. The same tree

whose branches to the dead pharaohs

For eternity they keep their foreheads,

he bowed. She felt new crowns

to flourish. And they stopped as if in a dream.


Saturday, 08 June 2019 10:59

Birth of Christ

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If you didn't have candor, how could it? 

Happen to you what now lights up the night? 

Behold the God of wrath over the people 

it becomes meek, and comes into you into the world.

Did you imagine it bigger?

What is greatness? 

Obliquely through every measure -

and it cancels them all in itself  

- his destiny runs in a straight line. 

Not even a star has a route like this. 

You see, these kings are great,

and before your lap they drag you

treasures, those they consider the greatest,

and perhaps you are amazed at these gifts -:

but look, between the folds of your cloth, 

as now he moves on from everything.

All the amber that is transported far out to sea,

every golden joy and that acrid aroma that burns 

it disperses in the senses and is consumed: 

of lightning brevity was all this, 

and in the end it was only regretted.

But (you will see): He gives joy.

Saturday, 11 May 2019 14:04

Visitation of Mary

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It was still easy for her to go, at first, 

but on the way up he sometimes felt it

his miraculous body -

and then stopped, breathing, 

on the high mountains of Judah. 

Friday, April 12 2019 15: 51

Joseph's suspicion

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And the angel spoke, getting busy 

around the man - and he clenched his fists: 

«But you don't see, no, that in every fold 

she is cold like divine dawn......

Yet, the other looked at him, darkly, 

and only repeated: "What has changed her so? 

Then the angel cried: "Carpenter, 

but you don't realize - not yet - 

that the Lord God has his hand in it?

Because you know how to make tables, truly in your pride 

would you like to call to exonerate himself 

he who from the same wood, unnoticed, 

does it make the leaves sprout, make the buds swell?”.

He understood. And when she raised to the angel 

his gaze, already intimidated as it should be, 

he was far away. He then removed 

his big cap slowly. And he sang praises.

Saturday, 16 March 2019 13:57

The annunciation of Mary

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by Rainer Maria Rilke

Not because the angel entered did she feel fear. 

Like few others, when a ray of the sun or the moon, in the night, does its work in their room, they jump -, so it happened to her for the figure of the angel, who presented himself: she didn't think how difficult it was even for the angel to present himself without intimidation. 

Not because she entered, but because she was close, the angel bent the face of a young man towards her; because his gaze and hers that looked back at her crossed as if everything were empty around them, and what millions of other gazes have sought, achieved, endured had penetrated them: only her and he; look and looked, eye and joy of the eye nowhere else but here -; you see, this is scary. And they both felt fear.

Then the angel sang his own melody.

Thursday, 10 January 2019 16pm

The birth of Mary

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by Rainer Maria Rilke

Look up, men. Men there, by the fire, you who know the starry sky and understand the stars - here, here! Look: I'm a new, already rising star. My whole being burns - and shines with such strength, so unspeakably full light, that the deep firmament is no longer enough for me. Let my splendor enter your existence: oh, the dark looks, the dark hearts - nocturnal destinies that fill you. Shepherds, as I alone am within you. For me a space suddenly exists. Don't be surprised: the great breadfruit dropped a shadow. Yes, the work was mine. You brave ones, oh, if you knew how on your contemplating face the future now shines. In this strong light many things can happen. I confide it to you, because you are discreet: to you who believe with intensity, everything in this place speaks. The heat speaks, the rain, the migrating flock of birds, the wind and what you are, nothing predominates or grows around a vain purpose, feeding on itself alone. Don't hold things inside your chest, in a closed space, to torment them. Just as His desire finds its outlet through an angel, so what is earthly urges within you. And if a bush suddenly burst into flames, the Eternal could still call you from it - the Cherubim, when they wanted to go beyond your flock, could not surprise you: on your very face you prostrated yourself, prayed and said that this was the earth. And so it was. And now a new thing will happen, and for it the circle of the earth will grow struggling. But for us, what is a rose garden: God recognizes himself in the womb of a virgin. I am the light from within her that accompanies you.

