The Holy Season of Advent begins tonight, Saturday, November 29, 2014, as true priests, deacons and subdeacons sing or pray First Vespers for the First Sunday of Advent. This holy season, wherein clerics wear the penitential color of purple even though the strict, mandatory penitential practices of Lent are not observed, is one of anticipation for the annual celebration of Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ's Nativity in poverty, humility and anonymity in Bethlehem nearly two millennia ago now and of preparation for His Second Coming into the world as its Divine Judge.
As will be noted in two other republished articles today, Advent is a time for withdrawal from the world. Although not mandatory under penalty of Mortal Sin, some voluntary practices of penance and sacrifice are certainly helpful to meditate upon Our Lord's First Coming in time as a helpless babe Who was wrapped in swaddling clothes and placed in a manger, a feeding trough for barn animals, by His Most Blessed Mother and upon His Second Coming at the end of time to judge the living and the dead.
Advent is not a time for partying.
Advent is not a time to play Christmas music or to decorate the exterior of one's house.
Advent is not about the fictional figure of "Santa Claus," who represents a mockery of the great foe of Arianism, Saint Nicholas of Myra, who is said to have slapped the heretic Arius in the very face, and the "rush" to buy presents for one's children and/or grandchildren and nieces and nephews.
Advent is not about rushing to the "cathedrals" of Modernity that are called shopping malls to find the "best bargains."
Alas, even most Catholics alive today do not understand this at all, heedless of the holy season that is about to break upon us at the beginning of the new liturgical year a week from this evening, clueless about the fact that they have become participants in the de-Christianization of Christmas, a process that began in the middle of the Twentieth Century with replacement of the very term, Christmas, which means Christ's Mass, with "Xmas" (the "X" was said to be acceptance because it is used a symbol of Christ). The "Xmas Season" gave way within a few decades to the "Holiday Season" wherein employees of shops of all kinds are instructed by their managers never to wish anyone a "Merry Christmas," which we do not do in Advent anyway as the Christmas season does not begin liturgically until First Vespers on Christmas Eve, as to mention the name of the Divine Redeemer would to be "offend" the growing number of those who do not believe in His Sacred Divinity.
As has been noted in a number of articles on this site, references to the Holy Name of the Divine Redeemer, Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, He Who is the King of both men and their nations, are all but legally forbidden in modern legal, educational, commercial and cultural life, and it is forbidden to be uttered in most departments and divisions of the government of the United States of America, including in the branches of this country's armed forces. Our reigning caesar's minions made sure that the "IHS" symbol of the Holy Name of Jesus Christ was covered up or removed from the hall where their lord and master spoke at Georgetown University in the District of Columbia, on April 15, 2009 (see Georgetown Says It Covered Over Name Of Jesus To Comply With White House Request and my own Ashamed of the NAME Above All Names).
Talmudists, of course, have long been in the vanguard of bringing litigation in the name of "civil liberty" and "religious liberty" to eradicate "religious" signs of Christmas from public schools and public squares. They have been in the forefront of legal efforts to ban the Holy Name of Jesus from being mentioned in public settings such as scholastic and collegiate athletic events. Yet it is that Timothy Michael Dolan, the conciliar "archbishop" of New York and the now president-emeritu of the so-called United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, praised the "work" of the Anti-Defamation League that has brought many of these lawsuits less than a week after his installation as the conciliar "ordinary" in the Archdiocese of New York in 2009 (see Making Everyone Happy Except God).
The mad rush of Catholics into the market during the "holiday season," which began "officially" yesterday with "Black Friday," is just a sad, sad commentary on the fact that Catholicism has never been the driving force of culture in the United States of America, whose pagan "holiday" season is observed in practically every other country on the face of the earth today.
This paganizing of Advent into the "holiday season" has taken hold in a particular way since the end of World War II in 1945, something that is no accident when one considers the sacramentally barren nature of the conciliar liturgical rites and the conciliar church's false doctrines that have made their "official reconciliation" with the very anti-Incarnational principles of Modernity that made this paganizing process possible and ultimately triumphant. This process was observable even to a Protestant essayist fifty-eight years ago.
