Wednesday, 1 October 2008

October... Month Of The Holy Rosary

I like October.  I suspect this has something to do with the fact that September is over, and therefore the first (and longest and toughest) term is more than halfway through: the half term holiday is always at the end of October.  After the stress of breaking in new classes, the first holiday of the new academic year is always a welcome break.

October also sees the feasts of several of my favourite saints, in the Novus Ordo calendar, that is... The Guardian Angels (2nd October) is quite an important feast (yes, I know it has the rank of memoria but saints' memorial days doesn't sound right!!), as I love to think about how confusing angels must be to Protestants and liberal Catholics: after all, Jesus himself said that we each have our own angel, so it's very Scriptural to believe in angels, but they're not very fashionable because, well, frankly, they're a bit redolent of medieval piety, and you can't exactly rationalise away an angel the way that you can, say, explain away the feeding of the five thousand as the miracle of everyone sharing their packed lunches.  

Angels are, in a way, the spiritual realm getting a bit "in yer face" and challenging you to believe, or not.

My Guardian Angel is, I am sure, white-haired and hitting the vodka-valium cocktails while checking the small print of the contract he signed up for at my conception... he's gotten me out of quite a few hairy situations...

Other favourite saints include St. Teresa of Avila (wonderfully ascerbic), St. Margaret Mary Alacoque (introduced devotion to the Sacred Heart), St. Ignatius of Antioch (barking mad... was planning to force the lions in the arena to eat him if they seemed reluctant), St. Luke (all those wonderful infancy narratives), and St. Jude (patron of hopeless cases.)

And there are more saints with October feasts to celebrate, though I'm not quite as devoted to them: St. Thérèse of Lisieux (a little too saccharine-sweet for my tastes), St. Francis of Assisi (he's been hijacked a bit too much by the green lobby, and I can't stand "Make me a channel of your peace"!), St. Edward the Confessor, St. Paulinus of York, and St. Simon (he loses out a bit because of sharing his feast with St. Jude.)

But, of course, the most important feasts in October have to be Our Lady of the Rosary and also Rosary Sunday.  The Rosary is a wonderful prayer.  It takes a bit of getting used to, and you have to get over the idea that you need to pray each "Hail Mary" meaningfully, but once you realise that this is just a "background chant" to your meditation on the Mysteries, the Rosary becomes easy and a huge comfort in times of trouble.

My parish being Our Lady of the Rosary, Blackfen, we celebrate both feast days in style!

For Rosary Sunday, we've got the recitation of the Rosary and Benediction in the afternoon.  For the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary (Tuesday, 7th October) we're having a Solemn High Mass (I think!) in the evening (though possibly a Missa Cantata, if we can't get a deacon and sub-deacon.)  It's going to be a real treat!


9 comments:

Mark said...

I also find St Bruno (Oct. 6th) highly intriguing, though (sadly) optional memorias tend not be observed very much these days.

Watching "Into Great Silence", the documentary about the La Grande Chartreuse, one gets a real sense of what life must have been like for those mediaeval Carthusians, (rather wonderfully, the Carthusians really don't seem to have changed all that much down the centuries).

PS, I totally agree with your comments on Holy Smoke about modern Catholic hymn-books...

Victoria said...

My birthday is on October 6 and we usually finish the birthday dinner with a glass of chartreuse - rocket fuel! God bless the Carthusians!lol

I took Therese as my confirmation name because the statue was pretty and she was very popular - all those roses! In my later years I too thought her a bit too sacharine until I read The Fulfilment of All Desire by Ralph Martin in which he discusses her spirituality (among others) and provides some excerpts from her writings. How wrong I was about the sacharine sweetness! Her insights were amazing and though she was tempted to disbelieve in God during her last terrible illness her account of overcoming of this temptation (written in obedience) is inspirational.

Mark said...

Hans Urs von Balthasar's book on Therese is another one that manages to get behind the saccharine image and explore from a theological perspective the raw reality of her "dark night of the soul", though he clearly has a prefernce for that other Carmelite mystic, St Elizabeth of the Trinity.

Cindy said...

Yes, I love October too. Not just because of the liturgical calendar (which as you say includes some lovely feast days)but also because I love the beautiful colours of the autumn scenery. It's my birthday too at the end of the month so maybe that's also a factor (hehe!). We're very fortunate in our parish (Banstead) as we have recitation of the Rosary and Benediction every Sunday afternoon during October - and also in May and during Lent

Adrienne said...

"My Guardian Angel is, I am sure, white-haired and hitting the vodka-valium cocktails while checking the small print of the contract he signed up for at my conception... he's gotten me out of quite a few hairy situations..."

...mines drinking gin

Ottaviani said...

St. Thérèse of Lisieux (a little too saccharine-sweet for my tastes)...

I am so glad I am not the only one who has thought this since I first heard of her.

JB36 said...

Mac, don't forget that on the 21st October, in the Traditional Rite, it's the feast of your favourite Martyr, the ever Glorious St. Margaret Clitherow.

The 16th is also a great day as it's a double whammy: the Purity of Our Blessed Lady and the feast of that stupendous, incredibly brilliant Wonder Worker St. Gerard Majella (if you can get your hands on a copy of ‘To Heaven Through a Window by Fr. John Carr C.SS.R, you won’t be disappointed!)

Just out of interest, Monday 5th is the feast of Bl. Bartolo Longo, convert from necromancy and usually described as a 'Priest of Satan'; he was the founder of the Papal City of Pompeii and the Shrine of Our Lady of The Rosary. It's also the feast of St. Faustina of Divine Mercy fame.

Don't you just love hagiography! :c).

Mac McLernon said...

JB36... actually, my favourite female English Martyr is St Anne Line...
;-)

...but yes, hagiography is just great!!!

JB36 said...

I knew it was a female English Martyr! :c)

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