23 November 2011

Ah, to be Catholic!

Fr. Mark Kirby, OSB, offers a truly Catholic homily for Thanksgiving:
[On the Mass:] This is the Great Thanksgiving of the Church, one, holy, catholic, and apostolic. This is the Great Thanksgiving of Jerusalem and of Antioch, of Rome, Alexandria, and Constantinople. This is the Great Thanksgiving woven into the history and culture of the Western world. This is the Great Thanksgiving that caused men to raise altars to God and build cathedrals and churches to house them.
The Mayflower Puritans, you will remember, fled Europe to put far behind them, once and for all, altar and priest, chalice and paten, saints, feast-days, and every Popish trapping and Romish invention. The Puritans of Plymouth and of New Haven deemed the Mass an abomination. They judged even the Protestantized Communion Service of the Church of England by far too Catholic. The Puritans grasped the link between thanksgiving and fruitfulness but, having rejected the Mass, they had no way to express it sacramentally. The Thanksgiving festival emerged in a Eucharistic void, in a culture bereft of altar and of priest. The Puritans of Plymouth and of the New Haven Colony would be horrified to see their “Thanksgiving” observed today in a Papist nunnery with the Romish Sacrifice of the Mass!

For our part, being incurably Papist and given to everything Romish, Thanksgiving Day falls within the greater Catholic rhythm of a life measured by thy Holy Sacrifice. We live from Mass to Mass, from one Great Thanksgiving to another. To be Catholic is “always and everywhere to give thanks.” To be Catholic is to live eucharistically, drawn into the prayer of Christ to the Father and the fruitfulness that comes from the Holy Spirit.