Odysseus in Ithaca

Kansas City – Let me begin with a brief confession: today was the first time I had gone to Mass since my first Sunday in London exactly 2 months ago! What’s even worse about it is that I’m writing this in my blog even before heading to the confessional to admit my failure at keeping the Sabbath to my parish priest. So, today seemed like a good day to break the drought. Happy Assumption Day!

Assumption of Mary - Reubens.

Happy Assumption Day!

Assumption Day is one of those odd holy days of obligation that usually doesn’t fall on a Sunday. For my non-Catholic readership, a holy day of obligation is a day when all Catholics are required to attend Mass. The big ones are Christmas, Easter, the Triduum (Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Easter Vigil/Sunday), Pentecost Sunday, Corpus Christi, Palm Sunday, Ash Wednesday, and Annunciation Sunday. Then there are the Marian feasts. Assumption Day (15 August) is the feast which marks the event when the Blessed Virgin Mary was assumed, that is carried up into Heaven following the Ascension of Christ. The other big Marian feast is Immaculate Conception Day, which marks Mary’s being immaculately conceived (that is conceived without sin), which falls in early December.

The reason why Assumption Day is so memorable for me is that it also falls in the middle of a sort of temporal anomaly, not in the Doctor Who or even in the physical sense, but rather in the sense of timekeeping. See, I don’t follow the seasons as they are set down based upon the Equinoxes and Solstices. Rather, I use the older Gaelic calendar, which has the aforementioned solar events placed as the middle of the seasons. So, Winter begins on All Saint’s Day (1 November), Spring on St Bridgid’s Day (1 February), Summer on Bealtaine, May Day, (1 May). However, Autumn is the problem maker. The problem arises when one looks at the traditional Gaelic start of Autumn: Lúnasa (1 August). However, this doesn’t work very well with the social calendar, which in the Anglosphere usually has Autumn beginning with the start of the academic year, which falls usually around the start of September, Labour Day Weekend here in the States. So, to mend this problem in my calendar-keeping, I decided instead of observing the start of Autumn quite early on Lúnasa, or rather late on Labour Day, I’d observe it in the middle: Assumption Day (15 August.) So, Happy Autumn!

All this being said, the coming of Autumn means the coming of another academic year. This, for me, 18th annual instalment of the start of a new school year, comes at quite an interesting time in my life. I’ve had some troubles adjusting to living here in the States again after spending those three weeks living in London. I found it hard to get the will power to leave the house on Sunday mornings and drive the short way up to my parish church for Mass. On top of that, I also find myself quite irked by the politics of this country, and of the Church in this country, after experiencing the British political system firsthand. Let’s face it, I don’t get the reasoning behind all these people screaming and shouting about how they don’t want affordable health care, as our good President has enacted, or how they’re wanting to shut down the government by blocking every possible legislative measure that is proposed by the White House or the Democrats. I mean, seriously people, grow up! It reminds me of a pair of little kids playing in a sandbox, one of the two refusing to give the other the pail and shovel with which to build a sandcastle. It’s bloody infantile!

So, when Assumption Day came around, I found myself resolved to get out of the house and go back to Rockhurst to attend the Noon Mass, as a way to end the streak of skipping, and to give myself a fresh start with the new season. In a way, it was like Odysseus returning to Ithaca. I was leaving all the suitors, all of the emotions, that had kept me away for two months behind, and faced my community once again. True, it was an odd thing seeing these people after having travelled halfway around the world, but there I was.

However, I returned with more experience, more maturity. On the 14th, I had an interview on Skype with one of the Global Ambassador coordinators at ISA, the company who I went over to England with. By the end of that 20 minute conversation, I was one of those very Global Ambassadors working as an intern for ISA! This is a job that I am looking forward to, and one which I know I will love doing.

So then, the proper return to Ithaca will take place on Saturday. To all of my Rockhurst readership, I look forward to seeing you guys soon! The packing has begun, and the great migration up Rockhill Road shall soon commence!

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