Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Religion Devoid of Holidays Is No Religion At All

I'm told that Archbishop Fulton Sheen once said:

I heard of one man who was an atheist for a year and then he gave it up because there were no holidays.

During Easter Week, these words are especially poignant.

I've always been struck by a certain sadness when I hear of particular Protestants who go to great lengths to argue against celebrating holidays like Christmas and Easter.

The implication of Sheen's quip is that authentic religion must necessarily include the celebration of holidays.

And, as usual, he's right.

We all know, of course, that the "Chreasters" who attend Mass twice a year are not the ideal practicioners of the Faith. (Then again, can any of us legitimately lay claim to embodying the characteristics of an ideal disciple of Our Lord Jesus Christ?)

Still, the fact that our churches are filled with such as these on the two most important days of the year is itself a testimony to the burning need of the human heart to regularly visit a sacred place and recall particularly significant sacred events in a communal setting.

God certainly knew what He was doing when He made His people a liturgical people.

1 comment:

Matt said...

There's a prayer in our Paschal liturgy which I tried, to no avail to track down, which says essentially what your post gets at.

It talks about how wonderful it is that the Church of God is full on this Holy day and how families are reunited and sinners are reconciled.

Really hit me in the gut as I looked around at all the people I never ever see at Church thinking, "Who ARE you people and what are you doing here?"

Lord have mercy on my hypocritical soul.