Monday, 9 January 2012

The Octave of the Lord's Epiphany...

One of the more reprehensible of the 1955 reforms was the abolition of the Octave of the Epiphany. It seems strange that the Christmass Octave should be retained (not that those of the comites Christi were kept) instead of that of Epiphany; for Christmass is celebrated within the context of the Lord's manifestation to the world, not vice versa, and the Octave of the Epiphany (indeed the feast itself) was far older. Traditionally the Octave Day of the Epiphany marked the Baptism of the Lord, by which He fulfilled all righteousness. But what went through the mind of old Pius when he took it upon himself to break so venerable a tradition upon his will? Whatever the reasons, and I'm sure they fall short of truly justifying anything, I rejoice that there are pockets of orthopraxis out there who have escaped from his shadow. Truly, I mean. I have no time for those Ultramontane types who pay lip service to Tradition, and deserve the words: This people honours me with its lips; but its heart is far from me. (Is. XXIX, 13). The right celebration of Liturgy is a moral activity, and your soul is compromised if, on the Day of Judgement, the only reason you can come up with for acting contrary to the Tradition of the Church is: ''because the pope decided otherwise.''

So observe the Lord's Octaves (especially local ones), keep his fasts and feasts on their proper, traditional days, and you can't go wrong. Do otherwise and things might very well go ill with you on the Day of Judgement.


  1. Patricius - Although as a Presbyterian minister (but also a Tolkien enthusiast, I hasten to add), I am quite far from your ecclesiastical fold, I always enjoy your posts (even when I'm sometimes ignorant of some of the subject matters). I'd certainly like to see more of my own "tribe" recover the riches of the Christian calendar and the liturgy, including a fuller observance of Epiphany. It's a struggle among us Protestants, I regret, to get folks into worship on days other than the Lord's Day. (Goodness, it was even a struggle to get them into worship on the recent Lord's Day, December 25, since domestic Christmas "trumped" that week's celebration of the Resurrection, in most folks' sight.)

    Still, I wanted to chime in with my hope that, on the Day of Judgment, the Lord will have more pressing questions than whether we rightly celebrated the liturgy. The parable of the sheep and goats in Matthew 25 certainly seems to suggest other things might be on the King's mind at the time.

    That said, I am convinced that right worship leads to (and, really, includes) right action out in the world. Thanks again for an entertaining and interesting blog.

    Mike Poteet, Havertown, PA

  2. And remember these holy admonitions from the antiphons of Advent:

    Rejoice, all ye, and be glad: for, behold, Patricius will come with vengeance, He will bring a recompense: He will come and save us.

    Behold, I come quickly, saith Patricius, and My reward is with Me, to give every man according as his work.

    Patricius, even the Most High, cometh; therefore let the hearts of men be purified
    to go forth to meet Him, for, behold, He will come and will not tarry.

  3. Mike, many thanks for your comment, so full of charity. I am genuinely surprised that a Presbyterian ministers reads Liturgiae Causa, although I think you may have commented before - forgive me if I have forgotten. Although I daresay I get carried away sometimes, Liturgy is not so comparatively trivial as to seem the most unimportant of behoveful things. Yus, without charity faith is wanting, as are good works, but I think that liturgical orthopraxis is inspired by a God-fearing soul, so moved by the love of God, to endeavour to get all things right, to render a most fitting sacrifice to the glory of His Name. A friend once quipped that I was so caught up with matters liturgical that I imagined I would be Master of Ceremonies on the Day of Judgement, telling the Lord Himself where to stand!

    Alex Ferrara, very drole. I guess that you mean that I should not presume to bring matters liturgical into Divine Judgement, or any matter at all? Righto, but I thought I worded the post as diplomatically as I could contrive.

  4. I cannot think of any sounder advice Patricius but of keeping orthopraxis.