Today on the seashore near Rome I sat on a capstan along the parapet to enjoy the sea, pray and think. The Church has such powers of recrudescence peculiar to Herself beyond human imagination!
I brought along a pipe (toasted cavendish tobacco from Virginia) and a flask (whisky aged in white oak casks from Canada). And a rosary (I just got a nice Ukrainian one, of which soon they'll be a photo post).
As I hope everybody knows, the Christmas decorations can start to come down today (Baptism of the Lord). My dad once told me that when he was a kid (1940s), Christmas decorations at home went up only on Christmas Eve. I'm proud that many Catholics are returning to this sensus (do the average faithful still even know that Advent is a penitential season and thus the violet?).
At the Stazione San Pietro, the train station nearest to the Vatican, I asked an employee why this year, for the first time ever I was told, there was no Christmas manger scene or decorations set up for the holiday. The sad employee shared that this year she was sick and so unable, that her friend and only helper was unable to do it all alone and that "none of the other employees cared." My response was quick: "Lady, this is Rome and the next year you call me and we'll work together to keep this station Christian."
As one reads comments left on blogs, too, one cannot help but notice that perhaps most of these English-speakers who leave these comments don't even know to capitalize the "m" in the word Mass. Protestant America always taught us to write this word with a lower case "m," but I hope we can remind and instruct our youth that this word is to be written as "Mass."
At a party near Rome, too, I just met an elderly American who was a combat war veteran. He spoke of his being sent to the South Pacific in 1943. He had a fascinating story: born in Scotland, first came to the New World in 1937 via the Panama Canal and then joined the Marines in California. He shared that before battles everybody was in the tent to pray, while after the battle, few were in the chapel to pray. His question was, "Why?"
At another dinner party near Rome a Catholic father once shared this, too: "When we take our two-year old son to a Novus Ordo Missae, he knows it's play time. But when we take him to Holy Mass in the Classical rite, he acts completly different as even he can see that it's not play time, but serious prayer." So, shake your hips at the Novus Ordo or worship in the mystical climate of Catholic tradition? Let your kids answer that one for you...