Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Giotto: The Virtues and Vices ~ Hope


. . . a Divine virtue by which we confidently expect, with God's help, to reach eternal felicity as well as to have at our disposal the means of securing it. It is said to be Divine not merely because its immediate object is God, but also because of the special manner of its origin. Hope, such as we are here contemplating, is an infused virtue; ie., it is not, like good habits in general, the outcome of repeated acts or the product of our own industry. Like supernatural faith and charity it is directly implanted in the soul by Almighty God. Catholic Encyclopedia
The entire life of a good Christian is in fact an exercise of holy desire. You do not yet see what you long for, but the very act of desiring prepares you, so that when he comes you may see and be utterly satisfied. Tractates on the first letter of John ( Tract r: PL 35, 2008-9) Augustine
A hour...and we shall have reached the port! My God, what shall we see then? What is that life which will never have an end?...Jesus will be the Soul of our soul. Unfathomable mystery! "Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither hath it entered into the heart of man what great things God hath prepared for them that love him." (1 Corinthians 2:9). And this will all come soon - yes, very soon, if we ardently love Jesus. St. Therese, VI Letter to Her Sister Celine
At present we are on the outside of the world, the wrong side of the door. We discern the freshness and purity of morning, but they do not make us fresh and pure. We cannot mingle with the splendours we see. But all the leaves of the New Testament are rustling with the rumour that it will not always be so. Some day, God willing, we shall get in. The Weight of Glory, C. S. Lewis

Nothing complicated here. Here we see Hope, reaching heavenward, eyes wide opened and focused intensely on her goal. Everything flies heavenward, even her hair and peplum. She has no attachment to the things of this earth. She wears no earthly head covering, but reaches for the crown of glory. 

And look at this angel.

Look at the tender and welcoming expression on the angel's face. 

The inscription reads:
Spe depicta sub figura hoc signature quod mens pura, Spe fulcita non clausura terrenorum clauditur. Sed a Christo coronanda sursum volat sic reanda. Et in celis sublimanda fore firma redditur.
Or at least that's what the books say it says, and I think a couple of the words must be wrong, the first being fulcita which I cannot find anywhere, and which I can't even see in enlargements, and the second being reanda. I'm pretty sure the r is a b and the end of the word doesn't look right either. So this is my best (clunky) guess.
Hope depicted by this figure will be the sign of a pure mind, Hope ??? not confined by earthly cloister, but she will be crowned by Christ, she flies upward and so is blessed, and having been raised to Heaven she will be rewarded.

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