The essence of legalism, for which Our Lord repeatedly rebuked the Pharisees, is a preoccupation with the permissible: “Is it permissible to do this?” “Is it permissible not to do that?”
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T he disappointment over the shocking end of the Benedictine pontificate is all too understandable, but threatens to obscure a sober view of the facts. Just imagine what the liturgical reality would be if Pope Francis had immediately succeeded Pope John Paul II. Even if the dearest cause of Pope Benedict, the reform of the reform, has failed, he remains a pope of the liturgy, possibly, hopefully, the great savior of the liturgy. His motu proprio truly earned the designation “of his own volition.” For there were none—or very, very few—in the curia and in the world episcopacy who would have stood at the side of the Pope in this matter. Both the progressive side and regrettably also the “conservative” side (one has grown accustomed to putting this word in quotation marks) implored Pope Benedict not to grant the traditional rite any more freedom beyond the possibilities created unwillingly by Pope John Paul II. Pope Benedict, who with his whole being distrusted isolated papal decisions, in this case overcame himself and spoke an authoritative word. And then, with the rules of implementation for Summorum Pontificum, he created guarantees, anchored in canon law, that secured for the traditional rite a firm place in the life of the Church. That is still just a first step, but it was a conviction of this pope, whose spiritual seriousness cannot be denied, that the true growth of liturgical consciousness cannot be commanded. Rather, it must take place in many souls; faith in tradition must be proved in many places throughout the world.
I find it amusing that American teens and pre-teens seem to have instinctively expanded their seasonal celebrations to add another night before Halloween, one on which they commit various acts of harmless (or unfortunately not) vandalism, including pranks on neighbors. If we assume that All Saints Day was moved to co-opt the central day of Samhain which was associated originally with the Gods and Goddesses of the Celts, and All Souls Day was supposed to co-opt the worship of the Ancestors, then the modern Cabbage Night, Hell Night (boy does that push the Fundamentalists buttons!), or simply Mischief Night (which used to be April 30th the night before May Day in Germany theres that Beltane/Samhain connection again) would correspond to a celebration of the often mischievous Nature Spirits. This then nicely covers the Indo-European pattern of the Three Kindreds of Deities, Ancestors, and Nature Spirits.
There are countless stories about how this historic icon of the Baha’i movement devotedly travelled the world in service to his Faith. Through dozens of countries. Through Africa, Alaska and Korea his homeland of Iran. Sometimes on the back of a donkey. He was self-educated and yet esteemed by all for the depth and breadth of his knowledge. His tremendous passion and deep humility were legendary. Mr. Samandari was renowned for his calligraphy, which, to someone from the Middle East, is not simply fancy penmanship—it’s an ancient art form where the detail, grace and artistry of the writing mirror the personality of the artist and the beauty of the words, combining poetry with the movement and meaning of the letters themselves. Also, fun fact: he taught the Baha’i Faith to jazz great Dizzy Gillespie in Van Nuys, California who was one of the most well-known practitioners of the religion.
The Wiccan Rede, used to evaluate the morality of an action: