How wonderful is God among his saints: come, let us adore him.
Year: B(I). Psalm week: 4. Liturgical Colour: White.
St Edith of Kemsing (961 - 984)
She is also known as Edith of Wilton.
She was the daughter of King Edgar, who abducted Wulfthryth, her mother, from her convent at Wilton, in Wiltshire. (For this act St Dunstan imposed on him the penance of not wearing his crown for seven years). Wulfthryth returned to her cell as soon as she could escape, and Edith was born there. She became a nun with Edgar’s consent, and refused his offers of the abbacy of three different communities, remaining in the cloister under her mother, now Abbess of Wilton.
In 978, after the murder of her half-brother, Edward the Martyr, certain magnates wished her to become Queen, but she refused. She was conspicuous for her personal service of the poor and fondness for wild animals. She had a church of St Denis built at Wilton, and died, at the age of 23, three weeks after its dedication.
In other years: St Robert Bellarmine (1542 - 1621)
He was born in Montepulciano, in Tuscany, and became a Jesuit. He taught theology in Rome, and was active in disputation against the Protestants, where his effectiveness was increased by his charity and moderation. He was a moderating influence in the Galileo affair, and gave Galileo much friendly advice. In due course he was nominated a cardinal and archbishop of Capua; but it is for his writings that he is chiefly known. He did not only write controversial works: he also wrote two catechisms and some devotional commentaries on the Psalms and on the Seven Last Words.
In other years: Saint Hildegard of Bingen (1098-1179)
Hildegard was born in Bermersheim in Germany in 1098, and in 1115 she entered the Benedictine abbey at the Disbodenberg. Around 1150 she founded the monastery at Rupertsberg, near Bingen, which she ruled as abbess.
She was expert both in natural science and in music. In her contemplative prayer she received mystical revelations which she communicated in very many written works, directed at clergy and laity alike. She preached penitence and disproved doctrinal errors, so that even princes and Popes turned to her for advice. She died of an illness in 1179.
Other saints: St Albert of Jerusalem (c.1150-1214)
17 Sep (where celebrated)
St Albert of Jerusalem, as Patriarch of Jerusalem, wrote the foundational document that constitutes the Carmelite Rule in the early thirteenth century, and is honoured as the rule or lawgiver of the Carmelites.
Albert Avogadro was born in Castel Gualetri, Italy, during the middle of the twelfth century. He was educated in theology and law, and entered the Canons Regular of the Holy Cross at Mortara in 1180. Albert, gifted in leadership, was named Bishop of Bobbio in 1184, then Bishop of Vercelli in 1185, and then Patriarch of Jerusalem in 1205. In each of these roles he is noted for his pastoral leadership and skill as a conciliator and peace maker. While he was Patriarch of Jerusalem (1206-1214), Albert wrote a formula vitae, or way of life, for the hermits living on Mount Carmel, the founding community of the Carmelite Order. Often referred to as the Rule of St Albert, the document reveals a deep familiarity with Scripture and an authentic understanding and expression of Christian spirituality. On the 14th September 1214, Albert was attacked and killed during a procession of the Feast of the Holy Cross, in Acre, Israel.
About the author of the Second Reading in today's Office of Readings:
Second Reading: St Augustine of Hippo (354 - 430)
Augustine was born in Thagaste in Africa of a Berber family. He was brought up a Christian but left the Church early and spent a great deal of time seriously seeking the truth, first in the Manichaean heresy, which he abandoned on seeing how nonsensical it was, and then in Neoplatonism, until at length, through the prayers of his mother and the teaching of St Ambrose of Milan, he was converted back to Christianity and baptized in 387, shortly before his mother’s death.
Augustine had a brilliant legal and academic career, but after his conversion he returned home to Africa and led an ascetic life. He was elected Bishop of Hippo and spent 34 years looking after his flock, teaching them, strengthening them in the faith and protecting them strenuously against the errors of the time. He wrote an enormous amount and left a permanent mark on both philosophy and theology. His Confessions, as dazzling in style as they are deep in content, are a landmark of world literature. The Second Readings in the Office of Readings contain extracts from many of his sermons and commentaries and also from the Confessions.
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)||Romans 12:17,19-20,21 ©|
Never repay evil with evil. As scripture says: Vengeance is mine – I will pay them back, says the Lord. But there is more: If your enemy is hungry, you should give him food, and if he is thirsty, let him drink. Resist evil and conquer it with good.
|Noon reading (Sext)||1 John 3:16 ©|
This has taught us love – that he gave up his life for us; and we, too, ought to give up our lives for our brothers.
|Afternoon reading (None)||1 John 4:9-11 ©|
God’s love for us was revealed when God sent into the world his only Son so that we could have life through him; this is the love I mean: not our love for God, but God’s love for us when he sent his Son to be the sacrifice that takes our sins away. My dear people, since God has loved us so much, we too should love one another.