A mighty God is the Lord: come, let us adore him.
Year: A(II). Psalm week: 4. Liturgical Colour: Green.
Other saints: Blessed Victoria Rasoamanarivo (1848 - 1894)
Southern Africa: 18 Aug
Madagascar: 21 Aug
She was born in Tananarive in Madagascar to one of the most powerful families of the country.
She was educated by the Jesuits and by the Sisters of the Congregation of St Joseph of Cluny. Her Catholic education made a strong impression on her, and she subsequently asked to be received into the Church.
She was baptized in 1863. During the persecutions that were aimed at the Catholic Mission, her parents tried to get her to give up her faith but she refused. She asked to become a nun but the missionaries felt it wiser not to permit this. She was given in marriage to the son of the Prime Minister, a high officer in the army. Because of her husband’s character and behaviour (he was violent and an alcoholic) the marriage was a true martyrdom for her. Nevertheless she remained faithful to her vows and refused to divorce her husband despite the urgings of her parents and of the queen herself. Christian matrimony, she said, was indissoluble.
Her exemplary Christian life gained her the admiration of the court and the people. This admiration, and her moral authority, made her a providential support of the Catholic Church in Madagascar after the expulsion of the Catholic missionaries. She publicly defended the Catholic Church against the authorities and kept the people’s faith alive. When the missionaries returned in 1886 they found a vigorously flourishing community thanks to Victoria’s virtues and activities. She prayed for her husband’s conversion and when he died in 1888 as a result of an accident, he asked for baptism on his deathbed.
She herself died on 21 August 1894 and was beatified by Pope John Paul II in 1989.
Other saints: Saint Alberto Hurtado Cruchaga (1901-1952)
18 Aug (where celebrated)
Alberto Hurtado Cruchaga (1901-1952) was born in Viña del Mar, Chile. He entered the Jesuit novitiate at Chilean in July 1923, did his religious studies in Spain and Belgium, and was ordained a priest in 1933. On returning to Chile in 1936, he was a teacher, counsellor, retreat director, author and youth organizer. In Santiago he founded the Hogar de Cristo for homeless children. He was also involved in various social action organizations and activities. He died in 1952, and was given full state honours at his burial.
Other saints: Bls John-Baptist Duverneuil, Michael-Aloysius Brulard and James Gagnot (d.1794)
18 Aug (where celebrated)
Fr. Jean-Baptiste Duverneuil (b. 1737 at Limoges), in religion Fr. Leonard, Fr. Michel-Louis Brulard (b. 1758 at Chartres), and Fr. Jacques Gagnot (b. 1753 at Frolois), in religion Fr. Hubert of Saint Claude, were among a group of 64 Martyrs beatified 1st October 1995, victims of the French Revolution who came from 14 French dioceses and from various religious Orders. In their loyalty to God, the Church and the Pope, they refused to take the oath of the Civil Constitution for the Clergy imposed by the Constituent Assembly of the Revolution. As a result they were imprisoned, massed like animals, on a slave-trader in Rochefort Bay, awaiting in vain to be deported into slavery. During 1794, the first two Carmelites died on board ship: Fr. John-Baptist on 1st July, and Fr. Michael-Aloysius on 25th July, both being buried on the island of Aix. After plague broke out on the ship, those remaining disembarked on the island of Madame, where Fr. James died and was buried on 10th September. Noted for their loving ministry to their fellow prisoners and their patience in accepting every type of outrage, privation and cruelty, not to mention the vicissitudes of weather, hunger and sickness, our three Discalced Carmelite priest martyrs and their companions in martyrdom gave unsurpassed Christian witness to their faith and love.
About the author of the Second Reading in today's Office of Readings:
Second Reading: St Bernard of Clairvaux (1090 - 1153)
Bernard was born near Dijon, in France, in 1090, of a noble family. In 1112 he joined the new monastery at Cîteaux. This had been founded fourteen years before, in a bid to reject the laxity and riches of much of the Benedictine Order of the time (as exemplified by the great monasteries such as Cluny) and to return to a primitive poverty and austerity of life.
Bernard arrived at Cîteaux with four of his five brothers and two dozen friends. Within three years he had been sent out to found a new monastery at Clairvaux, in Champagne, where he remained abbot for the rest of his life. By the time of his death, the Cistercian Order (“the Order of Cîteaux”) had grown from one house to 343, of which 68 were daughter houses of Clairvaux itself.
Bernard was a man of great holiness and wisdom, and although he was often in very poor health, he was active in many of the great public debates of the time. He strongly opposed the luxurious lives of some of the clergy, and fought against the persecution of the Jews. He was also a prolific writer, and the Liturgy of the Hours uses extracts from many of his sermons.
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)||1 John 3:17-18 ©|
If a man who was rich enough in this world’s goods saw that one of his brothers was in need, but closed his heart to him, how could the love of God be living in him? My children, our love is not to be just words or mere talk, but something real and active.
|Noon reading (Sext)||Deuteronomy 30:11,14 ©|
This Law that I enjoin on you today is not beyond your strength or beyond your reach. No, the Word is very near to you, it is in your mouth and in your heart for your observance.
|Afternoon reading (None)||Isaiah 55:10-11 ©|
|The word that goes out from my mouth does not return to me empty|
Thus says the Lord: ‘As the rain and the snow come down from the heavens and do not return without watering the earth, making it yield and giving growth to provide seed for the sower and bread for the eating, so the word that goes from my mouth does not return to me empty, without carrying out my will and succeeding in what it was sent to do.’