In addition, Castilian authors began disseminating vernacular treatises and poems on the Passion written for the court of Fernando and Isabel or composed as manuals to instruct an audience of improperly catechized Christians in the new context of Christian monolithic rule. To demonstrate the different manners that Castilian meditations on the life, works, and death of the son impacted representations of the mother, I examine two Castilian texts from the s and the s that bear certain similarities.
Mother Juana de la Cruz , a beata turned abbess whose religious house was incorporated into the Clarisan order, used her visions of heavenly pageants as the basis for public orations called sermones by her contemporaries.
Narrated through Juana by Christ to the audience, or so she claimed, the sermons were public events supported by local and national ecclesiastics over many years. Recorded by an amanuensis in the manuscript El Conhorte, the collection is presented as the sermons for the liturgical year of , including the life of Christ with attention to Mary from the incarnation and nativity through the Passion and resurrection. Beginning his Passion meditation with the incarnation and nativity instead of Gethsemane as promised in the preface , he brackets his discussion of the incarnation by formulating it as a Mariological sermon that follows scholastic preaching formulas rather than as a narrative of imaginative meditation.
An important distinction between the two authors is found in the gendered devotional implications their mystical sermons have for their respective audiences. Juana, Mary, and the Drama of the Trinity Juana de la Cruz enjoyed a status unique in her era, perhaps in all eras of the Catholic church. The first sermon in the manuscript treats the incarnation, followed by a second sermon on the nativity. Interestingly, the nativity itself is given short shrift—Mary kneels in mystical prayer and the infant drops on the ground in the matter of half a paragraph in the second sermon The pastoril and the nativity plays have been the subject of extensive analysis by scholars of Spanish medieval drama Hermenegildo, Stern.
There is also a sermon concerning her mother, Anne. She considers her vow of virginity a sacrifice of herself to God The obvious problem posed by her engagement to Joseph is avoided when Joseph admits he too has made a pledge of purity. E8v-F1r , for Gabriel admits his ignorance as to how God will accomplish the conception but guarantees her that she will remain forever virgin Juana, For debates over immaculacy in Castile, see Stratton, Twomey, and Recio Throughout the entire scene, the Trinity is at once on the throne of heaven and just behind Gabriel, surrounded by angels scandalized that Mary is delaying her agreement and thereby making the Trinity pause its work.
See Surtz, Guitar of God Compare Pseudo- Bonaventure 4. F4r; Eiximenis 2. In addition to focusing on Christ as part of the Trinity instead of on his assumption of human nature, Juana uses the Trinitarian framework to shift away from the portrait of Mary as grieving human mother that dominated medieval lives of Christ. The new venue is the backdrop to an extended allegory in which Jesus announces his interest in partaking of the platters at the feast which he rarely did in the numerous festivals described throughout El Conhorte.
Mention of his desire to eat a pear sends all the angels scurrying to be the one to bring him a choice fruit, but he refuses all their offerings as blemished until Gabriel brings him the perfect pear, i. In this inversion of the narrative of the apple that led to sin, Jesus dances around, holding the perfect Mary-pear aloft for all the angels to see but not allowing them to taste it and praising it with a Marian litany. Rather, the scene of the Trinitarian incarnation leads directly to continued theological reflection on the divine Christ and the eternal Mary, glorious dancing partners in heaven.
Tu sola mi amada, escogida entre millares. For a new assessment of his history and a reading of his mystical method as rooted in medical theories of cognition, see Boon, Mystical Science of the Soul. The edition included slight revisions to part one, moving the Eucharistic treatise from part two to part three, and a radically revised part three incorporating the technique of apophatic theology. In the Subida, he refers frequently to her universality and her celestial nature as well her role as human mother, combining the medieval Castilian tradition with the European emphasis on the compassionate mother.
As argued in Mystical Science, this move renders it central to his mystical technique, rather than merely preliminary to union. Y todo con brevedad. See n. In his meditations, Laredo links the doctrinal aspects of the Athanasian Creed by offering a complex analogy of flowing water that he believes will unite the various theological topics. In this analogy, the Trinity is compared to three rivers that have their source in the same fountain, yet terminate in an ocean: 619ace ab eterno una fuente de agua biva….
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In addition, Laredo transfers to Mary the dominant water metaphor he had been using as an analogy for the Trinity and for Christology. After eleven theological chapters, Laredo switches to a new and unexpected style: Chapter Twelve begins as a sermon for the liturgical calendar elaborating on a verse from Exodus, following the first half of a traditional medieval, scholastic format Salutation, Prayer and Introduction, Division. Most of the sermon section in Chapter Twelve rearticulates the concerns found in the previous eleven chapters about the distinction between substance and essence and about the interrelationships between the persons of the Trinity The sole reference to Christ assuming human nature in the incarnation is immediately connected to naming Mary, the source of his human flesh, as immaculate ,36 the doctrine beloved by Franciscans.
Indeed, Mary is the primary player in this discussion of the incarnation: Laredo prays to Mary, not God, at the beginning of the sermon to help him frame his theology correctly , and Marian hymns bracket the chapter as a whole , His fame in his era was as a well-known doctor and author of the first vernacular pharmaceutical treatises in Castile, Metaphora medicine Seville: Juan de Varela, and Modus faciendi Seville: Jacobo Cromburger, In order to introduce the topic of the nativity, Laredo cuts short the sermon structure.
This doctrinal emphasis on Mariology and Trinitarian theology as the framework for Castilian Passion meditation is a far cry from the common European rendition of Mary as compassionate mother and ideal human devotee. Mary, beyond human, is likewise beyond words of praise. According to Laredo, every thought of Mary should lead through a cumulative meditative sequence, because the early stages of the sequence should not be superseded by later stages.
Virile, enduring contemplation constantly retraces the same pattern of topics: Mary, the glory of Mary, the human Christ, and the divinity of Christ, all thought together. His focus is instead the mystery of the divine enclosed in the glorious Mary as critical components of the mystical sequence that brings the hombre capaz closer to God.
Conclusion Juana and Laredo, neither authorized to preach in church but nevertheless influential Franciscan teachers in the oral and written modes, speak with atypical directness to contemporary audiences in order to redirect the newly popular imaginative visualizations of the life and Passion of Christ from the humanness of Jesus and Mary towards the greater, indeed eternal, picture in which Mother and Son provide salvation for sinning souls. Whether speaking an unusual form of a visionary sermon issued in a divine voice, or employing a partial sermon format within a written treatise, both authors drew on the directive power of sermons to emphasize their integration of the medieval European preoccupation with the human Christ with the medieval Castilian attention to the virgen gloriosa.
Their social, cultural, religious, and intellectual formation came through oral media. My thanks to Ronald E. Surtz, Jarrod Neal, and Cynthia Robinson for comments on various drafts. Works Cited Akae, Yuichi. London: Routledge, Medieval Society. Philadelphia: U of Ed. Roger Andersson. Turnhout, Pennsylvania P, Belgium: Brepols, Boon, Jessica A. Journal 38 : Paul Halsall. The Secret of the Rosary St. The Secret of Mary St. The Love of Eternal Wisdom St. Treatise on the Spiritual Life St. Counsels and Reminiscences St. Letters of St. Prayers of St. Letters St. The Sacred Heart of Jesus St.
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