Reflecting on 21 Centuries of Faith

Celebrating New Years…Again?

Getting ready for New Years? We are too. Well, not for New Year’s day – that was November 24, the First Sunday of Advent. We are celebrating tonight the great Solemnity of Mary the Mother of God who inaugurates each year with her presence. We will consecrate the next calendar year to her maternal protection. Why not celebrate both New Years – because we cannot serve two masters, we will hate one and love the other or love one and hate the other. So, in the Silva household there are subdued festivities but a celebration nonetheless.

We need to reclaim sacred time in our lives.  We need to live our lives in unison with the salvific rhythm of the liturgical year.  That means at times going contrary to our society.  That’s okay.  Sacred Scripture tells us in 1 Peter 2:11 that we are aliens in a foreign land and to not allow ourselves to be influenced by world.  How do we do that? We enter into the Mystery who is the Christ and guide our lives by the watch we call liturgy.

Monsignor Peter Elliott in His article, Restoring Sacred Time: How the Liturgical Year Deepens our Catholic Faith, states:

“The genius of the Liturgical Year is the way it reminds us that time was transformed when the Divine Word became flesh. In that mystery of the Incarnation we may perceive that, in a sense, the Word became time. To put it another way, in Christ time takes on a sacramental dimension. The Liturgical Year bears this sacramental quality of memorial, actuation and prophecy. Time becomes a re-enactment of Christ’s saving events, His being born in our flesh, His dying and rising for us in that human flesh. Time thus becomes a pressing sign of salvation, the “day of the Lord”, His ever present “hour of salvation”, the kairos. Time on earth then becomes our pilgrimage through and beyond death toward the future Kingdom. The Liturgical Year is best understood both in its origins and current form in the way we experience time: in the light of the past, present and future.”[1]

So let’s resolve to live according to the Father’s wristwatch.  Resolutions?  Isn’t that for January 1st? NO!  The Church knows us well and the effect of original sin.  She knows we need to choose to be resolute every day…and then go to confession to be strengthened when we are not.  Besides, why celebrate the feast of Janus the Roman god of opening and closing who required libations to be drunk as an offering to him in order for us to have good luck and resolute wills for the rest of the year (sound familiar)? The Church prefers to celebrate Mary the Mother of God who assists us in opening our hearts to the one who is the Alpha and Omega the beginning and the end.

Does the Church celebrate tonight in any special way? She does not. In fact, she does not even encourage Mass or a Holy Hour albeit quite popular. She does encourage though the recitation of the Te Deum at midnight and then leaving in silence.

The Te Deum, is sometimes called the Ambrosian Hymn because if its association with St. Ambrose. It is a traditional hymn of joy and thanksgiving. For the People of God, under the prescribed circumstances, a partial indulgence is granted to the faithful who recite it in thanksgiving and a plenary indulgence is granted if the hymn is recited publicly on the last day of the year.

I wish you and your families a Happy New Year. May Our Lady prepare your hearts for a deeper incarnation of the Son. As for me and my house, we will be playing games tonight and eating as we enter into the eighth day of Christmas. So, on the last day of 2010, have a blessed 2011 as we pray:

TE DEUM laudamus: te Dominum confitemur. O GOD, we praise Thee: we acknowledge Thee to be the Lord.
Te aeternum Patrem omnis terra veneratur. Everlasting Father, all the earth doth worship Thee.
Tibi omnes Angeli; tibi Caeli et universae Potestates; To Thee all the Angels, the Heavens and all the Powers,
Tibi Cherubim et Seraphim incessabili voce proclamant: all the Cherubim and Seraphim, unceasingly proclaim:
Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus, Dominus Deus Sabaoth. Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God of Hosts!
Pleni sunt caeli et terra maiestatis gloriae tuae. Heaven and earth are full of the Majesty of Thy glory.
Te gloriosus Apostolorum chorus, The glorious choir of the Apostles,
Te Prophetarum laudabilis numerus, the wonderful company of Prophets,
Te Martyrum candidatus laudat exercitus. the white-robed army of Martyrs, praise Thee.
Te per orbem terrarum sancta confitetur Ecclesia, Holy Church throughout the world doth acknowledge Thee:
Patrem immensae maiestatis: the Father of infinite Majesty;
Venerandum tuum verum et unicum Filium; Thy adorable, true and only Son;
Sanctum quoque Paraclitum Spiritum. and the Holy Spirit, the Comforter.
Tu Rex gloriae, Christe. O Christ, Thou art the King of glory!
Tu Patris sempiternus es Filius. Thou art the everlasting Son of the Father.
Tu ad liberandum suscepturus hominem, non horruisti Virginis uterum. Thou, having taken it upon Thyself to deliver man, didst not disdain the Virgin’s womb.
Tu, devicto mortis aculeo, aperuisti credentibus regna caelorum. Thou overcame the sting of death and hast opened to believers the Kingdom of Heaven.
Tu ad dexteram Dei sedes, in gloria Patris. Thou sitest at the right hand of God, in the glory of the Father.
Iudex crederis esse venturus. We believe that Thou shalt come to be our Judge.
Te ergo quaesumus, tuis famulis subveni: quos pretioso sanguine redemisti. We beseech Thee, therefore, to help Thy servants whom Thou hast redeemed with Thy Precious Blood.
Aeterna fac cum sanctis tuis in gloria numerari. Make them to be numbered with Thy Saints in everlasting glory.
V. Salvum fac populum tuum, Domine, et benedic hereditati tuae. V. Save Thy people, O Lord, and bless Thine inheritance!
R. Et rege eos, et extolle illos usque in aeternum. R. Govern them, and raise them up forever.
V. Per singulos dies benedicimus te. V. Every day we thank Thee.
R. Et laudamus nomen tuum in saeculum, et in saeculum saeculi. R. And we praise Thy Name forever, yea, forever and ever.
V. Dignare, Domine, die isto sine peccato nos custodire. V. O Lord, deign to keep us from sin this day.
R. Miserere nostri, Domine, miserere nostri. R. Have mercy on us, O Lord, have mercy on us.
V. Fiat misericordia tua, Domine, super nos, quemadmodum speravimus in te. V. Let Thy mercy, O Lord, be upon us, for we have hoped in Thee.
R. In te, Domine, speravi: non confundar in aeternum. R. O Lord, in Thee I have hoped; let me never be put to shame.

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