So tomorrow is All Saint’s Day…a holy day of obligation. Our parish calls it “a holy day of appreciation”. If memory serves, last year it was called “a holy day of opportunity”. Is this a trend at your parish also? Just curious…
I see it as an example of the Church bending to a narcissistic culture by trying to use accommodating language. You may have heard the term “owning the language”? It may seem trivial sometimes, but the words we choose are important because they express our thoughts, and thoughts have consequences. How does that saying go? Sow a thought and you reap an action; sow an act and you reap a habit; sow a habit and you reap a character; sow a character and you reap a destiny. An extreme example is when discussing the reality of abortion; some use the language of “choice” to give the illusion of freedom. An “opportunity’ to “appreciate” God at Mass also has a “choice” ring to it. God is all for free will, but we use the idea of “choice” as something virtuously neutral; it’s an important expression in the logic of relativism.
Choice is a big word and a big idea in modern western culture. If you live in an industrialized nation, own a home, a car and have some extra money in the bank to boot, you’re probably one of the more wealthy people who ever lived on this planet; top 1% maybe? With such affluence come choices. We have choices in cloths, food, wine, entertainment, restaurants, books, etc. It’s no wonder that this “spirit of choice” leads people to demand options for things like abortion, sexual partners, or even choosing your own gender.
St. Augustine speaks of using words in Book 5 of Confessions, Paragraph 5.5.10. …He gives an analogy using food, where the food is the meaning behind the words and the dishes are the way the words are “served”. Junk food can be served on the finest china and wholesome food can be served on tattered paper plates; both kinds can be served on either. Today, “owning the language” mostly relates to serving junk food on elegant dinner ware.
Have a happy holy day (if you so choose), but bear in mind how important words must be to God. “And the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us…” (John 1:14).