Friday, September 18, 2015

Sham Holidays

Having come away so soon in the Union of Conquered States (i.e., ‘America’) from fake holidays like Labor Day and Patriot Day, it behooves us to read a few words from the philosopher Josef Pieper:

The statement is made with certainty: a festival that does not get its life from worship, even though the connection in human consciousness be ever so small, is not to be found.  To be sure, since the French Revolution, people have tried over and over to create artificial festivals without any connection with religious worship, or even against such worship, such as the “Brutus Festival” or “Labor Day,” but they all demonstrate, through the forced and narrow character of their festivity, what religious worship provides to a festival; scarcely nothing could be experienced more clearly than that genuine festivity is only to be seen where there is still some living relationship with religious “cult.”  Clearer than the light of day is the difference between the living, rooted trees of genuine, cultic festival and our artificial festivals that resemble those “maypoles,” cut at the roots, and carted here and there, to be planted for some definite purpose.  Of course, we have to prepare ourselves for the possibility that we are only at the dawn of an age of artificial festivals (Leisure: The Basis of Culture, trans. G. Malsbary, South Bend, Ind.: St. Augustine’s Press, 1998 [1948], p. 51).

Just as he warned, artificial festivals are abounding:  Boss’s Day, Women’s Equality Day, Doughnut Day, Black Friday and Cyber Monday, and so on.

In this over-writing of the Christian calendar we again hear the death rattle of the West.

But the way of repentance still stands open for Southerners and all Western peoples; we needn’t chain ourselves to the earth and sunder ourselves from God by following the new secular calendar.  We may once more experience a foretaste of Heaven on earth, as did our Orthodox forefathers of Europe and Africa, by following the Orthodox Church’s calendar, which makes time itself a new creation by filling it with the Grace of God. 

So, not Lincoln’s Birthday but the Beheading of St John the Baptist.  Not Constitution Day but the Feasts of the Holy Fathers of the Seven Ecumenical Councils.  Not Arbor Day but the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross.  Not Truman Day but St Ælfred’s Day.  As we celebrate in a fitting way these and other festivals that have a root in real holiness, that same holiness from God Himself will begin to fill our lives and the world around us.  And this is what the Most Holy Trinity has called us to do as stewards of His creation.

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