Let us adore the Lord, the King who is to come.
Year: B(II). Psalm week: 1. Liturgical Colour: Violet.
|Other saints: St John Almond (c.1565-1612)|
John Almond (or Lathom or Molyneux) was born at Allerton near Liverpool of Catholic parents about 1565 and went to school at Much Woolton. After studying at Reims he went to the English College in Rome, where in due course he was ordained priest. In 1602 he returned to England as a secular priest and ministered to Catholics there. He was arrested briefly in 1608, and then again in 1612. In November of that year, seven priests had escaped from prison, and this may have sharpened the zeal of those who interrogated him. He displayed to the last great skill in argument; the account of his death describes him as “a reprover of sin, a good example to follow, of an ingenious and acute understanding, sharp and apprehensive in his conceits and answers, yet complete with modesty, full of courage and ready to suffer for Christ, that suffered for him.” He refused to sign the Oath of Allegiance in the form in which it was offered him, but offered to swear that he bore in his heart “so much allegiance to King James as he, or any Christian king, could expect by the law of nature, or the positive law of the true Church, be it which it will, ours or yours.” He was committed to Newgate and within a few months was brought to trial as a seminary priest. Having been duly convicted he was hanged, drawn, and quartered on 5 December 1612 at Tyburn, London.
|Other saints: Saint Birinus|
Birmingham, Winchester, Oxfordshire
Saint Birinus was sent to England as a missionary by Pope Honorius I about the year 634; on his way, he was consecrated bishop in Genoa. He had intended to work in a remote part of Britain but when he found that the West Saxons were still pagan he stayed among them and baptised their King and a good number of his followers during his fifteen years’ apostolate. He died about 650 and the main Church of the West Saxons which he had established at Dorchester-on-Thames was later moved to Winchester, as were the relics of Saint Birinus.
|Other saints: Saint Birinus (-649)|
Birmingham, Winchester, Oxfordshire
Birinus was a Frank, had been ordained a bishop in Genoa. He was sent to Wessex by Pope Honorius I, arriving in 634 at the port of Hamwic, now in the St Mary’s area of Southampton. He had intended to work in a remote part of Britain but when he found that the West Saxons were still pagan he stayed among them. He baptized the West Saxon king Cynegils, probably in 635. The king granted him the See of Dorchester, where he established a church. He is reputed to have baptised the king’s son and his grandson (and to have been godfather to the latter). During his 15-year apostolate, he founded churches across Berkshire and Buckinghamshire. He died on 3 December 649, and it is thought that his relics were later taken to Winchester, the capital of Wessex, when the See was moved from Dorchester to Winchester by St Hedda.
|Other saints: Saint Hedda (-705)|
Birmingham, Winchester, Oxfordshire
Hedda (Haeddi), whose feast is celebrated in Winchester on this day, was educated at Whitby, and ordained bishop in 676 by Theodore of Canterbury. He was appointed Bishop of the West Saxons, and moved his See from Dorchester to Winchester, which transformed it not only into the ecclesiastical centre of the kingdom but also for a time its capital. He died in 705.
|Other saints: Bl Bartholomew Fanti (c.1428-1495)|
5 Dec (where celebrated)
Bartholomew Fanti was born in Mantua around the year 1428. In 1452 he is known to have already been a Carmelite priest of the Congregation of Mantua. For thirty-five years at the Order’s church in Mantua he was the spiritual director and rector of the Confraternity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, for which he composed a rule and statutes. He was a teacher of Bl Baptist Spagnoli and is especially remembered for his devotion to and love of the Eucharist. He died in 1495 in Mantua.
About the author of the Second Reading in today's Office of Readings:
|Second Reading: St Gregory Nazianzen (329 - 390)|
Gregory Nazianzen, “Gregory of Nazianzus”, was the son of Gregory, Bishop of Nazianzus, a Christian convert. (Nazianzus is a small town in Cappadocia, now the village of Nenizi in the Turkish province of Aksaray).
The culture of the Hellenic world means that a religion is not merely something to be lived: it also has to make sense. It has to work not only in practice, but in theory as well. Despite the passionate anti-Greek reaction of the Reformation, we are still, in this sense, all Greeks today. Take the doctrine of the Trinity, for example. Some people reject it because it sounds like polytheism. Instead, they make Jesus not God but only a man supremely favoured by God: the Arians believed this, and the Koran reflects this idea. Or they make Jesus not man but only God, and relegate the intense humanity of the Passion to the status of a mere performance, a show put on by God through phantoms and angels rather than something utterly real and of eternal significance. Both these responses show a general feature of heresies, which is that they simplify the richness of orthodoxy and flatten it into a shadow of itself. “Simpler” may well mean “more easily acceptable”, but that is not the same as “true”. One could simplify quantum physics and get rid of its paradoxes until there is no metaphysical weirdness for anyone to object to – that might well make more people happy, but it would not be true.
The three men we call “the Cappadocian Fathers” were active after the Council of Nicaea, working to formulate Trinitarian doctrine precisely and, in particular, to pin down the meaning and role of the least humanly comprehensible member of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit. St Basil of Caesarea, “St Basil the Great”, was the leader and organizer; Gregory of Nazianzus was the thinker, the orator, the poet, pushed into administrative and episcopal roles by circumstances and by Basil; and Gregory of Nyssa, Basil’s younger brother, although not a great stylist, was the most gifted of the three as a philosopher and theologian. Together, the Cappadocian Fathers hammered out the doctrine of the Trinity like blacksmiths forging a piece of metal by hammer-blows into its perfect, destined shape. They were champions – and successful champions – of orthodoxy against Arianism, a battle that had to be conducted as much on the worldly and political plane as on the philosophical and theological one. The sciences ought not to have to work like this, but all of them, at one time or other in their history, do.
It is a relief to us as readers to note, after all this, that St Gregory of Nazianzus, as well as receiving the title of Doctor of the Church, is acknowledged as the most accomplished rhetorical stylist of the patristic age, and that this “style” does not adopt the over-ripe excesses of some late-imperial rhetoric (Augustine can get carried away in this direction sometimes, and Cassiodorus, in the sixth century, spends altogether too much of his time there). Gregory’s Second Readings do sound almost operatic at times, but the grandeur of the style does not exist for its own sake but comes from the splendour of its subject-matter. It is possible to be carried away by it, and enjoyable, even, to let that happen; but underlying the experience there is always a sense of being carried away in the direction of somewhere definite and somewhere worthwhile.
|Liturgical colour: violet|
Violet is a dark colour, ‘the gloomy cast of the mortified, denoting affliction and melancholy’. Liturgically, it is the colour of Advent and Lent, the seasons of penance and preparation.
|Mid-morning reading (Terce)||Jeremiah 23:5 ©|
See, the days are coming – it is the Lord who speaks – when I will raise a virtuous Branch for David, who will reign as true king and be wise, practising honesty and integrity in the land.
|Noon reading (Sext)||Jeremiah 23:6 ©|
In his days Judah will be saved and Israel dwell in confidence. And this is the name he will be called: ‘The Lord our righteousness.’
|Afternoon reading (None)||(Ezekiel 34:15-16) ©|
I will pasture my sheep, I will show them where to rest – it is the Lord who speaks. I shall look for the lost one, bring back the stray, bandage the wounded and make the weak strong. I shall be a true shepherd to them.
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Office of Readings for 1st Tuesday of Advent
Morning Prayer for 1st Tuesday of Advent
Evening Prayer for 1st Tuesday of Advent
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