Let us come before the Lord, giving thanks.
Year: B(II). Psalm week: 3. Liturgical Colour: Green.
|The Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel|
Holy Scripture celebrates the beauty of Mount Carmel, where the prophet Elijah defended Israel’s pure faith in the living God. In the 12th century some hermits took up residence on this mountain and eventually set up the Carmelite Order, which is dedicated to living a contemplative life under the patronage of the Holy Mother of God.
|Other saints: St Helier (-555)|
St Helier was a 6th-century ascetic and hermit. He was born to pagan parents in Tongeren in what is now Belgium. His wanderings led him across Normandy to the monastic community of St Marculf at Nantus (now Nanteuil, St-Marcouf-de-l’Isle). However, the contemplative life did not bring him the peace that he sought, and he was sent with St Romard to Jersey where he settled on a tidal island, today known as the Hermitage Rock, next to L’Islet. He was killed on the beach there by robbers or infidel barbarians, traditionally in AD 555.
While he is known in Jersey as the saint who brought Christianity to the Island, in Normandy and Brittany he is better known as a healing saint. Today he is invoked for diseases of the skin and eyes.
About the author of the Second Reading in today's Office of Readings:
|Second Reading: St Ambrose of Milan (340? - 397)|
Ambrose was born in Trier (now in Germany) between 337 and 340, to a Roman family: his father was praetorian prefect of Gaul. Ambrose was educated at Rome and embarked on the standard cursus honorum of Roman advocates and administrators, at Sirmium, the capital of Illyria. In about 372 he was made prefect of Liguria and Emilia, whose capital was Milan.
In 374 the bishopric of Milan fell vacant and when Ambrose tried to pacify the conflict between the Catholics and Arians over the appointment of a new bishop, the people turned on him and demanded that he become the bishop himself. He was a layman and not yet baptized (at this time it was common for baptism to be delayed and for people to remain for years as catechumens), but that was no defence. Coerced by the people and by the emperor, he was baptized, ordained, and installed as bishop within a week, on 7 December 374.
He immediately gave his money to the poor and his land to the Church and set about learning theology. He had the advantage of knowing Greek, which few people did at that time, and so he was able to read the Eastern theologians and philosophers as well as those of the West.
He was assiduous in carrying out his office, acting with charity to all: a true shepherd and teacher of the faithful. He was unimpressed by status and when the Emperor Theodosius ordered the massacre of 7,000 people in Thessalonica, Ambrose forced him to do public penance. He defended the rights of the Church and attacked the Arian heresy with learning, firmness and gentleness. He also wrote a number of hymns which are still in use today.
Ambrose was a key figure in the conversion of St Augustine to Catholicism, impressing Augustine (hitherto unimpressed by the Catholics he had met) by his intelligence and scholarship. He died on Holy Saturday, 4 April 397.
The theological virtue of hope is symbolized by the colour green, just as the burning fire of love is symbolized by red. Green is the colour of growing things, and hope, like them, is always new and always fresh. Liturgically, green is the colour of Ordinary Time, the season in which we are being neither especially penitent (in purple) nor overwhelmingly joyful (in white).
|Mid-morning reading (Terce)||2 Corinthians 13:11 ©|
Brethren, be joyful. Try to grow perfect; help one another. Be united; live in peace, and the God of love and peace will be with you.
|Noon reading (Sext)||Romans 6:22 ©|
Now you have been set free from sin, you have been made slaves of God, and you get a reward leading to your sanctification and ending in eternal life.
|Afternoon reading (None)||Colossians 1:21-22 ©|
Not long ago, you were foreigners and enemies, in the way that you used to think and the evil things that you did; but now he has reconciled you, by his death and in that mortal body. Now you are able to appear before him holy, pure and blameless.