Christ the Lord was tempted and suffered for us. Come, let us adore him.
Or: O that today you would listen to his voice: harden not your hearts.
Year: C(I). Psalm week: 2. Liturgical Colour: Violet.
|Other saints: Bl Francis Palau y Quer (1811-1872)|
20 Mar (where celebrated)
Francis Palau y Quer was born in the year 1811 at Aitona in Spain. His early aspirations to live in the way of the Gospel led him to join the seminary in Lírida in 1828. During his seminary studies Francis came to know some Discalced Carmelite friars, whose way of life echoed with his own personal vocation. In 1832, spurred on by this appeal, he joined a Discalced Carmelite community at Barcelona and was later ordained in 1836.
Francis’ Carmelite life was marked by a rhythmic movement between life as a hermit and work as a missionary preacher in the region of Catalonia and southern France. Soon after his ordination he became a wandering preacher hoping to reignite the Catholic faith among the local people. He regularly spent periods of solitude living in caves in the region, following the pattern of the Desert Fathers. In 1840 Francis was named an Apostolic Missionary by the dioceses in which he preached. Soon after bans on religious communities were imposed in Spain, and so Francis crossed the Pyrenees to live in exile and to continue his solitary life and preaching in southern France. Over the next decade he would write three works exploring and defending the solitary life. His example inspired others to live as he did, and he became a spiritual guide for those seeking a solitary life in service of the Gospel.
Returning to Spain in 1851, Francis entered back into more active work as a spiritual director of seminarians and a parish catechist for adults. The movement between his missionary work and solitary life brought him to the insight that the Church, his Beloved, was God and neighbours together. His life continued in this pattern even during a six-year banishment by the Spanish government to the island of Ibiza. In his final years, Francis worked to establish the Teresian Missionary Carmelite Sisters and the Brothers of Charity (who later become re-affiliated with the Discalced Carmelite friars). Francis died on 20 March 1872, in the midst of his work that had sought to base the spiritual life on recognising and returning God’s love, rather than merely being caught up in the rational doctrines of his day.
About the author of the Second Reading in today's Office of Readings:
|Second Reading: St Irenaeus (130 - 202)|
Irenaeus was born in Smyrna, in Asia Minor (now Izmir in Turkey) and emigrated to Lyons, in France, where he eventually became the bishop. It is not known for certain whether he was martyred or died a natural death.
Whenever we take up a Bible we touch Irenaeus’s work, for he played a decisive role in fixing the canon of the New Testament. It is easy for people nowadays to think of Scripture – and the New Testament in particular – as the basis of the Church, but harder to remember that it was the Church itself that had to agree, early on, about what was scriptural and what was not. Before Irenaeus, there was vague general agreement on what scripture was, but a system based on this kind of common consent was too weak. As dissensions and heresies arose, reference to scripture was the obvious way of trying to settle what the truth really was, but in the absence of an agreed canon of scripture it was all too easy to attack one’s opponent’s arguments by saying that his texts were corrupt or unscriptural; and easy, too, to do a little fine-tuning of texts on one’s own behalf. Irenaeus not only established a canon which is almost identical to our present one, but also gave reasoned arguments for each inclusion and exclusion.
Irenaeus also wrote a major work, Against the Heresies, which in the course of denying what the Christian faith is not, effectively asserts what it is. The majority of this work was lost for many centuries and only rediscovered in a monastery on Mount Athos in 1842. Many passages from it are used in the Office of Readings.
|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)||Ezekiel 18:30-32 ©|
Repent, renounce all your sins, avoid all occasions of sin! Shake off all the sins you have committed against me, and make yourselves a new heart and a new spirit! Why are you so anxious to die, House of Israel? I take no pleasure in the death of anyone – it is the Lord who speaks. Repent and live!
|Noon reading (Sext)||Zechariah 1:3-4 ©|
Return to me, says the Lord of Hosts, and I will return to you. Do not be like your ancestors, to whom the prophets in the past cried ‘Turn back from your evil ways and evil deeds’ but they would not listen.
|Afternoon reading (None)||Daniel 4:24 ©|
By virtuous actions break with your sins, break with your crimes by showing mercy to the poor, and so live long and peacefully.