Thursday, 1 January 2015

Circumcision forgetfulness

Today is the feast of the Circumcision. On this day, according to the law of the Lord, the Virgin Mary and St Joseph took Our Saviour to be circumcised. This was the first shedding of His blood for our salvation.

Saint John XXIII removed 'Circumcision' the title of the Feast and simply called it the Octave Day of Christmas.

The recent reforms, and the promulgation of the New Calendar, changed the Feast again. Now it is the Solemnity of Mary the Mother of God, octave day of the Nativity, naming Day of Jesus.

Cardinal Ottaviani crowning Blessed Paul VI
In Marialis Cultus, 1974, Blessed Paul VI (the heroic promulgator of Humanae Vitae) said this:

In the revised ordering of the Christmas period it seems to us that the attention of all should be directed towards the restored Solemnity of Mary the holy Mother of God. This celebration, placed on January 1 in conformity with the ancient indication of the liturgy of the City of Rome, is meant to commemorate the part played by Mary in this mystery of salvation. It is meant also to exalt the singular dignity which this mystery brings to the "holy Mother...through whom we were found worthy to receive the Author of life." It is likewise a fitting occasion for renewing adoration of the newborn Prince of Peace, for listening once more to the glad tidings of the angels, and for imploring from God, through the Queen of Peace, the supreme gift of peace.

I am highly in favour of heightened devotion to the Blessed Virgin, but I think that here we are out of step with modern needs. Jewish Christian relations have highlighted the dangers of "Israel forgetfulness" which in shorthand means that with the coming of Christ all dealings that God had with the Chosen People are forgotten. God's guiding of history, giving of the law, prophets and cult are relegated to something that happened in the past and can be forgotten about.

We are fools if we ignore the way God makes use of His creation. Israel forgetfulness leads to Incarnational forgetfulness, which leads to Manichaeism, Sabellianism, Marcionism, and any manner of other 'isms' and heresies.

God took flesh, and was subject to His creation. He was part of a race, a tribe, a people. He was circumcised in accordance with the Law. We cannot get rid of this part of the Incarnation, or airbrush it out, even to honour the Holy Virgin.

Of course I am not for one moment suggesting that this was thought of by those who compiled the Calendar! But the Feast of the Motherhood of the Blessed Virgin could be returned to its original place on the 11th October.

The time has come, for our own sake and the sake of out relationship with the Jewish people, to restore the Feast of the Circumcision to its honourable and rightful place.

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