Thursday, 10 October 2013

'Bedes' of Life; Maxims of Eternal Life (St Alphonsus)

Last Sunday was the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary, and at Mass we were treated to an interesting talk on the origin of the word ‘bedes’.

The original Anglo-Saxon  meaning of  ‘bedes’ was ‘prayer’, but when, in the course of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, the use of little perforated globes of bone, wood, or amber, threaded upon a string, came into fashion for the purpose of counting the repetitions of the Our Father or Hail Mary, these objects themselves became known as bedes (i.e. prayers).  In middle English the word bedes was used both in the sense of prayer and rosary.  The prayers referred to used to be recited in the vernacular at the Sunday Mass in medieval England, and the distinctive feature of them was that the subject of each was announced in a formula read to the congregation beforehand. This was called "bidding the bedes". From this the idea was derived that the word "bidding" meant commanding or giving out, hence ‘bidding prayers’, which we still have today.

Bedesman was at first the term applied to one whose duty it was to pray for others, eg the chaplain of a guild, but later  a bedesman became simply the recipient of any form of bounty; for example, a poor man who obtains free quarters in an almshouse, and who was bound in gratitude to pray for his benefactors. Similarly, bedehouse, which originally meant a place of prayer or an oratory, came at a later date to be used of any charitable institution like an almshouse. Today certain Welsh place-names in the form bettws, e.g. Bettws y Coed, reflect this tradition. Finally, bede-roll, was the roll of those to be prayed for, particularly deceased members of guilds and associations.
(Ack. Catholic Answers - see BEDE)
Recently I came across the following article in a book written by St Alphonsus de Liguori, founder of the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer (C.SS.R), and  Doctor of the Church.

In order to live always well, we must store up deeply in our minds certain general maxims of eternal life, such as the following:

 All passes away in this life, whether it be joy or sorrow; but in eternity nothing passes away.

 What good is all the greatness of this world at the hour of death?

Extreme Unction by Poussin 1597

All that comes from God, whether it be adverse or prosperous, all is good, and is for our welfare
We must leave all, to gain all.

There is no peace to be found without God.

 To love God and save one’s soul is the one thing needful

If God be lost, all is lost.

He that desires nothing in this world is master of the whole world.

 He that prays is saved, and he that prays not is damned.

     We need only be afraid of sin

     Let me die, and give God pleasure.

     God is cheap at any cost.

     Every pain is slight to him who has deserved hell.

     He bears all who looks on Jesus crucified.

     Everything becomes a pain that is not done for God.

     Whoever wishes for God alone is rich in every good.

     Happy the man who can say: “My Jesus, I desire Thee alone, and nothing more!”

              St Francis Xavier preaching - Reubens
He that loves God, finds pleasure in everything; he that loves not God, finds no true pleasure in anything.


'My heart is restless until it rests in Thee'  -  St Augustine of Hippo

'May Our Lady guide and protect our Holy Father, Pope Francis'

Mary and Piety-- Ballade of Illegal Ornaments' by H. Belloc.

                         'Maddona and Child'  by Montagna             'Mary and Piety'  by T S Gregory We do not lo...