Christ the Lord was tempted and suffered for us. Come, let us adore him.
Or: O that today you would listen to his voice: harden not your hearts.
Year: A(I). Psalm week: 2. Liturgical Colour: Violet.
Other saints: Saint Aengus (- 824)
He was born near Clonenagh and educated there at the monastic school founded there by St Fintan, not far from the present town of Mountrath. He lived for some time as a hermit and then joined the monastery of Tallaght, near Dublin, under St Maelruain. He was a co-author of a martyrology (written in 790 and the oldest in Ireland) and wrote a long poem, the Féilire, or Festology of the Saints, which he finished in about 805. After St Maelruain’s death he returned to his hermitage, where he died on 11 March 824. See the article in Wikipedia
Other saints: St Constantine (6th century)
Argyll & the Isles
St Constantine has been revered at Govan since time immemorial and there is no reason to doubt that the tradition was based on a real person. But attempts to construct a biography for him have to depend purely on occasional references in chronicles, and there is always the risk of tripping over the problem of “someone else of the same name”. This will happen to all of us eventually: in the year 1,000,000 AD, will anyone be sure of the difference between Thomas More and Thomas Becket, who were both martyred by kings called Henry?
A Constantine was converted to Christianity (Annals of Ulster, 588). A Constantine appears in the Breviary of Aberdeen as entering a monastery in Ireland incognito before joining Saint Mungo (alias Kentigern) and becoming a missionary to the Picts. He is probably the same man. This Constantine was martyred in Scotland about 576 and John of Fordun tells how he was buried at Govan, where his shrine can still be seen today. He is probably not the Saint Constantine of Devon and Cornwall, and certainly not the King Constantine of Dumnonia (south-western Britain) mentioned unfavourably by the chronicler Gildas. The fact that there were separate tribes of Dumnonii in the south-west and in Scotland merely serves to make things even more interesting. But – at the risk of upsetting historians – the only thing that matters to us is that the Constantine we celebrate today has been revered as a saint continuously for a millennium and a half. When all the facts about us are lost, may we also be worthy to be remembered.
About the author of the Second Reading in today's Office of Readings:
Second Reading: St Ambrose of Milan (340? - 397)
Ambrose was born in Trier (now in Germany) between 337 and 340, to a Roman family: his father was praetorian prefect of Gaul. Ambrose was educated at Rome and embarked on the standard cursus honorum of Roman advocates and administrators, at Sirmium, the capital of Illyria. In about 372 he was made prefect of Liguria and Emilia, whose capital was Milan.
In 374 the bishopric of Milan fell vacant and when Ambrose tried to pacify the conflict between the Catholics and Arians over the appointment of a new bishop, the people turned on him and demanded that he become the bishop himself. He was a layman and not yet baptized (at this time it was common for baptism to be delayed and for people to remain for years as catechumens), but that was no defence. Coerced by the people and by the emperor, he was baptized, ordained, and installed as bishop within a week, on 7 December 374.
He immediately gave his money to the poor and his land to the Church and set about learning theology. He had the advantage of knowing Greek, which few people did at that time, and so he was able to read the Eastern theologians and philosophers as well as those of the West.
He was assiduous in carrying out his office, acting with charity to all: a true shepherd and teacher of the faithful. He was unimpressed by status and when the Emperor Theodosius ordered the massacre of 7,000 people in Thessalonica, Ambrose forced him to do public penance. He defended the rights of the Church and attacked the Arian heresy with learning, firmness and gentleness. He also wrote a number of hymns which are still in use today.
Ambrose was a key figure in the conversion of St Augustine to Catholicism, impressing Augustine (hitherto unimpressed by the Catholics he had met) by his intelligence and scholarship. He died on Holy Saturday, 4 April 397.
Liturgical colour: violet
Violet is a dark colour, ‘the gloomy cast of the mortified, denoting affliction and melancholy’. Liturgically, it is the colour of Advent and Lent, the seasons of penance and preparation.
|Mid-morning reading (Terce)
|Apocalypse 3:19-20 ©
I am the one who reproves and disciplines all those he loves: so repent in real earnest. Look, I am standing at the door, knocking. If one of you hears me calling and opens the door, I will come in to share his meal, side by side with him.
|Noon reading (Sext)
|Isaiah 44:21-22 ©
Remember these things, Jacob, and that you are my servant, Israel. I have formed you, you are my servant; Israel, I will not forget you. I have dispelled your faults like a cloud, your sins like a mist. Come back to me, for I have redeemed you.
|Afternoon reading (None)
|Galatians 6:7-8 ©
What a man sows, he reaps. If he sows in the field of self-indulgence he will get a harvest of corruption out of it; if he sows in the field of the Spirit he will get from it a harvest of eternal life.