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: 4. Liturgical Colour: Rose or Violet.
|Other saints: Saint Aengus (- 824)|
He was born near Clonenagh and educated there at the monastic school founded there by St Fintan, not far from the present town of Mountrath. He lived for some time as a hermit and then joined the monastery of Tallaght, near Dublin, under St Maelruain. He was a co-author of a martyrology (written in 790 and the oldest in Ireland) and wrote a long poem, the Feliré, or Festology of the Saints, which he finished in about 805. After St Maelruain’s death he returned to his hermitage, where he died on 11 March 824. See the article in Wikipedia
|Other saints: St Constantine (6th century)|
Argyll & the Isles
St Constantine has been revered at Govan since time immemorial and there is no reason to doubt that the tradition was based on a real person. But attempts to construct a biography for him have to depend purely on occasional references in chronicles, and there is always the risk of tripping over the problem of “someone else of the same name”. This will happen to all of us eventually: in the year 1,000,000 AD, will anyone be sure of the difference between Thomas More and Thomas Becket, who were both martyred by kings called Henry?
A Constantine was converted to Christianity (Annals of Ulster, 588). A Constantine appears in the Breviary of Aberdeen as entering a monastery in Ireland incognito before joining Saint Mungo (alias Kentigern) and becoming a missionary to the Picts. He is probably the same man. This Constantine was martyred in Scotland about 576 and John of Fordun tells how he was buried at Govan, where his shrine can still be seen today. He is probably not the Saint Constantine of Devon and Cornwall, and certainly not the King Constantine of Dumnonia (south-western Britain) mentioned unfavourably by the chronicler Gildas. The fact that there were separate tribes of Dumnonii in the south-west and in Scotland merely serves to make things even more interesting. But – at the risk of upsetting historians – the only thing that matters to us is that the Constantine we celebrate today has been revered as a saint continuously for a millennium and a half. When all the facts about us are lost, may we also be worthy to be remembered.
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.
|Liturgical colour: rose (or violet)|
Rose is a lighter version of violet, because today the penitential violet is mixed with the white of the approaching festival.
It is part of human nature that we cannot go on being penitent for a long time, or we sink into a settled and insincere gloom rather than working at the definite and active spiritual exercise called penance. The Church knows human nature, and both in Advent and Lent there is a moment where the atmosphere of penance and preparation is brightened by a shaft of light from the glorious season we are preparing ourselves for.
The third Sunday of Advent tells us ‘Gaudéte, rejoice!’ because the Lord is near and the fourth Sunday of Lent says ‘Lætáre, Ierúsalem, be joyful, Jerusalem, and all who love her!’ because she herself is loved by the Lord. On Gaudete and Laetare Sundays, therefore, the dark penitential violet may be lightened to what the documents call ‘rose’ but most laymen would call ‘pink’.
This happens where it is traditional, and appropriate, and vestments of this extra colour are available. Otherwise there is nothing wrong in keeping violet as violet. Ultimately the liturgical colours are there to serve us, not we to serve them.
|Mid-morning reading (Terce)||1 Thessalonians 4:1,7 ©|
My brethren, we urge you and appeal to you in the Lord Jesus to make more and more progress in the kind of life that you are meant to live: the life that God wants, as you learnt from us, and as you are already living it. We have been called by God to be holy, not to be immoral.
|Noon reading (Sext)||Isaiah 30:15,18 ©|
For thus says the Lord, the Holy One of Israel: ‘Your salvation lies in conversion and tranquillity, your strength will come from complete trust.’ The Lord is waiting to be gracious to you, to rise and take pity on you, for the Lord is a just God. Happy are all who hope in him.
|Afternoon reading (None)||Deuteronomy 4:29-31 ©|
You will seek the Lord your God, and if you seek him with all your heart and with all your soul, you shall find him. In your distress, all that I have said will overtake you, but at the end of days you will return to the Lord your God and listen to his voice. For the Lord your God is a merciful God and will not desert or destroy you or forget the covenant he made on oath with your fathers.