Q: Is the ARSH prefix you use on dates “ridiculous”? Did you just make it up? It was referred to as “ridiculous” recently, and I can’t figure out why.
A: Great question!
The abbreviated date prefix ARSH stands for:
This means, “in the Year of the Reparation of Human Salvation”.
There are several forms of this wonderfully and beautifully Christian prefix to dates. The most common, which we are all familiar with, is “A.D.”, which of course stands for “Anno Domini”, which means, “the Year of The Lord”. BUT, there are actually FIVE more forms which one sees in books and inscriptions (most commonly funerary monuments and plaques):
A.S. = Anno Salutae = “The Year of Salvation”
A.N.S. = Anno Nostrae Salutis = “The Year of Our Salvation”
A.S.H. = Anno Salutis Humanae = “The Year of Human Salvation”
A.R.S. = Anno Reparatae Salutis = “The Year of Salvation Accomplished/Reparated”
And finally, the most florid and most glorious:
A.R.S.H. = Anno Reparatae Salutis Humanae = “The Year of the Reparation of Human Salvation”
This “moment zero” from which all dates are counted is, of course, the Annunciation, when Our Blessed Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, the Second Person of the Triune Godhead, became incarnate in the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary at her words, “Fiat mihi secundum verbum tuum,” that is, “Be it done to me according to thy word.” This is why up until not too terribly long ago in Christendom, March 25, NOT January 1, marked the beginning of a new year, and was when the date rolled over. Hence, March 24, ARSH 1514 was followed the next day by March 25, ARSH 1515.
This event is so massively incomprehensible in its infinite love for mankind that we bend the knee TWICE at Mass when it is mentioned: the first instance is when the Creed is recited. All should kneel at the words, “Et incarnátus est de Spíritu Sancto ex María Vírgine: Et homo factus est,” that is in English, “And became incarnate by the Holy Ghost of the Virgin Mary: and was made man.”
The second instance is at the Last Gospel, recited at the end of almost every Mass, all genuflect at the words, “Et Verbum caro factum est,” which is, “And the Word was made flesh.”
And so, years and years ago, in fact, when I was sixteen years old and got my first checking account, I started always putting “A.D.” beside the date when I wrote checks, just as a little way of working a witness to the Incarnation into daily life. Later, when I launched Barnhardt.biz, I asked my website developer to write into the code that all timestamps would include “A.D.” THEN, several years ago, after visiting Rome on pilgrimage, the abbreviation ARSH was suggested to me as the “ultimate” date prefix. I was sold, because with me, it’s “go big or go home”. And there are no words adequate to declare the awesome loving miracle of God incarnating as Man so that we might be saved.
Here are some pics of ARSH used in various places: