Tuesday, September 01, 2009

New Beginnings

The Church year officially begins Today, on the first day of September. As the Liturgical (church) day begins with sunset, the Liturgical year begins in the month traditionally considered to be the end of the harvest — a time to celebrate the fruits of the growing cycle and the occasion to rest before the preparations for the new farming seasons to come.

It is in this context that the timing of such celebrations as the Nativity of our Lord reveal the profound spiritual insight of the Church Fathers in setting the dates for Feast Days. The Nativity occurs close to the Winter solstice, the shortest day of the year, and therefore symbolically reveals the coming of Christ (the Bridegroom who comes “in the middle of the night”) and the Light in our lives He brings, even as the light of the days themselves begin to grow longer.

The new Church Year offers us the opportunity to recommit our lives to the Most Holy Trinity. We can start again to take part in that mystical journey of Faith, we can grow in our appreciation of the sequence of Holy Feasts that unite us to the Life of Christ. We can dedicate just a bit more of our time and treasure to supporting the Church’s mission of salvation.

Indeed, it is a little thing to commit ourselves to but a few more minutes of prayer on a daily basis; or to put just a little more effort into keeping the fasts. We can choose to make attending Holy Day services falling on a weekday a priority at least equal to the more mundane things we readily go out of our way to include in our 'secular' lives. We can choose to read the Scriptures, learn more about the Faith, and the lives of saints versus indulging in the latest “best seller” or hit movie release. We can give a few more pennies to the Church, to worthy charities and as alms to the needy.

Let us accept this challenge provided by the new Church year and give more of ourselves to Christ. Let us strengthen our spiritual life through prayer, fasting, supporting the Church’s mission and living the life of Love that fulfills our humanity’s potential and brings true peace, joy and the blessings of Eternal Life.

Thanks be to God.

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