Saturday, April 22, 2006

Chesterton and Easter

I have not posted very much this week, as my busy-ness slowly increases. Though there are those very exciting sonnets over at This Red Rock (see posting below). And then I had to keep shifting the "Paschal Candle" posting to the top, signifying the superlative high technology of the liturgical celebration by which we REALLY have a week of Sundays - Easter Sundays! (I wrote about that, as usual, on someone else's blogg - in this case, at Curt Jester. I'll replicate it below in case you want to see it.)

Also, I noticed my friend "Pasky" posted a comment which drops a hint about subsidiarity - in this particular case, a rather dramatic link, connecting the dull technical need of the delivery of 20-megabyte-long TV commercials with something as solemn, historic and crucial as the Cross... but that connection really does exist, and I deeply appreciate the nudge to get busy on this project... I've tried three or four times to start, and it is not easy to describe, since I have spent so much time (as Pasky has) dealing with subsidiarity - yes, 24/7 for five and a half years... But whether it ends up being a tech document or a popularization or a piece of fiction (hmmm...) it WILL get done, and you WILL get to read it. (Perhaps I need to pray more; didn't Mother Teresa say the busier she was the longer she had to pray?) I know there are some people at certain high tech companies who would be shocked to learn how much of a role prayer plays in software development. But then they didn't understand the need for humor, either; nor the Latin quotes... we're STILL using the Latin quotes! (No Greek; not yet, anyway...)

Ahem. To resume: While we are still in the Octave of Easter, and so it is still "legally" Easter Sunday, I will post an interesting Chesterton quote about Easter:
Easter, which is the spiritual New Year, should be a time for the understanding of new thoughts and the making of new things. The representatives of the rising generation can give us any number of negative reasons for not observing certain forms or traditions. They do not seem to see that it is their business as artists to create forms. They will not realise that it is their business as builders to found traditions. If the old conventions have really come to an end, the others have to do something much more difficult; they have to come to a beginning. I doubt if they have any clear idea about how to come to a beginning. They do not understand that positive creations are founded on positive creeds.
-- GKC, ILN Apr 3 1926 CW34:74
So - we have a positive creed: where are our new creations? Where are our new traditions? Get busy!

* * *

Oh, yes, I said I would put something in about the Octave...

Yes, and what an octave! It is surely one of the most high-tech of the many tech things in the liturgy of our Church.

We could even call it a "week of Sundays"! For during these eight days, each Mass uses a special Preface, with the words "on THIS EASTER DAY" (no, not "Easter season"!) and in the Roman Canon the prayer translating the Latin Communicantes has a special formula "...we celebrate THAT DAY when Jesus Christ rose from the dead in His human body..."

And in the Office (aka the Liturgy of the Hours), most of the ever-advancing pointers which indicate the current day DO NOT ADVANCE for the whole week - they stay pointing to Easter Sunday! (wow, very special-case software coding here!)

Another way it is NOT like the Christmas Octave with St. Stephen and St. John and the Holy Innocents and the Holy Family, and the Circumcision/Mary-the-Mother-of-God - so privileged is this week (as is Holy Week itself) that NOT EVEN St. Joseph - not even the ANNUNCIATION! can be celebrated during it. (Every once in a while both these feasts occur during Holy Week or the Octave, and have to shift to the next available day (of course they are too important to ever skip!)

Note: I do not speak from authority, but from my recollection of the technical documentation for the system. I am a computer scientist and not a Church liturgist, so I often deal with operating systems, and hence I have kind of a special interest in the subject. As Chesterton put it, long before his conversion, when he happened to visit a French church:
There were already a great many people there when I entered, not only of all kinds, but in all attitudes, kneeling, sitting, or standing about. And there was that general sense that strikes every man from a Protestant country, whether he dislikes the Catholic atmosphere or likes it; I mean, the general sense that the thing was "going on all the time"; that it was not an occasion, but a perpetual process, as if it were a sort of mystical inn.
[GKC, A Miscellany of Men 158]
And (except for those special hours of the Triduum) at every hour of the day, somewhere on Earth, the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is being offered. It really is a perpetual process, like an OS component - it's going on all the time!


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