Wednesday 8 September 2010

Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Today is the birthday of the Blessed Virgin Mary - an ancient feast in the Church and one of only two saints commemorated with a birthday celebration. Usually, the date of a saint's death in this world is kept as it is also their birthday into Heaven (St John the Baptist is the other one). It is a Feast we share with the Eastern Orthodox - in fact it probably originated as a celebration in Syria.

The above photo was the place for devotion here in St Catherine's.

While I like icons, there is an obsession with them among some who style themselves as "modern". This is a little contradictory as they are usually copies of very ancient images. Of course they do not belong to our own tradition so it is yet another case of Gilbert & Sullivan's list of those who never would be missed, including:
"the idiot who praises, with enthusiastic tone, All centuries but this, and every country but his own."

Anyway, the icon had to compete with the tabernacle - a tiny door set into a rather grubby wall as well as with the font directly in front of it and the votive stand. All set off with the compulsory arrangement of sad looking house plants.

You can also see the coloured-in names of the first communicants blue-tacked to the window sill and the plastic bucket conveniently placed for used votive lights (re-cycling being the ninth sacrament after the usual seven and bingo).

You can also just see the first of the Stations of the Cross which ran the wrong way round the church giving the impression that Our Lord carried his cross backwards on the Via Dolorosa!

BELOW is an image of the place now set aside for honouring our Blessed Mother - Sedes Sapientiae - a statue in the tradition of continuity with both our Western (Roman) Catholic culture and our English culture (when we had one).

The area is de-cluttered (in modern parlance) and the candelabra are lit on her feast days. My hope is that (like the Blessed Mother herself) it has a noble simplicity (cf Second Vatican Council's document "Sacrosanctum Concilium".)

Oh, and although blue is supposed to be the colour for Our Lady, the electric blue sanctuary carpet just HAD to go, replaced by oak boards that I trust will wear more gracefully than the carpet did.

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