Christ is the spouse of the Church: come, let us adore him.
Year: C(I). Psalm week: 1. Liturgical Colour: White.
The Dedication of Hallam Cathedral
On the 30th of May 1980, the new diocese of Hallam was created with Saint Marie’s as its Cathedral Church. It was formed by the division of the Dioceses of Leeds and Nottingham and consisted of the County of South Yorkshire, parts of the High Peak and Chesterfield Districts of Derbyshire, and the District of Bassetlaw in Nottinghamshire. Bishop Gerald Moverley was installed as its first bishop and served as Bishop until his death in 1996. In 1997 Bishop John Rawsthorne was installed at St Marie’s as the second Bishop of Hallam until his retirement in 2014. Bishop Ralph Heskett CSsR was translated to the See of Hallam from Gibraltar to become the third Bishop of Hallam in a ceremony conducted at Saint Marie’s Cathedral on 10 July 2014. The diocese was formed under the patronage of Our Lady of Perpetual Succour.
In other years: Pope St Clement I
Clement was Bishop of Rome after Peter, Linus and Cletus. He lived towards the end of the first century, but nothing is known for certain about his life. Clement’s letter to the Corinthian church has survived. It is the first known Patristic document, and exhorts them to peace and brotherly harmony.
In other years: Saint Columbanus, Abbot (540? - 615)
He was born in Ireland before the middle of the sixth century. He was a monk from his youth and was learned in both sacred and secular literature. At the age of 45 he left Ireland and went to Europe, where he founded three monasteries in what is now France. His monastic rule was strict, based on Irish practice.
King Thierry II of Burgundy had a veneration for Columbanus and often visited him. Columbanus’s criticisms of Thierry’s debauched living and practice of concubinage enraged the king’s grandmother Brunhild, and eventually Columbanus and all other Irish-born monks were ordered to be deported to Ireland. They eluded their captors, and after an unsuccessful attempt to evangelize the pagan tribes near modern-day Zürich they reached Italy, where Columbanus founded the monastery at Bobbio. He died there in 615.
The Rule of St Columbanus was eventually superseded by the milder Rule of St Benedict. Columbanus’s writings are among the earliest evidence of Irish knowledge of Latin. Some of what he wrote related to ecclesiastical controversies of the time and is no longer read, but several extracts from his “Instructions” are still part of the Office of Readings. His style combines an underlying passion with a strong and rhythmic rhetorical structure.
Other saints: Blessed Miguel Agustín Pro (1891 - 1927)
He was born into a mining family in the Mexican state of Zacatecas. He joined the Jesuits in 1911. Government persecution forced the Jesuits to flee to California in 1914, from where he went to study at Granada in Spain. He left there in 1919 and taught in Nicaragua until 1922. Because of his mining background and his natural ability to get on with people, he was sent to Enghien in Belgium to study Catholic labour movements. After his ordination in 1925 he worked among the miners in Charleroi.
He returned to Mexico in 1926 because it was thought that his health (which was always poor) would improve in the warm climate. At this time the Church was being severely persecuted. Under the Mexican constitution religious education was banned, and priests were forbidden to wear clerical clothes, speak in public, or vote. In some Mexican states all churches had been closed, many priests had been killed, and the few remaining ones had to work underground at the risk of their lives.
Pro celebrated the Eucharist clandestinely and administered the other sacraments to small groups of Catholics. He was arrested once in October 1926, and then in November 1927 he was falsely accused of an assassination attempt on the ex-president and executed without trial. Detailed photographs of his execution were widely published in Mexican newspapers to intimidate Mexican Catholics, but they were treated as holy pictures by the faithful and had the opposite effect.
About the author of the Second Reading in today's Office of Readings:
Second Reading: Origen (184 - 254)
Origen is a giant among early Christian thinkers. He was knowledgeable in all the arguments of the Greek philosophical schools but believed firmly in the Bible as the only source of true inspiration. He is thus a representative of that curious hybrid called “Christianity”, which on the one hand maintains (like the Jews) an ongoing direct relationship with the living God, who is the principle and source of being itself, but on the other hand maintains (like the Greeks) that everything makes sense rationally and it is our duty to make sense of it. As the Gospels say (but the Pentateuch does not), “You shall love the Lord your God with all your mind”.
A first stage in this, when it comes (for example) to disputations with the Jews over their view of Christianity as a recently-founded syncretizing heresy of Judaism, is to decide what Scripture is and what it says. If I argue from my books and you argue from yours, we will never meet; but if we share an agreed foundation, there is some chance. Accordingly Origen compiled a vast synopsis of the different versions of the Old Testament, called the Hexapla. Not all Origen’s specific judgements on soundness were generally accepted, even at the time, but the principle remains a necessary one, indispensable for any constructive meeting of minds.
Origen’s principle of interpretation of Scripture is that as well as having a literal meaning, its laws, stories and narratives point us to eternal and spiritual truths. The prime purpose of Scripture is to convey spiritual truth, and the narrative of historical events is secondary to this. While we still accept that “Scripture provides us with the truths necessary for salvation”, this view does leave room for over-interpretation by the unscrupulous, and in the controversies of succeeding centuries people would either claim Origen as an authority for their own interpretations or accuse their opponents of Origenizing away the plain truths of Scripture. Even today, the literalist view taken by some heretics of narratives in Genesis which most of us accept as allegorical shows that this controversy will never die.
As part of his programme of founding everything on Scripture, Origen produced voluminous commentaries – too many of them for the copyists to keep up, so that today some of them have perished. But what remains has definite value, and extracts from his commentaries and also his sermons are used as some of our Second Readings in the Office of Readings.
Liturgical colour: white
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)||1 Corinthians 3:16-17 ©|
Do you not realise that you are God’s temple and that the Spirit of God is living among you? If anybody should destroy the temple of God, God will destroy him, because the temple of God is sacred; and you are that temple.
|Noon reading (Sext)||2 Corinthians 6:16 ©|
The temple of God has no common ground with idols, and that is what we are – the temple of the living God. We have God’s word for it: I will make my home among them and live with them; I will be their God and they shall be my people.
|Afternoon reading (None)||Jeremiah 7:2,4-5,7 ©|
Listen to the word of the Lord, all you men of Judah who come in by these gates to worship the Lord. Put no trust in delusive words like these: ‘This is the sanctuary of the Lord, the sanctuary of the Lord, the sanctuary of the Lord!’ Since if you amend your behaviour and your actions, I will permit you to remain in this place and live in it.