The Lord has truly risen, alleluia.
Year: B(I). Psalm week: 4. Liturgical Colour: White.
Pope St Paul VI (1897-1978)
Giovanni Battista Montini was born on 26 September 1897 in the village of Concesio, in the province of Brescia, Lombardy. He was ordained priest on 29 May 1920 and worked in the Roman Curia, the Vatican civil service, until he was made Archbishop of Milan in 1954. He was elected Pope on 21 June 1963, successfully saw the Vatican Council through to its completion, promoted the renewal of the Church’s life and especially of the liturgy. He also promoted ecumenical dialogue and the proclamation of the Gospel to the modern world. He died on 6 August 1978.
He was canonized by Pope Francis in 2018.
In a reflection from 5 August 1963, one and a half months after his election to the See of Peter, Paul VI wrote: “I must return to the beginning: relationship with Christ... that must be the source of the most sincere humility: ‘leave me, for I am a sinful man...’; be it in availability: ‘I will make you fishers...’; be it in the symbiosis of will and grace: ‘for me to live is Christ...’”. Love for Christ and love for his Church. With good reason he could write in Pensiero alla morte: «I pray that the Lord will give me the grace to make of my approaching death a gift of love to the Church. I can say that I have always loved her and I feel that I have lived my life for her and for nothing else”.
When the Holy Spirit chose him as the Successor of Saint Peter, someone already taken by the figure and apostolic activity of Saint Paul, he did not spare his energies in the service of the Gospel of Christ, of the Church and of humanity, seen in the light of the divine plan of salvation. As his teachings show he was a defender of human life, peace and true human progress. He wanted the Church, inspired by the Council and implementing its normative principles, to rediscover ever more her identity, overcoming the divisions of the past and by being ever more attentive to the new age. He wanted the Church of Christ to place the centrality of God and the preaching of the Gospel in the first place, even when she spends herself in the service of the brothers and sisters, in order to build that “civilisation of love” begun by the Holy Spirit at Pentecost.
In Notes for my Last Will and Testament, Paul VI wrote: «No monument for me». Even if a monument was erected in the Duomo of Milan in October 1989, the true monument to Saint Paul VI is the one built by his witness, his works, his apostolic journeys, his ecumenism, his work on the revised Vulgate, in the Liturgical renewal and his many teachings and examples by which he showed forth the face of Christ, the mission of the Church, the vocation of contemporary humanity and reconciling Christian thought with the requirements of the difficult moment in which he, with much suffering, had to guide the Church.
Other saints: Blessed Joseph Gerard (1831 - 1914)
Born in France in 1831, Joseph Gerard joined the Oblates of Mary Immaculate and later was sent to South Africa where the Oblates were opening new missions. After his ordination in 1854, he worked among the Zulu in Natal for ten years before being sent to the Basuto, in today’s Lesotho, where he carried out his missionary ministry and established the Church. He died on 29 May 1914, having spent 60 years as a missionary priest: he was known as “the Apostle of the Basuto”.
Other saints: Bl Elia of St Clement (1901-1927)
29 May (where celebrated)
Blessed Elia of St Clement was born in Bari, 17th January 1901, to deeply Christian parents. At her baptism she was given the name Theodora, gift of God. In the brief course of her life on earth she lived up to her name. On 8th April 1920 (then Feast of St Albert, author of the Carmelite Rule), she entered the Carmel of St Joseph in Bari. She received the habit on 14th November of the same year, the feast of St John of the Cross. On 8th December 1924 she wrote her act of total and definitive offering to the Lord with the vow to embrace the “most perfect”. She died on Christmas day 1927. On 19th December 2005 Pope Benedict XVI signed the Decree of Beatification. She was proclaimed Blessed in Bari Cathedral on 18th March 2006.
Other saints: Bl. William Arnaud OP and Companions, Martyrs
29 May (where celebrated)
Among the eleven martyrs commemorated this day, three were Dominicans. They were part of a band of preachers whose success at Avignonet, to the southwest of Toulouse, induced a number of Albigensian heretics to ambush the group and treacherously murder them on May 29, 1242. As they died they gave witness to the faith by singing the Te Deum. The Dominicans in this group were: Blessed William Arnaud, one of the first Dominicans to be appointed an inquisitor in the diocese of Toulouse; Blessed Bernard of Rochefort, a Dominican priest; and Blessed Garcia d’Aure of Orense, a cooperator brother.
About the author of the Second Reading in today's Office of Readings:
Second Reading: St Cyril of Alexandria (370 - 444)
Cyril was born in 370 . He entered a monastery, became a priest and in 412 succeeded his uncle as Bishop of Alexandria. Alexandria was the largest city in the ancient world. Rather like Los Angeles, it was a sprawling mixture of races and creeds; and it was a byword for the violence of its sectarian politics, whether of Greeks against Jews or of orthodox Christians against heretics.
In 428, Nestorius, the new Patriarch of Constantinople (and hence one of the most important bishops in the world) made statements that could be interpreted as denying the divinity of Christ. The dual nature – human and divine – has always been hard for us to accept or understand, and if it seems easy it is only because we have not thought about it properly. Those who dislike problems have had two responses: to deny the human nature of Christ or to deny his divinity: and either leads to disaster, since both deny the Incarnation and hence the divinisation of human nature.
Cyril fought strongly against the teachings of Nestorius and took the lead at the Council of Ephesus, plunging into the turbulent politics of the time and defending the Catholic faith through to its ultimate victory.
Cyril wrote many works to explain and defend the Catholic faith. He died in 444.
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 5:10-11 ©|
When we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, we were still enemies; now that we have been reconciled, surely we may count on being saved by the life of his Son? Not merely because we have been reconciled but because we are filled with joyful trust in God, through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have already gained our reconciliation.
|Noon reading (Sext)||1 Corinthians 15:20-22 ©|
Christ has been raised from the dead, the first-fruits of all who have fallen asleep. Death came through one man and in the same way the resurrection of the dead has come through one man. Just as all men die in Adam, so all men will be brought to life in Christ.
|Afternoon reading (None)||2 Corinthians 5:14-15 ©|
The love of Christ overwhelms us when we reflect that if one man has died for all, then all men should be dead. The reason he died for all was so that living men should live no longer for themselves, but for him who died and was raised to life for them.