Monday, December 22, 2014

Obscure Saint of the Day: Blessed Jacopone da Todi


With the fourth candle on the Advent Wreath blazing, and Christmas within sight, Catholic Hipsters can often start to feel the mainstream culture encroaching on our ordinarily countercultural faith.

Luckily for us, the Church provides the faithful with an awesomely obscure Saint (or, more accurately, a Blessed) to reach out to on December 22. 

Today is the Feast of Blessed Jacopone da Todi! 

With holiday parties surely taking up space on you iPhone calendar, we at The Canon are happy to give a little background on the Blessed known as "Crazy Jim" to his contemporaries. 

You don't even have to give us credit when you impress everyone with your Catholic Hipster knowledge. 

Jacopone, or Jim, was born into a noble family in the Italian town of Todi. He was living a life worthy of any trust fund kid of today. Somehow, he was able to land Vanna, a virtuous wife who would change his life. 

Vanna ended up dying in an accident where the stands she was sitting in at a tournament collapsed. Upon her death, Jacopone found out that she was living a life of penance to make up for his worldly attachments. 

At that moment, he vowed to change his life for the better. He gave all his riches to the poor, joined the Third Order of the Franciscans, and was often seen around town dressed in penitential rags. 

His former associates would often call him "Crazy Jim" when they saw him around town, and he embraced this nickname as a sign that he was staying on the right path. 

He become a great writer of hymns and stayed close to the faith despite wrongful excommunication and imprisonment (later overturned, of course). 

And, to this day, we still sing one of his greatest hymns: the Stabat Mater

In honor of this obscure Blessed's feast day, let's all join in the hymn together (for those non-hipsters looking for the English translation, click here):

Stabat mater dolorósa
iuxta Crucem lacrimósa,
dum pendébat Fílius.

Cuius ánimam geméntem,
contristátam et doléntem
pertransívit gládius.

O quam tristis et afflícta
fuit illa benedícta,
mater Unigéniti!

Quæ mœrébat et dolebat,
pia Mater, dum vidébat
nati pœnas ínclyti.

Quis est homo qui non fleret,
matrem Christi si vidéret
in tanto supplício?

Quis non posset contristári
Christi Matrem contemplári
doléntem cum Fílio?

Pro peccátis suæ gentis
vidit Iesum in torméntis,
et flagéllis subdítum.

Vidit suum dulcem Natum
moriéndo desolátum,
dum emísit spíritum.

Eia, Mater, fons amóris
me sentíre vim dolóris
fac, ut tecum lugeam.

Fac, ut árdeat cor meum
in amándo Christum Deum
ut sibi compláceam.

Sancta Mater, istud agas,
crucifíxi fige plagas
cordi meo válide.

Tui Nati vulneráti,
tam dignáti pro me pati,
pœnas mecum dívide.

Fac me tecum pie flere,
crucifíxo condolére,
donec ego víxero.

Iuxta Crucem tecum stare,
et me tibi sociáre
in planctu desídero.

Virgo vírginum præclára,
mihi iam non sis amára,
fac me tecum plángere.

Fac, ut portem Christi mortem,
passiónis fac consórtem,
et plagas recólere.

Fac me plagis vulnerári,
fac me Cruce inebriári,
et cruore Fílii.

Flammis ne urar succénsus,
per te, Virgo, sim defénsus
in die iudícii.

Christe, cum sit hinc exíre,
da per Matrem me veníre
ad palmam victóriæ.

Quando corpus moriétur,
fac, ut ánimæ donétur
paradísi glória. Amen. 


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