The Lord is the king of martyrs: come, let us adore him.
Year: C(I). Psalm week: 4. Liturgical Colour: Red.
|St John de Britto (1647 - 1693)|
He was born in Lisbon on 1 March, 1647 and brought up at the royal court there. He became a Jesuit at the age of 15, and was given Madura in southern India as his missionary field.
In September, 1673, he reached Goa. He apparently entered the Kshatriyas, a noble caste. His dress was yellow cotton; he abstained from every kind of animal food and from wine. Setting out early in 1674, he traversed the Ghauts on foot and reached Colei in the Cauvery Delta, where he perfected himself in the language. He journeyed northward at least as far as Madras and Vellore, but Cauvery Delta, Tanjore, Madura, and Marava, between Madura and the sea, were his chief field. In 1684 he was imprisoned in Marava, and, though freed by the king, he was expelled from the country. In 1688 he was sent to Europe as deputy to the triennial Congregation of Procurators. Resisting urgent attempts to keep him in Portugal, and refusing the Archbishopric of Cranganore, he returned in 1691 to the borders of Madura and Marava. Having converted Teriadeven, a Maravese prince, he required him to dismiss all his wives but one. Among them was a niece of the king, who took up her quarrel and began a general persecution. De Britto and others were taken and carried to the capital, Ramnad, the Brahmins clamouring for his death. Thence he was led to Oreiour, some thirty miles northward along the coast, where he was beheaded on 11 February, 1693. He was beatified by Pope Pius IX on 21 August 1853 and canonized by Pope Pius XII on 22 June 1947.
|Other saints: St Gilbert of Sempringham (1083 - 1190)|
He was born at Sempringham, near Bourne in Lincolnshire, the son of Jocelin, an Anglo-Norman lord of the manor, who sent him to the University of Paris to study theology; it may be that he had some deformity which barred him from the military career which would normally have been expected. When he returned home in 1120 he became a clerk in the household of Robert Bloet, Bishop of Lincoln, started a school for boys and girls, and was finally ordained by Robert’s successor, Alexander.
When his father died in 1130 and he became lord of the manor of Sempringham, he used his inherited wealth to found an order of monks and nuns, known as the Gilbertines.
When he was 90, some of his lay brothers revolted and spread serious calumnies against him, but he received the support of King Henry II, and Pope Alexander III freed him from suspicion and confirmed the privileges granted to the order. Gilbert resigned his office late in life because of blindness and ill health, and died at Sempringham in about 1190, at the age of 106.
About the author of the Second Reading in today's Office of Readings:
|Second Reading: St Augustine of Hippo (354 - 430)|
Augustine was born in Thagaste in Africa of a Berber family. He was brought up a Christian but left the Church early and spent a great deal of time seriously seeking the truth, first in the Manichaean heresy, which he abandoned on seeing how nonsensical it was, and then in Neoplatonism, until at length, through the prayers of his mother and the teaching of St Ambrose of Milan, he was converted back to Christianity and baptized in 387, shortly before his mother’s death.
Augustine had a brilliant legal and academic career, but after his conversion he returned home to Africa and led an ascetic life. He was elected Bishop of Hippo and spent 34 years looking after his flock, teaching them, strengthening them in the faith and protecting them strenuously against the errors of the time. He wrote an enormous amount and left a permanent mark on both philosophy and theology. His Confessions, as dazzling in style as they are deep in content, are a landmark of world literature. The Second Readings in the Office of Readings contain extracts from many of his sermons and commentaries and also from the Confessions.
Red is the colour of fire and of blood. Liturgically, it is used to celebrate the fire of the Holy Spirit (for instance, at Pentecost) and the blood of the martyrs.
|Mid-morning reading (Terce)||1 Peter 5:10-11 ©|
You will have to suffer only for a little while: the God of all grace who called you to eternal glory in Christ will see that all is well again: he will confirm, strengthen and support you. His power lasts for ever and ever. Amen.
|Noon reading (Sext)||James 1:12 ©|
Happy the man who stands firm when trials come. He has proved himself, and will win the prize of life, the crown that the Lord has promised to those who love him.
|Afternoon reading (None)||Wisdom 3:1-2,3 ©|
The souls of the virtuous are in the hands of God, no torment shall ever touch them. In the eyes of the unwise, they did appear to die, but they are at peace.