Surely not I…

Today is spywedWednesday of Holy Week–Holy Wednesday, or, as I prefer, “Spy Wednesday.”

Those who know me know that Lent, and in particular Holy Week and the Triduum, are my favorite time of the Liturgical calendar. I think this is because of my tendency toward the melancholic. Also, if done correctly, it has the best, most heart-rending, beautiful music of the year…

I love “Spy Wednesday.” I’m sure it stems from my background in literature. No one could create a character like Judas Iscariot without divine inspiration. But beyond the great “character” Judas turns out to be, and beyond his “storyline,” he is also a key figure
–or should be– for each of us with regard to our own salvation.

How many times do we, post-lapsarian men and women that we are, sin and convince ourselves that what we did wasn’t all that bad, that everyone does it, that Jesusilver-coins-judas-money-450x338s loves me no matter what I do (which is true, but there are rules and consequences to sin), or that we can still receive Holy Communion with the stain of sin on our souls? How many times do we mock God, hurt Jesus, disappoint the Holy Spirit with our actions or inaction? How many times do we, like Judas, gamble with our very souls by trading what should be an overwhelming love for our Lord for whatever cheap, greasy pieces of silver the culture throws at us?

How many times does the Lord turn to us pained because of our offenses, from the wounds we have inflicted upon Him, and all we have to say is, “Surely not I!”

Tomorrow begins the Triduum, the Passion of the Lord. Reflect on it. Reflect on yourself. Make the most of this most glorious and blessed Holy Week so that when your time comes you can look at Jesus and say, “No. Not I, Lord.”



(The following is a blog post I wrote 12.26.16, but is applicable today.)

christmaspiegirlgraphicsfairy004bThe majority of Catholics have fallen into the same mindset as the general culture when it comes to the schedule of celebrating holidays.

Easter doesn’t suffer as much as Christmas, presumably because Easter isn’t a major retail holiday season, so the stakes aren’t as high, economically speaking. Sure, McDonald’s does a big business in fish sandwiches during Lent, and Cadbury gets its share due to goo-filled chocolate eggs.

Christmastide is greatly abused and forgotten these days, to say nothing of poor Advent.

Starting today, we enter the REAL Christmas season. Just as the rest of the world is putting away their decorations and throwing their trees in ponds, Catholics are just getting started…or should be. Santa has come and gone, but our 40-day celebration of the Infant Christ and His Holy Family begin now. lays it out the traditional celebration very nicely for us:

The entire Christmas Cycle is a crescendo of Christ’s manifesting Himself as God and King — to the shepherds, to the Magi, at His Baptism, to Simeon and the prophetess, Anna (Luke 2). The days from the Feast of the Nativity to the Epiphany are known as “The Twelve Days of Christmas,” with Christmas itself being the first day, and Twelfthnight — 5 January — being the last of the twelve days. Christmastide liturgically ends on 13 January, the Octave of the Epiphany and the Baptism of Christ (at which time the season of Time After Epiphany begins). But Christmas doesn’t end spiritually — i.e., the celebration of the events of Christ’s life as a child don’t end, and the great Christmas Cycle doesn’t end — until Candlemas on 2 February and the beginning of the Season of Septuagesima.

Christmas: Christ is born
Feast of the Holy Innocents: Herod slaughters the baby boys in order to kill the Christ Child
The Circumcision (the Octave of Christmas): Jesus follows the Law
Feast of the Holy Name of Jesus: After He is circumcised, He is named and becomes a part of the Holy Family
Twelfth Night: The Twelve Days of Christmas as a Feast come to an end
Feast of the Epiphany: Jesus reveals His divinity to the three Magi, and during His Baptism, and at the wedding at Cana
Baptism of Our Lord/Octave of the Epiphany: Christmas liturgically ends with the Octave of the Epiphany.
Feast of the Holy Family: Jesus condescends to be subject to His parents
Feast of the Purification (Candlemas): 40 days after giving birth, Mary goes to the Temple to be purified and to “redeem” Jesus per the Old Testament Law of the firstborn. Christmas truly ends as a Season with Candlemas and the beginning of Septuagesima.

So, now that you know that we are just starting Christmas, pull out the ham, bring back the pie, return the ribbon candy, and don’t take down the tree! We have a lot to celebrate. Besides, a 40-day celebration of our eternal salvation hardly seems adequate.

Merry Christmas!