The Lord is the source of all wisdom: come, let us adore him
Year: A(I). Psalm week: 2. Liturgical Colour: White.
|St Bonaventure (1218 - 1274)|
He was born at Bagnoregio in Etruria in about 1218. He became a Franciscan in 1243 and studied philosophy and theology at the University of Paris. He became a famous teacher and philosopher, part of the extraordinary intellectual flowering of the 13th century. He was a friend and colleague of St Thomas Aquinas.
At this time the friars were still a new and revolutionary force in the Church, and their radical embracing of poverty and rejection of institutional structures raised suspicion and opposition from many quarters. Bonaventure defended the Franciscan Order and, after he was elected general of the order in 1255, he ruled it with wisdom and prudence. He is regarded as the second founder of the Order.
He declined the archbishopric of York in 1265 but was made cardinal bishop of Albano in 1273, dying a year later in 1274 at the Council of Lyons, at which the Greek and Latin churches were (briefly) reconciled.
Bonaventure wrote extensively on philosophy and theology, making a permanent mark on intellectual history; but he always insisted that the simple and uneducated could have a clearer knowledge of God than the wise.
He was declared a Doctor of the Church in 1588 by Pope Sixtus V.
|Other saints: St Swithun (- 862)|
Little is known of St Swithun’s life. Born in Wessex, his name is sometimes spelled ‘Swithin’. He died on 2 July 862, though the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle says 861. He left orders that his body was not to be buried within the church but outside in a “vile and unworthy place”.
Egbert, King of Wessex, chose Swithun as his chaplain and entrusted to him the education of his son Æthelwulf, who succeeded to the throne in 839. Æthelwulf appointed Swithun Bishop of Winchester in 852 and during the ten years of his episcopate he became famous for his charitable gifts and for his activity in the building of churches. He is reputed to have accompanied King Alfred to Rome in 856.
His body was moved from its almost unknown grave into the Old Minster at Winchester on 15 July 971, and this day became his feast-day. His transferral was preceded and followed by numerous miracles. His body was probably later split between a number of smaller shrines. His head was certainly detached and taken to Canterbury Cathedral, while one his arms found a resting place in Peterborough Abbey. His main shrine was transferred to the present (then new) Norman cathedral of Winchester in 1093. His remains were installed on a ‘feretory platform’ above and behind the high altar (the feretory chapel still exists). His shrine became a great focus for pilgrims, and the cathedral’s retrochoir was built in the early 13th century to accommodate the large numbers of people wishing to visit his shrine and enter the ‘holy hole’ beneath him. His shrine was moved into the retrochoir in 1476. It was demolished in 1538 during the ‘English Reformation’, and a modern representation was placed on the site by the Dean and Chapter in 1962.
|Other saints: St Osmund of Salisbury (-1099)|
Plymouth: 2 Dec
Hexham & Newcastle: 4 Dec
Osmund, bishop of Sarum or Salisbury, was Norman by birth, the son of Henry, count of Seez; he followed William the Conqueror to England. Here he became Royal Chaplain, until he was promoted to be Chancellor in 1072. He wrote royal letters and charters, obtaining useful experience as an administrator. In 1078 he succeeded Herman as Bishop of Salisbury. The see had been formed by uniting those of Sherborne and Ramsbury and making the new centre at Old Sarum, where the cathedral was built in the same enclosure as the royal castle. Osmund completed and consecrated this cathedral, and formed a chapter with its own constitution, which later became a model for other English cathedrals.
Osmund died on 3rd or 4th December 1099 and was buried in his cathedral at Old Sarum. His chasuble and staff were among the treasures there in 1222; but in 1226 his body and its tomb were translated to the new cathedral of Salisbury.
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)||Deuteronomy 8:5-6 ©|
The Lord your God was training you as a man trains his child. Keep the commandments of the Lord your God, and so follow his ways and reverence him.
|Noon reading (Sext)||1 Kings 2:2-3 ©|
Be strong and show yourself a man. Observe the injunctions of the Lord your God, following his ways and keeping his laws, his commandments, his customs and his decrees, so that you may be successful in all you do and undertake.
|Afternoon reading (None)||Jeremiah 6:16 ©|
Put yourselves on the ways of long ago and enquire about the ancient paths: which was the good way? Take it then, and you shall find rest.