Give thanks to the Lord, for his great love is without end.
Year: C(I). 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.
St Antony Mary Zaccaria (1502 - 1539)
He was born in Cremona in Lombardy and started by studying medicine, but soon decided to become a priest instead and was ordained in 1528. He founded the Congregation of Clerks Regular of St Paul, generally known as the Barnabites (after the church that was their headquarters), whose aim was the reform of the clergy and laity. He was part of the general movement to self-reform in a Church that was coming increasingly under attack from the Protestant Reformation.
Other saints: Saint Modwen
The memory of St Modwen is strongly established at Burton-on-Trent where she is venerated as a virgin who lived as a hermit on the island-meadow of Andressey on the Trent. Her name is Irish and she seems to have belonged to the group of Irish monks and hermits who worked for the conversion of Anglo-Saxons in the seventh century; Irish women hermits, such as St Dympna, are also known at that period. The medieval parish church at Burton is dedicated to her; she was adopted as patron of the restored Catholic parish when the Catholic Church in Guild Street was built in 1879.
Other saints: Blessed George Nichols, Richard Yaxley, Thomas Belson, Humphrey Pritchard (-1589)
These four men were executed at Oxford on 5 July 1589. Two were priests: George Nichols, born at Oxford, and Richard Yaxley, born at Boston, Lincolnshire, both ordained at the English College at Rheims. Thomas Belson was a gentleman from Oxfordshire who worked as a layman to support the underground work of the priests in Elizabethan England and had previously been imprisoned and deported; he was 26. All three were arrested at the Catherine Wheel at Oxford, together with Humphrey Pritchard, employed by the widow who owned the public house; she was condemned to perpetual imprisonment. After examination and torture in London, the four were tried and executed at Oxford. Blessed Humphrey Pritchard, the barman, was taunted for his ignorance by some of the university men present at the execution. When he said that he died for being a Catholic, one of them shouted that he was unable to explain what being a Catholic meant. Blessed Humphrey replied: “What I cannot say in words, I will seal with my blood”. They were beatified by Pope John Paul II in 1987.
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: 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 orderly sequence of weeks through the year, a season in which we are being neither single-mindedly penitent (in purple) nor overwhelmingly joyful (in white).
|Mid-morning reading (Terce)||Philippians 2:2-4 ©|
Be united in your convictions and united in your love, with a common purpose and a common mind. There must be no competition among you, no conceit; but everybody is to be self-effacing. Always consider the other person to be better than yourself, so that nobody thinks of his own interests first but everybody thinks of other people’s interests instead.
|Noon reading (Sext)||2 Corinthians 13:4 ©|
He was crucified through weakness, but still he lives now through the power of God. So then, we are weak, as he was, but we shall live with him, through the power of God, for your benefit.
|Afternoon reading (None)||Colossians 3:12-13 ©|
You are God’s chosen race, his saints; he loves you, and you should be clothed in sincere compassion, in kindness and humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with one another; forgive each other as soon as a quarrel begins. The Lord has forgiven you; now you must do the same.