14 June 2010

Not-So-Ordinary Time

For those of you with iPhones, there is a really wonderful application called iPieta, which has an embarrassment of riches for the day-to-day life of a Catholic. I can't recommend it highly enough. Click here for a description of the content.

Among this content is the complete Traditional Roman Calendar with readings, as well as the New Calendar with readings.

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.

5 comments:

Debbie said...

I have had ipieta on my phone for a long time. It is only $3 to have all these wonderful resources in one application. I show it to every Catholic I know.

As a convert, I did not know about the wealth of inspiration in the writings of the saints. It has been wonderful! Thank you for mentioning it on your blog. (I have no affiliation with the people who put out the app...I am just a big fan)

prekat said...

"He indicated that there was room for the forms to enrich each other." B16

Based on my (recent) experience with the ordinary form, I shudder to think of how it could "enrich" (infect) the extaordinary form.

Athelstane said...

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.

And the same became true of sacred architecture and art - everything that might possibly distract from Christ in the Real Presence must be torn out - and the "reformers" became effective iconoclasts as a result, in a manner which would have left even Calvin and Cranmer far in the dust. The more radical ones, of course, shifted the focus on Christ as present in the Eucharist to Christ as present in the assembly - resulting in anthropocentric, closed circle that the Holy Father has spoken of.

(Of course, no small motivation, I believe, was a desperate desire for greater approval and consensus with Protestants, liberal Protestants in particular. Remarkable how consensus can be achieved when one side surrenders on almost every point.)

And the results are on display all around us. "Christ-focused Catholic warriors?" Maybe a few if we stretch a point to cover the charismatic movements (for the sake of argument). But set against that is the virtual collapse of the rest of the Church: collapsed orders, huge dropoffs in mass attendance and resort to all sacraments, collapse in vocations, etc.

The change in the calendar was one of the most unfortunate of the reforms. We "got more scripture" in the readings, but at the loss the familiarity of an annual pattern, and much else besides.

Having said all that, I also recommend iPieta, which I downloaded some months ago - a remarkable amount of content squeezed into that little app. I still am tactile and old fashioned in preferring a written page of a breviary, but iPieta can be handy when all you have on you is your iPhone or iTouch.

Debbie said...

Athelstane
An app called Divine Office gives the page numbers for the Divine Office for ribbon placement. It also lists the page numbers in the Christian Prayer book. I like most of it except for some of the odd songs they put in with the prayers for the hours.

Forgive me for not knowing the proper names. I was not taught about these things in RCIA.

Joe of St. Thérèse said...

The problem I don't think is with the new calender as far as Saints are concerned (the new calender most of the Saints have been moved closer to their dates of death)...the problem is too many "ferial" days, and priests not knowing that they can offer votive Masses on those days.