Friday, December 5, 2014

Henry Suso's Good Christian Men Rejoice

Since I didn't sleep well, last night, I had the TV on.  I was surprised to see that my fellow Dominican, Henry Suso wrote the Christmas hymn, Good Christian Men Rejoice.  I had never heard that story before. Naturally, I googled Good Christian Men Rejoice.  I eventually did find some reference of him, but it wasn't easy.  Everything said the hymn came from Medieval times.  The hymn originated with the Rhineland mystics.  Both these references fit Henry Suso.  Only Wikipedia names Heinrich Seuse circa 1328.

 What I know of Suso, obviously, isn't much.   I consider him a religious nut.  One incident he did was tattoo himself with his pen point.  He wrote Jesus over his heart.  Additionally he gave himself some extreme penances, which finally did him in health wise.  Also, he affected the people he lived with by his crazy ideas.  He didn't bathe for 25 years!  He died in his thirties, so consider it his entire adulthood.  I guess he never heard the expression,"Cleanliness is next to Godliness."  Or, maybe it's because of Suso, the axiom originated.  That's why, I consider this image of Suso dancing with the angels, the opposite of what it's suppose to be portraying.  See Suso, in a mystical trance, envisioned this scene of angels dancing with joy.  Hence the inspiration for the hymn, Good Christian Men Rejoice.  However, that not what I see.  I see people running away from him, waving their hands,"Stay away. Stay away.  You stink!"

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