The Church has entered into the pre-Lenten season, and things are getting a bit dark and moody, which is absolutely lovely. Such mood changes in the seasons of the Church are quite invigorating!
We enjoyed the feasting of an extended Christmastide, and it is about now that “feasting fatigue” has set in. The Church knows this about man, knows that there can be feasting fatigue; and that there are seasons for everything. We love feasting and celebrating, but we also need, and end up loving, penitential times. If the penitential times were eliminated (as Modernists suggest), the feasting would become bland, passe, and would lose their meatiness. When one can feast every day of the year, the delight of it is diminished. If a running chocolate faucet was installed in my kitchen, I do believe, after a while, we would all tire of it. The complaints of sugar-overload would be heard as the scales adversely tipped, and certain members of the house had to shop for new clothes. These physical manifestations would be coupled with the psychological heaviness of sensing we are imbibing in too much of a good thing, which Needs To Stop. So, the Church clamps off this fountain for a few months; and when it’s turned back on, well, the delight of it surprises us; as if we had never used or tasted this strange fountain of the gods!
We are to do penance in this life. It is good that we do not get our way all of the time. Practicing penance via fasting, abstinence, and alms giving, is good for us; and is a just way to make retribution to God for our sins. So, the Church cuts off the chocolate fountains in our lives, whatever they might be. She loves us, and throws us into penance so that we might see, and remember, God, who is Love.
So, when these dark and moody days in the Church season fall upon us, do rejoice.
~An online way to read the daily Mass readings: tridentine-mass