“…anyone who carelessly rejects the external traditions or treats them with irony is doing something dangerous.”
“Indeed, modern men, who lack such things, lack sustenance, and our fathers who founded all those ritual observances were very wise.”
VIDEO FOLLOWED BY DISTINCT WRITTEN REFLECTION
Tomorrow is December 6th. We have a tradition in our family of putting shoes by the hearth on the eve of St. Nicholas day. In the morning there are goodies for all of us in those shoes. This was the practice in my wife’s family, and I suppose it has been passed on there in some form for many generations.
My children certainly love doing this year after year. I hope they will do the same with their children.
At times it can be hard to continue such traditions. Ritual observances not shared by the broader community require more effort. At the same time many people find themselves already cut off from such practices. In these circumstances we can feel rather helpless. Contemporary dispositions tend to ignore such practices–or even scorn them–relegating them to a naive and out-dated way of life.
Whether we are holding on to existing practices, or revitalizing practices from our own past, or seeking to initiate practices we discover in other communities, there can be real sustenance in traditional ritual observances.
It is hard to put a finger on why. Such ritual observances are literally in-carnations of deeply held convictions, the expression of which can deepen those convictions, bringing them to life. Such expression connects us: to those around us, to our physical place, to our own past, and to loved ones who are gone. Such connections are life-giving, not to be underestimated.
These things are at least to some extent in our power, there for the choosing. In these upcoming days that have always been observed with ritual practices, we can seek nourishment in preserving, or in revitalizing such traditions.
Josef Pieper (1904-1997) was a German philosopher in the tradition of St. Thomas Aquinas. Many of his works have been translated into English and are still in print, including Leisure the Basis of Culture, Happiness and Contemplation, A Theory of Festivity, and The Four Cardinal Virtues, to name a few. This quotation is from an article, “The Concept of Tradition.”
Hilaire Belloc (1870-1953), born of a French father and English mother, was a poet, historian, and essayist. This quote is from the essay “A Remaining Christmas.’
YOU MAY ALSO LIKE:
“When the cuckoo’s song is first heard among the oak leaves to the delight of mortals throughout the wide earth.” Hesiod, Works and Days VIDEO FOLLOWED BY DISTINCT REFLECTION What brings delight to people, or not, can show much about those people. Here Hesiod writes...read more
“Let’s decide on the appropriate place for everything.... This will enable us to know which of our belongings are safe and sound, and which are not, because the place itself will cry out for anything that’s not there; our eyes will spot anything that needs attention;...read more
"Perfect love sometimes doesn't come until the first grandchild." Welsh Proverb Dear David, I am your Mommy’s father. She calls me Daddy, and I hope that you will call me Granddaddy. It is hard to know where to begin in what I’d like to say to you. This past Saturday,...read more
Husband, father, and professor of Philosophy. Bacon from Acorns springs from one conviction: there is an ancient wisdom about how to live the good life in our homes, with our families; and it is worth our time to hearken to it. Let’s rediscover it together. Learn more.