Monday, November 24, 2008
For the last week, I have noticed an increasing number of advertisements on t.v. and the radio for Christmas commerical events (e.g., shopping). My wife and I went out to lunch last Friday and the background muszak at the restaurant was all Christmas carols and pop "holiday" music. That was just a little bit past the half-way point of November. It was insane. We haven't even gotten through Thanksgiving yet, and already the "holiday" madness is upon us. Yeech. Soon after Thanksgiving all of this will kick into high gear, getting us ready for "the most magical time of year" as one of the car ads I saw on t.v. last night called it. A couple of points of reflection on this rush into "holiday" madness. First of all, regardless of what the secular culture says, the Christmas season does not begin the day after Thanksgiving -- or two weeks before it. It begins on December 25 and runs through the Feast of the Presentation, February 2. That is the season of Christmas. The merchants -- moneychangers in the Temple! -- want everyone to get hyper about Christmas as soon as possible, and I understand that. The economy is what it is. But the secular rush to buy, buy, buy has very little to do with the actual Christmas season. That season is still a looooong way off. Second, the liturgical season we enter into after Thanksgiving is Advent. It is a preparatory season, getting us ready for Christmas. It is the beginnng of the Church's year. And -- get ready for it -- it is historically a penitential season. The liturgical color is purple, the same color used during Lent. In the Latin rite prior to Vatican II, there were fasting and abstinance rules that had to be followed during Advent, and there still are in the Eastern Church. Pay attention to the lectionary readings during the Advent season, and they are for the most part not cute readings about lambs and mangers and wise men. Those readings aren't part of the liturgy until after Christmas day. Instead, during Advent, we get to hear about God's judgment. Why is that? Because it is a penitential season, that's why. Third, during the upcoming "holiday" madness, this blog will remain in sync with the Church's liturgical calendar. During Advent, my "holiday" blogging posts will deal with Advent as a penitential season anticipating Christmas. I refuse to let the secular culture dictate the seasons to me. Particularly regarding something as important as Christmas.
Monday, November 10, 2008
From Sir William Blackstone's Commentaries on the Law of England (1765), with original spelling:
Thus much for the declaration of our rights and liberties. The rights themfelves thus defined by thefe feveral ftatutes , confift in a number of private immunities ; which will appear, from what has been premifed, to be indeed no other, than either that refiduum of natural liberty, which is not required by the laws of fociety to be facrificed to public convenience ; or elfe thofe civil privileges, which fociety hath engaged to provide, in lieu of the natural liberties fo given up by individuals. Thefe therefore were formerly, either by inheritance or purchafe, the rights of all mankind ; but, in moft other countries of the world being now more or lefs debafed and deftroyed, they at prefent may be faid to remain, in a peculiar and emphatical manner, the rights of the people of England. And thefe may be reduced to three principal or primary articles ; the right of perfonal fecurity, the right of perfonal liberty ; and the right of private property : becaufe as there is no other known method of compulfion, or of abridging man's natural free will, but by an infringment or diminution of one or other of thefe important righs, the prefervation of thefe, inviolate, may juftly be faid to include the prefervation of our civil immunities in their largeft and moft extenfive fenfe.