Monday, March 25, 2013

Religious, not spiritual

Today is March 25th, the date of the Annunciation. It is also Holy Week. Clash of the liturgical titans. In the Roman Church, Holy Week wins and the Annunciation is postponed until the Monday after the Easter Octave.

I remember a March 25th back around 1970 or so. It was Good Friday and the liturgy in the little community of brothers I was living with was pretty minimal. I was hungry for something more substantial, so I went off to the local Russian Orthodox church. I got plenty of substantial, but in that funny Orthodox way.

It seems that the Russians didn't resolve the liturgical clash; they combined the two feasts. So you had the strange experience of Jesus' being conceived in Mary's womb and dying on the cross in the same ceremony. The priest, in typical blunt and unsentimental Slavic pastoral style, unsmilingly told the people during his sermon not to call him and complain about it because it wasn't his fault and to call the bishop instead.

As I used to tell the friendly and always smiling Protestant pastors I knew in Toronto, when you have the True Faith and Real Sacraments, you don't have to be nice.


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