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Thursday, May 01, 2008

Ascension Thursday

I'm LONG overdue for a rant, and today's the day, my friends! And as this is a rant, please forgive the occasional incoherence and cut me a break. OK, without further ado:

As you know, TODAY is Ascension Thursday. HOWEVER, in many places, the Feast of this INCREDIBLY THEOLOGICALLY SIGNIFICANT day hs been transferred to Sunday. The common explanation is this; by transferring the feast day, it makes it easier for people to get to Mass to celebrate it.

OK, fine. So let's discuss that. Let's discuss making it easier for people to sit on their lazy butts and ignore God. Here we go:


1. The Church is here to SAVE OUR SOULS. And if that means that saving our sorry pathetic unworthy souls means that we have the FREEDOM TO CHOOSE TO SKIP A HOLY DAY, well, then that's our own personal affair. God has a long history of allowing free will decisions that lead to death. Acquiescing to our sloth does NOT make us holier; it makes us lazier. God knew that a long time ago, and He let us realize this on our own. Why, oh why, is the Church leading us to learn this the hard way once again?

2. It's either Ascension Thursday or it's not. Either Jesus ascended into Heaven 40 days after His Ressurection, or He didn't. Period. By "transferring" the feast day, we are actually implying that,

A. The number of days since the Resurrection is insignificant, or

B. The Ascension didn't mean too much in the great scheme of things because we're brushing it aside to the nearest possible Sunday.

OK next point:

3. By moving Ascension Thursday we are creating the culture of relativity we so abhor. The Church in America has given into the culture of convenience. This is a slippery slope that NEEDS to be reversed ASAP!


REALITY CHECK!

I got news for ya, my friends: FAITHFUL Catholics will make every effort to get to Mass on a HOLY DAY OF OBLIGATION such as ASCENSION THURSDAY because:

#1: Even if we Catholics don't understand the significance of the Holy Day, we're willing to be obedient to the fact that the Church considers this to be an auspicious event, and thus it is worthy of our attention and God is worthy of our worship, as pathetic and disconnected as our worship may be in our fallen human nature.

#2: The same people who would skip the Holy Day of Obligation tend to be the same people to skip Mass on Sunday because they consider all Sunday worship to be optional and go only according to their personal feelings about going. If it's not emphasized, it's not important.

Don't think I'm kidding or exaggerating! I got a program evaluation this week from another parent ticked off at being given official Church teaching (i.e.: that missing Mass on Sunday is still a mortal sin.) She was upset because they have decided, as a family, that it's a "personal choice" to attend Mass on Sunday on a regular basis, and no one has a right to infringe upon their personal feelings in that matter. And she was very much offended that I would dare to contradict her preferences in this matter.

No kidding. Gee...I'm so sorry for "offending" you....NOT! God bless her for being ticked off...she got the message and heard what the Holy Spirit wanted her to hear! If that's the ONLY thing she walks away with then I'll die happy.

Anyway...my point is this:

Transferring Feast Days to the nearest Sunday does nothing more than feed into such an attitude; for if the official position of the Church is to give in the idol of convenience, personal preferences and feelings...well, how in the WORLD are the Bishops who make these bad decisions going to impress upon the "faithful" the importance and spiritual necessity of attending Mass every Sunday?

The transfer of this feast is a serious offense to us ALL. I might even term the decision as Spiritual Malpractice. I don't have the authority to say that it's an offense against God, however, I greatly suspect that it is. Every time Jesus did something, He MEANT it, and His ASCENSION 40 Days after His Resurrection was one of those very deliberate events.


OBEDIENCE


Obedience is a virtue, and one with which I often struggle. I am NOT holier than the Church, and with regard to faith and morals, I implicitly trust the Holy Spirit who has, according to his promise, protected the Church from grave error in the last 2000 years. And we have a good number of wonderful Bishops who perhaps make some bad decisions because they are human, too. And so I give my obedience to our Bishops even as I disagree with them with regard to non-doctrinal issues.

However, as the transfer of Ascension Thursday to Sunday is not a doctrine or dogma, but falls under the category of a "discipline" (unless I'm mistaken or there's a more appropriate term), I claim the right to dissent against the decision to make it a flaky day. It causes disunity within the Church with regard to a MAJOR Holy Day. Were it not for the Ascension of Christ, we would not have had the gift of the Paraclete to descend upon us at Pentecost!

One TRUTH follows upon another!

I find it irionic that this week (April 29) we also celebrated the Feast of St. Catherine of Siena. She and St. Bridgit of Sweden together brought the Babylonian Captivity (Avignon Captivity) to a close, encouraged the false Pope to resign, and basically saved the Church...via the action Holy Spirit, of course. St. Catherine herself wrote many chastizing letters to the Pontiff, but it was her final one that did the trick: She told the Pope that every day he remained in France was another mortal sin.

The Pope left France and returned to Rome.

And yet, here we are, in the same week that we celebrate the action of the Holy Spirit through one of the Elect: and we are flippant about the very action of Christ that was required in order for that same Spirit to descend and activate the defense of the Church!

Yeah, I have a problem with this.

As Catholics, we really aren't asked to do very much. We hold to the ancient teachings from the Law of Moses to keep holy the Sabbath, which, in fulfillment of the Law is actually Sunday in honor of the Resurrection. And we have a few Holy Days of Obligation in addition to Sundays, in which we are required to come and spend another hour of our week with the Lord, in honor of the gifts He has given us in relation to our salvation. We have two penitential seasons, Advent and Lent, and they require not much of us. We don't even have to observe the Ember Days anymore. (Many people don't even KNOW about Ember days!...if you don't, look it up!)

Too many of us have grown up in a culture of spiritual sloth. We have been given the message that these things are only guidelines with no real consequences if we don't follow them. What a lie!

Is it any wonder that there are at least two "lost" generations? Is it any wonder people are thirsting for God and don't know where to find Him? If the Church has no credibility, we are ALL lost.

I love the Church that Christ gave us, I love being Catholic, and if I didn't love this home, I woldn't be so upset by the ruin and rot I see happening. If we are to be honest, we need to look at this and realize that the condition of the people of faith is directly proportional to what has gone wrong in the Church. These wrongs need to be corrected.

Most of us can't do much. All we can do is pray, continue to observe our faith, we should be obedient and supportive of our bishops and we should make our needs known. We need the Church, we need a solid example, and we need to know the eternal consequences of treating the Lord and His teachings as a "personal choice." And yes, I know that the Holy Spirit is promised to us and will continue to protect the Church, in spite of bad decisions and moved feast days. I have no doubt that this situation we now observe will be corrected by faithful Bishops, and we needn't fret. Yet perhaps we DO have an obligation to speak up. After all, when Nestorius, a bishop, preached his heresies it was a layman who stood up and verbally condemned his words.

As Catholics, we are not asked to be cows; we are only asked to handle our concerns appropriately.

/rant

3 comments:

Adrienne said...

Ok - this is the adoro I like!! Spit and vinegar. You tell 'em.........

Melody said...

I have never understood the Mass-missing mentality. If someone were giving away a million dollars, you can bet people would show up to claim their share. What we are given at Mass is so much more than a million bucks! It is an obligation, but also such an awesome privilege. I like it when a Holy Day falls during the week, because there is an evening Mass which I can attend. I am not usually able to attend Mass during the week because I am at work.

Cathy_of_Alex said...

Amen!

I love it when you are feisty. If I'm cranky, you can be feisty. *tee-hee*