All Hallows Hall
A TRADITIONALIST RESPONSE TO A MODERN CHALLENGE
The Affirmative Way
Music is an important part of life at all Hallows. We all took our place in Choir, to sing alto, bass and tenor parts. Treble parts are taken by boys in the Choir School. We learned the fundamentals of sight reading, melody and counterpoint, harmony, rhythm, tempo, dynamics and orchestration. We learned to sing the services in English using Anglican Chant, and in Latin using Gregorian Chant. Many people are not aware that the Book of Common Prayer was authorized in Latin for schools and colleges, but it was. The Latin Communion Service is still used at Oxford University, to begin term. At Aula Nostra, we do Matins in English and Evensong in Latin, one month and the next month switch, doing Matins in Latin and Evensong in English.
On Sundays and major Feasts, the choir, sings a full Mass, using a two year cycle: baroque in even years, classical in odd. So, in even years, Palestrina, Victoria, Hassler, Byrd, Batten, Lasso, Gabrielli and Vivaldi; in odd years, mostly Mozart and Haydn. Anthems are added from Handel and Bach. On most days, we use simpler settings from Merbecke, Willan and Winfred Douglas. Besides class work there is after dinner music, on film or in live performance. Opportunities are made for instrumental lessons, and there are string, brass and woodwind quartets. Soon, perhaps, well have a full school orchestra.
This expression of Faith in art is seen, not only in music of the Hall, but also in Drawing Class. We learn to understand the uses of line and form, texture and perspective, and the inevitability of composition in great works of art. We learnas in musicthat discipline and freedom are not enemies but rather means and end. After all, we pray every morning to the God, whose service is perfect freedom. There are trips to museums every year and in the All Hallows Customary and Prayer Book, reproductions by great artists such as El Greco and Michelangelo illustrate Scripture lessons. The music of the great Feasts is also included in the Customary, at the regular day of their use. Thus, in this book, one can see how , in the characteristic piety of the Hall, beauty and truth really are one, as Keats said.
The "affirmative way," whereby, as St. Paul says in Romans,
The invisible things of God. . . are understood by the things that are made,
is part of the All Hallows method for the formation of boys. In another time of great doubt and disbelief, John Henry Cardinal Newman attempted to make his contemporaries see,
The exterior world, physical and historical, was but the manifestation to our senses of realities greater than itself.
In his Introduction, to the Customary, Dr. Elliott quotes from the English writer, Evelyn Underhill:
Love and realization of beauty, without reverence and devotion soon degenerates into mere pleasure. So too devotion unless informed with the spirit of beauty becomes thin, hard and sterile, but where these two exist together, we find that developed apprehension which discovered deep messages in nature, in music, in all the noble rhythms of art, makes the senses themselves into channels of the Spirit . . . . The devotional life rightly understood as a vivid joyful thing with that disciplining of the attention and will which is such an important part of it is the most direct way to an attainment of that simple and natural consciousness of our intangible spiritual environment which all ought to possess.
That "disciplining of the attention and will" is not to some vague oceanic or pantheistic feeling; rather, It is anchored firmly in the holy dogmatic tradition of the Faith. The music speaks of Christs Virgin Birth, Passion and Resurrection, using words of Holy Scripture and tradition. The paintings are of events in the history of our salvation: the Angel Gabriel announcing to Blessed Mary the Birth of our Lord by Andrea della Robbia, the flight into Egypt by Murillo, cleansing of the temple by El Greco, Ecce Homo by Caravagio, the Crucifixion and the Resurrection both by Mantega, The deposition by Rubens, The Pieta, our Lady holding her son, Our Lord, on her lap after taking the body down from the cross sculpted by Michelangelo, and paintings of many, many saints placed in the Customary on their feast days. Thus are devout expression of the great deeds of the Creed and Scripture given vivid apprehension in melody and harmony, in line and color. Thus were our imaginations disciplined and sanctified. It would, for many of us, be a kind of inoculation against the shallow stuff that passes for music and artboth "serious" and popularin the modern world.
At Noon, the Angelus bell calls end to classes. We pause and cross our selves saying the familiar prayer and then, we go to lunch. Afternoons are given to sports. Everyone learns to swim and does it every day. In season, we sail and row and so learn the team-work required to make a vessel move swiftly and purposely through the water. In the process, we develop our bodies. Since many of us will be attending balls over Christmas and New Years, we also begin dancing lessons in first term. Except for Advent and Lent, we have regularly scheduled dances at the Hall or at one of the neighboring girls schools.
Before Evensong, we pause for Tea. This is a rather formal affair that, besides giving a break with delicious homemade cakes and buns, gives the boys a chance to learn how to behave appropriately on such occasions. Of course, there is no tea on Fridays nor throughout the season of Lent. At six, the Angelus bell rings again telling us that it is time for Evensong.
