We are the people of the Lord, the flock that is led by his hand: come, let us adore him, alleluia.
Year: C(I). Psalm week: 4. Liturgical Colour: Green.
|In other years: Saint Werburg|
Saint Werburgh belonged to the royal family of Mercia, the last kingdom of Anglo-Saxon England to accept Christianity. Her father, King Wulfhere, was the first Christian King of Mercia. Werburgh became a nun at Ely, but her uncle Etheldred, who had succeeded her father as King in 674, recalled her to Mercia and put her in charge of several monasteries: Weedon (Northants), Hanbury (Staffs) and Threckingham (Lincs). There are no other known facts about her life. Werburgh was venerated as a saint from the time of her death which occurred c. 700; she was buried at Hanbury. When the pagan Danes invaded England in the late 9th century, her relics were taken for safety to Chester. The Cathedral at Chester is dedicated to her.
|In other years: St Ansgar or Oscar (- 865)|
He was born in Amiens at the start of the ninth century and educated at the monastery of Corbie in Picardy. He went as a missionary to Denmark in 826 but had little success; but in Sweden he did better. He was elected Bishop of Hamburg (this was at that time a missionary see dedicated to evangelizing the North) and appointed papal legate to Denmark and Sweden by Pope Gregory IV. He encountered huge difficulties in his work of evangelization but he overcame them. He died in Bremen on 3 February 865.
He is known as “the apostle of the North.” His diaries are an important documentary source for early Scandinavian history. See also the articles in Wikipedia
and the Catholic Encyclopaedia
|In other years: St Blaise|
He was bishop of Sebaste and was martyred, probably early in the fourth century. Devotion to him spread throughout the Church during the Middle Ages. He is particularly invoked for disorders of the throat. See the articles in the Catholic Encyclopaedia
|Other saints: St Laurence of Canterbury (- 619)|
He was one of the original missionaries who came from Rome with St Augustine in 597. He succeeded Augustine as Archbishop of Canterbury in about 604. He died at Canterbury on 3 February 619. See the articles in the Catholic Encyclopaedia
|Other saints: St Dunstan of Canterbury (- 988)|
His career began at Glastonbury, where he became abbot in 945. In 960 he became Archbishop of Canterbury, where he remained until his death on 19 May 988. He worked hard for the spiritual and temporal well-being of his people, restoring churches, judging lawsuits, defending the weak and friendless, reforming institutions and even promoting the draining of parts of the Somerset Levels so that they could be used for agriculture. In folklore he figures in many duels with the Devil, which he wins by ingenuity as much as by holiness. See the articles in the Catholic Encyclopaedia
|Other saints: St Theodore of Canterbury (602 - 690)|
He was born in Tarsus in about 602. In 667 he was living in Rome, still a layman, when the Pope chose him to be Archbishop of Canterbury. He was ordained priest, consecrated as Archbishop, and arrived in Canterbury in May 669. The English Church at this time was troubled and divided, and he travelled round the country filling vacant bishoprics and promoting peace and unity. He died at Canterbury on 19 September 690. See the article in the Catholic Encyclopaedia
|Other saints: St Anne Line, née Heigham (1565? - 1601)|
She was the daughter of William Heigham of Dunmow, Essex, a gentleman of means and an ardent Calvinist. When she and her brother announced their intention of becoming Catholics they were both disinherited and driven from home. In 1585 Anne married Roger Line, also a convert, and lived for a time in his home town of Ringwood, now in the Diocese. Shortly after their marriage he was arrested for attending Mass and imprisoned. After a short confinement he was allowed to go into exile in Flanders, where he died in 1594.
Anne became housekeeper to Fr John Gerard SJ, who had established a house in London offering refuge to priests. She took vows of poverty, chastity and obedience in order to be more completely dedicated to her work. After Fr Gerard’s escape from the Tower in 1597, Anne moved to another house which became a rallying-point for neighbouring Catholics.
On 2 February 1601 Fr Francis Page was saying Mass in the house when priest-catchers broke in to arrest him. Fr Page quickly unvested and slipped into a hiding place prepared for him by Anne, but the altar prepared for the service was still visible. Although Fr Page subsequently escaped, Anne was arrested with two other lay people and tried at the Old Bailey on 26 February 1601. She was so weak that she was brought to trial in a chair. She told the court that, far from regretting having concealed a priest, her only grief was that she “could not receive a thousand more”. She was sentenced to hang the next day at Tyburn. Anne was executed immediately before two priests, Fr Roger Filcock SJ and Fr Mark Barkworth OSB, though as a woman she was spared the disembowelling that they endured. At the scaffold she repeated what she had said at her trial, declaring loudly to the bystanders: “I am sentenced to die for harbouring a Catholic priest, and so far I am from repenting for having so done, that I wish, with all my soul, that where I have entertained one, I could have entertained a thousand.”
About the author of the Second Reading in today's Office of Readings:
|Second Reading: St Ignatius of Antioch (- 107)|
He was the second bishop of Antioch after St Peter (the first being Evodius). He was arrested (some writers believe that he must have been denounced by a fellow-Christian), condemned to death, and transported to Rome to be thrown to the wild beasts in the arena. In one of his letters he describes the soldiers who were escorting him as being like “ten leopards, who when they are kindly treated only behave worse.”
In the course of his journey he wrote seven letters to various churches, in which he dealt wisely and deeply with Christ, the organisation of the Church, and the Christian life. They are important documents for the early history of the Church, and they also reveal a deeply holy man who accepts his fate and begs the Christians in Rome not to try to deprive him of the crown of martyrdom.
He was martyred in 107.
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 season in which we are being neither especially penitent (in purple) nor overwhelmingly joyful (in white).
|Mid-morning reading (Terce)||1 Corinthians 6:19-20 ©|
Your body, you know, is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you since you received him from God. You are not your own property; you have been bought and paid for. That is why you should use your body for the glory of God.
|Noon reading (Sext)||Deuteronomy 10:12 ©|
And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God ask of you? Only this: to fear the Lord your God, to follow all his ways, to love him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and all your soul.
|Afternoon reading (None)||Song of Songs 8:6-7 ©|
Love is strong as death,
jealousy as relentless as Sheol.
The flash of it is a flash of fire,
a flame of the Lord himself.
Love no floods can quench,
no torrents drown.