Why does it seem the Novus Ordo daily readings do not correspond to the saint whose feast day it is? E.g., August 27 is St. Monica’s feast day on the new liturgical calendar, yet the readings have nothing to do with a holy woman. In the pre-Vatican II calendar one would do the “Mass of a Holy Woman Not a Martyr” (a.k.a. Cognovi, from the Introit) for St. Monica’s feast day, where the very apropos Proverbs 31:10-31 is read. Could the priest choose instead to say the Novus Ordo equivalent of the Cognovi mass if he wants? Is there even an equivalent? Thanks
The ten virgins have nothing to do with a holy woman?
Could the priest choose instead to say the Novus Ordo equivalent of the Cognovi mass if he wants? Is there even an equivalent? Thanks
Yes, there even is.
Votive Mass or Common of Holy Men and Women
The sermon is a great time to offer a reflection on the life of St. Monica – explaining how she was truly like the Wise Virgins who kept their lamps lit – in St. Monica’s case, watching and praying for 40 years for her son’s conversion.
I think that’s just a coincidence because the previous day’s reading was the section right before that, as well as the day’s before that, too.
So a priest can choose this on the appropriate feast day? Still, the reading does not change, though.
What about when there is no sermon?
The priest does have that option. However, the cycle of readings at Mass was created to expose people to more of Scripture so that a great portion of the Bible would be read at Mass and the Liturgy of the Hours within a certain time frame. Therefore, it is encouraged not to interrupt the cycle of readings expect for special feasts.
It is a bit like a parallel development in the Office/Liturgy of the Hours. Before St. Pius X, psalms from the Common of Saints were used for each saint. But this lead to repetition of psalms so that all the psalms were not recited as was the original ideal. Therefore St. Pius X modified it, so that the psalms of the weekday, instead of the Common, were used for most saints.
Perhaps one approach we could try is to view life as if there are no coincidences?
We can recall also that “the readings” are the Divine Word which comes from heaven. We should prepare and ready-ourselves to receive the sacred words from the liturgy – and to let them blossom within. There is enough depth in a single Gospel passage to provide a lifetime of meditation.
What about when there is no sermon?
Aside from taking the priest aside and scolding him (or becoming a liturgist and seeking to change the rite) … Perhaps, as above, let’s be grateful for the infinite power of the Mass – and our privilege to be there. Our Blessed Lord is present in the Novus Ordo – and He brings so much power of grace that he can convert sinners like myself.
So, no - the Ordinary Form of the Mass does not relegate the saints, nor does the Extraordinary Form (with people reading unofficial translations in missals or praying devotions during the liturgy).
Both are the glory of Christ’s sacrifice. Infinite, eternal, perfect (in the most important respects).
None of us is even truly worthy to be there – but we are called and privileged. It’s a Gift, a treasure given by Divine Providence to those called.
So, rather than being critics and observers, we can try to forget all that and enter into prayer and union … and perhaps many others, even our priests, will do better themselves.
… and this is just one unsolicited opinion which I hope is received in the good spirit that I tried to offer it.