Universalis, your very own breviary in pixels...

Wednesday, 7 January 2009

Dear Donatus:

It's a bad world, Donatus, in which we live.
But right in the middle of it I have discovered a quiet and holy group of people.
They are people who have found a happiness that is a thousand times more joyful than all the pleasures of our sinful lives.
These people are despised and persecuted, but it doesn't matter to them.
They are called Christians.
A well-written reflection by Basilian Father, Thomas Rosica. How invaluable a resource is Zenit!

I remember attending Divine Liturgy at a Byzantine church on Epiphany once with my Mother, and how taken aback we both were by the Kings not being the gospel story. Oddly, I remembered Epiphany, before it's being shoved to the nearest Sunday, as having been a Holy Day of Mass obligation, but I am told I remember wrong. (Well, it was a Loud family holiday, so we made it obligatory...)

I am, in concert with my continual whinging about the liturgical calendar intrigued by these words of Fr Rosica's:
The feast of the Baptism of the Lord seemingly brings an end to the Christmas season, although, in reality, it is the feast of the Presentation of the Lord on Feb. 2 that marks the great conclusion of the Christmas season.

"In reality?"
What reality? I, since I have had my own domicile, have stubbornly and sometimes petulantly insisted on keeping the decorations and the festivities, (and the notion that it is a sort of "vacation" time,) going until February -- because that is what our family always did despite the trees and wreaths at our church being kicked to the curb immediately after Epiphany.

But I have always been told that, well, that's old fashioned, OFFICIALLY, we are out of the Christmas season.

But, are we? "Officially"? The Vatican leaves the creche up until the Feast of the Presenation, I believe I learned last year.

This entire church-follows-the-mall's-timetable mindset of the modern American Christian burns my aspidistra. Fr Rosica says:

A great tragedy of Christmas is that for many, it is a religion of one night, however lovely and shining it may be. The Incarnation of Jesus is reduced to mere sentimentality, tradition or a cultural feast.

I think this emphasis on a (not very spiritual) build-up to an ephemeral moment is bad catechesis, contributes to the Liturgy-As-Entertainment aspect of many a Midnight Masses, encourages holiday depression, and produces as shallow and sentimental a view of what should be seen as great Holy Day as possible.

(Yeah, yeah, yeah, and it also causes athlete's foot...)

Why do so many parish organizations have their Christmas parties in Advent? And parochial schools their concerts? and priests and musicians make every liturgical celebration after December 25 feel like an after-thought?

Big mistake, BIG mistake...

Fr Phillip's blessing of the "House of God" was a real tonic last night.

(As was, not to change the subject or anything, not so much my confession, although it was wonderful, but Himself's transfigured countenance and elevated gait [I really think he left the earth's gravitational pull] after his confession. It has been a hard habit for the not-so-long-ago-protestant to get into. It's a hard lesson for us all, that is is a sacrament, it is about GRACE, not about, as the Ephemerists who discourage it would have it, "Catholic Guilt," or "Patronizing Clericalism.")

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