Christ the Lord was tempted and suffered for us. Come, let us adore him.
Or: O that today you would listen to his voice: harden not your hearts.
Year: C(I). Psalm week: 1. Liturgical Colour: Violet.
|Other saints: Blessed John Anne (- 1589)|
It is hard to know who he was. He may have been John Amias, born at Wakefield in Yorkshire, where he married and had a family: on his wife’s death he divided his property among his children and left for the Continent to become a priest. In this case the surname “Anne” would be an alias. But equally he may have been William Anne, youngest son of John and Katherine Anne, of Frickley near Wakefield.
In any case, on 22 June 1580 a widower calling himself “John Amias” entered the English College at Rheims to study for the priesthood. He was ordained a priest in Rheims Cathedral on 25 March 1581 and on 5 June he set out for Paris and then England, as a missionary, in the company of another priest, Edmund Sykes. Little is known of his missionary life. Towards the end of 1588 he was arrested at the house of a Mr. Murton at Melling in Lancashire and imprisoned in York Castle. He was hanged, drawn and quartered outside York on 16 March 1589, together with a fellow priest, Robert Dalby. Both were beatified by Pope Pius XI on 15 December 1929.
About the author of the Second Reading in today's Office of Readings:
|Second Reading: St Aelred of Rievaulx (1110 - 1167)|
Aelred was born in Hexham in around 1109. His family was well connected and at an early age he was sent into the service of King David of Scotland. There he rose to the position of Master of the Royal Household. In time he became attracted to the religious life, but he was also much attached to the life he lived at court and to King David himself. It took a considerable personal struggle for him at the age of 24 to give up his secular pursuits and to enter the newly founded Cistercian monastery of Rievaulx in Yorkshire in 1133. At 34 he moved from there and took charge of a new foundation in Lincolnshire. But within four years he had returned to Rievaulx as Abbot where he remained for the rest of his life. He died in 1167.
Aelred is remembered both for his energy and for his gentleness. His writings and his sermons were characterised by a deep love of the Scriptures and by a very personal love of Christ ‘as friend and Saviour’. He was sensitive and understanding in his dealings with his fellow monks and under his direction the monastery at Rievaulx grew to an extraordinary size. He did not enjoy robust health and the last ten years of his life were marked by a long and painful illness. His position as Abbot required him to travel on visitation to monasteries not only in England and Scotland but even in France, and the physical suffering and exhaustion which this incurred seems to have been considerable. A contemporary account of the last year of his life describes him as being left helpless on his bed unable to speak or move for an hour after celebrating his morning Mass.
Aelred was a singularly attractive figure, a man of great spiritual power but also of warm friendliness and humanity. He has been called the St Bernard of the North.
|40 Days and 40 Ways: Friday, 1st week of Lent|
When the sinner renounces sin to become law-abiding and honest, he deserves to live. He has chosen to renounce all his previous sins; he shall not die. (Ez 18:27-28)
Exile to Babylon was a shock to the People of Israel: at last the Lord had shown that the rebellions against the covenant, the infidelities and idolatries practised must be taken seriously. So he let history take its course and Jerusalem was sacked. But would this situation last for ever? This posed two questions. Can the wicked person convert and change his ways? And, perhaps more pressing, is one generation to bear the penalty of a previous generation?
According to the old morality the cohesion of the family or tribe is such that the guilt of a sin attaches to the whole tribe or family. There are occasions in the history of Israel where the Lord remits the penalty for a sin by delaying it till the next generation. Individual morality has now developed to the extent that each individual is responsible only for his or her own crimes, not for those of the rest of the family, or for those of a previous generation. Further, we are reminded that conversion works both ways: conversion from good to bad brings its own penalties just as much as conversion from bad to good brings its own rewards.
This is an exhortation at the beginning of Lent to think of those sins, failures and mistakes which still weigh us down, and to set about changing our ways.
The Gospel reading for the day is Mt 5:20-26.
Look into the problem of refugees, perhaps on the internet. Can you do anything to help?
This passage is an extract from the booklet “40 Days and 40 Ways” by Dom Henry Wansbrough OSB, published by the Catholic Truth Society and used by permission. “40 Days and 40 Ways” has meditations for each day in Lent. To find out more about the booklet, or to buy it, please visit the CTS web site.
The Universalis Readings at Mass page shows the readings for today’s Mass.
|Liturgical colour: violet|
Violet is a dark colour, ‘the gloomy cast of the mortified, denoting affliction and melancholy’. Liturgically, it is the colour of Advent and Lent, the seasons of penance and preparation.
|Mid-morning reading (Terce)||Isaiah 55:3 ©|
Come to me and listen to my words: hear me, and you shall have life. I will make a covenant with you, this time for ever, to love you faithfully as I have loved David.
|Noon reading (Sext)||(Jeremiah 3:12,14) ©|
Come back, says the Lord, and I will frown on you no more, since I am merciful and I shall not keep my resentment for ever. Come back, disloyal children, says the Lord.
|Afternoon reading (None)||James 1:27 ©|
In the eyes of God our Father, pure unspoilt religion is this: coming to the help of orphans and widows when they need it, and keeping oneself uncontaminated by the world.