After Evensong, we sit for Dinner. This is a meal at which everyone dresses in uniform, appropriate to the season. Unlike lunch and breakfast, there is no self service. Boys take turns serving and, in this too, learn something of the joy of service and, that this "common task," indeed provides, "room to deny ourselves, a road to bring us daily nearer God.
Speaking of dinner, brings me to the Farm. The Hall is situated in the midst of a working farm. We raise wheat, corn and rye, grind meal and bake our own bread. We raise vegetables, melons, berries and have a small orchard of apple and pear trees and so provide all manner of vegetables and fruits for table use. We also have chickens and cows and so get butter, milk and eggs, and we keep a small flock of sheep to "cut the grass." The farm uses organic methods, without pesticides or poisons. Every student in the Upper Forms spends one day a week working on the farm, under expert guidance. For the boys who come from cities and towns as most of us do, this is an experience every day filled with astonishment. Responsibility becomes a very lively notion. There is much learned, as well, about ecology animal husbandry and earth science. And, here too, is seen the affirmative way, for, as Cardinal Newman observed, nature is a parable of realities greater than itself. And. we come to know something of what Gerard Manley Hopkins meant when he cried: The world is charged with the grandeur of God! But, again, among creatures, only man is made in the image of God, so the "realities" seen in nature at large are not, as the pantheist believes, the essence of God, but rather expressions of his will. Thus we see in nature Gods omnipotence and providence.
After Dinner, three or four evenings a week, there is performance, music or theatrical. Sometimes these are live performances but more often they are on film. Besides the musical performances, over the course of a two year cycle, we see most of the plays of Shakespeare, either live or on film. On evenings when there is no performance, we, as they say, "hit the books." Lights out is at 9 PM, and, in the dorms, greater silence prevails until the Matins chant: O Lord, Open thou my lips! Nowadays, I often think wistfully of that blessed quietness.
In the second year, at All Hallows, my Fourth Form, the Religion course considers the History and Literature of the Old Testament in Michaelmas, The New Testament in Epiphany and Early Church History in Easter Term. We continued the study of Math with Geometry. In Latin, we read Ciceros Orations and Virgils poetry, chiefly the great Aeneid, In Michaelmas term, we also begin the study of Greek, starting with the New Testament and then moving to the more complex grammar of the Homeric epic. The Iliad is read in Epiphany Term, the Odyssey in Easter . In Epiphany, we begin the study of Hebrew, the language of the Old Testament, so that in the third year, we can finally read the entire lectionary in the original languages. We also begin this year a systematic study of formal Logic and Rhetoric, adding to the grammatical analysis of our readings, logical and rhetorical analyses as well.
Music class concentrates on preparation of music for the daily and especially the Sunday and Feast Day services. In the Art classes, the focus shifts from drawing to painting in various media: water colour in Michaelmas, oil in Epiphany and tempera or fresco in Easter.
The physical Education program adds life saving, in swimming and celestial navigation to Sailing. Water sports are also supplemented by Judo in this year.
Three afternoons each week are devoted to practica in expression. One afternoon is spent on dramatics, mostly Shakespeare, leading to after dinner dramatic readings and one or two costumed performances each year. Another is given to declamation, alternate weeks in English and Latin, using a debate format similar to that of the Oxford Union. A third afternoon is spent writing short essays, one in Latin and one in English, which are read with a tutor and one or two other students. This small group permits close attention to both the form and matter of the essay. Socratic dialectic is the ordinary teaching method. Under close dialogue, arguments, grammar and style are all examined and thus expression is refined, difficulties are early spotted, slip shod preparation and pretense are detected and dealt with before they become a way of life. This regime of drama, declamation and essays continues from the second through the last year at Aula Nostra. The Hall believes with Francis Bacon that: reading maketh a full man; conference a ready man, and writing an exact man.
My third year (Fifth Form) brought great change. At the end of Easter Term, instead of the usual two months vacation, we got two weeks at home, came back to the Hall for a weekend of prep and were whisked off to the airport for three months in Athens. Here we put our drawing skills to good use, making a sketch bookI still like to look at mineand continue to swim and perfect our judo skills. Our studies begin with Minos and Mycenae. The focus, however, is on the civilization of 5th and 6th Century Athens. We write Latin E-mail epistles to the Fourth Formers back at Aula Nostra (They are not "mailed" until after tutorial critique.) and English essays on assigned topics. Emphasis in dramatic reading, training and performance shifts from Shakespeare to Sophocles, Aeschylus, Euripides and Aristophanes. The Drama course began with a trip to the theater on the Acropolis, where most of these plays were first performed. Besides the drama, we studied Greek HistoriansHerodotus, Thucydides and Xenephonand read Orations of Demosthenes, Dialogues of Plato and discourses of Aristotle. We made use of the museums and monuments surrounding us on every side, with field trips to Crete, Delphi etc., to study the Religion and Art of ancient Greece.
The Religion course for this year is based on the daily Scripture readings. Since this is the first year we have done the whole lectionary in the original Greek and Hebrew, attention is given to close reading of the texts in those languages. The theme is the unity of Holy Scripture, the New Testament seen as incipient in the Old and the Old Testament as fulfilled in the New. We kept up our Latin, with the "letters home." and in daily worship.
