Collection of Letters: Detail
- Ivo, bishop of Chartres
Ivo, humble minister of the church of Chartres, to Matilda queen of the Angles, to reign in heaven with the queen of the angels.
Since every gift is to be valued not so much by its quantity as by the affection of the giver, we have received the bells which you gave to the blessed and perpetual virgin in the place of that perpetual Virgin, grateful as much for your devotion as for their lovely sound, and have had them placed in a special place to be heard by the people who come together there. Whenever they are sounded to announce the hours, they touch the minds of the hearers renewing your memory in the hearts of individuals. Such memory is not to be valued lightly which blossoms again when the peerless host offered on the altar of the cross for our redemption is consecrated daily at the Lord’s table by ministers of the new priesthood, when with heavenly hymns like sacrifices of the lips God is honored by the faithful, when an offended God is inclined to mercy by sinners beating their guilty breasts in the sacrifice of a contrite spirit. There is no doubt that they participate in these goods who offer the goods which they have in abundance to the ministers of God who lack them for his honor and love.
So what was lacking to our poverty, your abundance has already begun to administer benignly, and has promised to supply even more richly in completing or restoring the roof of our church. So the ancient people of God, at his command given through Moses, offered for the use of his tabernacle gold, silver, and bronze, flax and scarlet, purple and jacinth, women also their jewels and earrings, so that the vestment of the pontiff and the tabernacle would be visibly adorned, signifying the holy customs of the ministers of the New Testament. Those who did not have these precious things offered the hair of goats to make hair-cloth to preserve the splendor of the inner ornaments so they would not be soiled by dust or spoiled by rain. Your excellence will follow this form of piety when you supply the necessary tools or materials to repair the house of God, as you wish and as much as you wish. For all of these, expect without doubt reward from him who, you have learned, ordered them.
Cum omne datum non tantum ex sua quantitate quantum ex dantis affectu aestimandum sit, campanas quas beatae et perpetuae virgini dedistis, tum pro vestra devotione, tum pro sua delectabili sonoritate vice ipsius perpetuae Virginis gratanter suscepimus, et in loco celebri ad auditum coufluentium populorum collocari fecimus. Quae quoties ad significationem certarum horarum moventur, ita auditorum mentes mulcent [al. mulcentur], ut vestra memoria in singulorum cordibus renovetur. Nec leviter est aestimanda talis memoria, quae tunc reflorescit, quando illa singularis hostia pro nobis redimendis in ara crucis oblata, per novi sacerdotii ministros in Domini mensa quotidie consecratur, quando hymnis coelestibus, tanquam vitulis labiorum, Deus a fidelibus honorificatur [al. honoratur], quando a peccatoribus rea pectora tundentibus Deus offensus sacrificio contribulati spiritus ad misericordiam inclinatur. Horum bonorum procul dubio participes exstant, qui Dei ministris bona quibus abundant et istis desunt, pro ejus honore et amore subministrant. Ita quod deerat inopiae nostrae, copia vestra benigne ministrare jam coepit, et se suppleturam in supplendis vel restituendis [al. reficiendis]. Ecclesiae nostrae tectis uberius repromisit. Sic antiquus Dei populus ad tabernaculi usum, jubente Domino per Moysem offerebat aurum, argentum et aes, bissum quoque et coccum, purpuram et hyacinthum, mulieres etiam gemmas, et inaures (Exod. XXXV), quibus tunc visibiliter vestimentum pontificis et tabernaculum ornarentur et ministrorum Novi Testamenti sancti mores designarentur. Quibus autem pretiosa ista deerant, pilos caprarum offerebant, quibus vela cilina fierent, ad conservandum splendorem interiorum ornamentorum, ne pulvere sordescerent, vel imbribus putrefierent. Hanc formam pietatis sequetur excellentia vestra, cum ad utensilia vel sartatecta domus Dei reficienda, in quibus voluerit, vel quantum voluerit, suppeditabit necessaria. Pro quibus omnibus illum exspectate procul dubio retributorem, quem talium didicistis fuisse praeceptorem. Vale.
Ivo thanks the queen for a gift of bells and for the promise to help restore the roof.
PL162 ep.142 c148-49