To wit, a man who died fifty years now, on Friday, November 22, 1963, without ever converting to the true Faith wrote a very fine satirical look at the differences between the "Xmas season" and the Christmas season in a fictional country he called "Niatirb." "Niatirb" is, of course, Britain spelled in reverse. It would be wrong to coopt this great satirical commentary, although one could substitute the phrase "Holiday Season" for the "Xmas Season" and change Niatirb into Acirema and be very close to the truth of the matter (except here in Acirema, you see, people are more apt to send seasonal greeting cards with images of their families than even the "winter scenes" described by the author of The Screwtape Letters, Clive Staples Lewis, in his essay "Xmas and Christmas:"
And beyond this there lies in the ocean, turned towards the west and north, the island of Niatirb which Hecataeus indeed declares to be the same size and shape as Sicily, but it is larger, though in calling it triangular a man would not miss the mark. It is densely inhabited by men who wear clothes not very different from the other barbarians who occupy the north western parts of Europe though they do not agree with them in language. These islanders, surpassing all the men of whom we know in patience and endurance, use the following customs.
In the middle of winter when fogs and rains most abound they have a great festival which they call Exmas and for fifty days they prepare for it in the fashion I shall describe. First of all, every citizen is obliged to send to each of his friends and relations a square piece of hard paper stamped with a picture, which in their speech is called an Exmas-card. But the pictures represent birds sitting on branches, or trees with a dark green prickly leaf, or else men in such garments as the Niatirbians believe that their ancestors wore two hundred years ago riding in coaches such as their ancestors used, or houses with snow on their roofs. And the Niatirbians are unwilling to say what these pictures have to do with the festival; guarding (as I suppose) some sacred mystery. And because all men must send these cards the marketplace is filled with the crowd of those buying them, so that there is great labour and weariness.
But having bought as many as they suppose to be sufficient, they return to their houses and find there the like cards which others have sent to them. And when they find cards from any to whom they also have sent cards, they throw them away and give thanks to the gods that this labour at least is over for another year. But when they find cards from any to whom they have not sent, then they beat their breasts and wail and utter curses against the sender; and, having sufficiently lamented their misfortune, they put on their boots again and go out into the fog and rain and buy a card for him also. And let this account suffice about Exmas-cards.
They also send gifts to one another, suffering the same things about the gifts as about the cards, or even worse. For every citizen has to guess the value of the gift which every friend will send to him so that he may send one of equal value, whether he can afford it or not. And they buy as gifts for one another such things as no man ever bought for himself. For the sellers, understanding the custom, put forth all kinds of trumpery, and whatever, being useless and ridiculous, they have been unable to sell throughout the year they now sell as an Exmas gift. And though the Niatirbians profess themselves to lack sufficient necessary things, such as metal, leather, wood and paper, yet an incredible quantity of these things is wasted every year, being made into the gifts.
But during these fifty days the oldest, poorest, and most miserable of the citizens put on false beards and red robes and walk about the market-place; being disguised (in my opinion) as Cronos. And the sellers of gifts no less than the purchaser’s become pale and weary, because of the crowds and the fog, so that any man who came into a Niatirbian city at this season would think some great public calamity had fallen on Niatirb. This fifty days of preparation is called in their barbarian speech the Exmas Rush.
But when the day of the festival comes, then most of the citizens, being exhausted with the Rush, lie in bed till noon. But in the evening they eat five times as much supper as on other days and, crowning themselves with crowns of paper, they become intoxicated. And on the day after Exmas they are very grave, being internally disordered by the supper and the drinking and reckoning how much they have spent on gifts and on the wine. For wine is so dear among the Niatirbians that a man must swallow the worth of a talent before he is well intoxicated.
Such, then, are their customs about the Exmas. But the few among the Niatirbians have also a festival, separate and to themselves, called Crissmas, which is on the same day as Exmas. And those who keep Crissmas, doing the opposite to the majority of the Niatirbians, rise early on that day with shining faces and go before sunrise to certain temples where they partake of a sacred feast. And in most of the temples they set out images of a fair woman with a new-born Child on her knees and certain animals and shepherds adoring the Child. (The reason of these images is given in a certain sacred story which I know but do not repeat.)
But I myself conversed with a priest in one of these temples and asked him why they kept Crissmas on the same day as Exmas; for it appeared to me inconvenient. But the priest replied, “It is not lawful, O stranger, for us to change the date of Chrissmas, but would that Zeus would put it into the minds of the Niatirbians to keep Exmas at some other time or not to keep it at all. For Exmas and the Rush distract the minds even of the few from sacred things. And we indeed are glad that men should make merry at Crissmas; but in Exmas there is no merriment left.” And when I asked him why they endured the Rush, he replied, “It is, O Stranger, a racket”; using (as I suppose) the words of some oracle and speaking unintelligibly to me (for a racket is an instrument which the barbarians use in a game called tennis).
