Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Mass &c

These January days, lately, are long. Well, they are short in terms of sun light, but you know what I mean. It seems I am not accomplishing anything some days, outside of work. Tomorrow, I have a day off, & I plan on using it to try to catch up on some matters that have been waiting on deck for me.

One of the redeeming aspects of many of these work days is the Mass. Can there be a better way of starting one's day? Last Saturday we had Mass for St. Timothy's Feast. Yesterday, my Polycarpian pastor celebrated Mass on Saint Polycarp's traditional feast. So it was very meaningful for us. Today we have Mass for the feast of St. John Chrysostom (which means I have to get ready to leave soon to catch the bus). And tomorrow we have Mass for Saint Agnes' Second Feast. The sanctoral cycle is alive & well after all. Thank God for His gift of the Blessed Eucharist, and the rich evangelical treasure of the Holy Mass.


Rev. Cholak said...

I thought Polycarp's feast was February 23rd, martyred on that date in 156 AD. Why a different date?

Latif Haki Gaba, SSP said...

His traditional feast day in the Western Rite is the 26th of Jan; it was moved by Rome in the Missal of Pope Paul VI, as part of the wholesale changes made in the sanctoral cycle. Many of these changes were made via very reasonable & logical rationale. Taking feasts out of Lent, for example. Another was to 'correct' certain dates, by making them line up with a saint's death date. Hence Polycarp was moved.

I cannot argue with the particular rationale, because indeed, it is true that the Feb date is in better keeping with the holy man's martyrdom. My stand against such changes is, rather, more broadly based than this particular argument. That is, if the Novus Ordo (& other church orders which slavishly follow it) is wholesale & radical in its changes, then my traditionalism is perhaps almost equally wholesale & radical. In many cases I can make strong arguments in defense of particular traditional dates of feasts. In this case, I confess that I do not yet understand why Polycarp is on 26 Jan in the traditional Rite. Nevertheless, I do not find the argument for this change to be of a truly compelling nature, compelling enough to change our tradition unnecessarily, that is, to end a tradition unnecessarily. Tradition means handing on what was handed to us, while resisting the urge to improve it first.

However, I will say that since orders in the church have longstanding traditions of keeping feasts pertinent to their patron, beyond those which are on the universal calendar, it is perfectly fitting for, say, the Society of Saint Polycarp, to liturgically celebrate both dates.

Paul McCain said...

Mr. Gaba, I'm curious. How does your pastor and parish square these "masses" for various saints with our Lutheran Confessions which state:

"Nor should we fast, hold festivals, celebrate Mass...and Divine Worship in their honor."

(Smalcald Articles; Part III; Article III.26).

Latif Haki Gaba, SSP said...

Your quote, which is actually from Part II, Article II, not Part III, Article III, of the Smalcald Articles, is part of a powerful argument in the SA against trying to "serve" the saints, and get "help" from them.

The claim that this is what my pastor & parish are doing by celebrating the Holy Mass on saints' days is somewhat bizarre, especially coming from a man who pushes the LSB, which contains saints' feasts in its pew & altar editions.

If you are really claiming that it is somehow inappropriate to celebrate the Mass (the greatest form of liturgical worship imaginable) on such feasts, then just what exactly ought to be done on those feasts & commemorations, in your opinion? Exactly what is the LSB's intention for those days?

Rev. Cholak said...

τουτον μεν γαρ υιον οντα του θεου προσκυνουμεν, τους δε μαρτυρας ως μαθητας και μιμητας του Κυριου αγαπωμεν αξιως ενεκεν ευνοιας ανυπερβλητου της εις τον ιδιον βασιλεα και διδασκαλον· ων γενοιτο και ημας συγκοινωνους τε και συμμαθητας γενεσθαι.