Universalis
Wednesday 18 March 2020    (other days)
Wednesday of the 3rd week of Lent 
 (optional commemoration of Saint Cyril of Jerusalem, Bishop, Doctor)

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: A(II). Psalm week: 3. Liturgical Colour: Violet.

St Cyril of Jerusalem (315 - 386)

Cyril was born in 315 of Christian parents and succeeded Maximus as bishop of Jerusalem in 348. He was active in the Arian controversy and was exiled more than once as a result. His pastoral zeal is especially shown in his Catecheses, in which he expounded orthodox doctrine, holy Scripture and the traditions of the faith. They are still read today, and several of the Second Readings of the Office of Readings are taken from them. He died in 386. He is held in high esteem by both the Catholics and the Orthodox, and he was declared a Doctor of the Church by the Pope in 1883.

Other saints: St Edward the Martyr (962 - 978)

Hallam: 18 Mar
Plymouth: 23 Jun
He was the eldest son of King Edgar of the English, and on Edgar’s death in 975 the kingship was contested, with some supporting Edward’s claim and others supporting his much younger half-brother Æthelred (known to history as ‘Ethelred the Unready’). Edward was chosen as king and was crowned by his main clerical supporters, Archbishops Dunstan and Oswald of Worcester.
  The great nobles of the kingdom quarrelled, and civil war almost broke out. The nobles took advantage of Edward’s weakness to dispossess the Benedictine reformed monasteries of lands and other properties which King Edgar had granted to them. Edward was murdered at Corfe Castle on 18 March 978 in circumstances which are not altogether clear.
  His body was reburied with great ceremony at Shaftesbury Abbey early in 980. In 1001 his remains were moved to a more prominent place in the abbey, probably with the blessing of his half-brother King Æthelred. Edward was already reckoned a saint by this time.

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

Second Reading: Saint Theophilus of Antioch (- c.184)

He was born a pagan, somewhere near the Tigris and Euphrates, and was led to Christianity by studying the Scriptures and especially the prophets. He became Bishop of Antioch in about 169. The Apology to Autolycus is his sole surviving work. In it he explains and defends Christianity to a pagan friend, drawing most of his evidence and arguments from the Old Testament.

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)Ezekiel 18:30-32 ©
Repent, renounce all your sins, avoid all occasions of sin! Shake off all the sins you have committed against me, and make yourselves a new heart and a new spirit! Why are you so anxious to die, House of Israel? I take no pleasure in the death of anyone – it is the Lord who speaks. Repent and live!

Noon reading (Sext)Zechariah 1:3-4 ©
Return to me, says the Lord of Hosts, and I will return to you. Do not be like your ancestors, to whom the prophets in the past cried ‘Turn back from your evil ways and evil deeds’ but they would not listen.

Afternoon reading (None)Daniel 4:24 ©
By virtuous actions break with your sins, break with your crimes by showing mercy to the poor, and so live long and peacefully.
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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