Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Some thoughts on New Year's Day

New Year's Eve is the only event celebrated by the entire world.

New Year's Day shows the influence of: Christianity; the Church; and the state.

"A.D." always goes before the year. It stands for Anno Domini, which is Latin for "in the year of our Lord.

I don't go in for "common era," because I am a Christian, because everyone knows the dating is from the birth of Christ, so why try to pretend otherwise, and because while I assume most people who opt for "bce/ce" do so without any animus toward Christianity, some do opt for this language as a way to stick it to Christianity.

I haven't taken part in a New Year's Eve celebration for a few years; I'm not against it, but it doesn't do much for me. So I took the early Mass this morning, allowing the other priests to sleep in. I was still up till almost 1 am; even had I wanted to sleep, the neighbors were out in the street around midnight, banging pots and pans, and shooting off fireworks.

How do other nations celebrate New Year's Day? Too bad they don't have (U.S.) football, but I'm sure they don't feel terribly deprived.

In the old calendar of the Roman Rite, this day was the Circumcision of the Lord; so was there another day for the Theotokos?


Fr. Larry Gearhart said...

The christening of Jesus made him an official newborn in the eyes of the Jewish people, and recorded Mary as his mother. The feast of the circumcision is also aptly named the feast (or, more formally, the solemnity) of the Mother of God.

Catholic Bibliophagist said...

In my old missal published in 1961, January 1 is listed as "Octave of Christmas." The introductory meditation says, "On this, the eighth day after Christmas, the Church commemorates the Circumcision of our Redeemer, and also honors Mary's divine Maternity. The sinless Son of Man sheds for us the first drops of His Blood and submits to a Mosaic Law." So I guess we were really celebrating both things back then -- the Circumcision and the Motherhood of Mary. (The prayer before the Epistle specifically refers to salvation having come through the fruitful virginity of Mary.)

Fr. Ron Williams said...

Father Martin, in the book "Saints of the Roman Calendar" I gave you by Enzo Lodi, you'll see the complex history of the feast in the Roman rite. You'll also see that there was a feast of Mary's maternity on another date before Vatican II.