Saturday, April 25, 2015

The Greater Litanies

On the Feast of St. Mark...

...we remember one of the great evangelists (one of my husband's patron saints!), but this day in the liturgical year is set apart from the others to take care of other business, as well.

As explained in The Liturgical Year, the Church breaks for a moment today from the joy of the Easter Season to offer prayers of reparation: the vestments return for a moment to the violet of Lent, the Mass of the Stations (the Rogation Mass) is offered, and the Faithful process outside the church, while singing the Litany of the Saints. This tradition of the Church goes back to before the time of St. Gregory the Great.

It seems a little incongruous, maybe, to throw a wet blanket on Eastertide with a day of penance like this one, but I think, as always, the Church has a good thought here. Sort of the flip side of Laetare Sunday (when the Church brings out the pink vestments and incorporates a spirit of joy in the middle of a penitential season). It's like taking a little time during a period of plenty and ease to clean out the cellar and take stock of our stores. We should never be presumptuous or forgetful, even in our joy.

But, we don't take long in our backward (or maybe I should say inward) look on this feast day, as the Church turns our faces forward to the hope of spring. Today is crop blessing day!

In lieu of a traditional blessing, since we're not able to get to Mass for the Greater Litanies celebrated in our parish today, we'll be heading outside this afternoon to say the Litany of the Saints and bless our crops ourselves.   Catholic Culture has a wonderful description of how a family can do this!

Go figure; it looks like, once again, it'll be raining for our blessing, though. The children were just saying it always rains on the Feast of St. Mark.  It seems like it does!

Which makes me think that's just part of the blessing...

* For some information on the life of the mysterious St. Mark, you could run over here for a quick read.

* To print out the prayers of the blessing, go here.  (Scroll down just a bit to find them.)

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