In October, we moved to Rome. As with Athens, the City itself ,with its ancient streets, its monuments and museums, is a great cultural laboratory. We study three phases of life in this great city: Republican Rome, Imperial Rome and Christian Rome. How thrilling to be in Rome for Christmas and to visit the ancient basilicas for these great stational days. Of course, we continue to draw. We also begin the study of Italian. Swimming and judo continue as the chief forms of exercise. Drama continues, but now it is Terence, Plautus and Seneca. Ciceros philosophical works, St. Augustines Civitate Dei (selections ) and St.Athanasius de Incarnatione continue the philosophy course. The weight, however, shifts from Drama and Philosophy to History, the Romans were much concerned with and occupied in recording their history. So we we read Livy, Tacitus, Caesar, Sallust, Cicero, Suetonius. And Plutarch. Greek and Roman literature is seen as a pagan analogue to the Hebrew Scriptures. As Cardinal Newman put it:
Pagan literature, philosophy and mythology, properly understood, were but a preparation for the Gospel. . . The Greek poets and sages were, in a sense, prophets.
In January, we began a six-week journey starting with Charlemagnes Capital of Aachen and moving thence to Medieval France: from Mt. St. Michel in Normandy through Ruen to Rheims, to Amiens to Chartres to Paris. En route, we study stained glass, sculpture, illuminated manuscripts and, above all, architecture, and read: Henry Adams Mt. St. Michel to Chartres, St. Anselms, Proslogium and Cur Deus Homo. Our tutor decided that, since we were in France, we should start to learnif we had not, alreadythe French language. But, It was not exactly Modern French; rather, it was the Old French of the Chanson de geste, of the great Roland. Besides the Latin epistles, we did papers in English on various aspects of Medieval Civilization and illustrated them with our own drawings.
In February, we returned to Italy, not to Rome, but to Florence, where we would study the Renaissance. During these months, we polish our Italian and read the great masterpiece in that language, Dantes Divina Commedia. We continued our Latin readings with selections from St. Thomas Aquinas, In this beautiful city with, its museums churches and public buildings and sculptures, our art education took giant strides. For, this is the City of Michelangelo and Donatello, of Brunelleschi, Ghiberti and the families della Robbia and Lippi.
In April, we removed to England to study Old English and to read Beowulf . Then we studied the foundational legends of the Church in England concerning Joseph of Aramathea, as well as the Arthurian legend with side trips to Glastonbury, Cornwall and Wales and reading of Malorys Le Morte dArthur. We also studied Medieval England with visits to Oxford, Canterbury and the British Museum and reading Chaucers Canterbury Tales and Eliots Murder in the Cathedral, as well as documents such as Magna Carta. In Latin, we read Bedes Historia Ecclesia Anglicana. Finally we journied to Stratford and London for a study of the 16th and 17th centuries with special attention to Shakespeare and Milton. Churchills History of the English Speaking Peoples and Preface to Paradise Lost by C. S. Lewis are used to fill in the background connecting works read.
In July, we crossed the Channel again, spent two days in Spain, with special attention to the paintings of El Greco and took up residence in Paris. Here, we resumed our study of French, this time a more modern variant. We also continued our study of European civilization, with an emphasis on the 17th century. Before leaving Europe we go to Vienna for a long weekend for a study of the music, of the 18th century.
In September, we went through the same fast shuffle as in June of the previous year: off the plane, a week at home and back to the Hall for our last year. I should mention here that, during our stay in England, we started the process of College application.. By the end of the year, two of us were accepted at Yale, and two at The University of Virginia, two at Columbia, Two at NYU, one at The Naval Academy, two at the University of Chicago and two at Harvard.
The last year in our curriculum deals with Modern Civilization: History, Literature and Art. Naturally, American History and Literature get major emphasis. Instruction this year is in both French and English. Michaelmas is devoted to the 18th, Epiphany to the 19th and Easter Term to the 20th Century. Calculus, completes the Math sequence and a survey of science including Chemistry, Physics and Biology with one of these three studied at the Advanced Placement Level, giving college credit at most of the Universities to which we apply. Accompanying these studies is a course in Apologetics in which we look at the confrontation between the Gospel and the "Enlightenment culture" in our time.
Since we, returning sons of Aula Nostra, clothed now in the sophistication of travel and study abroad, are the most senior 6th form, we are expected to take leadership roles at the Hall. Thus we are Dorm, Farm and Refectory prefects, Counselors for lower school and first forms, and members of varsity teams: Debate, Sailing, Fencing, Judo, Swimming and Crew. Some of us will also take lead roles in Shakespearian plays, editorial positions on student publications etc.who is able for all this? As I earlier complained (bragged?), our class, the Charter Class, was special; we crammed six years into four. The class right behind usthe Second Form contemporary with our Third formonly had to fit the six into five, What we did during our last or fourth year, Sixth Form, was, for them divided into two years Fifth and Sixth Forms. The next behind them and succeeding forms, all had six yearsabsent unfilled vacancies, and so late admissions.
