Let us adore the Lord, for it is he who made us.
Year: B(II). Psalm week: 1. Liturgical Colour: Green.
St Elizabeth of Portugal (1271 - 1336)
She was the daughter of King Peter III of Aragón and was named after her great-aunt, St Elizabeth of Hungary. She was married to King Denis of Portugal, by whom she had two children. She set up hospitals, orphanages, and other institutions, patiently endured her husband’s infidelities and provided for the education of his bastards, and acted as peacemaker in the quarrelsome and complicated politics of the time.
On her husband’s death in 1325 she retired from public affairs and devoted herself to prayer and the service of the poor. Throughout her life she was faithful and regular in prayer, and daily recited the Liturgy of the Hours.
In 1336 her son, by now King Alfonso IV of Portugal, went to war against King Alfonso XI of Castile. Elizabeth followed the Portuguese army on the field in an effort to bring about peace. She succeeded, but the effort killed her.
The canonization of royal personages may seem offensive to our modern egalitarian principles; but though it may be hard to attain sanctity in a mediaeval kingdom or its equivalent, a modern corporation, with God nothing is impossible.
Other saints: Blessed John Cornelius (-1594)
John Cornelius was born of Irish parents in Bodmin, and his talent was soon noticed by Sir John Arundell of Lanherne, who sent him to Oxford. From there he went to the English College in Rheims, and to Rome, where he was ordained priest. He came back to England, and worked here for ten years, before being arrested at Chideock Castle, where he was acting as chaplain to Lady Arundell. Whilst being escorted to the sheriff’s house he was met on the way by Thomas Bosgrave, a relative of the Arundell family, who offered him his own hat, as he had been dragged out bare-headed. Thereupon Bosgrave was promptly arrested. Two servants of the castle, John (or Terence) Carey and Patrick Salmon, both natives of Dublin, shared the same fate. They were executed at Dorchester on July 4th 1594.
Other saints: Bl Maria Crocifissa Curcio (1877-1957)
4 Jul (where celebrated)
Rosa Curcio was born on 30 January 1877 in Ispica, Sicily, Italy. She was the seventh of ten children born to Salvatore Curcio and Concetta Franzò. As was the general custom of the time, Rosa completed her formal schooling at the age of twelve. In her own readings in the family library she happened upon the Life of St Teresa of Jesus, the impact of which would propel her into her Carmelite journey. At age thirteen she enrolled in the Carmelite Third Order, which had been recently re-established in Ispica. As she grew in her understanding and practice of Carmelite Spirituality she came to discern that her mission was to “make Carmel flourish”.
As a young women she joined other Third Order Carmelites, to live together as a community in a small apartment. Following this experience, she was transferred to Modica and entrusted with the management of Carmela Polara, an institution that supported and educated orphaned and disadvantaged girls. Later still, inspired by her attendance at the canonisation of St Therésè of the Child Jesus in Rome, 1925, Rosa resolved to found a community of missionary Carmelite sisters. In 1930 her Congregation of the Carmelite Missionary Sisters of St Therésè of the Child Jesus was given official recognition. The mission of the congregation was to ‘bring souls to God’ by feeding the poor, educating children and supporting families in Christian living. Following the end of World War II, in 1947 Rosa (now Madre Maria Crocifissa) sent missionary sisters to Brazil to carry out their work. Her passion for mission was lived out in her congregation, as her own health limited her ability to travel throughout her life. Madre Maria Crocifissa died on July 4, 1957 in Porto Santa Rufina, after a life spent in living the Carmelite life of contemplative prayer, community and prophetic action.
About the author of the Second Reading in today's Office of Readings:
Second Reading: St Teresa of Ávila (1515 - 1582)
Teresa was born in Ávila in Spain and entered the Carmelite convent there at the age of 20, not because of any great attraction to the religious life but because it seemed the most sensible thing to do. With time, however, and despite ill-health, she made great progress in contemplative prayer and had a number of mystical experiences, which she treated with great suspicion since she felt that she was not nearly holy enough to be accorded them by God.
Teresa’s prayer life led her to seek a more perfect life, and in 1562, in the face of much opposition, she founded a convent of Discalced Carmelite nuns in Ávila. “Discalced” (“shoeless”) signified their devotion to poverty. The rest of her life is a story of the establishment of more and more Discalced Carmelite convents in the face of intense opposition from the unreformed Carmelites but help coming from the highest levels at the same time. Thus in 1566 the General of the Carmelite Order approved Teresa’s original foundation and permitted her to make new ones. In 1575 the chapter of the Order decided to dissolve them all, and for the next five years every effort was made to destroy Teresa’s reforms and many of her followers (including St John of the Cross) were imprisoned and cruelly treated.
At length, in 1580, and with the support of King Philip II, the Discalced Carmelites were made independent and St Teresa was able to found more new convents. She died, worn out by her efforts, on 15 October 1582.
St Teresa is an outstanding example of how the contemplative life can well up and overflow into action. In addition to all this, she wrote much on the subject of contemplative prayer and her writings are still standard works today. She was declared a Doctor of the Church by Pope Paul VI in 1970.
Liturgical colour: green
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)||1 Peter 1:13-14 ©|
Free your minds, then, of encumbrances; control them, and put your trust in nothing but the grace that will be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed. Do not behave in the way that you liked to before you learnt the truth, but make a habit of obedience.
|Noon reading (Sext)||1 Peter 1:15-16 ©|
Be holy in all you do, since it is the Holy One who has called you, and scripture says: Be holy, for I am holy.
|Afternoon reading (None)||James 4:7-8,10 ©|
Give in to God: resist the devil, and he will run away from you. The nearer you go to God, the nearer he will come to you. Humble yourselves before the Lord and he will lift you up.