Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Lady Day

The Annunciation, it seems to me, is a sadly under-rated feast these days. There was only one mass in my parish today and that a funeral mass. Fortunately, however, I was able to get to mass in a neighbouring parish where, despite there being perhaps fewer than a dozen of us present, the priest led us in singing the Sanctus and Agnus Dei from Mass XVIII. So I was pleased to have the opportunity marking the solemnity appropriately.

I recall from my youth a genial elderly priest who was known largely for the length of his sermons, most of which - well I was young- went way over my head. There was one sermon of his which must have been taken out and dusted off more than once in a while because not only did I remember it but found myself dreaming of it years afterwards. He would begin with the rhetorical question, "What was the most important thing that ever happened?" After a pause to let it sink in he would then ask a series of supplementary questions. "Was it the crucifixion of our blessed Lord?" "Was it the Resurrection?... the Nativity? the Creation? " and so on. Having briefly considered each of these in turn he would go on to assert the pre-eminence of the Incarnation. This was the most important event that had ever happened. Apart from this, I can no longer recall any of his words but they are unecessary. The importance of the Incarnation and, hence, of this feast has remained with me and I cannot understand why more is not made of it. Indeed it should, by rights, be the very first day of the year since our years are numbered as being "of the Incarnation of the Lord".

Ipsius sunt tempora et saecula
Ipsi gloria et imperium per universa aeternitatis saecula. Amen.

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