Thus, our year plus two Summers abroad became, for our successors , two years and three summers. The time in each place doubled, permits the study of German in Vienna, as well as French in Paris. Eventually, it is hoped that All Hallows can establish brother schools in England , France, Italy, Greece and Austria so that we might have a permanent place to go for the time abroad. Similarly, native students from these schools could spend their fifth or sixth forms in America. Perhaps, in this way, we could begin to educate a few Christians in each countryfifth columnists, as it werewho would be dedicated to the old ways in morals, manners, education and religion.
I referred earlier to the Advanced Placement Exams. To graduate from All Hallows with an Honors Diploma, the student needs to maintain a "B? average and to pass Advanced Placements in Greek, Latin, English, U.S. History and at least three other subjects. The additional options are: English Literature, European History, Ancient History, Calculus, Biology, (Chemistry and Physics will be added next year ) French, Italian, Music and Art History. This means that, an All Hallows honor graduate will enter university, with at least a year of College Level credit and so, in many cases, will enter as a sophomore and thus be able to finish his baccalaureate degree a year early.
I must say that, when I look at my fellow students at Harvard who came from "less demanding" schools, I give thanks for the demands that were made of me for four years.
It was Alfred North Whitehead, the great Philosopher of Science, who said :
If in after life [ He meant after-school life] your job is to think, render thanks to Providence which ordained that for five years of your youth you did a Latin prose once a week and daily construed some Latin author.
Yes, we did that, and I do give thanks. Well, only four years, for my Class, but what a four years!easily the moral equivalent of five.
Dorothy Sayers, the writer of the Lord Peter Wimsey stories, as well as some important religious books such as The Mind of the Maker, went so far as to say that:
The best grounding for education is the Latin grammar. I say this not because Latin is traditional and medieval, but because even a rudimentary knowledge of Latin cuts down the labor and pains of learning almost any other subject by at least fifty percent.
The late President Mayer of Tufts University used to emphasize the complementarity of the two classical languages:
Familiarity with the rigor of Latin and the suppleness of Greek is an incomparable step toward mastery of expression in any language.
Cardinal Newman pointed out that a Classical Education does indeed aid both thinking and expression. He said, that such an education in the classics:
Gives a man a clear and conscious view of his own opinions and judgments, a truth in developing them, an eloquence in expressing them and a force in urging them.
Something I read by Alexis de Tocqueville has stuck with me. He believed that, for all their virtues, democracies breed a kind of impatience with the time and attention needed for permanent virtues and non-utilitarian beauty. He believed, therefore, the literature of the Greeks and Romans was important for Americans. Because, Nothing in the classical writers,
seems to be done hastily or at random. Every line is written for the eye of the connoisseur and is shaped after some conception of ideal beauty. No literature therefore ought to be more studied in democratic times.
Paul Elmer More, the great Harvard Classicist, put this idea in a broader context:
If much of Greek thought is valuable for what has grown out of it, there are achievements also in which they remain unsurpassed, seemingly unsurpassable, and to have trained the mind to an appreciation of these achievements is to hold forever after a touchstone to distinguish between the higher and the lower pleasures. No later writer of narrative verse has equaled Homer; no dramatist has ever surpassed Sophocles; no lyric poet ever sang more entrancingly than Sappho, no sculptor rivaled Phidias; no philosopher looked so deeply into the human soul as Plato. The work of these men is still a norm of taste, and the full and sane measure of artistic joy can be known only by those whose emotions have been trained to respond to these models. (Emphasis added )
I think experience demonstrates that the earlier this process begins of learning to "respond to these models," the deeper and the more durable are the results. It should not wait for University. I still have a few friends that think I was subjected to cruel and unusual punishment. I had one teacher who, joined by my Rector, tried to convince my parents that such a course of study would prove too difficult for a child of my tender years. But my History Professor at Harvard, pointed out that when John Adams came up to Harvard, he had to prove he could read and parse the New Testament in Greek and Cicero and Virgil, and Horace, in Latin and that he could write Latin Prose. John Trumbull, the Painter, he told me, came up having already read Homer in Greek, Virgil, Cicero, Horace and Juvenal in Latinand he was only twelve. "Youre already eighteen!" he added, laughing.
Harvard was not all that remarkable in the eighteenth century. Columbias entrance requirements included translation from Latin to English of selections from Cicero and Virgil, translation from Greek to Latin from St. Johns Gospel. When James Madison entered the College of New Jersey ( now Princeton ) at eighteen, he had already read Virgil, Horace, Tacitus in Latin; Herodotus, Thucydides, and Plato in Greek. I begin to feel in pretty good company. Why does everyone assume we are made of lesser stuff than our forebears at these schools?
