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!