May 05, 2009

We Are A Part of the Rhythm Nation

Calm yourself Father Richtsteig, I will not now (or ever) give praise to liturgical dance!

Roman Catholicism is very much guided by a schedule, a calendar. Thoughout our history, it has been so. Easter falls on a certain designated day that scholars spent much time calculating, Christmas is on another, the Annunciation is here, the Birth of John the Baptist is here, the Ascension is..well, ok..but it gets a DATE!

Even the day is assigned Liturgical Hours: Prime, Sext, None, Vespers etc and each hour of each day has certain recited prayers.

Every day of the year has a Saint assigned to it. The daily Mass may not honor a particular Saint but just because the prayer during that days Mass does not call out all the Saints of said day, doesn't mean the Saint isn't or can't be honored on that day (or any day for that matter).

Sunday is the most important day of our week. I know the working stiffs think Friday is, but it isn't. Curiously, Sunday happens every 7 days but many still forget that the day is the Lord's and they must/should/better go to Mass!

Today, with the Mass in the Extraordinary Form and the Mass in the Ordinary Form, both given equal weight in our Church, we have two calendars. The "Traditional" calendar and the "New" calendar.

I bet there are Catholics reading this blog who can tell me what day of the week it is, but have absolutely no idea what season in the liturgical calendar the Church is in.

I know there are folks that think back in the "olden days" Catholics lives more closely followed the rhythm set by the liturgical calendar. Maybe that's true, maybe not.

You don't have to live in a cloister to pray the Liturgy of the Hours, you don't have to agonize over whether to venerate St. Bede the Venerable on the 25th of May or the 27th of May, but you should have a pattern of conformity to your life that makes some effort to make itself a life OF Christ rather than YOUR life. You would not have life if God had not made you. How about some gratitude?

On SONday (Sunday) which like I said, curiously always follows Saturday, are you giving that day to the Lord? I heard someone say once that on Sunday back in "the day" everyone stayed close to the Church all day long: first Mass, then Vespers and Benediction in the afternoon. That was probably in a time when everyone attended Mass in the Church in the neighborhood they lived in. Even so, even today, are you attending Mass on Sunday? Even if you are not fortunate enough to have a Vespers service near you are you spending the day in prayer as much as possible? How about reading Scripture? Praying the Rosary?

EVERY DAY, you should spend it with the Lord. Sunday is the bare minimum but why limit the potential of your boundless love for Christ to one day? It's SO easy in our modern era to look online and access the Breviary with the Liturgy of the Hours for the day (you can do that on breaks at work-I did), you can read the day's Bible readings online, many priests have posted their daily homilies online, you can pray the Rosary in your car, you can pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet at lunch, you can pray before meals, you can read about a Saint.

Now, some of your hearts are hard. You say "That kind of rigorous life is only attainable for people in religious communities. I can't be expected to do that. I have my own life. I have a family. That's ridiculous. You're crazy!" Is anything I listed: rigorous? Is it really?

I'm not suggesting that anyone needs to sit in a Perpetual Adoration Chapel 24/7 as the only effective way of union with Christ. If you can do that, great, but most of us can't. Attempt to do more of what you are doing. Start small and build on that. Even if you can only commit to praying the Rosary once/day that's something. That's huge. Never underestimate Our Lady. Examine your conscience daily, spend each
Friday sacrificing something as Our Lord did for us, go to Confession once/month, try attending Mass daily, go to Novena, recite a Litany each day. These are all suggestions. You don't have to do all or any of them but just DO MORE.

Being part of a community, whether religious or the community of secular Catholic Christians, IS to deny yourself and your personal preferences and submit your self to the rhythms and rules that govern the community. Even as lay Catholics we have a "rule"; it may not be the Rule of St. Benedict, but our rule as professed Catholics is to love and to serve the Lord-not your self. We need to spend as much time with God as possible. How can we know Him if we don't? Believe me: He knows us. We need to love Him with as much ardor as we can manage. Do you want Him to say to us at the end: "I'm spitting you out, you lukewarm one, I hardly knew you?!" or "Welcome home, my lamb"?

6 Comments:

Blogger Terry Nelson said...

I still love janet jackson, jimmy jam and terry lewis, and karen white...

Yeah. No - I didn't read the post.

May 05, 2009 10:59 PM  
Blogger Joe of St. Thérèse said...

Well, i downloaded my ibrievary in Latin ;), wanna pray with me? ;)

May 05, 2009 11:06 PM  
Blogger Chris said...

I vote for honoring the Venerable Bede BOTH days!

Chris aka Bede

May 06, 2009 7:39 AM  
Anonymous L. said...

wonderful post to begin my day...

May 06, 2009 8:14 AM  
Blogger Terry Nelson said...

I read the post - I was just kidding. I just wanted to comment on the title.

May 06, 2009 12:12 PM  
Blogger Cathy_of_Alex said...

Ter: I know. L: Educate those 5th graders! Bede: I KNEW you'd like the Bede shout out. That was for you.

May 06, 2009 6:22 PM  

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