The All Hallows education is, in fact, the Classical education that could be had in many schools of America and Western Europe until sometime into the 19th century. It is. as
Dr. Elliott likes to say:
an education that frees from the prejudices, passions and fads of the moment, eschewing the ephemeral and trendy, preferring instead. companionship with the best that has been thought, felt, said and done at all times and in all places. The All Hallows education is not trendy, rather it is traditional. And what is tradition?
he would ask rhetorically, and answer his own question by quoting G. K. Chesterton:
"Tradition," as Chesterton put it, "means giving votes to the most obscure of all classes, our ancestors . . . tradition refuses to submit to the small and arrogant oligarchy of those who merely happen to be walking about."
Then, he would add,
Tradition also refuses to mortgage tomorrow and our children to the ephemeral tastes and indulgences of the present moment. To surrender to the plague of
But, tradition should not be confused with nostalgia for the past. Tradition does not surrender the present to a nostalgic reverie of an imagined past, but rather makes the past a living power in the present, so that our days are not a series of fits and starts like the ignorant tantrums of an undisciplined child but are rather bound each to each in living piety.
One thinks of T. S. Eliots essay on Tradition and the Individual Talent:
The historic sense involves a perception, not only of the pastness of the past but of its presence.
Christians are, as the writer of Hebrews reminds us, Strangers and pilgrims on earth. But, even as we escape the captivity of Egypt, we, like Israel, spoil the Egyptians. We will take the best man has thought, felt and done, in word and deed, music and painting, sculpture and building: the treasured spoils of mans works and days, his downsittings and his uprisings and place it all reverently upon the Holy Altar of the God who became partaker of our human nature so that we might become partakers of the Divine Nature. We are reminded in this enterprise that Jesus Christ, the Incarnate Son of God is the measure of all thingsnot "man" as the heathen do falsely boast. It is not to this world that we must be conformed but, rather, to the mind of Christ that we must be transformed, not ourselves that we must "actualize" but the fullness of Christ that we must "grow up into."
Here too, All Hallows had its critics. There is a story from the founding days about a Bishop who, while he did not object to the Curriculum, thought, perhaps, there was too much prayer for "modern boys." However, his successor was the first bishop in that diocese to ordain women to the Priesthood; perhaps the good Bishop did not himself pray quite enough.
What the good Bishop did not understand is that it is all of-a-piece: study in class, performing on stage, worship in Chapel, doing chores on farm or in Dining Hall, sailing a boat, rowing crew; all part of our education in sanctity and all informed by two principles: first, hierarchical subordination, hands and feet to head, head to heart and heart to God; second, in-corporation, as head and hands are part of our body, so we are all made part of the Church, the body of Christ.
So it is that this holy body now sings to its Lord in the Kyrie of the great Mozart Coronation Mass, as the ministers proceed to the Sanctuary. That done, the Bishop stands before the altar, facing East, and intones:
Gloria in excelsis Deo!
The Choir takes up the chant:
Et in terra pax hominibus bonae voluntatis,
Laudamus te, benedicimus te, adoramus te, glorificamus te.
And clouds of incense rise above the altar. The Bishop turns West, to face the people and chants: The Lord be with you!
To which all reply: And with thy spirit.
Then the Bishop turns East again and intones the Collect for the Feast:
Almighty God who hath knit together thine elect in one communion and fellowship in the mystical body of thy Son Christ our Lord; Grant us grace so to follow thy blessed Saints in all virtuous and godly living, that we may come to those unspeakable joys which thou hast prepared for those who unfeignedly love thee.
Before the readings, the Bishop blesses the lectern and, after them, the organ. Then The Ministers form a procession and, preceded by the thurifer, incense mounting upward, move to the transept, where the Deacon solemnly chants the Gospel from the Sermon on the Mount. The Bishop resumes his blessings: before the sermon, blessing the pulpit; before the Offertory, the High Altar. As incense again ascends, in generous profusion, choir and congregation sing:
Let all Mortal Flesh Keep Silence, and with fear and trembling stand.
The Bishop proceeds to the Great thanksgiving. joining," with Angels and Archangels and with all the company of heaven," he gives thanks for the great redemption wrought on the cross and the choir sings:
Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus, Dominus Deus Sabaoth!
Pleni sunt caeli et terra gloria tua, hosanna in excelcis!
and all join in that great act of remembrance of the death and resurrection of our Lord and Savior, in which we join our small offerings of love and thanksgiving with his great sacrifice that we, "be made one body" with Jesus Christ, "that he may dwell in" us and we in him.
Before Communion, we join in the beautiful Prayer of Humble Access:
We do not presume to come to this thy table, O Merciful Lord
Trusting in our own righteousness, but in thy manifold and great mercies.
We be not worthy so much as to gather up the crumbs under thy table:
But thou art the same Lord whose property is always to have mercy:
Grant us therefore, gracious Lord, so to eat the flesh of thy dear Son Jesus Christ And to drink his blood in these holy Mysteries, that our sinful bodies may be made clean by his body and our souls washed through his most precious blood.
As the people begin coming up for Communion, the Choir sings,
Agnus Dei qui tollis peccata mundi, miserere nobis.
And, since there are many guests today, they continue with other hymns:
Just as I am without one plea but that thy blood was shed for me
And that thou bidst me come to thee, O Lamb of God I come, I come.
Returning to my seat, while waiting for the completion of Communion, I quietly say my prayers, always including one I learned in my first year at Aula Nostra:
Anima Christi, sanctifica me, Corpus Christi salva me . . .
When everyone has communicated, a corporate thanksgiving is said, to our good God who doth
feed us in these holy Mysteries with the spiritual food of the most precious Body and Blood of thy Son our Saviour Jesus Christ and hast assured us, duly receiving the same of thy favour and goodness towards us and that we be very members incorporate in thy Mystical Body. . . and heirs through hope of thy everlasting kingdom, by the merits of the most precious death and passion of thy dear Son . . . .
The liturgy concludes with a glorious solemn Te Deum, two thurifers wafting immense clouds of incense up into the ceiling of the Chapel. Then, singing the School Hymn,
Lo what a cloud of witnesses encompass us around !
Men once like us with suffering tried, but now with glory crowned.
Let us with zeal like theirs inspired, strive in the Christian race;
And freed from every weight of sin, their holy footsteps trace,
we flow out the South Porch and into the Refectory where a glorious breakfast and old friends await us. But, I pause, just a moment, to recollect the last time I was at the Hall: at graduation, we were charged solemnly by Dr. Elliott, in words from the Gospel:
"Behold I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves:
Be ye therefore wise as serpents and harmless as doves"
and cautioned about the new adventure we were about to undertake in going up to University:
You are going to be living in enemy occupied territory. Although God is still sovereign, yet this world is temporarily under enemy rule. In no place is this more true than in universities. So do not be beguiled by the worlds delights and fancies.
We were warned of the dangers, the temptations that we would face,
To substitute the ephemeral diversions of gratification for the eternal joys of holiness, to substitute reliance on limited human "experience" and "insights" for trust in the permanent things unseen: the terrible mercy of God transcendent
and the aweful humility of God made man to dwell among us and to die for us.
to substitute peer group consensus for informed judgement,
to substitute sociology for ontology,
to substitute political agenda for Gods grace, "rights" for duties and
au courantisme for holy tradition;"
warned too that, in the words of our Lord Jesus:
"Because ye are not of the world. . . the world hateth you. . . . The servant is not greater
than his Lord; if they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you"
And, in the words of St. Paul to Timothy:
" All that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution."
"Not "may, perhaps", "shall suffer persecution," "but" the quote goes on:
"But, continue thou in the things which thou hast learned ."
And we were reminded of our calling:
" Called to be saints!" Set apart for his glory, in holy holocaust,
let us ever say with the Apostle: "I press to the mark!"
Let us pray , in and by his grace, to be transformed continually in Christ!
Not conformed to this World, but transformed, by the renewing of our minds.
"Looking to Jesus" transfixed by and transformed in his image, that reconciled to
God, in Christ, we might bring this reconciliation to others, that loved in and by him, we might bring this love to others, until we all come at last, by Gods grace, to the full measure of the Christian man, "the stature of the fulness of Christ,"
How good it was to be here today for this splendid service at Aula Nostra. Deo Gratias!
The Glorious Brunch
I made my way through the South Porch to the Refectory, receiving greetings en route from the youngsters of the Fifth and Sixth Forms. I suppose I was an object of some awe to them; I was already a Harvard man and some of them were going up next year, others in two years. And a few poor souls were going to settle for other schools such as Yale. On entering the Refectory, I noticed there was a reception line so I cued up to greet the Bishop and Dr. Elliott and then milled around to say hello to some of the other faculty members and, of course, to my classmates.
It had been a long service and I was famished, and so, I began to look for the food. Not far to look; there within a few feet were tables laden with melons and juices, all manners of pastries, hash browned potatoes, sausage, ham, Dover sole and, even as I stared in anticipation, a sixth former bringing in the steaming scrambled eggs. But, there was a sign, over this table most bountiful: Please wait until after the blessing to take food to your table.
Fortunately, the wait was short. In a matter of minutes, Dr. Elliott rang the bell and, since it was the Hall custom to ask the Guest of Honor to give the blessing, the Bishop offered the prayer. Off went the orderly lines to juice and melons. I sat with John Castle and his parents. My own parents were not able to make the trip because of Father's health. John was my room-mate at Harvard and my best friend at the Hall. At our table, the "old boys" table, were twelve of the thirteen old Hallowans and a sizable group of parents. George Philips, being a mere nothing at the Naval Academy could not get leave. With the parents present, of course, we did not speak Latin. However, the food and the conversation were both first rate. We compared life at Harvard and Columbia and Yale.
The conversation was ere long, however, interrupted by the Doctor's bell. Up he arose and down shut went every mouth.
