Next Sunday is Ascension Sunday for the Masses celebrated in the new ‘ordinary’ rite of Mass. For the 9:30 Mass, however, the Propers will be taken from the Mass after the Ascension, and Ascension Day will be celebrated in the old rite this coming Thursday. Here again we have the awkwardness of two liturgical calendars running simultaneously. What is unclear to me in this circumstance is whether those people who regularly attend the 9:30 Mass are thus obligated to attend Mass also on Ascension Thursday. It would seem so. But many of these people would be hard put to find an Ascension Day Mass in the old rite anywhere but here. The safer moral thing to do would be for such people to attend Mass here on Thursday. We have Masses on Thursday at 6:30 a.m, 7:30 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. Sorry about the uncertainty and the confusion. It is due to matters far beyond my control.
The rest of the Pastor's Descant was good too:
Stephanie Nofar, one time choir organist here, will perform at Saint Florian Church in Hamtramck today (Sunday) at 3:00 p.m., a recital of Polish organ music. The program is free, though a good will offering will be taken up. This is music that would be rarely heard in the US and it’s good to have this unique chance to hear it and to hear Stephanie’s playing once again.
[snip-out paragraph already above]
This issue brings to mind something for your consideration, namely, how good it is to have things defined. A regular life is one that is regulated by rules. Having rules to live by is not a bad thing, but a good one. We have been so conditioned to react to the observance of law and rule as a restriction of personal freedom, that we forget how freeing it is to have discipline in life. If you consider the propaganda of license foisted upon our youth and the immense harm it has done to them mentally, socially, spiritually to act without restriction, we can appreciate how beneficial it is to have rules to live by. Even though one may resent restriction, one can recognize the advantages of such things as an alarm clock going off at a prescribed hour, traffic regulations to secure driving safety, and laws that safeguard our possessions. The benefit of regulation is also true in the sacred liturgy. The priest, and all others involved, are given a prescribed way to conduct themselves in the rites of the Church. I know there are places where these rules are ignored and much unwarranted improvisation takes place. Too bad for the people subjected to this freewheeling style of worship, even though they may say they like it, for they are being denied what is due to them as members of the Church in a prescribed form of worship that is their historical and liturgical inheritance as Catholics.
There are so many ways in which I am bound by laws that regulate my day, even though I may at times wish I were free of them. Consider, for example, the saying of the Divine Office, the priests’ daily prayers. Sometimes I am deeply immersed in the recitation of the many psalms that form the heart of the Divine Office. On other days, this duty (‘office’ means duty) is a real chore, driven only by my will. Yet I am grateful to the Church for having placed this burden upon me, since I’m not so sure that without this the obligation I would be spending so much of my time praying. Moreover, it just might be that on those days when my prayers are the driest and most tedious to say they are the more pleasing to God and of good advantage to the Church. How often the Scriptures remind us that obedience is what God expects of us. The worth of any work of our day is not measured by the amount of satisfaction or pleasure it may give, but by the willingness to do what is right, what is expected of us. This is good news to all of you in whatever your state in life. You have jobs and tasks of various kinds everyday. They may seem of little value, but they can be of high merit in heavenly reward if they are offered in a right spirit. So then, live a well-regulated life. Do your daily duty. It may not seem like much. There may be many more interesting and more worthy things you can think of to do with your time, but if you do what you must do in obedience to the duties of your state in life, you are acting justly, nobly. “O that my ways may be steadfast in keeping Your statutes! Then I shall not be put to shame, having my eyes on all Your commandments.” (Psalm 118:5-6)
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The obedient are not held captive by Holy Mother Church; it is the disobedient who are held captive by the world!