Christ is the bread of life: come, let us adore him.
Year: A(I). Liturgical Colour: White.
In other years: St Ephraem the Deacon (306 - 373)
Saint Ephraem was a poet and a theologian. He lived all his life in Mesopotamia, first founding a school and then, when the Persians invaded his native town of Nisibis, moving to Edessa. He preached there, and laid the foundations of its great school of theology.
He is famous not only for the beauty of expression of his homilies but also for his hymns, which have spread far beyond his native Syriac church and are in use in East and West alike.
Other saints: St Columba (521? - 597)
England, Ireland, Scotland
Columba (Gaelic Colm Cille) He was born in Gartan, in County Donegal, and was of royal lineage. He studied under Finnian of Moville and Finnian of Clonard. He founded monasteries at Derry, Durrow, and possibly Kells, before leaving Ireland as a missionary, “an exile for Christ.” His greatest foundation was Iona, from where he converted much of western Scotland, and his followers took the Gospel as far as northern England. He died at Iona in 597. He was renowned as a poet and scribe as well as a spiritual guide. In Gaelic literature he appears as Ireland’s most popular saint, noted for his great personal love of all creatures, both human and animal.
Other saints: Saint José de Anchieta (1534-1597)
José de Anchieta y Díaz de Clavijo was born on 19 March 1534 on Tenerife in the Canary Islands, to a noble family. He became a Jesuit at the age of 17 and, to help him recover from a serious illness, he was sent to Bahia in Brazil in 1553 as an assistant to the missionaries there.
Brazil at this time was in a very bad way spiritually. On the one hand, there were the Indians to be evangelized and led away from pagan practices including cannibalism (to which they were much attached). On the other hand, both the European settlers and many of the priests, finding themselves in a land where there was no real authority, lived scandalous lives, practising both slavery and concubinage. When the Jesuits arrived in Brazil in 1549 they worked hard to regularize the situation.
Brother Anchieta became the assistant and interpreter of the Jesuit superior Father Nóbrega. They set up a mission which later grew into the city of São Paulo, and Anchieta made the school there his headquarters. He learned the local Tupi language and wrote the first ever grammar of it; he wrote dramas to teach the faith to the illiterate and the uneducated; he gave medical assistance to the Indians and taught them skills such as agriculture, carpentry, and the use of stone and metal. With Nóbrega he gave himself up as a hostage in 1563 so that a peace settlement could be reached between two warring tribes, and he narrowly escaped martyrdom on more than one occasion.
He was ordained a priest in 1566 and was the Jesuit Provincial in Brazil from 1577 to 1587. He died on 9 June 1597, exhausted by his labours.
He was beatified by Pope John Paul II in 1980 and recognized as a saint by Pope Francis on April 2014.
About the author of the Second Reading in today's Office of Readings:
Second Reading: St Thomas Aquinas (1225 - 1274)
Thomas was born of a noble family in southern Italy, and was educated by the Benedictines. In the normal course of events he would have joined that order and taken up a position suitable to his rank; but he decided to become a Dominican friar instead.
He studied in Paris and in Cologne under the great philosopher St Albert the Great, at a time of great philosophical ferment, when the writings of Aristotle, the greatest philosopher of the ancient world, had been newly rediscovered and were becoming available to people in the West for the first time in a thousand years. Many feared that Aristotelianism was flatly contradictory to Christianity, and the fact that Aristotle’s works were coming to the West from mostly Muslim sources did nothing to help matters.
Thomas’ clarity of thought ensured that the truth would be recognised whatever its source. He inaugurated a form of disputation which would bring ideas together not so that one would win and the other lose through clever tricks of debate, but so that the single unifying truth behind them should be found. He thus not only transformed the practice of theology but also laid the foundations of the modern scientific revolution.
As well as producing major philosophical and theological works, Thomas, at the request of Pope Urban IV, composed the Divine Office for the newly-created feast of Corpus Christi.
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.
Other notes: Universalis anniversary
On this day in 1996 the Universalis Web site was opened to the public.
Pray for those who contribute to it.
|Mid-morning reading (Terce)||Wisdom 16:20 ©|
Lord, you have given your people the food of angels, from heaven untiringly sending them bread already prepared, containing every delight, satisfying every taste.
|Noon reading (Sext)||Proverbs 9:1-2 ©|
Wisdom has built herself a house, she has erected her seven pillars, she has slaughtered her beasts, prepared her wine, she has laid her table.
|Afternoon reading (None)||Acts 2:42,47 ©|
These remained faithful to the teaching of the apostles, to the brotherhood, to the breaking of bread and to the prayers. They praised God and were looked up to by everyone.