'As the great feasts come round we should take up the fitting exercises and implore the prayers of the Saints with greater earnestness; from feast to feast we should renew our good resolutions as if we were soon to leave this world anl arrive at the eternal festival.' -a. KEMPIS. THE observance of religious feasts goes back to the cradle of humanity. Before the fall of Adam life was a continual feast, which was to be exchanged, without death, for the eternal joys of Heaven. All this was changed, but the remembrance of it and its Divine Author caused Adam and his family to devote certain times to adoration, praise, and thanksgiving, as we learn from the sacrifices of Cain and Abel. When the number of families increased, the Patriarchs, or heads, made these festivals more definite, and finally the Almighty, through Moses, regulated their number and ceremonial. The Church, being empowered by Christ to regulate Divine worship, has established Christian feasts. They afford us an opportunity of paying our homage to God Almighty, His Son made man, the Blessed Virgin, and other Saints. They also bring to our memories the great mysteries of our holy faith, and the edifying examples of pious lives, so that they are an incentive to the practice of good works. Thus, the celebration of feasts elevates our hearts above perishable things, and attaches them to the everlasting goods of Heaven. They, moreover, on account of their variety, break the monotony of the year, and afford a great many motives to excite us to the love and practice of virtue. Religious fasts are appointed by the Church to help us to control the passions of our corrupt nature, by reason and religion. They also serve to satisfy God's justice on account of our past sins; in other words, to remit or shorten our purgatory. The ceremonies accompanying exterior worship in the Church speak to the eyes of the faithful, and excite devotion, while they instruct us on the nature or effects of what is taking place. The minute particulars prescribed by God Himself for the ceremonial of the Mosaic Law shows their necessity, and how pleasing they are to Him. The great importance that the Church attaches to them, and the care she takes in training her ministers in all that relates to them, as well as the obligation she imposes for their due observance, are sufficient motives to esteem them. They help us to raise our thoughts above earth. They captivate our senses. They rejoice our hearts. Let us, then, endeavour to know the meaning of the feasts, fasts, and ceremonies of Holy Church, and this knowledge will beget the proper spirit for their observance.
Catholic Church, Brother Hermemengild TOSF, Paperback, ISBN 10: 1493695355, ISBN 13: 9781493695355