Posted by: fvbcdm | February 29, 2012

Feast of Saint Oswald of York (29 Feb 2012)

Today is February 29.  And it is the 21st time that I have lived during a February 29th. Will it be my last? Only the good Lord knows that, but if I last for another one, it’ll be in the year 2016 and I will be 86 by then. You might enjoy playing this same game with your own age and statistics: how many February 29s have you lived through?  And how old will you be if you live to see another one?  

Be that as it may, I want to point out to you that the reason why we have leap years, and February 29s, at all is because in the year 1582, Pope Gregory XIII issued a decree which corrected the discrepancy between the motion of the earth around the sun and the numbering system of calendars on earth.  That is why we speak of our calendar as the Gregorian calendar.  We also have Gregorian chant in music, but that is named for a different, and much earlier, Pope Gregory. 

It was in October of 1582 that the new system proposed by Pope Gregory XIII was first implemented in Rome and in several other countries.  Little by little, most of the nations of the world adopted it, some as late as the twentieth century.  The people of Rome and the Papal States went to bed on the night of October 4, and woke up the next morning on October 15.  So they can joke about the question: what happened in Rome from October 5 to the 14th in 1582?  The answer is: quite literally, NOTHING!  

Time is a gift of God.  Let us use it wisely.  That doesn’t mean that we may not do things that are restful. Prayer can be a very wise use of time.  So can listening to good music. We are told that Alexander the Great was immensely impressed one time by watching the behavior of a column of ants going about their business with their usual industriousness. He wasn’t doing a thing, but his watching the ants was tremendously instructive and motivational for him. We can learn much that God wants to teach us by humbly observing the various elements of his creation. Thank you for seeking God’s truth. God bless you. Father Victor Brown, O.P.


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