Dear Friends in Christ,
Most of us keep multiple calendars on our phones (personal, professional, social, academic, etc), and we make plans for important events in our lives by locating them in one of our many calendars. Moreover, we think of the moments in our calendars as linear – they are past, present, or future – even though the concept of linear time was unknown in most of human history and is largely a consequence of divine revelation by which we learn that the universe is created, not eternal. Time itself was created by God, who, having created time, chose to live in time by becoming man and living and dying for us to redeem every created thing – including time itself. For this reason, the sacred liturgy contains the intersection of time counted on a clock and the fullness of time at which the Word became flesh, and so we have a liturgical calendar to order the celebration of the sacred mysteries that make present to the Church in every time and place the saving events of the past and allow us to participate even now in the glory that is to come on the Last Day.
These are among the many reasons why the Church invests such effort in the calculation of time and the loving care of the liturgical calendar, and that explains why the West counts time by months and years as the result of a proclamation by Pope Gregory XIII in 1582. The civil calendar followed by most of the world exists because the Catholic Church wanted to be sure about the proper dates for the celebration of Easter, and this in turn shows us why the Church is so concerned with remaining mindful of dates in salvation history. Here are some dates in the coming weeks of which I hope you will be aware:
24 September is the feast of Our Lady of Walsingham, the principal Marian devotion of England
29 September is the feast of the Archangels Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael
9 October is the feast of Blessed John Henry Newman (d. 1890)
17 October is the feast of St Ignatius of Antioch (d.107)
22 October is the feast of Pope Saint John Paul the Great (d. 2005)
1 November is the Solemnity of All Saints, a holy day of obligation
2 November is the Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed – All Souls’ Day
All of time is sacred, and the Church’s liturgical calendar helps remind us of that fact in the midst of our scheduled obligations of work and play. Put a liturgical calendar on your phone or keep one at hand so that each day you will be reminded of this saving truth:
Christ yesterday and today, the Beginning and the End, the Alpha and the Omega. All time belongs to him and all the ages. To him be glory and power through every age for ever. Amen.