Tomorrow is Marcel's birthday, March 15th. But in Marcel's world, children are the ones who rule (little Jesus being King), and you know how children look forward to their birthdays. I know some adults who look forward to their birthdays too (not to name names, but Miss Marcel is one such!), and speaking for myself, I just can't wait another day! Perhaps Marcel feels the same, so I thought I'd start his celebration just a smidge early. If, by the time you read this post, it is past March 15th, we can extend his birthday too. Anticipate, extend -- these are good customs when it comes to birthdays! I like to think of it as the birthday novena, the birthday triduum and/or the birthday octave, depending on how much celebration you can pull off. Since Marcel is in Heaven where the party never ends, I'm thinking all three will be fine with him!
But wait! Do the Vietnamese celebrate birthdays? Being curious and having access to Google (a winning combination), I have just discovered that they do - and according to quora.com, we're just in time to celebrate with Marcel because:
"Traditionally Vietnamese host parties on the date of birth for the elderly in the family, we call it 'mung tho' (to celebrate their longevity)."
This March 15th (2018) is Marcel's 90th birthday. I'd call that longevity! Although it's hard for me to picture Marcel as an old man . . . I even looked in St. Thomas' Summa Theologiae this morning to confirm what I'd heard - and sure enough, St. Thomas would put Marcel's age now at 33. This is from the Third Part of the Summa, Question 46 (On the Passion of Christ), article 9 (Whether Christ suffered at a suitable time). Good Lenten reading, though I must admit I had to blow the dust off the book. My husband has been reading Volume I of the Summa at breakfast (this is the kind of thing Catholic philosophers do), but I'm a girl in a hurry so I skipped ahead . . .and found that here, St. Thomas replies thus to the 4th objection (I know, you're thinking this is the boring part of the blog - but no, it's actually pretty amazing - see what you think) -
"Christ willed to suffer while yet young, for three reasons. First of all, to commend the more His love by giving up His life for us when He was in His most perfect state of life. Secondly, because it was not becoming for Him to show any decay of nature nor to be subject to disease, as stated above (III:14:4). Thirdly, that by dying and rising at an early age Christ might exhibit beforehand in His own person the future condition of those who rise again. Hence it is written (Ephesians 4:13): "Until we all meet into the unity of faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the age of the fullness of Christ."
I'm sure I've heard and read that last quote, from Ephesians, many times, but I never realized there was a way of taking it literally! What would we do without the Doctors of the Church to open the full meaning of God's Word to us?
Considering Marcel left this exile ("died" as we commonly say, but we know he was just passing through to Real Life) at age 31, he got pretty close to being a perfect man of 33. And now, according to the Common Doctor, he's there at perfect manhood forever, so let's all raise a glass in honor of his union (at last!) with his True Love, the Perfect Man, the Spouse of our Souls, Jesus.
Hip, hip hooray! Happy birthday Marcel!
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