Saturday, August 14, 2010

Fasts and Feasts

An imaginary homily for the day.
Yesterday I caught a glance at the plans for the main meal tomorrow. It seems that cook, although of no particular creed, has sensed that the Feast of the Assumption is something rather special and we should be getting more than a Sunday Roast. It's this sort of thinking that really ties body and soul together in the liturgical life, particularly if it's lived in common. The local parish picked up on this many years ago and now has a cooked breakfast, after the morning Mass, on all Marian feasts. As I'm not particularly good on large amounts of food at one sitting  I'm grateful that this feast has a vigil- with it's purple vestments, no Gloria or Alleluia, and with a bit of a penitential mood it invites us to a 'mini Lent' before getting on with the celebrations after first Vespers. We get the extra impetus to do without something today for the sake of tomorrow.

It's these mini Lents, the vigils of feasts, that are a bit of a God send. By putting a bit of restraint on the ordinary cycle, albeit for a day only, they seem to throw a sharper focus onto what is about to happen. It is part of the wisdom of the traditional calendar that they appear regularly during the year. The 'big' fast of Lent is an extended version of this anticipating the greatest of feasts. The season of Advent, whilst not sharing the physical fasting, certainly stripped the liturgy of anything not immediately needed. Perhaps these vigil 'fasts' are more like the restraint of Advent for indeed we are, in a sense, waiting for the coming of something quite remarkable.


  1. I'm happy to keep the Memorial of S Maximilian Kolbe.

  2. Orthodoxy fasts hard for two weeks in preparation for the Dormition - we never fast from Alleluias though, at any time. He is risen indeed.


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