ON OBSERVING PAGAN RITUALS (Feast
of Circumcision) (LUKE
Every sin is introduced by the
devil either through pride or ignorance. From pride comes contempt
of the truth, from ignorance comes false ideas. These two are the
sources of sin.
Ignorance gives us the false ideas
that all sins are slight, that desire for pleasure-- like excessive
food, wanton jokes, shameful desires-- are not evil; that there are
no dangers in theatres, the slanderous tongue, the thoughtless and
confused boldness and the useless observance of omens.
When ignorance remains unamended,
it crosses over to pride. So when we eat and drink and sing and
laugh, when we dress up ridiculously, disfiguring one's face,
singing and dancing with disorderly gestures with the accompaniment
of immodest songs on the eve of January first, we, as it were, are
participating in a pagan ritual.
By imitating these pagan practices,
the devil is able to introduce himself unto us and gain control of
our minds because we are captivated by his rituals.
As you indulge in these pagan
rites, pride, which is in opposition to God, is born. The signs are
neglect of duty to God, no fear of God and disputes against the
commands of Christ as found in Scriptures.
Pride brings forth ambition
swelling with vainglory, longing for what is unseemly, despising
what is proper. . .then leads to compete shipwreck of morals.
After pride, the unfortunate soul
develops envy, where he is distressed because of the good of
another. He rages at the good fortune of others. Envy is like a
hidden fire consuming the soul like the fires of hell. After envy,
anger develops and this pushes him into the pit.
So, Christian soul, live a holy
life and share this with those around you, neighbors and servants
alike. Discourage all from the shameful practices of the pagan Janus.
Because when you are faced with sin, like those sacrilegious
practices, and you do nothing to discourage them, you participate in
Don't be entertained by those
sacrilegious rites because they belong to the devil. Rebuke, correct
and even punish those who participated in them. If they respond
well, you will receive a reward. Admonish your household not to
observe the wicked customs of the miserable pagans. Observe this
feast in the manner of true religion.
St. Caesarius of Arles: Sermo