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Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Everything That Grows

Will you explain Rogation Days?


Of course!  Rogation days are the days when bald people pray to grow some hair!


I'm kidding, although, perhaps bald people do just that during Rogation Days. The word "Rogation" comes from the Latin words that mean "to Ask" and they follow the days after the Gospel in which we hear "ask and ye shall receive".


After that the explanation gets a bit thick.  For one thing, they land between Easter and the Ascension and since Easter moves around, so do they.  In general, they start on April 25th, unless we have a late Easter that lands after that, then they we start them the next week. There are four days, the major Rogation on April 25th (or the week after that) and the Minor Rogation, for the three days before the Ascension.  They used to involve fasting, but now only involve praying the Litany of the Saints and maybe a procession.  They used to involve big processions.  If there is a procession, it has to be followed by a Mass. 


That's if you can find anyone who still observes them at all. They were removed from the Church calendar during Vatican II in 1969. You'll be hard pressed to find any processions these days.  Rogation days were established (already considered an "ancient" practice in the 6th century) to pray for a good harvest and to mark the change of seasons.


Rogation Days are another one of those things that the early Church grabbed to replace a pagan practice.   I say, "Good for them!" The pagans had a big procession going on around this time of year to pray to the gods and make sacrificial offerings for good crops.  The early Church was sharp as a tack in replacing pagan festivals and holidays with Christian ones, so no one felt deprived, while at the same time ridding the world of silliness.


Although, obviously, there is work to be done, as we saw last weekend. (And will see again in a few months, it seems.  Reverend Crazypants now claims he was off by five months. Think anyone will believe him?  Third try is a charm, afterall.)


Many people still observe Rogation days on their own.  It's a lovely way to observe the change of season and to connect ourselves to nature.  You can have 'do it yourself" Rogation days by simply saying the Litany of the Saints.  


You should, however, walk around while you do that, since the whole idea is to connect with nature a bit.  Put on your Sketchers and take in God's bounty.

7 comments:

Another Kathy said...

When I lived in Virginia, our parish hosted an environmental fair under the trees of its lovely, big, old churchyard to celebrate Rogation Days. It seems like to pretty good idea to me as a way to put some modern meaning into an ancient holiday.

Anonymous said...

We still have farmers who still turn daily to God for protection for their livestock, crops and their families who work them, isn't that enough of a modern meaning for an ancient holiday? We still have to eat afterall and this year the food we eat seems to be threatened by drought in the wheatbelt, floods in the cornbelt and tornados everywhere else. A little Divine intervention would be most welcome.

colleen@disciple said...

"Reverend Crazy Pants" -- funny, now i want to google him and see what kind of pants he actually had on.

Leah said...

Hello, I don't know if this is the right place to pose questions, but I have a question about soteriology. I'm an atheist dating a nice Catholic boy. We've been dating for a year and a half, so we're at the point where we're trying to talk about points of conflicts between our religious beliefs to discern whether we can find a way to make this work out in the long term.

The primary impediment is my boyfriend's interpretation of Catholic theology surrounding damnation. He believes that, if we were to one day marry and have children, those children would be pretty much automatically damned because they would have an awareness of Catholic teachings, but having an atheist for a mother would poison their faith. Regardless of whether they attended catechism class, my boyfriend believes any hypothetical children would be lost unless I pretended I was a Catholic and lied about my true beliefs.

Is this what the Catholic church asks of an atheist who ends up with a Catholic? I am uncomfortable engaging in a complex, long-term deception. I also wonder, if my boyfriend's interpretation of theology is correct, why the Catholic Church would ever sanction this kind of marriage under any circumstances.

I wonder if you could point us to any resources/teachings on this topic. It's hard for my boyfriend to get spiritual guidance on campus, since the priests are very liberal (well-nigh universalists) so he's not sure they think anyone is in danger of Hell.

Anonymous said...

2 Corinthians 6 and a chapter in Deuteronomy (slips my mind at the moment) both stress-- "Be ye not unequally yoked with unbelievers." Perhaps you need to discuss these chapters and learn how he feels. I will pray that you and others like yourself solve your religious quandaries (and I am sure Sister will, too).

Anonymous said...

Leah,
Are you actually "atheist" or are you perhaps more "agnostic"?

Do you look around at the night sky and the diversity of blossoms this spring and believe that these things happened by accident?

Or do you see the possiblity of a Being who couldn't resist creating, much like an artist or a composer or a writer cannot resist when the creating urge strikes?

A book that may help you clarify your answer is "Yes or No?" by Peter Kreeft (ISBN # 978-0-89870-358-0). You and your boyfriend should read it together and talk more.

Linda

colleen@inadequate disciple said...

Answer: Visitation of Blessed Virgin Mary to St. Elizabeth

Sister Mary Martha, Hope you don't mind but I tagged you in "What are your favorite 3 Bible Verses". I am very interested in reading your response.

I love your blog!