Posted tagged ‘Quasimodo’


April 9, 2018

Actual Christians are Quasimodo today:

So many times in the Spruce Tunnel I’ve written about the meaning of this Sunday,  this Octave Day of Easter. *    It’s not named for the happy singing hunchback of Hollywood musical fame:


That cartoon character doesn’t even faithfully portray the hunchback in the classic Victor Hugo  novel,   which is, by the way, worth reading for the insights into human behavior and motivations that a reader gets.

The true origin of that ugly abandoned baby’s name is the fact that he was dropped off at the door of Notre Dame cathedral  on  Quasimodo Sunday.     Might as well name him for the holy day upon which he was found.

But there is something in common with that day and that baby:   Certain qualities of newborn babies are also experienced by those who come into the Church, throwing in their lot, their safety, their future with Christ.   Both the baby and the Christian receive a new beginning in life,  and both have a hunger and a thirst to find out more about this new life.

Jesus,  the Crucified and Risen One,  has the power to give  new, clean, “innocent,” wonderful full Life that lasts for ever.  Everything  is changed in a person’s life;  everything has meaning and importance; the person understands his actually worth and dignity;  the person knows beyond a doubt that he is loved, forever.


The Church opens every Mass with a prayer called the Introit.   From ancient times, today’s Introit  begins with the words   ” Quasi modo géniti infántes allelúia . . . “      (Or:  ** Just as newborn babies,  desire sincere  (rational,  health-giving)  milk . . .  ( teaching from God which  is the Word of God).

Okay,  lots in there,  but it’s in this prayer we’re reminded that once we believe in God, we need to act like it;  we need to nurture our faith,  hungrily taking in everything we can possibly learn about God, “just as a newborn babies” greedily suck down that life-giving milk.

The Word, the milk,  give strength as well as growth.

It’s not something you can safely  disregard.    Things are going to get bad,  really bad, in the world according to some.    We’re going to need all the strength we can get —  because our Faith has to endure until the end of our lives.    At each moment,  if you’re not on your way to Heaven,  chances are  you’re not going to be “on the way”  at the last moment of your life either.   




.*     You can use the Search engine here and type in Quasimodo for fuller explanations.  Here are a couple Spruce Tunnels on this day:


.**     The Introit is from I Peter 2:2 in the Bible








April 25, 2017

Yes.  Well.     Back to the real world.   But let’s go into the real real world, where sometimes bad things happen and bad people exist.    What then?


Sometimes babies aren’t born perfect,  and in an imperfect (Fallen)  world,  the imperfect baby is not loved.   In fact, the birth of this hideously deformed baby boy horrified his parents.    Hunchbacked and mostly blind.

The hopeful young parents had waited so long for this baby to grow in the womb and be born — and then . . .  this –  this unspeakable thing was born!   Its presence would be a curse on the poor parents and on everyone around them.   What to do with it?

You can’t just kill it because it’s “human.”   And so, since it’s human,  just throw it on the Mercy of God –  throw it back where it came from, so to speak:

notre dame

And so on Low Sunday the ugly baby was found on the doorsteps of Notre Dame Cathedral.

We often name our Sundays after the first two or three words of that day’s Introit,  the opening prayer as the Mass begins.   Here is the Introit for Low Sunday,  the Sunday after Easter:

Quasi modo géniti infántes allelúia: rationábiles, sine dolo lac concupíscite, allelúia, allelúia, allelúia.

Or  (English):  As newborn babes, alleluia, desire the rational milk without guile, alleluia, alleluia, alleluia.

“Newborn babies” ?  What to call that abandoned newborn baby?   Call it by the name of the Sunday on which he appeared:  Quasimodo.

Little Quasimodo found mercy and love among the Christian hearts within Notre Dame’s walls.   He was fed and cared for and as he grew he  joyfully fulfilled the task of ringing the bells in those great towers.

