Universalis
Friday 23 April 2021    (other days)
Friday of the 5th week of Lent 
 (optional commemoration of Saint George, Martyr)
 (optional commemoration of Saint Adalbert of Prague, Bishop, Martyr)

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: B(I). Psalm week: 1. Liturgical Colour: Violet.

St George (- c.303)

He was martyred at Lydda (now in Israel) in about 303, during the persecution of Diocletian. Like so many saints of that period, the only fact that we can be certain of is his martyrdom. His cult spread quickly through both the East and the West, and the legend of St George and the Dragon only appeared some time afterwards.
  During the crusades, George was seen to personify the ideals of Christian chivalry, and he was adopted as the patron saint of several city states and countries, including England and Catalonia. King Richard I of England placed his crusading army under the protection of St George, and in 1222 his feast was proclaimed a holiday.
  See the articles in the Catholic Encyclopaedia and Wikipedia.

St Adalbert of Prague (956 - 997)

(His name is Vojtech in Czech and Wojciech in Polish). He became bishop of Prague in 983. He met with intense opposition from the nobility. He withdrew to Rome but was sent back to his diocese by Pope John XV. He encouraged the evangelization of the Magyars, and founded the great abbey of Brevnov, but the opposition continued and he was at length forced into exile. He went as a missionary to Pomerania to preach the Gospel to the heathen Prussians, and it was there that he was martyred at the age of 41. See the articles in Wikipedia and the Catholic Encyclopaedia.

Other saints: Bl Teresa Maria of the Cross (1846-1910)

23 Apr (where celebrated)
She was born at Campi Bisenzio, Florence, where in 1874 she founded the Congregation of Carmelite Sisters of Saint Teresa, whom she also sent to Lebanon and the Holy Land. She lived joyfully, body and soul, the mystery of the Cross in full conformity to the will of God, and she was outstanding for her love for the Eucharist, and her maternal care for children and for the poor. She died at Campi Bisenzio on 23rd April, 1910.
Carmelite Breviary

About the author of the Second Reading in today's Office of Readings:

Second Reading: Saint Fulgentius of Ruspe (462/7 - 527/ 533)

Fulgentius was bishop of the city of Ruspe in the Roman province of Africa, which is in modern-day Tunisia. At that time Africa and parts of the Near East were ruled by the Vandals, who were Arians, calling themselves Christians but denying the divinity of Christ. As a result Fulgentius’ early career was marked by a series of flights from persecution, as Catholics tried to maintain their faith under Vandal rule. It was a complicated time. In 499 he was tortured for saying that Jesus was both God and man; the next year the Vandal king Thrasamund, impressed by his talents, invited him to return from exile and become a bishop (Fulgentius declined, since he knew that Thrasamund had ordered that none but Arians should be bishops); two years later he was persuaded to become bishop of Ruspe in Tunisia but shortly afterwards he was exiled to Sardinia. Thrasamund invited him back in 515 to debate against the Arians but exiled him again in 520.
  In 523, following the death of Thrasamund and the accession of his Catholic son Hilderic, Fulgentius was allowed to return to Ruspe and try to convert the populace back to the faith. He worked to reform many of the abuses which had infiltrated his old diocese in his absence. The power and effectiveness of his preaching were so profound that his archbishop, Boniface of Carthage, wept openly every time he heard Fulgentius preach, and publicly thanked God for giving such a preacher to his church.

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)Isaiah 53:2-3 ©
Like a sapling he grew up in front of us, like a root in arid ground. Without beauty, without majesty (we saw him), no looks to attract our eyes; a thing despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and familiar with suffering, a man to make people screen their faces; he was despised and we took no account of him.

Noon reading (Sext)Isaiah 53:4-5 ©
And yet ours were the sufferings he bore, ours the sorrows he carried. But we, we thought of him as someone punished, struck by God, and brought low. Yet he was pierced through for our faults, crushed for our sins. On him lies a punishment that brings us peace, and through his wounds we are healed.

Afternoon reading (None)Isaiah 53:6-7 ©
We had all gone astray like sheep, each taking his own way, and the Lord burdened him with the sins of all of us. Harshly dealt with, he bore it humbly, he never opened his mouth, like a lamb that is led to the slaughter-house, like a sheep that is dumb before its shearers never opening its mouth.
Scripture readings taken from The Jerusalem Bible, published and copyright © 1966, 1967 and 1968 by Darton, Longman & Todd, Ltd and Doubleday, a division of Random House, Inc, and used by permission of the publishers. For on-line information about other Random House, Inc. books and authors, see the Internet web site at http://www.randomhouse.com.
 
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