Cry out with joy to God, all the earth: serve the Lord with gladness.
Year: C(I). Psalm week: 2. Liturgical Colour: Green.
St Onuphrius (d. 400)
Onuphrius lived as a hermit in the desert for seventy years. He was from Thebaid (Egypt) and at an early age he joined other monks in the desert. Soon he discovered that he was called to live as a hermit and, having left the monastery, he began a solitary life. In the desert he suffered much from privation of food and drink, and also from many temptations. He spent his life praying and working until his death at the age of ninety. It was about the year 400.
Other saints: Bl Alphonsus Mazurek and Companions
12 Jun (where celebrated)
He was born in 1891 at Baranowka, near Lubartow, Poland. He entered the Order of Discalced Carmelites in 1908, taking the religious name Alphonsus Mary of the Holy Spirit. He was ordained a priest and appointed as a professor, while dedicating himself to the education of youth. Afterwards he served in his Order as prior and bursar. In 1944, after having been arrested by the troops that had invaded his country, he was shot on 28th August at Nawojowa Gora, near Krzeszowice. He was beatified by John Paul II on 13th June 1999, together with many other Polish martyrs.
Other saints: Bl Hilary Januszewski (1907-1945)
12 Jun (where celebrated)
Hilary Januszweski was born in Krajenki, Poland on 11 June 1907. He was christened Pawel and raised by his parents, Martin and Marianne. At the age of 20, Pawel went to Krakow where he joined the Carmelite Order and took the religious name Hilary. Following the completion of philosophy studies in Krakow, he was sent to Rome for clerical studies at St Albert’s International College. He is remembered during this time by fellow Carmelites as a silent and prudent man who loved studying.
Hilary returned to the Krakow community, Poland in 1935, and was appointed professor of Dogmatic Theology and Church History at the institute of the Polish Carmelite Province. Four years later, in 1939 as world war threatened, he was appointed prior of the Krakow community. In September of the same year, the Gestapo, who had entered Poland, began arresting friars from the Krakow community. During one of these arrests, Father Hilary offered himself in the place of another friar, who was older and suffering sickness. He understood his act to be the duty of his role as prior of the community. After his arrest he was transferred between various concentration camps and ended up at Dachau.
At Dachau, Hilary was joined by other Carmelites who had been arrested, among them, Titus Brandsma. Letters from the time mention a ceremony held in secrecy to celebrate the feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel on 16 July 1942 by a group of imprisoned Carmelites. During the winter of 1945, a typhus epidemic struck the camp. Hilary, knowing that he would likely not survive, volunteered to care for those who were suffering the disease. After 21 days of ministering to the sick and dying, Hilary contracted typhus and died of the disease on 25 March 1945, shortly before the liberation of the concentration camp. Previous Carmelite Prior General, Joseph Chalmers, reflecting on the life of Bl Hilary, wrote: “Had it not been for his heroic death, he would probably have been forgotten, because he never stood out in extraordinary things. But with that strength that grows from a life of prayer, acting in the presence of the Lord – something very typical and genuine of Carmelite spirituality – he gave himself up for others with the same simplicity with which he lived a quiet, hardworking life.”
About the author of the Second Reading in today's Office of Readings:
Second Reading: Origen (184 - 254)
Origen is a giant among early Christian thinkers. He was knowledgeable in all the arguments of the Greek philosophical schools but believed firmly in the Bible as the only source of true inspiration. He is thus a representative of that curious hybrid called “Christianity”, which on the one hand maintains (like the Jews) an ongoing direct relationship with the living God, who is the principle and source of being itself, but on the other hand maintains (like the Greeks) that everything makes sense rationally and it is our duty to make sense of it. As the Gospels say (but the Pentateuch does not), “You shall love the Lord your God with all your mind”.
A first stage in this, when it comes (for example) to disputations with the Jews over their view of Christianity as a recently-founded syncretizing heresy of Judaism, is to decide what Scripture is and what it says. If I argue from my books and you argue from yours, we will never meet; but if we share an agreed foundation, there is some chance. Accordingly Origen compiled a vast synopsis of the different versions of the Old Testament, called the Hexapla. Not all Origen’s specific judgements on soundness were generally accepted, even at the time, but the principle remains a necessary one, indispensable for any constructive meeting of minds.
Origen’s principle of interpretation of Scripture is that as well as having a literal meaning, its laws, stories and narratives point us to eternal and spiritual truths. The prime purpose of Scripture is to convey spiritual truth, and the narrative of historical events is secondary to this. While we still accept that “Scripture provides us with the truths necessary for salvation”, this view does leave room for over-interpretation by the unscrupulous, and in the controversies of succeeding centuries people would either claim Origen as an authority for their own interpretations or accuse their opponents of Origenizing away the plain truths of Scripture. Even today, the literalist view taken by some heretics of narratives in Genesis which most of us accept as allegorical shows that this controversy will never die.
As part of his programme of founding everything on Scripture, Origen produced voluminous commentaries – too many of them for the copyists to keep up, so that today some of them have perished. But what remains has definite value, and extracts from his commentaries and also his sermons are used as some of our Second Readings in the Office of Readings.
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)||Deuteronomy 1:16-17 ©|
At that time I told your judges: You must give your brothers a fair hearing and see justice done between a man and his brother or the stranger who lives with him. You must be impartial in judgement and give an equal hearing to small and great alike. Do not be afraid of any man, for the judgement is God’s.
|Noon reading (Sext)||Isaiah 55:8-9 ©|
My thoughts are not your thoughts,
my ways not your ways – it is the Lord who speaks.
Yes, the heavens are as high above earth
as my ways are above your ways,
my thoughts above your thoughts.
|Afternoon reading (None)||1 Samuel 16:7 ©|
God does not see as man sees; man looks at appearances but the Lord looks at the heart.