22 December 2017


When you get old and confused and start taking your pills for Osteoporosis, you become prejudiced against ice and rather look forward to the end of Winter. And ... here we are in the December Ember Days, originally the Feriae Sementinae  of pagan Rome, when the sowing was done. So already we are allowed to look forward to the Return of the Sun and to the fertilities of Spring and Summer. Incidentally, the earliest liturgical formulae we have for these Ember Days predate the invention of Advent and seem completely oblivious of the approach of Christmas. Could it be that they predate even the invention of Christmas?? For example:
Humbly O Lord we beseech thee that, being sufficiently aided by the full measures [commodis] of earthly fruits, we may advance towards thee the Author of all things. 
How redolent of the unfussy workaday matter-of-fact genius of the old Roman Rite.

And then, yesterday, the Feast of S Thomas the Apostle, we had the Winter Solstice. Not a day too soon, sez I.

At least, we did if we follow the Gregorian Calendar. I expect solstices and equinoxes and all that sort of stuff come later for all you followers of the Julian computation. Three cheers for pope Gregory XIII! Perhaps one day we may have a pope sufficiently enlightened and Flexible to move the solstice even earlier! Perhaps ... this is just a thought that has popped into my mind ... back to the Feast of S Lucy! Frankly, I don't go for all this Rigidity.


Unknown said...

The inherent anti-Antipodeanism of the Roman Rite is yet another example of oppressive cultural colonialism. We demand a more inclusive Antipodean sensitive Liturgy!

Banshee said...

But the idea of "advancing" toward the King is also connected to His Adventus, right?

As related in Paul, His loyal subjects go outside the city to meet Him and His army, at His second Coming. As related in Luke, the angels let the shepherds know that they should come and meet Him at His first Coming.

So depicting the Sun as being a model of going out to meet Him (eagerly, like a giant or a bridegroom as in the psalm), and then appearing to "stand still" like a gawker during the relevant few days, is a very Advent-ish sort of model for our behavior.