the liturgical cycle

Yesterday was Epiphany, and as those of you who have been reading this blog for a while know, I am fond of quoting W.H. Auden at this time of year. Not exactly an optimistic perspective, but reflective of how I often perceive reality.

Once again
As in previous years we have seen the actual Vision and failed
To do more than entertain it as an agreeable
Possibility, once again we have sent Him away,
Begging though to remain His disobedient servant,
The promising child who cannot keep His word for long.
The Christmas Feast is already a fading memory,
And already the mind begins to be vaguely aware
Of an unpleasant whiff of apprehension at the thought
Of Lent and Good Friday which cannot, after all, now
Be very far off.

Auden knew his liturgical calendar. And indeed, Ash Wednesday is early this year: 13 February. Not very far off indeed.

Yet if we can lift ourselves out of that ennui, we can find real meaning and value in the cycle of the liturgical year, even if we struggle at times to live it out to its fullest.

I recently read The Liturgical Year: The Spiraling Adventure of the Spiritual Life by Joan Chittister. She tells us:

Life is not meant to be escaped, we learn, as the liturgical year moves from season to season, from feast to feast. It is meant to be penetrated, to be plumbed to its depths, to be tasted and savored and bring us to realize that the God who created us is with us yet. Life, we come eventually to know, is an exercise in transformation, the mechanics of which take a lifetime of practice, of patience, of slow, slow growth.

Wise counsel as we move through the liturgical seasons.