Twelve whimsical observations on this 12th of December 2012, that is to say. So, just for you, the reader, and without further ado:
1. Over the years at various traditional Mass locations, I have witnessed talks, homilies, and other spiritual presentations by visiting priests and prelates who normally operate in the novus ordo world. With rare exceptions, there is always a citation to the Second Vatican Council and/or Pope John Paul II. Something along the lines of this: "Remember that Vatican II is a valid and/or misunderstood and/or great ecumenical council of the Church," or maybe this: "Vatican II really didn't say anything new and/or if it did say something new it was really very neat," or maybe, "Pope John Paul the Great taught this or that great insight on the human condition."
This is all well and good, but I wonder why I never heard in my novus ordo days any visiting priest or prelate say something like this: "Remember there were many ecumenical councils before Vatican II and their teachings still hold true," or maybe, "John Paul II wasn't the first successor to Peter and other Popes had some pretty cool things to say, too, and their writings could be understood quite easily without a doctorate in phenomenology."
Just why would that be? Do you think it is more likely that the traditional Catholic has never heard of Vatican II or Pope John Paul the Second, or that the novus ordo Catholic has never heard of the Council of Florence? With only one exception, I have never heard a visitor to the Oratory say something like, "Hey, this is a pretty cool gig you have going here."
2. One is the loneliest number that you'll ever do. Two can be as bad as one. It's the loneliest number since the number one.
3. Am I the only Catholic parent who suffers from the apprehension that every measure I take to protect my children from the cultural zeitgeist will ruin their lives?
4. To me, the coolest thing about Advent and Lent are folded chasubles. I am a liturgical geek for sure. However, I haven't heard a Solemn High Mass in one of these seasons for quite a while, due to staffing issues. For a discussion folded chasubles click here.
5. Since today is the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, I would be remiss if I did not praise Our Lady, and thank her for her role in leading me to whatever portion of the faith to which I have managed to cling.
I urge you to spend two minutes thinking about the enormity of the miracle Mary worked under this title of hers. Even the number of immediate conversions she wrought must be in the millions. The long range effect of the apparition on Tepeyac is incalculable. She brought the new world and countless souls to her Son. We need another miracle soon, it seems.
And recall that without her aid, we would fail to reach heaven. She is the Mediatrix of All Graces--meaning there is no grace we receive that does not pass through her hands. God could have done it some other way, but this is the way He chose.
Pray for us, Our Lady of Guadalupe!
6. No one knows when the end will come, and as you know, Our Lord disclaimed knowledge of the exact time, saying it was reserved to the Father. So, in a Divine irony, it may very well be on the 21st of December. To which I say, the Spirit and the Bride say come! The point on which I wish to dwell is this: why will no one in the press and few in the larger society place any stock in the Scriptures which are of ancient date and Divine origin, yet they will buy the Mayan prophecy without investigation, or believe that some guy in a clay hut who forged the so-called Gospel of Judas was dead-on, or that the Da Vinci Code must be right, or that we just need to follow Oprah?!
7. I always disbelieved the Protestant canard that the Pope instituted abstinence on Fridays to support the Italian fishing industry. However, I am undecided on the theory that new priestly vestments arise from the Pope's lesser known support of the Italian polyester industry. Things that make you go hmmmm....
8. You got RickRoll'd.
9. Anybody else remember Ultraman? Johnny Sokko and his Flying Robot? Which one did you prefer?
10. Jane Austen: brilliant miniaturist with keen insight into the human condition, or frivolous pseudo-mind candy? Reader X not allowed to answer.
11. I've said it before and it remains true to this day: It is nearly impossible to say goodbye to Hello Kitty.
12. Finally, if you have tickets to Saturday night's Gaudete Benefit Gala at the Oratory, congratulations. I heard some of the rehearsals last night and the music is really good. If you aren't going, take solace-- Midnight Mass at the Oratory is always incredibly beautiful.
Have a blessed remainder of Advent. Thanks for reading.