Not the Vigil

16 May 2012

Tomorrow is forty days since Easter, the Solemnity of the Ascension, when Christ ascended into heaven in what has to be one of the great comic scenes in the Bible:

[A]s they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him from their sight.

While they were looking intently at the sky as he was going, suddenly two men dressed in white garments stood beside them. They said, “Men of Galilee, why are you standing there looking at the sky? This Jesus who has been taken up from you into heaven will return in the same way as you have seen him going into heaven.”

(Acts: 1 9-11)

Can you just imagine the Apostles standing and staring into the sky? And the angels bringing them back to earth? Or is it just me?

As I said, the feast is tomorrow, making this the vigil. Of course, in most dioceses of the United States, we’ve moved the feast a couple of days so it falls on a Sunday. This strikes me as kind of lazy.

Father Z has a really good take on it in his annual rant about Ascension Thursday Sunday.

I have to say I agree with his conclusion,

I am no doubt under the the influence of having read so much St. Augustine. My present view of humanity suggests that when Holy Mother Church lowers expectations regarding the liturgy, people get the hint and lower their own personal expectations of themselves. They get the hint that the feast just isn’t that important. As a matter of fact, maybe none of this Catholic stuff, with all these rules, is that important.

It’s true – we send a message by how we behave, whether it’s what we say, how we move, or what we’re willing to make time for.

How can the mysteries of the Christian faith be important, when our behaviour in church is so chatty and casual?

How can the True Presence of Christ in the Eucharist be important when we can’t be bothered to even genuflect before the tabernacle?

How can Sacred time be important, when we can arbitrarily move holy days all over the calendar?

Some things to think about.

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Pope Francis

Servus Servorum Dei



Theirs was the religion of Saint John and of Saint Paul, the religion of the Gloria in Excelsis Deo, of the Athanasian Creed, and of the Te Deum Laudamus: Trinitarian, Christological, liturgical, and ecclesial.

Theirs was a religion spacious, broad, lofty, deep, and, at the same time, humbly rooted in the mystery of the Incarnation and in the homely economy of the sacraments.

(Dom Jean LeClercq, O.S.B.,
on the 12th Century Monastic reformers)

Out of the darkness of my life, so much frustrated, I put before you the one great thing to love on earth: the Blessed Sacrament …

There you will find romance, glory, honour, fidelity, and the true way of all your loves on earth…

(J.R.R. Tolkien)

Tradition means giving votes to the most obscure of all classes, our ancestors. It is the democracy of the dead.

Tradition refuses to submit to the small and arrogant oligarchy of those who merely happen to be walking about.

(G.K. Chesterton)

The Gospel takes away our right forever to discriminate between the deserving and the undeserving poor.

(Servant of God Dorothy Day, Obl.S.B.)

Against the disease of writing one must take special precautions, since it is a dangerous and contagious disease.

(Peter Abelard)

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