Christ is the son of Mary: come, let us adore him.
Year: A(II). Psalm week: 3. Liturgical Colour: White.
Our Lady, Mother of Africa
North Africa gave the Church many saints, such as Monica and Augustine, and many important theologians. It remained Christian until the Arab invasions.
The first Christian Bishop of Algiers in modern times, Bishop Antoine-Adolphe Dupuch, was appointed in 1838 to minister to the French colonists who lived in Algeria, but felt called by God to restore Christianity to the whole population, hoping that in time it would spread from Algeria to the whole of Africa.
At the beginning, Bishop Dupuch found it impossible to build a church because the local population was hostile to the French. He went back to France for assistance. The Sodality of Our Lady in Lyon offered to the bishop a bronze statue of the Immaculate Conception with the understanding that she would be the Protectress of both the Muslims and the natives. It was brought from France in 1840 and was entrusted to the Cistercian monks of Staueli. Later, Cardinal Lavigiers, founder of the White Sisters, enshrined it in the new basilica at Algiers, where in 1876 the image was crowned. This bronze statue, very dark in colour, is known as Our Lady of Africa.
Pilgrims began to come to venerate the image where the lame, the blind, and the crippled were miraculously healed, and sailors came also to beg for protection of their long and perilous voyages. At this and other North African shrines the veneration given to Mary by Muslims is very marked. This feast commemorates the crowning of the Algiers statue.
Other saints: Saint Marie of the Incarnation (1599-1672)
Born in Tours, France, Marie married and had a son before her husband, Claude Martin, died. He left behind a struggling business that Marie was able to make profitable before selling. Free to pursue her religious inclinations, she experienced a mystical vision on 24 March 1620, that set her on a new path of devotional intensity. After working with a Spiritual Director for many years, she decided to enter the Ursuline Convent in Tours to try her vocation. She abandoned her son to the care of her family, but the emotional pain of the separation would remain with her. Later, when her son become a monk, they corresponded candidly about their spiritual and emotional trials.
Sometime near 1638, Marie de l’Incarnation was guided by visions to go to Canada and found a convent. Marie, along with two Ursulines and Madame de la Peltrie, landed at Québec City in August 1639. They managed to found the first hospital in Canada as well as an Ursuline Congregation.
About the author of the Second Reading in today's Office of Readings:
Second Reading: St Sophronius of Jerusalem (c.560 - 638)
Sophronius was born in Damascus around 560. He became an ascetic in Egypt about 580 and subsequently entered the monastery of St Theodosius near Bethlehem. He was active in the battle against the heretics who rejected the nature of Christ as both God and man. He became Patriarch of Jerusalem in 634. At that time the Saracen armies under the caliph Umar I were advancing into Palestine, and Jerusalem itself fell in 637, Sophronius negotiating with Umar the terms of a surrender which gave religious freedom to Christians and preserved the Church of the Holy Sepulchre as a Christian church.
Sophronius’ writings show little sign of these grand historical events. He wrote a series of poems in classical style on Christian subjects, and a number of sermons and doctrinal works.
Liturgical colour: white
White is the colour of heaven. Liturgically, it is used to celebrate feasts of the Lord; Christmas and Easter, the great seasons of the Lord; and the saints. Not that you will always see white in church, because if something more splendid, such as gold, is available, that can and should be used instead. We are, after all, celebrating.
In the earliest centuries all vestments were white – the white of baptismal purity and of the robes worn by the armies of the redeemed in the Apocalypse, washed white in the blood of the Lamb. As the Church grew secure enough to be able to plan her liturgy, she began to use colour so that our sense of sight could deepen our experience of the mysteries of salvation, just as incense recruits our sense of smell and music that of hearing. Over the centuries various schemes of colour for feasts and seasons were worked out, and it is only as late as the 19th century that they were harmonized into their present form.
|Mid-morning reading (Terce)||Zephaniah 3:14,15 ©|
Shout for joy, daughter of Zion, Israel, shout aloud! Rejoice, exult with all your heart, daughter of Jerusalem! The Lord, the king of Israel, is in your midst; you have no more evil to fear.
|Noon reading (Sext)||Zechariah 9:9 ©|
Rejoice heart and soul, daughter of Zion! Shout with gladness, daughter of Jerusalem! See now, your king comes to you; he is victorious, he is triumphant.
|Afternoon reading (None)||Judith 13:18-19 ©|
May you be blessed, my daughter, by God Most High,
beyond all women on earth;
and may the Lord God be blessed,
the Creator of heaven and earth,
by whose guidance you cut off the head
of the leader of our enemies.
The trust you have shown
shall not pass from the memories of men,
but shall ever remind them
of the power of God.