“I say to you: but unless you shall do penance, you shall all likewise perish.” Luke 13:3
The novel idea which claimed, and still claims, that modern man is exempt from the precepts of the Gospel, ‘because times have changed,’ entered into, and firmly established itself in the Catholic ethos during the post conciliar period of the Church. We were, it was proclaimed, to enter into a new Springtime, throwing off the dark and dowdy ways of thinking and being, and by so inaugurating a new human fraternity which would bring about a heaven right here on earth. It followed as a natural consequence of this happy hypothesis, that many traditions which were in fact handed down from the early Church, were abruptly tossed out and suddenly deemed as dangerous to the health and spiritual life of priests, religious and the faithful.
Most traditional Catholics are quite zealous when it comes to regaining lost ground in the sacramental, liturgical and juridical domains of Holy Mother Church. We busily employ ourselves with restoring her treasures as we sift through the ruins of the reckovation. We love with great love, the beauty of her sacred liturgy. We gobble up books from her vast treasury. We glory when our priests boldly proclaim those saving truths we thirst to hear. This is all well and right.
However, there is one domain that very few traditional Catholic’s have any such zeal for restoring. In fact, when it is brought up, I will often hear aped, the very premise which is at the heart of the destruction – “times have changed.” Yes, when it comes to penance and fasting, traditional Catholic’s fall flat.
It is 2021 now, and look around. I don’t need to enumerate the signs of the societal collapse, as we are all experiencing them in real time. We have lost the culture war, on every front. And saving divine intervention, its total destruction is now a foregone conclusion. We should all be spiritually prepared for persecution.
So how did we get here? It has always been known and taught by the Church, that whatever God has imposed upon man is only ever done for his good. To reject then, what God commands, teaches or imposes has only ever had one outcome – that is, to suffer the consequences. Those consequences are experienced at the level of an individual, a family, or an entire society – depending on how widely the precepts have been abandoned, respectively. We can chop it up a thousand ways to doom asking how Christendom was so easily ceded back to a minority of heretics. But, when we ask what we, so little and powerless as we are now, can do, the answer is singular. Penance.
Which brings me to the Feast Day of St. Martin of Tours (316-397 AD), also known as Martinmas. A ton of ink has already been spilled articulating the history and importance of his feast day. Its former prominence in the liturgical cycle was primarily due to the fact that it marked the beginning of what came to be known as St. Martin’s Lent (Quadragesima Sancti Martini). It served as a sort of pre-Christmas Mardi Gras. St. Martin’s Lent was a 40-day period of weekday fasting (MWF) which lasted to the Vigil of Christmas (inclusive). In fact, having clearly been in practice before 480 AD, when St. Gregory of Tours wrote about it, St. Martin’s Lent gave birth so to speak, to the liturgical season we know as Advent. Sadly, all that is left of this once penitential period of preparation, is the penitential color we see on our priest and upon our altars. I highly recommend reading more about this great Feast of the Church and will leave some links below.
But, let not this treasure stay in the realm of intellectual reading. No. If we wish to have what our father’s had, we must live the way our father’s lived.
“I say to you; but except you do penance, you shall all likewise perish.” Luke 13:5
More information on the Feast Day of St. Martin of Tours and St. Martin’s Lent:
And finally, because Fr. Nix thinks you catch more bees with honey, here’s a recipe for the traditional Goose that is cooked for the Feast Day, right before you start your fast. Guten Appetit!
Goose with Apple Stuffing
(Martinsgans mit Apfelfüllung) (Serves 6 to 8)
1 ready-to-cook goose (8 to 10 pounds)
2 cups water
1 small onion, sliced
1 1/4 teaspoon salt
6 cups soft bread crumbs
3 tart apples, chopped
2 stalks celery (with leaves), chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1/4 cup margarine or butter, melted
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground sage
1/2 teaspoon ground thyme
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
Trim excess fat from goose. Heat giblets, water, sliced onion and 1 1/4 teaspoons salt to boiling; reduce heat. Cover and simmer until giblets are done, about 1 hour. Strain broth; cover and refrigerate. Chop giblets; toss with remaining ingredients except 1 teaspoon salt and the flour. Rub cavity of goose with 1 teaspoon salt. Fold wings across back with tips touching. Fill neck and body cavities of goose lightly with stuffing. Fasten neck skin of goose to back with skewers. Fasten opening with skewers; lace with string. Tie drumsticks to tail. Prick skin all over with fork. Place goose breast side up on rack in shallow roasting pan. Roast uncovered in 350° oven until done, 3 to 3 1/2 hours, removing excess fat from pan occasionally. Place a tent of aluminium foil loosely over goose during last hour to prevent excessive browning. Goose is done when drumstick meat feels very soft. Place goose on heated platter. Let stand 15 minutes for easier carving. Meanwhile, pour drippings from pan into bowl. Return 1/4 cup drippings to pan. Stir in flour. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until smooth and bubbly. Remove from heat. If necessary, add enough water to reserved broth to measure 2 cups. Stir into flour mixture. Heat to boiling, stirring constantly. Boil and stir 1 minute. Serve goose with apple stuffing and gravy. (Recipe is from the German Embassy)