In the context of the larger account of Luke-Acts, the singular “conversion” story with which that entire account begins is the annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Luke 1:26-28), which the Greek Orthodox liturgy and the Greek church fathers called her “evangelization”. Although the annunciation demonstrated, according to Saint Gregory of Nyssa, that “the power of the Godhead is an immense and immeasurable thing, while man is a weak atom,” and although the Virgin Mary was divinely predestined and chosen to become the Theotokos, the Mother of God, nevertheless the incarnation took place at her voluntary and unconstrained response to the angel: “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word” (Luke 1:38). That was why, according to Dante and the Florentine tradition, the beginning of the new age of human history was to be dated from the annunciation rather than from the nativity. In the words of Irenaeus about Eve and Mary, “If the former did disobey God, yet the latter was persuaded to be obedient to God, in order that the Virgin Mary might become the patroness of the virgin Eve” (SCM Theological Commentary on the Bible).
There are some people in my parish who are wanting to put on this play by Charles Williams. They’re a talented lot, and it would be interesting to see. I think it would require an accompanying commentary though. I put it on here because this mildly adapted script may be of value to Charles Williams fans… It used to be out of print, but appears now (2016) to be back in print. There are some minor errors that occurred during the scanning process. If any one wants a micro$haft word copy send me an email and I’ll send you one…
First produced in the Chapter House, Canterbury, as part of the Festival of the Friends of Canterbury Cathedral, 20 June 1936
THOMAS CRANMER Robert Speaight
HENRY VIII Philip Hollingworth
MARY Vera Coburn Findlay
FIRST LORD Jeffrey Leighton
SECOND LORD Frank napier
A PRIEST Sidney Haynes
A PREACHER William Fordyce
A BISHOP William Gorman
FIGURA RERUM, A SKELETON E. Martin Browne
The Commons; Singers; Executioners
The character of ANNE BOLEYN was not included in the somewhat shorter version of the play given at Canterbury
Directed by E. Martin Browne
Unless you turn to Him and repay the existence that He gave you , you won’t be “nothing”; you will be wretched. All things owe to God, first of all, what they are insofar as they are natures. Then, those who have received a will owe to Him whatever better thing they can will to be, and whatever they ought to be. No man is ever blamed for what he has not been given, but he is justly blamed if he has not done what he should have done; and if he has received free will and sufficient power, he stands under obligation. When a man does not do what he ought, God the Creator is not at fault. It is to His glory that a man suffers justly; and by blaming a man for not doing what he should have done, you are praising what he ought to do. You are praised for seeing what you ought to do, even though you see this only through God, who is immutable Truth (On Freedom)
Kierkegaard’s understanding of “passion” is different from many writers of the early church who sought to quell passion in the soul. Here passion does not refer to inordinate desire, but rather to the awareness of the significance of one’s existence and actions.
It is impossible to exist without passion, unless existing means just any sort of so-called existence. For this reason every Greek thinker was essentially a passionate thinker. I have often wondered how one might bring a man to passion. So I have thought I might seat him on a horse and frighten the horse into a wild gallop, or still better, in order to bring out the passion properly, I might take a man who wants to go somewhere as quickly as possible (and so was already in a sort of passion) and seat him on a horse that can barely walk. But this is just how existence is, if one becomes conscious of it. Or if someone hitched a carriage with Pegasus and an old nag, and told the driver, who was not usually inclined to passion, “Now, drive”: I think that would succeed. And this is just how existence is, if one becomes conscious of it. Eternity is the winged horse, infinitely quick, and time is the old nag, and the existing individual is the driver; that is to say, he is the driver when his existence is not merely a so-called existence, for then he is no driver, but a drunken peasant who sleeps in the wagon and lets the horses fend for themselves. True, he also drives, he is a driver, and so there are perhaps many who–also exist.
Søren Kierkegaard, Concluding Unscientific Postscript to the Philosophical Crumbs, trans Alastair Hannay, (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009) 260-261.