Victor Hugo wrote the fictional story of Quasimodo and made it a deep study of love and hate,  of rejection, betrayal,  rescue,  hypocrisy,   innocent love and cold-hearted lust — and of the noblest act of self-sacrifice.   Even though we may know “what happens” in the story,  it’s well worth reading, especially as we grow older.

A few days ago it was Quasimodo Sunday.  We didn’t hear about The Hunchback of Notre Dame in the sermon,   but we  did learn  to become like the little children that Jesus held up before us as our models;  and we did learn to become eager for the new, nourishing milk of the whole story of the Gospel.  Every bit of it!

Yes,  we should want Him that much;   in the same way as (quasi modo) that a newborn baby wants his mother’s milk,   because it’s there that we find  mercy and peace and life that doesn’t end.

A fictional story that demonstrates the love of God?     How about a factual story of the same kind that also demonstrates the power of the love of God?

Once there was born an ugly little girl baby –  deformed,  hunch-backed,  and blind.    True story.


Her parents were wealthy nobles and her birth would bring shame to them –  if anyone ever saw her.    The little baby was named Margaret and she was kept locked in a back room of her parents’ castle – out of sight! – with only a maidservant to care for her needs.      And because she was human and because this was a  Christian  country,   they sent a priest in to see her at times.

Like the good people in Notre Dame Cathedral,  this priest took care of her spiritual needs,  taught her the truths about God’s love and mercy –  and Margaret grew up to be kind and loving – and forgiving,   trusting in God.


Not so her parents.    When they thought she was old enough,  they took her to the nearby town  for a “shopping trip.”       And they abandoned her there.   Cold,  hungry,  weary of waiting for her parents all day,  she was taken in by various families, until months later finally she was brought to a convent –  which was a bad one!     Being blind and crippled,  she brought them no money so they soon  kicked her out,  back onto the streets.

But remember,  she had been taught right from wrong by that loving priest in her early life.  She knew how God wants us to live – with kindness and forgiveness given freely to all.     She chose the love and mercy of her Heavenly Father and never wavered.  Her life was an instruction to everyone,  to everyone who would see.    Good people loved her.

(You can read her story in the “Read the rest. . .”  part below.)

These are two examples for us who are “blind” in some areas;  who are unformed in good works and deformed in our actions;  crippled morally in some small way;  who secretly feel we could be rejected if people knew the truth about us . .  .  .

Blind and deformed and crippled.   Quasimodo knew and Margaret of Castello knew —  that it’s  for these kind of people that Jesus died  (Good Friday)  and rose again  (Easter) that they may become His followers, like dear children (quasi modo . . .)

The real world that we live in can be ugly and unfriendly and dangerous.     But the Real real world can also be a place to dwell in God’s unchanging love.






April 12, 2015

Today is  Quasimodo Sunday. *   The Lesson is:    Things don’t have to be complicated — unless you cherish your doubts and want to remain there, in your doubts.

“As newborn babes,  (Quasimodo geniti),  desire the rational/sincere/without false complexity . . .  milk  . . . ”  of the Word of God, which is so new to you “newbies” in the Christian Faith.

The disciples of Jesus were “new” to the Christian faith, so to speak.  It had “just happened” !

Uppper RoomThomas wasn’t there on Easter with the rest of the disciples who were surprised by the entrance of their Risen Lord into the Room where they were meeting, in secret, still hiding from authorities.  He appeared there among them.   But Thomas wasn’t there.

But one week later,   on the eighth day after that Appearance,   (an Octave of days) —  the disciples were again gathered in that “Upper Room” and this time Thomas was with them,  still rather disbelieving what his friends were telling them.

thomas in white

(The reasons for our doubts are complicated.   Well,  Thomas didn’t see Jesus,  so how can he know for sure. . . ?    And  Thomas had just  been through a traumatic past week,  knowing that his Rabbi,  Master, and Lord,  had just been crucified.   A person sometimes gets used to bad circumstances and the finality of a death.   There is almost a sense of “safety”  in wallowing in sadness and uncertainty.    No more changes! **)

Thomas can believe that Jesus was their superior,  their Lord,  he almost believed Jesus was the Son of God, with almighty power over life and death;  but,  no. . .    If that were true, too much would have to follow.  Too much would have to change in Thomas’s life.   Forget it.   “My friends, we were all disciples together,  but I don’t believe what you’re telling me.”   “Unless I see what you tell me you saw,  unless I see the scars and holes from the nails and from the lance — no,   I won’t believe just because you’re telling me.”

