The Lord is the king of virgins: come, let us adore him.
Year: B(II). Psalm week: 2. Liturgical Colour: White.
|Saint Kateri Tekakwitha (1656 - 1680)|
Known as the “Lily of the Mohawks” and the “Geneviève of New France,” she was born in the Mohawk fortress of Ossemenon in what is now New York State, the daugher of a Mohawk warrior and a Catholic Algonquin woman whom he had saved from captivity at the hands of the Iroquois. When she was about four, smallpox killed her parents and her brother and left her scarred and with impaired eyesight. She was adopted by her uncle, the chief of the Turtle clan, and had many offers of marriage. She received some knowledge of Christianity from Jesuit missionaries when she was 11, and she determined to live the life not only of a Christian but of a Christian virgin: a heroic determination at the time. She was baptized when she was 20 and eventually, to escape persecution and death threats, she fled to an established Christian community at Kahnawake in what is now Québec. She advanced in union with God, with bodily mortification and intense prayer, and died at the age of 24. She was beatified by Pope John Paul II on 22 June 1980 and canonized by Pope Benedict XVI on 21 October 2012.
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.
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)||Deuteronomy 8:5-6 ©|
The Lord your God was training you as a man trains his child. Keep the commandments of the Lord your God, and so follow his ways and reverence him.
|Noon reading (Sext)||1 Kings 2:2-3 ©|
Be strong and show yourself a man. Observe the injunctions of the Lord your God, following his ways and keeping his laws, his commandments, his customs and his decrees, so that you may be successful in all you do and undertake.
|Afternoon reading (None)||Jeremiah 6:16 ©|
Put yourselves on the ways of long ago and enquire about the ancient paths: which was the good way? Take it then, and you shall find rest.