Once I was a clever boy learning the arts of Oxford... is a quotation from the verses written by Bishop Richard Fleming (c.1385-1431) for his tomb in Lincoln Cathedral. Fleming, the founder of Lincoln College in Oxford, is the subject of my research for a D. Phil., and, like me, a son of the West Riding. I have remarked in the past that I have a deeply meaningful on-going relationship with a dead fifteenth century bishop... it was Fleming who, in effect, enabled me to come to Oxford and to learn its arts, and for that I am immensely grateful.

Friday, 6 January 2012

Celebrating the Epiphany

L'adoration des Rois Mages

The Adoration of the Magi
Juan Reixach

I am observing the Epiphany today - on its proper day, along with the Pope in the Vatican and the overwhelming historic majority of Catholics through the centuries.

Everyone I talk to thinks we should keep the feast today - not move it to the nearest Sunday, or, strictly speaking, I know, move the obligation to that day. Before there were evening Masses, and if it was not a holiday, I could imagine a case for moving the celebration, but not now. It encourages people not to put themselves out to go to church - and we should be putting ourselves out to worship the Lord. The Magi are a rebuke to such laziness - they bothered a lot more than the Episcopal Conference appears to think the average Catholic can be bothered to do. And, if the Bishops are right about such apathy, rather than pandering to it, what are they going to do to change it? We must maintain pressure to reinstate the proper observance of Epiphany, Ascension Day and Corpus Christi on their traditional days.

So I said the Office of Epiphany last night and this morning, attended Mass in the Extraordinary Form at the Oratory at lunchtime, and will be present at a second such celebration at SS Gregory and Augustine later on, and I am wishing people a happy Epiphany for today.
Theabove passage is a re-posting of what I wrote last year as I still hold to the views I expressed then. I would add that the homily at the Mass celebrated at the Oratory stressed the point of the Epiphany is the adoration by the Magi, not their gifts. If the Epiphany is indeed about adoration, and we adore that which we hold to be paramount, then I think it right to say that we should be , and should be expected to be, willing to put ourselves out just a little to offer that adoration to the Incarnate Godhead.

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