Pope Paul VI to the Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Michael Ramsey

"(B)y entering into our house, you are entering your own house, we are happy to open our door and heart to you." - Pope Paul VI to Dr Michael Ramsey, Archbishop of Canterbury.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Stir-up Sunday ,Christ the King, and Pudding a.k.a. Pinoy Fruit Cake

The 1662 Book of Common Prayer has the Collect for the last Sunday before Advent as

Stir up we beseech thee, O Lord, the wills of thy faithful people; that they, plenteously bringing forth the fruit of good works, may by thee be plenteously rewarded; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Thus Anglicans have called the last Sunday before Advent as "Stir-up Sunday" The Stir-up is a translation from the Roman Missal's

"Excita, quaesumus Domine, potentiam tuam, et veni, et magna nobis virtute succurre; ut per auxilium gratiae tuae, quod nostra peccata praepediunt, indulgentia tuae propitiationibus acceleret: qui vivis et regnas cum Deo Patre in unitate Spiritus Sancti Deus, per omnia saecula saeculorum. Amen."

In England, it was traditional to make Christmas pudding (in Philippine English "Fruit Cake") on this Sunday.  This is another English (Anglican) tradition that has become part of the Filipino Christmas celebration, through the cultural influence of the Americans. Since making pudding requires lots of stirring up the batter, the Latin lent its meaning to puddings made in time for Advent.  Advent then was marked more of penance than celebration and the Pudding will be eaten on Christmas Day. In England, a good friend of mine still follows the old Anglican tradition of making puddings on the feast of Christ the King.

However when Pope Pius XI instituted the Feast of Christ the King in 1925 in the encyclical Quas Primas, many Anglican provinces followed suit and adopted the Catholic celebration. The Stirring up and the Pudding were relegated into the background.

From the Book of Common Prayer of the Church of Ghana we have the collect for Christ the King

ALMIGHTY and everlasting God, who in thy beloved Son, the King of all, hast willed to make all things new: Mercifully grant, that all the kindreds of the nations. now divided by the wounds of sin. may be made subject to his most gracious governance, who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. Amen.

In a commercialized world such as we have in the Philippines, people forget that Advent is really a time of penance. The Eastern Church calls the season "little Lent". In fact the Eastern Church goes into the same Lenten fast during Advent so to emphasize the anticipation of the hope of salvation. Filipinos have the longest Christmas season so they all say, but this makes us fall into the danger of taking the birth of Jesus for granted, something that is the subject of innumerable homilies at every Christmas Mass. We eat the pudding or fruit cake and dispense with the waiting.

At Christ the King we should be stirred up to stick with the King of the Universe or the Pantocrator as the Greek Church would have it, Jesus Christ at all costs. As for the pudding a.k.a. "fruit cake", every Pinoy knows that if one waits, one will be rewarded by experiencing the "proof of the pudding" when it is eaten on Christmas Eve's Noche Buena.

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