Sunday 5 September 2010

Receiving the gift

Whatever happened to the Rogation and Ember Days? They were simply left aside by the Liturgical reform and still wait to be included into the celebration of the Christian life. This is the case in the UK, and in consequence, how impoverished and lacking in appreciation is our culture. In Australia however, one Ember Day is kept at the start of Spring and another at the start of Autumn.
Most of the world has seen a radical change in terms of life and progress. The preparation of the land and the sowing of crops, consigning ourselves to God's Providence, then the gathering in of the harvest and giving thanks to God for His munificence; these are now feint images from the past. Today, through the rise in prosperity for many nations and the acquisition of goods and utensils never before imagined, we are replete with material things of all kinds. But with our materialism has come an almost total lack of responsiveness to God; we neither depend upon Him, nor return to thank him.
All the good things we have today; not just food and drink, but our mobile 'phones, our broadband, our 'on suite' showers, our four-liter four-wheel drives and our airports of convenenience - these things are given to us, not for us to lose ourselves in, but in order to develop and perfect our humanity and that of our neighbour. We are all bound to the earth; the Church is bound to the earth, but this bond needs to be purified. It is purified and perfected precisely by not allowing ourselves to get lost in things, but to offer all the bounty of the earth to God.
How important were the Rogation and Ember Days, and how important in our material and profligate age that we reform our lives upon the basis of the gifts which the Creator bestows upon us, appreciating anew our part in preparing creation for its ultimate transformation. And by preparing ourselves for our ultimate transformation.
The old Liturgies of the Rogation and Ember Days can be found in the Liber Usualis. We need a renewed Liturgy for these today together with the development of a genuine human culture, recognising the Creator and the true meaning of His gifts to us. He gives us material and spiritual riches that we might become perfect in our humanity.

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