Friday 6 January 2012

Mass for the Epiphany

Adoration of the Magi by the Scottish painter John Duncan (1915)

"On the Twelfth day of Christmas my true love said to me...
... Please wait another two days!"

I am celebrating Missa Cantata of the Epiphany today at 7pm
- following the Traditional Calendar. The transferal of the Holy Days really does play havoc with the rhythm of the seasons and liturgical time and all for the sake of convenience.

I have noticed a theme running through my homilies this Christmas season - that of adoration and its outward expression though following the Scriptural injunction that "At the name of Jesus every knee shall bow". The Church instructs us to kneel during the Creed at Christmas at the words "Incarnatus est". On the Feast of Mary Mother of God, Mary is depicted in the crib scene kneeling before her infant child because he is the Word made flesh - true God and true man. Now for Epiphany the Magi "fall down and adore Him" (and in the Traditional Form of the Roman Rite all kneel at this point in the Gospel, in a beautiful physical expression that unites us with the Magi that first Christmas).

It seems such a pity that with so much encouragement from Scripture and Tradition that we don't naturally always fall to our knees when we are bold enough to come forward to receive the Lord of Life in Holy Communion.

I have, of course, posted about this before here but someone commenting on that post (the man responsible for the video presentation a post or two ago so I've added his blog to the side bar), added this further description:
According to Abba Apollo, a desert father who lived about 1,700 years ago, the devil has no knees; he cannot kneel; he cannot adore; he cannot pray; he can only look down his nose in contempt. Being unwilling to bend the knee at the name of Jesus is the essence of evil. (Cf. Is 45:23, Rom 14:11) But when we kneel at Jesus' name, when we bow down in service of others, and when we bend the knee in adoration, we are following in the footsteps of the Magi, we are imitating Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta, Saint Maximilian Kolbe, and all the saints and angels in heaven.
Incidentally, I came across another reminder of the Russian celebration of Epiphany which I think is kept on the 19th January and closely associated with the Lord's Baptism - hence their tradition of taking a plunge on the Epiphany. Not very convenient - perhaps they should move it to a warmer time of year. You can see more where these photos came from.


BobT said...

Happy New Year Father,

Thank you for your comments.

I have found that moving the Feast Days of Holy Obligation in England, and I presume Wales also, has been a total mistake.

Why the Bishops Conference of England agreed to do this is beyond me and perhaps beyond many Catholics.

There has been so many changes in Catholicism in England - over the years- that one has to really ask WHERE ARE THE GOOD SHEPHERDS OF OUR FAITH LEADING US?

Today is the Feast of The Epiphany.

Bring back the norm to our Faith and I ask the Bishops of England to stop messing us about.

We had had enough.


John (Ad Orientem) said...

I don't see any changes for the dating of Theophany in the foreseeable future. Remember we Orthodox have had actual schisms over tinkering with the calendar.