The Lord has truly risen, alleluia.
Year: B(II). Psalm week: 3. Liturgical Colour: White.
|Saint Kateri Tekakwitha (1656 - 1680)|
Known as the “Lily of the Mohawks” and the “Geneviève of New France,” she was born in the Mohawk fortress of Ossemenon in what is now New York State, the daugher of a Mohawk warrior and a Catholic Algonquin woman whom he had saved from captivity at the hands of the Iroquois. When she was about four, smallpox killed her parents and her brother and left her scarred and with impaired eyesight. She was adopted by her uncle, the chief of the Turtle clan, and had many offers of marriage. She received some knowledge of Christianity from Jesuit missionaries when she was 11, and she determined to live the life not only of a Christian but of a Christian virgin: a heroic determination at the time. She was baptized when she was 20 and eventually, to escape persecution and death threats, she fled to an established Christian community at Kahnawake in what is now Québec. She advanced in union with God, with bodily mortification and intense prayer, and died at the age of 24. She was beatified by Pope John Paul II on 22 June 1980 and canonized by Pope Benedict XVI on 21 October 2012.
|Other saints: Saint Donan|
Argyll & the Isles
St Donan, or Donnan, came from Ireland and established a monastery on the Isle of Eigg in the Inner Hebrides. On Easter Sunday 617 he and his 52 companions were celebrating Mass when Danish pirates arrived. The pirates allowed them to finish the Mass and then beheaded them all.
Donan is the patron saint of Eigg.
|Other saints: Bl Baptist Spagnoli of Mantua (1447-1516)|
17 Apr (where celebrated)
Baptist came from a family who served the Dukes of Mantua, in a northern region of Italy. He entered a Carmelite community in Ferrara and professed his religious vows in 1464. This community was part of what would later be known as the ‘Mantuan Reform’, living a stricter observance of the Carmelite Rule and seeking a spirituality of integrity amidst laxity and lethargy that characterised many religious groups of the time.
It was during his studies and doctoral work at the University of Bologna (completed in 1475) that Baptist discovered his passion for poetry in the style of classic Latin antiquity. In the wake of the rise of Christian Humanism in literature, his passion drew him into friendships with many writers. The great humanist, Erasmus of Rotterdam, reading Baptist’s work, gave him the nickname “the Christian Vergil”. In addition to his poetic works, Baptist also used his writing skill to critique the violent political situation of Renaissance Italy. He used his pen to encourage his fellow Carmelites in their interior lives of solitude, prayer and recollection, and he also wrote prayers and poems that honoured Mary and the saints.
Baptist also demonstrated a gift for leadership. Six times he was elected Vicar General for the Reformed Congregation (the Mantuan Reform). He was well known for his direct and eloquent condemnation of the corruption and immorality that was prevalent in the Church of the time. In 1513 Baptist was elected Prior General for the whole Order, a role that lasted until his death in 1516.
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.
White is the colour of heaven. Liturgically, it is used to celebrate feasts of the Lord; Christmas and Easter, the great seasons of the Lord; and the saints. Not that you will always see white in church, because if something more splendid, such as gold, is available, that can and should be used instead. We are, after all, celebrating.
In the earliest centuries all vestments were white – the white of baptismal purity and of the robes worn by the armies of the redeemed in the Apocalypse, washed white in the blood of the Lamb. As the Church grew secure enough to be able to plan her liturgy, she began to use colour so that our sense of sight could deepen our experience of the mysteries of salvation, just as incense recruits our sense of smell and music that of hearing. Over the centuries various schemes of colour for feasts and seasons were worked out, and it is only as late as the 19th century that they were harmonized into their present form.
|Mid-morning reading (Terce)||Acts 4:11-12 ©|
This Jesus is ‘the stone rejected by you the builders, but which has proved to be the keystone.’ For of all the names in the world given to men, this is the only one by which we can be saved.
|Noon reading (Sext)||(1 Peter 3:21-22) ©|
Now you are saved by baptism. This is not the washing off of physical dirt but a pledge made to God from a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who has entered heaven and is at God’s right hand.
|Afternoon reading (None)||Colossians 3:1-2 ©|
Since you have been brought back to true life with Christ, you must look for the things that are in heaven, where Christ is, sitting at God’s right hand. Let your thoughts be on heavenly things, not on the things that are on the earth.