Now that the great Feasts of Corpus Christi and the Sacred Heart are past, we enter into that time of hopeful waiting until the end of the liturgical year, with its great feasts of Christ the King, All Saints and All Souls. This period was known traditionally as the Time after Pentecost; in the new calendar it is painfully labelled "Ordinary" Time.
I realize that the term "Ordinary" is derived from the fact that these Sundays are numbered-- think "ordinary" as in "ordinals". It is not meant to signify that there is nothing special about this time. Be that as it may, the term fits like Cinderella's slipper, as a cursory look at both calendars will show.
In the Traditional Calendar, this past Sunday--the Third Sunday after Pentecost-- is followed by these feasts and ferias, Monday-Saturday:
•St. Basil the Great, Bishop, Confessor and Doctor of the Church
SS. Vitus, Modestus and Crescentia, Martyrs
•4th Wednesday after Pentecost
•St. Gregory Barbadici, Bishop and Confessor
•St. Ephrem, Bishop, Confessor and Doctor of the Church
•St. Juliana Falconieri, Virgin
All of the feasts are class III except SS. Vitus, et al., which is class IV.
In the New Calendar, this past Sunday-- Sunday, Week 11, Ordinary Time-- is followed by these feasts and ferias:
•Monday, Week 11, Ordinary Time
•Tuesday, Week 11, Ordinary Time
•Wednesday, Week 11, Ordinary Time
•Thursday, Week 11, Ordinary Time
•Friday, Week 11, Ordinary Time
•St. Romuald, Abbot
The feast of St. Romuald is an optional memorial, similar to a Class IV feast in the Traditional Calendar.
I know of people who have a particular devotion to St. Basil, but I haven't yet met anyone with a particular devotion to Monday, Week 11, Ordinary Time.
OK, cheap shot--perhaps-- but the point is there to be made. The spiritually-barren geniuses who gave us the novus ordo also gave us a matching calendar. See, you, the ignorant lay Catholic, are not smart enough to realize that the Mass is about Jesus. You are distracted by the feast days of Saints. You must be provided with liturgical blinders so you focus on Christ.
Unfortunately, like many plans of experts, it doesn't really work, and the focus on Christ Himself has been unnecessarily blurred in the new Mass.
Of course the value of any Mass is infinite, daily Mass is to be encouraged, and a devout Catholic will make time to go to a Mass regardless of the particular feast or lack thereof. But come on-- we are human beings. The happy accidents of our faith-- the seasons, the feasts, the colors, and all the little attentions to our brethren in the Church Triumphant-- mean something to us. They motivate us. Is it just possible that the weary Catholic peering up with one eye on the alarm clock might just swing their feet out of bed for the Mass of one of their favorite saints, yet hit the snooze button for the Monday, Week 11 of Ordinary Time?
Also worth mentioning are the many traditional Votive Masses that can be said on ferias or Feasts under a certain class. This further encourages pious devotions, such as those to St. Joseph, or the Sacred Heart, or the Immaculate Heart of Mary, etc.
Ask yourself: Have we seen a dramatic increase of Christ-focused Catholic warriors following the General Sherman-like slashing and burning of our traditional Calendar, or just the opposite?
Related to the calendar--not by necessity but by historical accident-- is the revised Lectionary. Proponents point to the greater amounts of scripture contained in the three-year cycle of readings. Yet even if this point is granted for argument's sake (it is the subject of an entirely different post), it is more than offset by the total lack of correspondence of any particular reading in year C, cycle II to the Mass of any particular day. The natural connection to season and feast is severed. The Traditional Mass readings and Gospel are tailored specifically to the feast day, thus reinforcing the lex credendi with the lex orandi, so to speak.
Reform of the reform should include, and perhaps start with, the Calendar. Saints canonized after 1962 could be added as appropriate, the way it was always done.
The Holy Father has, at least for now, decreed that there are two forms of one Roman Rite. He indicated that there was room for the forms to enrich each other. Restoring the Calendar would be one such enrichment, and much more easily decreed.