And then the Risen Jesus appeared to them again, in that locked Room.

thomas Again Jesus bids them “Peace.”    And, as though He had been overhearing Thomas’s  previous words,  he immediately said to Thomas:  “Here.  Put your fingers here in my  hands and put your hand here,   into my side.”

“Feel the nail holes,  reach into the large hole in my side. ”

And don’t be unbelieving.   This is not a rebuke to Thomas,  but a loving condescension.    You are having trouble believing?  You want physical proof?   Here  you are.      Don’t remain in your doubts.

Thomas’s response?     Now he knows,   Jesus is not just their Beloved Master,  their Lord,  but as Thomas said:  “My Lord and my God.

It was a good answer.     Then Jesus turned to the future:   Blessed are those who don’t have the opportunity you have,  yet still move on into belief.     Well, that would be us,  today.

We can’t have the experience of touching the Resurrected flesh of  Jesus,  but we don’t have to be weighted down and held back by our doubts either.  “Put your hand into my side.”   Not just “take a look.”    Go into.    We can pause and let our minds go deeper into this story;  we can let go of our doubts and reservations.      Just simply,  like newborn babes,   receive the “milk.”   And be “Blessed,”  as He said.

Bar Cross in middle

Sundays are often named for the first word or two in the Introit – that first short prayer which calls out to Christians, uniting them for that day in a common thought.    So the Introit starts with the word “Quasimodo” and is defined as above:  “In the manner of…”

**    “Safety” in clinging to sorrow:  Be gentle with your friends who are experiencing bad times and doubts.    It takes time to get used to the possibility of Good News.   It takes time to receive encouragement.   That’s human nature.    That’s the lesson of St. Thomas.


April 27, 2014

Christendom has long called this Sunday “Quasimodo Sunday.”  It’s because the first given prayer for this day begins with the words:  quasi modo”  which means “as”  or “in this manner.” 

More about the real “in this manner” later, but for now I’m musing about Quasimodo, the man at the center of action in Victor Hugo’s novel The Hunchback of Notre Dame.    At one time every literate person in Europe knew who Quasimodo was, and how by an act of Christian charity the ugly abandoned baby who was to become Quasimodo was found and adopted  and cared for  by the archdeacon of Notre Dame cathedral.    Since he was found on Quasimodo Sunday,  the baby boy was given the name Quasimodo.

This being a novel written by the very anti-Catholic Monsieur Hugo,  lust, murder, and revenge abounds in the hearts of all the characters,  whether good or evil, Catholic or non-Catholic, in a moral mish-mash of the cynical soup that arose out of the Enlightenment.

Nevertheless, from his earliest years,  Quasimodo was alive and given an honorable way to make his living because of Christian charity.

Had the characters in Victor Hugo’s book been guided by the rest of the prayer which names this Sunday,  they would have had less heartache and more holiness  —  and so it is with every man.    The prayer points to all those who come to faith in Christ and are eager to please Him and are hungry to know more.

Like little children,  as newborn babies,  in the manner of enthusiastic newbies, willing to receive more,  in this manner live your lives.

For anyone who has experienced any little knowledge of God, let him delight with childlike simplicity and be open for more;   let him long for more.

Quasimodo;  “in this manner.”   Simple, humble, childlike, open for more wonders of faith   —   Perhaps like the baby boy Quasimodo once was, when he first experienced the tender love of Christian charity, and before he became enmeshed in the drama of adult evils.

How we can pity all those who lose their childlike eagerness to be good.