"In the Sixth Chapter of St. John's Gospel, between the feeding of the five thousand and the discourse on the Bread of Life, there is sandwiched a little story about the disciples of Jesus in a boat on a lake. And St John says: It was now dark and Jesus was not come to them so far, bad enough, but it gets worse. The next verse says: And the sea arose by reason of a great wind that blew. It was rather like that with me a few years back: darkness surrounded my way; The Church which had nurtured me and in which I was called to Christian service was now, as the old hymn says: by schisms rent asunder, by heresies distressed. And, indeed, Jesus seemed not to hear my prayers, my prayers for guidance and light in the darkness. But note how, in the next verse of this Chapter, the whole atmosphere changes: a strange shape appeared walking on the sea. And quite naturally, the Disciples were afraid. It was rather like that with me, in the midst of my quandaries and perplexities, in the midst of, I tell you, very great darkness, I too saw a strange shape: I saw the shape of a school, a traditional school such as had almost disappeared from the earth, a school where Catholic faith and worship were combined with classical learning, and, I too was afraid.
"St John tells us that as the disciples stood there shrouded in darkness and gazing in fear at the shape coming towards them, this strange shape spoke. It is I; be not afraid. The voice was familiar; it was the Lord. So it was with me as I gazed in fear at this strange shape unfolding in my heart; I was very afraid. 'No one wants this kind of education today,' I said, 'certainly not Episcopalians!' I , went on, in my arrogance, as if telling God something of which he was not aware,' Really, neither is this kind of traditional approach to religion much in demand among Episcopalians. We are a people with fat hearts, heavy ears and shut eyes.' Be not afraid, said the Lord. 'I am too old, I said." Be not afraid, said he. 'I have no money, I said.' Be not afraid, said he. 'There are many who could do this better than I.' I said. Be not afraid, said he. 'People will think, some will even say, I am a romantic nut, and they would probably be right," I said.
Be not afraid, said he. Be not afraid! And so, here we are, some years later, welcoming home to their nurturing mother, Aula Nostra, our Hall, as we lovingly say, our first group of graduates now all launched on college careers. I want them all to stand up as I call each name, and take a bow, for they were the pioneers, and it takes courage to be a pioneer: Michael Lawrence, the class valedictorian, and John Castle are up at Harvard. . ."
Well, he went through the whole class one by one and everyone applauded at the end of the roll call. He added two things at the end that I think are important:
"Although we are extremely proud of these young men and of all who follow in their train in the sixth and succeeding forms, I think it important to say that we are not simply a school for geniuses. Of course, in some schools, very intelligent young men such as Michael might have coasted on their laurels and never known what it was to be challenged. In many schools they would have got easy superior marks without much effort. But, it is also true that boys of quite average intelligence will do better at All Hallows than they might at a school that would not expect much of them. Yes, the curriculum is difficult, but if the boy of average gifts is willing to work hard, he can achieve here beyond what he or his parents and perhaps his former teachers thought. You see, we have three secret weapons, things that most schools do not have, or at any rate do not have in such a degree: first a climate of high expectations; second, very small classes and even smaller tutorialsBoften two boys and a tutor; third, we are a community in which worship and prayer are integrated with the studies, so when weary, we remember that it is not on our strength that we rely, but rather we wait upon the Lord, that he may renew our strength.
AAnd let me make another point: neither are we a minor seminary to train men who will go into Holy Orders. There will, Deo Volente, be a few in each class who will be called to serve God in the Church, but some will serve in university chairs and in corporate offices and in hospitals and in the military and, at the bar. But wherever their call be, they will go with God and with the perspective and understanding and knowledge and taste and with the special formation they got from being with us here. They will sing better, have a better appreciation of music and painting, be better read; They will reason more cogently, put things into context and understand more readily and worship more fervently and witness for their Lord more valiantly and of course speak better Latin (laughter all around ) than most of their fellows who were schooled in other places.
"We welcome also today many parents of these graduates. These good people deserve a hand also. They entrusted their children to us to educate, when we had no proof that we could get them into any college, much less the ones they had attended and to which they wanted their sons to follow them. But they had the courage to believe in the All Hallows dream. So let's give them a hand too."
And so, we their children and the young uns and the faculty and the Bishop and all the guests applaud our dear, generous, loving parents. Dr. Elliott was right, they did deserve it.
The Doctor resumed. "I certainly must also recognize the staff and faculty: first my brother Jerome Elliott. He has been by my side since the conception of the dream and into the first toddling days of the School: interviewing parents, keeping records straight, keeping track of the money and acting as God's most kind instrument to keep me going when it wasn't always so easy as today."
Everyone applauds Mr. Jerome. He was always there for us with a willing ear when we wanted to sound someone out before asking the Doctor for permission for this or that wild idea.
