The children are always memorizing poetry or Scripture, but we take our time with it. In fact, we may spend an entire month on one piece, reciting it daily. The hope is that these beautiful pieces will become a part of them–lodged deep within their souls.
Right now, the older children at home are memorizing the “Canticle of the Three Young Men” from the book of Daniel in the Old Testament. It’s one of my favorites, especially the line, “Ice and snow, bless the Lord.” As I detest ice and only appreciate snow–from about December 24th through December 31st–it’s a good reminder that these things are ordained by God and therefore good. (May it please the Lord to remind me of this come February.)
The Eldest, who attends a classical school, is memorizing two pieces: “A Christmas Hymn” by Richard Wilbur for her Literature class and the “Judica Me,” or Psalm 42, for her Latin class.
My other son, who also attends this classical school, just finished memorizing “The Flag Goes By” by Henry Holcomb Bennet.
And how about the Little Girls?
As they love Robert Louis Stevenson so much, they’ve been reciting “The Swing” for weeks on end. Oh, and a few nursery rhymes.
What’s coming up for December?
While every year is a bit different, we do tend to return to a few of our favorites this time of year: “A Visit From St. Nicholas” by Clement Clarke Moore, “Prologue to St. John’s Gospel,” “Stopping By the Woods on Snowy Evening” by Robert Frost, and “Wintertime” by Robert Louis Stevenson.
How about you? I’d love to hear what you’re working on.
There’s some crazy stuff in the Old Calendar that is just interesting to learn about. My husband is forever telling me this. (By Old Calendar I mean those things connected to the Traditional Latin Mass.)
For example, this coming Sunday is called Passion Sunday. It always falls on the Sunday immediately before Palm Sunday and serves to move our thoughts toward the Passion and death of Christ. (In the New Calendar, this Sunday is called the Fifth Sunday of Lent.)
Passion Sunday is also Judica Sunday
Now I know that the prayers of the Mass are supposed to reflect the liturgical season the Church is observing, but there’s some real beauty and depth to be found in the prayers of the Traditional Latin Mass (TLM) that I’ve never noticed before. I’ll give you one example.
On Passion Sunday, Psalm 42 is highlighted in the Introit and pleadingly states,
“Judge me, O God, and distinguish my cause from the nation that is not holy: deliver me from the unjust and deceitful man: for Thou art God my strength.”
If you’ll remember in the TLM, Psalm 42 is also prayed every Sunday during the Prayers at the Foot of the Altar, but on Passion Sunday it’s omitted and will be until Easter Sunday. This is something like the Gloria. Both are omitted because they are associated with the Paschal joy of the Risen Christ.
In other words, we have this stripping away of Pascal references in order to sharpen our awareness of Christ’s Passion, which is why we refer to these final two weeks of Lent as Passiontide.
Sometimes this Sunday is also called “Judica Sunday.” Judica being Latin for the opening word of Psalm 42, “Judge.”
It’s amazing how it all comes together. I’ve got a lot to learn.
In any case, my children always look forward to Passion Sunday, for my family likes to observe a unique tradition that all churches used to do, and many still do. We veil our images with purple cloth.
This tradition began sometime in the ninth century to reflect the readings of the TLM. For example, the Gospel for Passion Sunday is always John 8 wherein the Jews take up stones to cast at Jesus, but he mysteriously passes through the crowd unseen and then hides. Therefore, the veiling of images reminds us that Christ’s Divinity was hidden at the time of His Passion and death.
Think about that for a minute. Again, it’s astounding how all these things come together. Of course His Divinity was hidden! Otherwise everyone would have believed, not just that centurion at the foot of the cross.
Secondly, veiling also strips us of visual stimuli. Throughout the year we may become accustomed to looking at and praying with our crucifixes and icons, and so taking them away for a time helps us paradoxically to become more aware of them.
So if you’ve never done it before, try veiling a couple of your images. It’s pretty easy to do. I just bought a yard of purple cloth at Hobby Lobby and cut it into squares. I’ve also heard of families using purple tissue paper though.
In the Bismarck diocese, a Traditional Latin Mass will be celebrated this weekend, March 18th, at 11:30am at Christ the King Catholic Church in Mandan. Come experience Passion Sunday as it was through the ages!