The Nativity of Mary, a work begun by Baccio Bandinelli and finished by Raffaello da Montelupo, is one of the eight reliefs illustrating the Life of Mary which, together with the relief with the Transport of the Holy House, enrich the external part of the Holy House, under the large dome of the Sanctuary of Loreto. This precious white marble cladding, designed by Donato Bramante, was created during the 1500s and the most important sculptors of the time worked on it. 

In addition to these large reliefs, the set is completed by 20 statues, within niches, and decorations with cherubs, festoons, coats of arms and lion heads. The four bronze doors leading inside are adorned with bronze bas-reliefs, also from the 1500s and of very fine workmanship. 

The scene of the Nativity of Mary is set in an elegant interior. On the left side, dominated by a large fireplace in the back, a woman holding Mary in her arms is preparing to wash her in a basin, assisted by two women. San Gioacchino is partly hidden by a partition that divides the scene from the next one: the bedroom with a large canopied bed. Saint Anna is on the bed, lying down but with her torso raised, surrounded by three women, one of whom is holding a child. Another child plays at the foot of the bed with a little dog. 

The clothes, the drapery, the nakedness of the children, the setting, the measured and elegant gestures: everything corresponds to an artistic vision of noble classicism.

Rainer Maria Rilke (Prague, 1875 – Les Planches in Switzerland, 1926), was a German-speaking writer, poet and playwright, in fact at the time Prague was part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Following his biography is complicated, in fact, if you imagine a poet and writer closed to meditate in his rooms, Rilke's life suggests the opposite. His life was a constant coming and going around Europe, not to mention trips to Africa. He studied - following studies first at the military academy then in economics and commerce, law, philosophy, history of art and literature - in Prague, Linz in Austria, Munich and Berlin in Germany and in other places. His first poems date back to 1884, when he was only 9 years old, at school. In 1893, both his first prose works, Feder und Schwert, were published. Ein Dialog (Pen and sword. A dialogue), is the first poetic collection, Lautenlieder I-IV (Songs of the Lute). Rilke thus began to make himself known and it was at this point that his numerous travels began, which did not stop even when he married and had a daughter. Often his wife followed him, other times she left him to wander alone. It is no wonder that the two separated by mutual consent in 1911.  

Skipping countless "passages", we recall only some salient stages of his wanderings, underlining that the stays were almost always repeated over the years. He lived on royalties and emoluments for conferences and translations, in fact he also knew French perfectly. He was often a guest of noble families. 

It was in Russia where he met Leo Tolstoy and Leonid Pasternak. He lived in France, particularly Paris, where he became a close friend of the great sculptor Auguste Rodin, on whose work he wrote a monograph, and was also his secretary. In Sweden, Denmark and Spain he was for short periods. In Germany he stayed in Berlin, Munich, Leipzig and other places. In Austria he was mainly in Vienna.

In Italy he spent short periods in Venice, Florence, Milan and Naples. In 1903 he arrived in Rome, where he stayed for 9 months, staying at Villa Stroll-Fern and wrote some lyrics in loose hendecasyllables. In Capri, for about 6 months (December 1906-May 1907) he lived in a house in the park of Villa Discopoli. Between October 1911 and May 1912 he was hosted at Duino Castle, near Trieste, by Maria Augusta of Thurn and Taxis, where he wrote his poetic masterpiece, the Duino Elegies.

Declared "stateless" in 1919 following the dissolution of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, he spent his last years in Switzerland, where he died at the age of 51 following a painful illness. 

Rielke is considered one of the most important German-language poets of the 20th century, unsurpassed for the musicality of his verse and his high linguistic virtuosity, but more linked to nineteenth-century poetics than to those of the twentieth century. 

Of Catholic education, he soon moved towards symbolist and expressionist forms, welcoming the new demands of a scientific search for truth and arriving at the bitter realization that reality is without consolation. 

But in the final development of his thought, as demonstrated by the Duino Elegies, he returns to a sacred vision of life, albeit in pantheistic terms. 

Das Marien-Leben (The Life of Mary) was written by Rilke in 1912, but it should be underlined that the religious-theological theme already appears in the early Christus-Visionen of 1894, which was not published during the poet's lifetime, but which addresses the life of Christ outside traditional contexts.

During this year we will be accompanied with his writings on the events of Mary's life. 

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