"And," He continued, "We must pay honor to our faculty; Father Mark was the first member recruited. I got him in a strange way. I got the wild notion that I wanted to revive spoken Latin. Well, I discovered that the Latin Secretary to His Holiness, the man who puts all the encyclicals and diplomatic correspondence into such fine Latin, was also teaching Colloquial Latin in classes at Gregorian University. So Five years before the School opened its doors, I wrote to him and asked if he could supply a graduate or two who could teach boys to speak Latin. He said he could indeed supply such. Well meanwhile, business reverses and one thing and another, well in a word the Devil, stifled the dream for four years. Finally when I was ready to go to Rome to interview his graduates, I was afraid that the Good Father would be retired or worse, but there he was still teaching away and writing fine Latin prose epistles for the Pope. Strangely enough, he remembered me. Well, I don't suppose he got a letter every day from some nut wanting to teach adolescents to speak Latin." At that everyone laughed heartily.
"But, well, even the parents who had to watch the offspring show off on Latin speech days, and certainly everyone here knows how well Father Mark has succeeded in carrying out this very unfashionable assignment." More applause.
Doctor Elliott went through the whole faculty: he journeyed to a French monastery to find Father Renault, our Master of Gregorian Chant, then to Oxford to recruit our Master of Anglican Chant plus two young graduates of the Oxford "Greats" school to teach classical Rhetoric, Literature and History. He also found there a coach for our crew. He returned to America for Aquatics, Drawing, Agriculture and Math Masters . Each one was introduced; we applauded them all. Well we might, for they were all very dedicated teachers. After that, he brought out our Chef who had been with the Hall since its beginning and the other staff members; each got loud applause, for these people had all been good to us during our four years at Aula Nostra.
All Hallows Hall is still a vision, a vision unrealized. We need a place to be and to build. I actually had a place in mind.
It was on the Rappahannock River and the Chesapeake Bay, with a splendid brick manor house of 7450 sq. ft. on 112 glorious acres: a grand house, land to farm, and water on which to row and sail. But, I had not the money to buy it; they wanted around $2,000,000. I heard about a man that had offered ten million dollars to Princeton, or maybe it was Yale.
Anyway, he wanted them to teach Western Civilization. They turned down his generous offer. I don't know why. Perhaps in our multi-cultural ideological academies, teaching Western Civilization was not politically correct. So, I wrote to him: I said that All Hallows took the teaching of Western Civilization very seriously. I said that with ten million dollars, I thought I could, by prudent investment, earn annually enough to award scholarships to a quarter of the students, in perpetuity we expect to remain very smallBand to buy that nice plantation on the Rappahannock.
But he never answered my letter, which proves that even the rich can be rude. But, do not be too hard on the rich; I discovered that the clergy too can be rude. Some of them did not answer my letters, and all I asked from them was comment and prayer. Alas, in many places, today, correctness, political correctness, that is, has replaced courtesy. It used to be said of so and so that he was a Christian gentlemen; alas, today many bear the name who, in fact, are neither."
If you would like to help realize the dream, contact the Secretary of the Corporation via the email address below:
E-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org
But before all else, for from it, I believe all will follow; remember us at Mass and join us in prayer: And do please let us know if you can join us in this, perhaps as a weekly prayer, or at least sometimes, to our Father in Heaven.
Lord hear our prayer;
And let our cry come unto thee.
O God who hast drawn us to thyself in love; who hast given us a vision of a Hall where devout and splendid worship would be offered and where godly instruction would be given, as we have received the traditions from our fathers, that our sons might be formed in holiness, wisdom, knowledge and understanding, in prudence and justice, temperance and fortitude, in faith, hope and charity, that so the holy chain of tradition might not be broken: that what our sons receive they might teach to their sons, that souls might be saved and sanctified, and that thy Holy Name might be glorified: fulfill that work which thou hast begun in us.
O God most holy, O Lord most mighty, unless thou dost build the Hall, we labor in vain. Grant to us a place where we can build; raise up for us benefactors, students and teachers, for we are nothing and have nothing save what thy love doth grant to us.
Help us we pray thee to desire nothing save what thou dost will and to do nothing save for thy glory. And, forasmuch as without thee, we are not able to please thee, mercifully grant that thy Holy Spirit may in all things direct and rule our hearts, that we may both perceive and know what things we ought to do and may have grace and power faithfully to fulfill the same, through Jesus Christ our Lord who liveth and reigneth with thee in the unity of the same Holy Spirit one God, now and forever. Amen
The rest of the story will be written, by God's grace, with your help.
Ad destinatum persequor!
We owe a debt of gratitude to our prayer partners who have remembered us and still do before the Throne of grace, to those who have advertized our site by e-mail, word of mouth church bulletin and on their own web sites. Please keep praying; our God is the God of miracles and more things are wrought by prayer than the world dreams of
Ad destinatum persequor
David A. E. Horsman Feast of the Conversion of Saint Paul 2000 Copyright (c) 1999 by David A. E. Horsman Enquiries may be addressed to email@example.com
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Copyright (c) 1999 by David A. E. Horsman
Enquiries may be addressed to firstname.lastname@example.org
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