03 February 2007

Sanctified time

I love the constant round of the liturgical year. The solemnities and feasts, the famous saints and the obscure, they all give the sense of adventure within stability. So many things to celebrate and ponder, but all within the steadiness of the Mass. In addition to the obvious -- the gaining of grace -- I think this accomplishes something else which is important for us.

We can become so accustomed to our surroundings that we almost stop noticing them. A view that strikes a stranger as being magnificent is scarcely seen by the person who lives with it every day. When we’ve lived with something for a long period of time it takes something or someone to especially call it to our attention. We have a tendency to miss what’s right in front of us. It becomes easy to take one’s spouse or children for granted. We neglect important friendships. They’re always there, so we slip into the habit of not noticing them as we should.

This is one of the reasons why the liturgical calendar is so important. The truths of our faith and the lives of the saints are given specific days on which we are to remember and celebrate them. We have them called to our attention.

Of course, things like the Incarnation, the Passion and Death of Christ, the Resurrection, the Coming of the Holy Spirit, and the lives of men and women which have been sanctified through the totality of Catholic truth aren’t intended just to pop onto our calendar once a year and be forgotten about the rest of the time. They’re always true, and make up the fabric of our faith. But if we don’t call them to mind specifically at particular times, there’s a danger of them simply slipping into the background of our thinking, and we might never really celebrate each of the wonderful things God has revealed to us.