Universalis
Thursday 4 February 2021    (other days)
Saint John de Britto, Martyr 
 on Thursday of week 4 in Ordinary Time

The Lord is the king of martyrs: come, let us adore him.

Year: B(I). Psalm week: 4. Liturgical Colour: Red.

St John de Britto (1647 - 1693)

He was born in Lisbon on 1 March, 1647 and brought up at the royal court there. He became a Jesuit at the age of 15, and was given Madura in southern India as his missionary field.
  In September, 1673, he reached Goa. He apparently entered the Kshatriyas, a noble caste. His dress was yellow cotton; he abstained from every kind of animal food and from wine. Setting out early in 1674, he traversed the Ghauts on foot and reached Colei in the Cauvery Delta, where he perfected himself in the language. He journeyed northward at least as far as Madras and Vellore, but Cauvery Delta, Tanjore, Madura, and Marava, between Madura and the sea, were his chief field. In 1684 he was imprisoned in Marava, and, though freed by the king, he was expelled from the country. In 1688 he was sent to Europe as deputy to the triennial Congregation of Procurators. Resisting urgent attempts to keep him in Portugal, and refusing the Archbishopric of Cranganore, he returned in 1691 to the borders of Madura and Marava. Having converted Teriadeven, a Maravese prince, he required him to dismiss all his wives but one. Among them was a niece of the king, who took up her quarrel and began a general persecution. De Britto and others were taken and carried to the capital, Ramnad, the Brahmins clamouring for his death. Thence he was led to Oreiour, some thirty miles northward along the coast, where he was beheaded on 11 February, 1693. He was beatified by Pope Pius IX on 21 August 1853 and canonized by Pope Pius XII on 22 June 1947.

Other saints: St Gilbert of Sempringham (1083 - 1190)

Hallam, Nottingham
He was born at Sempringham, near Bourne in Lincolnshire, the son of Jocelin, an Anglo-Norman lord of the manor, who sent him to the University of Paris to study theology; it may be that he had some deformity which barred him from the military career which would normally have been expected. When he returned home in 1120 he became a clerk in the household of Robert Bloet, Bishop of Lincoln, started a school for boys and girls, and was finally ordained by Robert’s successor, Alexander.
  When his father died in 1130 and he became lord of the manor of Sempringham, he used his inherited wealth to found an order of monks and nuns, known as the Gilbertines.
  When he was 90, some of his lay brothers revolted and spread serious calumnies against him, but he received the support of King Henry II, and Pope Alexander III freed him from suspicion and confirmed the privileges granted to the order. Gilbert resigned his office late in life because of blindness and ill health, and died at Sempringham in about 1190, at the age of 106.

Other saints: Blessed Marie-Eugène Grialou (1894-1967)

4 Feb (where celebrated)
Henri Grialou was born in Aubin, in Aveyron (France), on December 2, 1894. After his priestly ordination on February 4, 1922, he was captivated by the doctrine of St Thérèse of the Child Jesus and St John of the Cross and decided to join the Discalced Carmelites. After serving as superior in France, in 1937 he was elected to serve as a General Definitor of the Order in Rome. In 1948, he was appointed Apostolic Visitor of the Discalced Carmelite nuns in France and religious assistant to their federations. From 1955 he was able to devote himself full-time to the secular institute Notre Dame de Vie, which he started in 1932. He died in Venasque on March 27th, 1967, the feast day of the institute. He was beatified in 2016 by Pope Francis.

Other saints: St. Catherine de' Ricci OP (1522 - 1590)

4 Feb (where celebrated)
Dominican Sister and Virgin.
  Alessandra de’ Ricci was born of a noble family near Florence in 1522. At the age of twelve she entered the Dominican convent of St. Vincent at Prato and took the religious name Catherine. Inspired by Girolamo Savonarola she worked constantly to promote the regular life. She was favored with extraordinary mystical experiences and at the age of twenty began to experience the sacred stigmata and weekly ecstasies of the Passion. These phenomena continued for twenty years. Despite her intense mystical life of prayer and her penance, Catherine served as prioress of the convent for thirty-six years. She was noted as a kind and considerate superior, particularly gentle with the sick. She died on February 2, 1590.

About the author of the Second Reading in today's Office of Readings:

Second Reading: St Cyril of Jerusalem (315 - 386)

Cyril was born in 315 of Christian parents and succeeded Maximus as bishop of Jerusalem in 348. He was active in the Arian controversy and was exiled more than once as a result. His pastoral zeal is especially shown in his Catecheses, in which he expounded orthodox doctrine, holy Scripture and the traditions of the faith. They are still read today, and several of the Second Readings of the Office of Readings are taken from them. He died in 386. He is held in high esteem by both the Catholics and the Orthodox, and he was declared a Doctor of the Church by the Pope in 1883.

Liturgical colour: red

Red is the colour of fire and of blood. Liturgically, it is used to celebrate the fire of the Holy Spirit (for instance, at Pentecost) and the blood of the martyrs.

Mid-morning reading (Terce)1 John 3:23-24 ©
God’s commandments are these:
that we believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ
and that we love one another
as he told us to.
Whoever keeps his commandments
lives in God and God lives in him.
We know that he lives in us
by the Spirit that he has given us.

Noon reading (Sext)Wisdom 1:1-2 ©
Love virtue, you who are judges on earth, let honesty prompt your thinking about the Lord, seek him in simplicity of heart; since he is to be found by those who do not put him to the test, he shows himself to those who do not distrust him.

Afternoon reading (None)Hebrews 12:1-2 ©
We should throw off everything that hinders us, especially the sin that clings so easily, and keep running steadily in the race we have started. Let us not lose sight of Jesus, who leads us in our faith and brings it to perfection: for the sake of the joy which was still in the future, he endured the cross, disregarding the shamefulness of it, and from now on has taken his place at the right of God’s throne.
Scripture readings taken from The Jerusalem Bible, published and copyright © 1966, 1967 and 1968 by Darton, Longman & Todd, Ltd and Doubleday, a division of Random House, Inc, and used by permission of the publishers. For on-line information about other Random House, Inc. books and authors, see the Internet web site at http://www.randomhouse.com.
 
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