Christ is the spouse of the Church: come, let us adore him.
Year: B(I). Psalm week: 1. Liturgical Colour: White.
Dedication of the Cathedral of St Joseph
The cathedral church is the church that is the site of the bishop’s cathedra (chair), the sign of his teaching office and pastoral power in a particular Church. Just as the church building is built of many stones, so too does the cathedral symbolize the local Church in the Apostolic Vicariate built up of the many believers together with the bishop, who is the foundation and sign of communion. Thus the cathedral serves as a reminder of the unity of the Body of Christ in a particular territory, a unity centre around its chief pastor, the Bishop, and rooted in the faith he proclaims as teacher and shepherd of the Lord’s flock. For this reason, the Ceremonial of Bishops (n. 878), the Roman Pontifical (Dedication of a Church and Altar II, 26) and the Universal Norms for the Calendar (n. 52) direct that the Anniversary of the Dedication of the Cathedral be observed with the rank of Feast in all churches of a territory, even by exempt religious.
The church of St. Joseph was consecrated first on February 19, 1965. Upon the expulsion and relocation of clergy and religious in 1974 from the See in Yemen, following the domestic upheavals of that country, it was raised to a cathedral and became the seat of the Apostolic Vicar of Arabia. Following the civil reclamation of the property after a decision of the Ruler of Abu Dhabi, a new cathedral was built in the present location in Al Mushrif and solemnly dedicated to the glory of God in honour of St. Joseph, the Guardian of Christ and Protector of the Universal Church, on 25 February 1983.
Other saints: St Ethelbert (c.560 - 616)
Ethelbert, or Aethelberht, was King of Kent from about 580 or 590 until his death. He was the first king in England to convert to Christianity: according to Bede, this happened shortly after St Augustine arrived on his mission to the English. He helped the Church to establish itself by making it a gift of land at Canterbury.
Other saints: Bl. Maria Adeodata Pisani (1806 - 1855)
She was the daughter of noble Maltese parents, who separated while she was still a small child. She renounced her wealth and position and became a nun at the age of 21 despite her mother’s disapproval. She was beatified by Pope John Paul II in 2001.
Other saints: St Walburga (- 776)
Walburga was the daughter of the saintly Saxon prince Richard of Wessex. At the invitation of St Boniface, she accompanied her brothers SS. Willibald and Winebald to Germany, where she founded monasteries. She died on May 11th 776, as Abbess of Heidenheim, and her body was placed in a rocky niche in Eichstadt. It was said that there began to exude from this place a miraculously therapeutic oil, which drew many pilgrims.
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.
Other notes: Stanisław Leon Kochanski (1923 - 1999)
On this day in 1999 died Staszek Kochanski, father of Martin Kochanski, the founder of Universalis. Please pray for the repose of his soul; and for his son and daughter, who survive him.
If you would like to follow the funeral service, you can do so here
|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.