Christ is the son of Mary: come, let us adore him.
Year: A(II). Psalm week: 1. Liturgical Colour: White.
Our Lady of Budslau
The multi-ethnic Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth was destroyed by the Prussian, Austrian and Russian Empires in 1793. Budslau (Belarusian: Будслаў, Polish: Budsław) is in the Mińsk district, which was taken over by the Russian Empire. Between the wars it formed part of the restored Poland; after the Second World War it was ethnically cleansed and became part of the Soviet Union until the Soviet Union itself collapsed in 1989. It is now part of the newly independent country of Belarus.
The miracle-working icon of Our Lady of Budslau has been a focus of pilgrimage since the 16th century. A monastery grew up to serve the pilgrims, and was later destroyed in the wars and revolutions that swept the area; but the icon survived wars, revolutions, and even the attempts by the Soviet secret police to destroy it.
Pilgrims have come from all the successor states of the Commonwealth: Belarus, Poland, Lithuania and Ukraine: secretly in the late 20th-century times of oppression and persecution, but openly since 1992.
This feast was traditionally celebrated on 2 July but in 2012 it was moved to the first Saturday of the month, because “Many believers, including students and priests, expressed their wish to celebrate the feast of Lord’s Mother of Budslau on Saturday because they want to do it to the full. Previously that was not possible because the feast often occurred to be on a workday.”
In other years: St Elizabeth of Portugal (1271 - 1336)
She was the daughter of King Peter III of Aragón and was named after her great-aunt, St Elizabeth of Hungary. She was married to King Denis of Portugal, by whom she had two children. She set up hospitals, orphanages, and other institutions, patiently endured her husband’s infidelities and provided for the education of his bastards, and acted as peacemaker in the quarrelsome and complicated politics of the time.
On her husband’s death in 1325 she retired from public affairs and devoted herself to prayer and the service of the poor. Throughout her life she was faithful and regular in prayer, and daily recited the Liturgy of the Hours.
In 1336 her son, by now King Alfonso IV of Portugal, went to war against King Alfonso XI of Castile. Elizabeth followed the Portuguese army on the field in an effort to bring about peace. She succeeded, but the effort killed her.
The canonization of royal personages may seem offensive to our modern egalitarian principles; but though it may be hard to attain sanctity in a mediaeval kingdom or its equivalent, a modern corporation, with God nothing is impossible.
Other saints: Blessed John Cornelius (-1594)
John Cornelius was born of Irish parents in Bodmin, and his talent was soon noticed by Sir John Arundell of Lanherne, who sent him to Oxford. From there he went to the English College in Rheims, and to Rome, where he was ordained priest. He came back to England, and worked here for ten years, before being arrested at Chideock Castle, where he was acting as chaplain to Lady Arundell. Whilst being escorted to the sheriff’s house he was met on the way by Thomas Bosgrave, a relative of the Arundell family, who offered him his own hat, as he had been dragged out bare-headed. Thereupon Bosgrave was promptly arrested. Two servants of the castle, John (or Terence) Carey and Patrick Salmon, both natives of Dublin, shared the same fate. They were executed at Dorchester on July 4th 1594.
Other saints: Bl Maria Crocifissa Curcio (1877-1957)
4 Jul (where celebrated)
Rosa Curcio was born on 30 January 1877 in Ispica, Sicily, Italy. She was the seventh of ten children born to Salvatore Curcio and Concetta Franzò. As was the general custom of the time, Rosa completed her formal schooling at the age of twelve. In her own readings in the family library she happened upon the Life of St Teresa of Jesus, the impact of which would propel her into her Carmelite journey. At age thirteen she enrolled in the Carmelite Third Order, which had been recently re-established in Ispica. As she grew in her understanding and practice of Carmelite Spirituality she came to discern that her mission was to “make Carmel flourish”.
As a young women she joined other Third Order Carmelites, to live together as a community in a small apartment. Following this experience, she was transferred to Modica and entrusted with the management of Carmela Polara, an institution that supported and educated orphaned and disadvantaged girls. Later still, inspired by her attendance at the canonisation of St Therésè of the Child Jesus in Rome, 1925, Rosa resolved to found a community of missionary Carmelite sisters. In 1930 her Congregation of the Carmelite Missionary Sisters of St Therésè of the Child Jesus was given official recognition. The mission of the congregation was to ‘bring souls to God’ by feeding the poor, educating children and supporting families in Christian living. Following the end of World War II, in 1947 Rosa (now Madre Maria Crocifissa) sent missionary sisters to Brazil to carry out their work. Her passion for mission was lived out in her congregation, as her own health limited her ability to travel throughout her life. Madre Maria Crocifissa died on July 4, 1957 in Porto Santa Rufina, after a life spent in living the Carmelite life of contemplative prayer, community and prophetic action.
About the author of the Second Reading in today's Office of Readings:
Second Reading: St Sophronius of Jerusalem (c.560 - 638)
Sophronius was born in Damascus around 560. He became an ascetic in Egypt about 580 and subsequently entered the monastery of St Theodosius near Bethlehem. He was active in the battle against the heretics who rejected the nature of Christ as both God and man. He became Patriarch of Jerusalem in 634. At that time the Saracen armies under the caliph Umar I were advancing into Palestine, and Jerusalem itself fell in 637, Sophronius negotiating with Umar the terms of a surrender which gave religious freedom to Christians and preserved the Church of the Holy Sepulchre as a Christian church.
Sophronius’ writings show little sign of these grand historical events. He wrote a series of poems in classical style on Christian subjects, and a number of sermons and doctrinal works.
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)||Zephaniah 3:14,15 ©|
Shout for joy, daughter of Zion, Israel, shout aloud! Rejoice, exult with all your heart, daughter of Jerusalem! The Lord, the king of Israel, is in your midst; you have no more evil to fear.
|Noon reading (Sext)||Zechariah 9:9 ©|
Rejoice heart and soul, daughter of Zion! Shout with gladness, daughter of Jerusalem! See now, your king comes to you; he is victorious, he is triumphant.
|Afternoon reading (None)||Judith 13:18-19 ©|
May you be blessed, my daughter, by God Most High,
beyond all women on earth;
and may the Lord God be blessed,
the Creator of heaven and earth,
by whose guidance you cut off the head
of the leader of our enemies.
The trust you have shown
shall not pass from the memories of men,
but shall ever remind them
of the power of God.