Christ the Lord has promised us the Holy Spirit: come, let us adore him, alleluia.
Year: A(II). Psalm week: 3. Liturgical Colour: White.
Other saints: Our Lady, Help of Christians
Malaysia, Poland, New Zealand, Southern Africa: 24 May
Australia, Shrewsbury, Slovenia: 25 May
‘This is your mother.’ Under the title of Help of Christians, Mary was chosen as Patroness of Australasia by the First Provincial Synod, convened by Archbishop Bede Polding, in Sydney in 1844. The fledgling colonies needed Mary’s help at that time, as the nation does today. We are helped through Mary’s powerful intercession, and through the example of her life that we find in the Gospels. See also the article in the Catholic Encyclopaedia.
Other saints: Blessed Louis-Zépherin Moreau (1824 - 1901)
He was bishop of the St Hyacinthe diocese in Quebec for 25 years, from 1876 until his death.
Other saints: St Aldhelm
Aldhelm became a monk at Malmesbury, but completed his education at Canterbury. In about 675 he became Abbot of Malmesbury, and made foundations at Frome and Bradford-on-Avon. When the Wessex diocese was divided in 705 he became the first bishop of its western half, Sherborne, without ceasing to rule the abbey at Malmesbury.
He was renowned for his learning and sanctity. He wrote both prose and verse, and set his verse to music. Finding the people of his time somewhat dilatory in their church attendance, it is said that he would stand up in public places, singing songs and preaching sermons to attract people to the faith. His Old English verse, sung with harp accompaniment, has not survived, so we can judge this Anglo-Saxon writer only by his Latin works. It is thought that he invented the crossword puzzle. He died at Doulting near Wells in Somerset, and was buried at Malmesbury. His cult was discontinued by Lanfranc, but Osmund authorised its resumption with the translation of his relics in 1078.
About the author of the Second Reading in today's Office of Readings:
Second Reading: St Gregory of Nyssa (335 - 395)
Gregory of Nyssa was the younger brother of St Basil of Caesarea (“St Basil the Great”). He, Basil and Gregory Nazianzen, “Gregory of Nazianzus”, are known as the Cappadocian Fathers. They were active after the Council of Nicaea, working to formulate Trinitarian doctrine precisely and, in particular, to pin down the meaning and role of the least humanly comprehensible member of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit. Basil was the leader and organizer; Gregory of Nazianzus was the thinker, the orator, the poet, pushed into administrative and episcopal roles by circumstances and by Basil; and Gregory of Nyssa, although not a great stylist, was the most gifted of the three as a philosopher and theologian. Together, the Cappadocian Fathers hammered out the doctrine of the Trinity like blacksmiths forging a piece of metal by hammer-blows into its perfect, destined shape. They were champions – and successful champions – of orthodoxy against Arianism, a battle that had to be conducted as much on the worldly and political plane as on the philosophical and theological one.
The works of Gregory of Nyssa whose extracts appear as Second Readings are not as rhetorically beautiful as those of Gregory of Nazianzus, who was an acclaimed orator; but they are helpful and clear. Most of them are commentaries on Scripture passages. They involve the mind and deepen the understanding.
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)||(1 Corinthians 15:3-5) ©|
Christ died for our sins, in accordance with the scriptures; he was buried; and he was raised to life on the third day, in accordance with the scriptures. He appeared first to Cephas and secondly to the Twelve.
|Noon reading (Sext)||Ephesians 2:4-6 ©|
God loved us with so much love that he was generous with his mercy: when we were dead through our sins, he brought us to life with Christ – it is through grace that you have been saved – and raised us up with him and gave us a place with him in heaven, in Christ Jesus.
|Afternoon reading (None)||Romans 6:4 ©|
When we were baptised we went into the tomb with him and joined him in death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead by the Father’s glory, we too might live a new life.