Feasts and Friends, December 13, 2018


The feast of St Lucy. A feast with all sorts of wonderful traditions, her day now passes with little attention, at least over here. She was a virgin who died during the Diocletian persecution in the early 4th century. Mass was from the American Missal, something I use a couple of times a week. I am fond of the American Missal and find that it is perfect for small congregations and that it lends to greater devotion for both the priest and the faithful. By using the American Missal weekly, I’ve painted myself into a bi-ritual corner. While the liturgy itself is largely the same as 79 BCP Rite I mass, the rubrics and calendar diverge enough to force some real focus. The 79 BCP essentially only has major feasts and lesser feasts, while the modern Roman Rite and Common Worship in the Church of England have solemnities, feasts, and memorials (or Principal Feasts, Festivals, and Lesser Festivals in the parlance of Common Worship). The American Missal still retains the complicated order of ferias and feasts of the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th class. Some of our observances are from the Church of England, Rome, the American Missal, and the 79 Book of Common Prayer (and Lesser Feasts and Fasts). Trying to synthesize it all is a challenge and for the most part, I switch to the practice of the missal. So today was the feast of St Lucy, a double, from the common of a Virgin but not a martyr. While the American Missal uses that common is something I have not had time to explore.

The morning was spent preparing the Sunday bulletin and newsletter. At this time I am the primary communications person and there is a fair amount of time spent on necessary publications. We’ve tweaked things a bit beginning with Advent, always trying to find what people will actually read and remember all the while keeping tabs on cost and time. It’s a constant process.


The highlight of the day was lunch with my new friend John Shelton Reed. Dr. Reed is a sociologist and historian who specializes in Southern Culture, Barbecue, and Anglo-Catholic Social Politics – three of my favorite things! I read his wonderful work Glorious Battle years ago and every page has something highlighted or underlined. I’ve corresponded a couple of times over the years wanting to arrange an Anglo-Catholic Barbecue, as he only lives 90 minutes away, but schedules were hard to align. We were finally able to make it happen this spring and it was a glorious, no pun intended, event. We’ve been in regular contact ever since. What a joy to actually get to know someone you’ve long admired. Tragically his wife and co-author died this fall. I had not seen John since the funeral and we got together at Real Q barbecue with another friend.

I picked my car up from the garage - $358 and a new battery (long story) later, the car now starts up like a homesick angel. I just hope the angel is not one of death!

An interesting story came to my attention in the afternoon as I was finishing up the newsletter. An evangelical pastor in my home state of South Carolina bought his wife a $200,000 Lamborghini SUV. I don’t know the man and have no intention of judging, although I think the purchase was unwise, no matter how much money he has (and certainly don’t put it on Instagram!). He did, however, make an interesting point. Defending his purchase, he said no one is upset at the amount of money he spends on paying for his kid’s college tuition. Most “good” schools are around $50,000 a year. Times 4, that’s $200,000, the same as the car. Are they apples and oranges? Yes. Yet, I’m not sure a $50,000 education is that much better than a $15,000 one. Maybe it is, but the point is worth considering. I do take issue with his theological understanding of the cure of souls. I know he is not a priest nor does he claim to be one, so our theological point of departure is different. Defending the purchase, he said was speaking and acting as a husband and not as a pastor. I’m not sure that distinction is possible. Holy Orders (and I realize he and I are talking about different things) and Holy Matrimony are both sacraments and one makes an indelible mark on the soul and the other is indissoluble. Neither can be turned off or on. The attempt to do so leads to sin. The whole debate struck the contrast between something I saw on a friend’s Facebook page (picture below), from a work, I think, by Fr. Garrigou-Lagrange, O.P. Quite the contrast in theology. By mega-church standards, I live a life of modesty and simplicity. By global standards, I live like a czar. Fr. Garrigou-Lagrange’s admonition is important and sobering.


Evening Prayer, Alma Redemptoris, and Shrine Prayers. Left the church in the dark, ending a feast of light.