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    Religion in the Middle Ages Essay

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    The word religion is derived from the Latin noun religio, which denotes both “the earnest observance of ritual obligations, and an inward spirit of reverence. ”(1999, Grolier Encyclopedia). Religion in an English sense are people’s “beliefs and opinions concerning the existence, nature, and worship of a deity or deities, and a divine involvement in the universe and human life. ”(Encarta Dictionary).

    I believe that religion did have a lot to do with the middle ages, especially during the 13th century when most of the stories depicted Jesus Christ and the Virgin Mary as people to pray and devote themselves to. Towards the early 14th century people were drawn to the Madonna and Child as a statue of hope. In the selection “Dies Irae” dated 1275,and “Stabat Mater” dated around the same time, the audiences whole perspective was of God, often depicted as “God the Father”, and of religion (pg38 packet). Both are songs that were sung by men that believed that they would be judged on the last day, “Judgement Day”(pg38).

    In Dies Irae, the author says that “God would gather the good souls, the sheep, on his right hand, and the bad souls, the goats on his left”(pg38). Depicting goats and sheep as souls were peoples beliefs. They were taught that “if you were a believer of God, and were penitent for your deeds than you would remain in heaven eternally, where as if you were sinful and did not believe in god you would be damned to hell for eternity. ”(pg38). An example of this is mentioned in the Dies Irae toward the end, the speaker says: “With thy sheep, thy chosen, place me, Severed from the goats, embrace me. ”(pg38).

    Which meant place me in heaven with the rest of the good people, and not in Hell with the ones who are not so good. Similar religion was portrayed throughout most of the middle ages. In the selection “My Lady’s Juggler“, the object of worship was the Virgin Mary, the mother of Jesus Christ. Barnabas, a poor juggler, says “I wish I might, like you, sing the office in praise of the Very Holy Virgin, to whom I am specially and piteously devoted. ”(pg 40 packet).

    Barnabas entered the monastery and became a monk to honor the Virgin Mary, and after Barnabas performed for the Virgin, she says “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see god. ”(pg41). This means that if you truly obey god whether you are simple or of noble spirit, you shall be among those who are allowed into heaven. The Stabat Mater also portrayed an “intense devotion to Mary, the mother of Jesus Christ.

    ”(pg39 packet). In the last paragraph of this sonnet, it mentions “may that cross be my salvation; Make Christ’s death my preservation. ”(pg39) meaning let the cross give us strength and help us remove all sin. In the overview of Dante’s Comedy, Dante was said to have traveled to Hell, Purgatory, and then ended up in Paradise (Heaven), and believed that anyone worthy enough could do the same.

    Religion according to the Britannica Encyclopedia involved six items. Number one, “Almost always there is a belief in a power or powers greater than man. “ In the Dies Irae, men and women alike were told to love, honor, obey, and fear God, because he knew all and could see all. Number two, “This power is yielded to, feared, sacrificed to, and prayed to by man. ” Also in the Dies Irae, it was mentioned that “they feared that their sins, well known to God, the judge of all, would cause their eternal damnation, burning in the pit of hell. ”(Pg38) Number three; “Ceremonies are developed in order that man’s sacrifices and prayers may be offered.

    ” In the excerpt Our Lady’s Juggler, Barnabas along with the other monks gave praise to the Virgin Mary through ceremonies. Number four, “Certain places and objects connected with worship and history of a religion are held sacred by its followers. ” This is proven by the focus of the church itself. It is worshipped because of its connection with God. Number five, “There is a hope that through obeying and worshipping the higher power, men can have a better life than they have

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