Universalis
Saturday 21 January 2017    (other days)
Saint Agnes, Virgin, Martyr 
 (Saturday after the Second Sunday after Epiphany)

The Lord is the king of martyrs: come, let us adore him

Year: A(I). Psalm week: 2. Liturgical Colour: Red.

St Agnes (- 304)
As with so many of the early Roman martyrs, very little is now known about Agnes’ life. Partly this is because the details have been obscured by the light that shines from her martyrdom and the cult that it inspired, and partly because if you are martyred at the age of 12, your life has not really acquired that many details in any case. Agnes was filled with the love of God from an early age, vowed herself to celibacy, and when the opportunity of martyrdom arose, she did not hide away but stepped forward and took it.
  That is really all that is known: but it is enough. We who are used to compromising with the world at every turn, and would find excuses to avoid any inconveniences that our faith might cause us, let alone martyrdom (“yes, of course I would die for my faith in principle, but wouldn’t I be able to do more good in the long run if I stayed alive just now?”), should admire the simple wisdom of Agnes, realise that there are moments where compromise and moral ambiguity just will not do, and pray for the strength to live up to such moments when they happen. See the article in Wikipedia.

Liturgical colour: red
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)Deuteronomy 8:5-6 ©
The Lord your God was training you as a man trains his child. Keep the commandments of the Lord your God, and so follow his ways and reverence him.

Noon reading (Sext)1 Kings 2:2-3 ©
Be strong and show yourself a man. Observe the injunctions of the Lord your God, following his ways and keeping his laws, his commandments, his customs and his decrees, so that you may be successful in all you do and undertake.

Afternoon reading (None)Jeremiah 6:16 ©
Put yourselves on the ways of long ago and enquire about the ancient paths: which was the good way? Take it then, and you shall find rest.

Scripture readings taken from the Jerusalem Bible, published and copyright © 1966, 1967 and 1968 by Darton, Longman & Todd, Ltd and Doubleday, a division of Random House, Inc, and used by permission of the publishers. For on-line information about other Random House, Inc. books and authors, see the Internet web site at http://www.randomhouse.com.
 
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