Universalis
Friday 23 February 2018    (other days)
Friday of the 1st week of Lent 
 (optional commemoration of Saint Polycarp, Bishop, Martyr)

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: B(II). Psalm week: 1. Liturgical Colour: Violet.

St Polycarp (- 155)
He was a disciple of the Apostles, bishop of Smyrna, and a friend of St Ignatius of Antioch. He went to Rome to confer with Pope Anicetus about the celebration of Easter. He was martyred at Smyrna in about 155 by being burnt to death in the stadium. Polycarp is an important figure in the history of the Church because he is one of the earliest Christians whose writings still survive. He bears witness to the beliefs of the early Christians and the early stages of the development of doctrine. See the articles in Wikipedia and the Catholic Encyclopaedia.

About the author of the Second Reading in today's Office of Readings:

Second Reading: St Aelred of Rievaulx (1110 - 1167)
Aelred was born in Hexham in around 1109. His family was well connected and at an early age he was sent into the service of King David of Scotland. There he rose to the position of Master of the Royal Household. In time he became attracted to the religious life, but he was also much attached to the life he lived at court and to King David himself. It took a considerable personal struggle for him at the age of 24 to give up his secular pursuits and to enter the newly founded Cistercian monastery of Rievaulx in Yorkshire in 1133. At 34 he moved from there and took charge of a new foundation in Lincolnshire. But within four years he had returned to Rievaulx as Abbot where he remained for the rest of his life. He died in 1167.
  Aelred is remembered both for his energy and for his gentleness. His writings and his sermons were characterised by a deep love of the Scriptures and by a very personal love of Christ ‘as friend and Saviour’. He was sensitive and understanding in his dealings with his fellow monks and under his direction the monastery at Rievaulx grew to an extraordinary size. He did not enjoy robust health and the last ten years of his life were marked by a long and painful illness. His position as Abbot required him to travel on visitation to monasteries not only in England and Scotland but even in France, and the physical suffering and exhaustion which this incurred seems to have been considerable. A contemporary account of the last year of his life describes him as being left helpless on his bed unable to speak or move for an hour after celebrating his morning Mass.
  Aelred was a singularly attractive figure, a man of great spiritual power but also of warm friendliness and humanity. He has been called the St Bernard of the North.
Middlesbrough Ordo

40 Days and 40 Ways: Friday, 1st week of Lent
When the sinner renounces sin to become law-abiding and honest, he deserves to live. He has chosen to renounce all his previous sins; he shall not die. (Ez 18:27-28)
  Ez 18:21-28
  Exile to Babylon was a shock to the People of Israel: at last the Lord had shown that the rebellions against the covenant, the infidelities and idolatries practised must be taken seriously. So he let history take its course and Jerusalem was sacked. But would this situation last for ever? This posed two questions. Can the wicked person convert and change his ways? And, perhaps more pressing, is one generation to bear the penalty of a previous generation?
  According to the old morality the cohesion of the family or tribe is such that the guilt of a sin attaches to the whole tribe or family. There are occasions in the history of Israel where the Lord remits the penalty for a sin by delaying it till the next generation. Individual morality has now developed to the extent that each individual is responsible only for his or her own crimes, not for those of the rest of the family, or for those of a previous generation. Further, we are reminded that conversion works both ways: conversion from good to bad brings its own penalties just as much as conversion from bad to good brings its own rewards.
  This is an exhortation at the beginning of Lent to think of those sins, failures and mistakes which still weigh us down, and to set about changing our ways.
  The Gospel reading for the day is Mt 5:20-26.
  Action:
  Look into the problem of refugees, perhaps on the internet. Can you do anything to help?
Henry Wansbrough

This passage is an extract from the booklet “40 Days and 40 Ways” by Dom Henry Wansbrough OSB, published by the Catholic Truth Society and used by permission. “40 Days and 40 Ways” has meditations for each day in Lent. To find out more about the booklet, or to buy it, please visit the CTS web site.

The Universalis Readings at Mass page shows the readings for today’s Mass.


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)Isaiah 55:3 ©
Come to me and listen to my words: hear me, and you shall have life. I will make a covenant with you, this time for ever, to love you faithfully as I have loved David.

Noon reading (Sext)(Jeremiah 3:12,14) ©
Come back, says the Lord, and I will frown on you no more, since I am merciful and I shall not keep my resentment for ever. Come back, disloyal children, says the Lord.

Afternoon reading (None)James 1:27 ©
In the eyes of God our Father, pure unspoilt religion is this: coming to the help of orphans and widows when they need it, and keeping oneself uncontaminated by the world.

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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