Thursday, February 28, 2013

Juan del Encina "Hermitaño quiero ser" - "Thank you, Holy Father, and thank you for your past and future time of prayer and penance for the Church."

One of the greatest Spanish composers, and a father of Castilian poetry, Juan del Encina was a towering literary presence in the court of the Catholic Monarchs. After years in Rome, and having received the benefice of the priory of the Cathedral of Leon, already in his late fifties, Juan del Encina was ordained a priest. It is unclear when exactly he received his ordination, but it is known that he said several of his first masses during his pilgrimage to the Holy Land with several gentlemen led by the Marquis of Tarifa, in 1519-1520. His 1521 book of verses on the pilgrimage was one of the most famous in the 16th century, and inspired Saint Ignatius of Loyola to pursue his own pilgrimage a couple of years later: in it Fr. Juan del Encina speaks fondly of the First Masses he celebrated at the Holy Sepulchre and at the Sinai Monastery.

Years earlier, in his Cancionero (1516), he had published most of his famous verses, mostly of a worldly nature, written mainly in the happiest years of the reign of Isabella and Ferdinand. But deep inside, as he revealed in one of his villancicos, Hermitaño quiero ser, he merely wanted to be a hermit - and, if not exactly one, he managed to die a priest in his own Cathedral, dedicated solely to the things of God. Our Holy Father, after decades of active life dedicated to the administration of the Church, chose a contemplative life also dedicated to the Church in a sort of Vatican hermitage, as he waits for the day when the Lord will call him to appear before His own court.

Juan del Encina (Salamanca, 1468 - León, 1529)

Rorate Caeli,Posted by New Catholic at 2/28/2013