But what Hecataeus says, that Exmas and Crissmas are the same, is not credible. For first, the pictures which are stamped on the Exmas-cards have nothing to do with the sacred story which the priests tell about Crissmas. And secondly, the most part of the Niatirbians, not believing the religion of the few, nevertheless send the gifts and cards and participate in the Rush and drink, wearing paper caps. But it is not likely that men, even being barbarians, should suffer so many and great things in honour of a god they do not believe in. And now, enough about Niatirb. (Clive Staples Lewis, "Xmas and Christmas," 1954.)
Poor C. S. Lewis, who died as a member of the Anglican sect into which he had been baptized as a child on the same day that Untied States President John Fitzgerald Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Texas, did not understand that the descent of his beloved country into the "Exmas" or "Xmas" season was the result of the heretical and schismatic nature of the false religion in which he lived his entire life. The paganization of island of Great Britain that was apparent in the 1950s was but the consequence of King Henry VIII's break from Rome in 1534.
In like manner, of course, although it is certainly the case that Catholics in United States of America shopped until they dropped even during the first decade of my own life, which began outside of the womb on this day sixty-one years ago now, the willingness of Catholics to be silent about the Holy Name of Jesus during Advent and even during what is the Christmas season that begins on Christmas Eve in order not to "offend" unbelievers is the fruit of the apostasies, blasphemies and sacrileges of concilairism, which no amount of laudable "Keep Christ in Christmas" bumper stickers on automobiles can reverse.
It cannot be that way with us. We must live as Catholics at all times, yes, even now as the "holiday season" is underway a week ahead of the beginning of Advent. We have not been made by God to shop until we drop or to behave as others behave and act as though this is the "holiday season" and that Christmas Day, which we celebrate "privately," of course, is the end of it all when it is just the beginning of a liturgical season that does not end until the Feast of the Purification of Our Lady on February 2.
Advent belongs to Our Lady. It is her time of waiting to give birth to her only Son, conceived by the power of the Third Person of the Most Blessed Trinity, God the Holy Ghost, which we commemorate during Advent. We must keep very close to her in the days leading up to Christmas. Although we are called to love Our Lady and to honor her every day of our lives, offering up to her Immaculate Heart all that we suffer in this life as her consecrated slaves, the coming season of Advent reminds us that Our Lady was chosen from all eternity to be the singular vessel of devotion through which the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity would assume a perfect human nature with which to redeem us on the wood of the Holy Cross. Special periods of devotion to her are to be fostered, especially on December 8, which is the Feast of her Immaculate Conception, December 12, which is the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, the Patroness of the Americas, and in the eight days immediately before Christmas (December 17-24), the days of the "O Antiphons" in the Divine Office.
Indeed, Our Lady appeared to Juan Diego in Advent, leaving him an image of her on his tilma showing her to be expecting the Baby Jesus. We need to pray to her so that she will her impress the image of the purity and love of her Divine Son on our immortal souls so as to celebrate Advent one week from now in such a way as to realize that we must be prepared for Christ's coming into our lives at all times, especially during Holy Mass and at the end of our lives. And it is by cleaving to the Immemorial Mass of Tradition, which begins with a priest addressing God at the foot of the altar and ends with the Gospel of the Incarnation, as it is offered by true bishops and true bishops in the Catholic catacombs where no concessions are made to conciliarism or to its false shepherds that we can come to see the absolute necessity of making no compromise of any kind at any time for any reason with a world that is just as hostile to and unprepared for the Coming of Christ now as it was two millennia ago.
O Mary conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee!
Viva Cristo Rey! Vivat Christus Rex!
Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal, pray for us!
Saint Joseph, Patron of Departing Souls, pray for us.
Saints Peter and Paul, pray for us.
Saint John the Baptist, pray for us.
Saint John the Evangelist, pray for us.
Saint Andrew the Apostle, pray for us.
Saint Michael the Archangel, pray for us.
Saint Gabriel the Archangel, pray for us.
Saint Raphael the Archangel, pray for us.
Saints Joachim and Anne, pray for us.
Saints Caspar, Melchior, and Balthasar, pray for us.
Saint Saturninus, pray for us.