Come, let us adore the Lord, for he is our God.
Year: B(I). Psalm week: 3. Liturgical Colour: Green.
St Peter Claver (1581 - 1654)
He was born in Catalonia and studied at the University of Barcelona. He became a Jesuit; and while he was studying philosophy in Mallorca, the door-keeper of the college, Alfonso Rodríguez, saw that his true vocation was to evangelize the New World, and encouraged him to fulfil that vocation. (Rodríguez was later canonized on the same day as Peter Claver himself).
He arrived in Cartagena, in what is now Colombia, in 1610, and after his ordination six years later he became ‘the slave of the Negroes forever’, labouring on their behalf for 33 years, attending to both their spiritual and material needs. The slave trade was repeatedly condemned by the Popes; but it was too profitable to be stopped and on the whole the local church hierarchy kept quiet about it, much as they did in North America in the 19th century.
He brought fresh food to the slave-ships as they arrived, instructed the slaves and baptized them in the faith, followed their progress and kept track of them even when they were sent to the mines and plantations, defending them as well as he could from oppressive slave-owners. He organized teams of catechists who spoke the many languages spoken by the slaves. He worked in hospitals also, looking after lepers among others, and in prisons.
Naturally he made himself unpopular by his work: as his superior said, ‘unfortunately for himself he is a Catalan, pig-headed and difficult’. Opposition came from both within the Church and outside it, but there were always exceptions. For instance, while many fashionable ladies refused to enter his city churches because they had been profaned by the presence of the blacks, a few, such as Doña Isabel de Urbina, became his strong and lifelong supporters.
At the end of his life he fell ill with a degenerative disease and for four years he was treated neglectfully and brutally by the servant whose task it was to look after him. He did not complain but accepted his sufferings as a penance for his sins.
Other saints: Saint Ciarán of Clonmacnoise (516 - 546)
He was born in 516 in County Roscommon, Connacht, in Ireland. He studied under St Finian and later under St Enda. On Enda’s advice he founded the monastery of Clonmacnoise in 545. He was a teacher of St Carthage. See the article in Wikipedia
Other saints: Saint Osburg (-1018)
Saint Osburg was the first Abbess of a monastery founded at Coventry by King Canute at the beginning of the eleventh century. She died around 1018. Although nothing else is known about her, there was a strong cult to St Osburg in the City of Coventry during the Middle Ages. In the nineteenth-century revival of Catholicism, Bishop Ullathorne dedicated the first Catholic Church in the city to her. September 9 is the date when Bishop Wiseman consecrated the new Church of St Osburg in Coventry in 1845.
About the author of the Second Reading in today's Office of Readings:
Second Reading: St Bruno (c.1033 - 1101)
Bruno was born at Cologne and educated partly at Reims. He was head of the episcopal school there for almost 20 years. In 1075 he was appointed chancellor of the church of Reims and had to devote himself to the administration of the diocese. The bishop at that time, Manasses de Gournai, was impious, corrupt, and violent. Through the intervention of Bruno and others, the Council of Autun suspended Manasses, who retaliated by demolishing the houses of his accusers and confiscating their goods. In 1080 a final decision of the Pope, together with a popular uprising, deposed Manasses.
Bruno was the obvious candidate as his successor – nearly 50, known and trusted, and experienced in administration. But in 1077 he and two of his fellow-canons at Reims had made a vow to abandon the world and enter the religious life. It had not been possible to act on that vow at the time. Now it was. Bruno fled.
He went first to join St Robert, who had settled at Molesme and gathered followers round him, who were later to become the Cistercian Order. But this was not his vocation. In 1084, with six of his companions, he presented himself to St Hugh of Châteauneuf, Bishop of Grenoble, who installed them in a wild spot called Chartreuse, not far from Grenoble, among steep rocks and snow-covered mountains. They built a small monastery where they lived in deep retreat and poverty, entirely occupied in prayer and study.
In 1088 one of Bruno’s pupils from Reims became Pope Urban II and resolved to continue the work of reform begun by Gregory VII. In 1090 Urban summoned Bruno to Rome to help. Narrowly avoiding being elected bishop again – of Reggio in Calabria, this time, which he escaped by getting one of his former pupils to be elected instead – Bruno managed to persuade the Pope to let him resume the solitary life. He founded a new monastery in the diocese of Squillace in Calabria, and for the rest of his life led an amphibian existence, being called away from time to time to help the Pope in his project of reform, but always returning.
Bruno pioneered the “mixed” form of religious life, of hermits who live together in a community. He did not plan to found an Order, but the seed he had planted at Chartreuse grew into the Carthusian Order, which continues to this day, with some 24 houses spread across the world.
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)||Wisdom 19:22 ©|
Lord, in every way you have made your people great and glorious. You have never disdained them, but stood by them always and everywhere.
|Noon reading (Sext)||Deuteronomy 4:7 ©|
What great nation is there that has its gods so near as the Lord our God is to us whenever we call to him?
|Afternoon reading (None)||Esther 10:3 ©|
The single nation, mine, is Israel, those who cried out to God and were saved. Yes, the Lord has saved his people, the Lord has delivered us from all these evils, God has worked such signs and great wonders as have never happened among the nations.