The Lord’s is the earth and its fullness: come, let us adore him.
Year: A(II). Psalm week: 1. Liturgical Colour: Green.
Saint Norbert (1080 - 1134)
He was born in Xanten in the Rhineland. He came of a noble family and lived a worldly life at the courts of the Archbishop of Cologne (where he held some minor benefices) and of the Emperor Henry V.
At the age of 35 he had a narrow escape from death and his life changed. He became a priest and was full of reforming zeal, which so antagonized the clergy of Xanten that they denounced him as a hypocrite. So he sold or gave away all his possessions and made his way to the Pope (who was then in southern France). The Pope gave him permission to preach wherever he lived, and he travelled through France and Germany preaching. Others joined him, and a community was started in the valley of Prémontré near Laon, which developed into an order (the Premonstratensian Order) with a number of abbeys.
Meanwhile Norbert continued travelling and preaching, until he was consecrated Archbishop of Magdeburg. He threw himself into his new task with his usual enthusiasm, reforming what had been a rather corrupt diocese, antagonizing the clergy (who had established a comfortable life for themselves) and some of the laity, who had quietly taken possession of unwatched church properties – several attempts were made to murder him. He also preached the gospel to the pagans of the district, and died (of natural causes) in 1134.
Saturday memorials of the Blessed Virgin Mary
‘On Saturdays in Ordinary Time when there is no obligatory memorial, an optional memorial of the Blessed Virgin Mary is allowed.
‘Saturdays stand out among those days dedicated to the Virgin Mary. These are designated as memorials of the Blessed Virgin Mary. This memorial derives from Carolingian times (9th century), but the reasons for having chosen Saturday for its observance are unknown. While many explanations of this choice have been advanced, none is completely satisfactory from the point of view of the history of popular piety.
‘Whatever its historical origins may be, today the memorial rightly emphasizes certain values to which contemporary spirituality is more sensitive. It is a remembrance of the maternal example and discipleship of the Blessed Virgin Mary who, strengthened by faith and hope, on that “great Saturday” on which Our Lord lay in the tomb, was the only one of the disciples to hold vigil in expectation of the Lord’s resurrection. It is a prelude and introduction to the celebration of Sunday, the weekly memorial of the Resurrection of Christ. It is a sign that the Virgin Mary is continuously present and operative in the life of the Church.’
Directory on Popular Piety and the Liturgy (2001), §188
Other saints: Saint Marcellin Champagnat (1789 - 1840)
Australia, New Zealand
He was born at Marlhes, a village in the mountains of south-eastern France. The village was poor, and Marcellin had virtually no education. When he was 14, a priest who was passing through the village helped him to recognise his vocation to the priesthood, and he began to study. Life was hard, and he was tempted to give up, but he was ordained priest in 1816.
By then he, with other seminarians, had conceived the idea of a Society of Mary, to include teaching brothers who would work with children who were deprived of Christian education by the remoteness of the areas in which they lived.
When Marcellin was working as a curate, an encounter with a dying 17-year-old boy, with the body of a weak 12-year-old and complete ignorance of Christianity, convinced him that it was time to act. In 1817 he founded the Marist Brothers. Mostly teenage peasants themselves, they were taught how to pray and live in religious community and sent them out to be teachers and religious educators themselves. They went into the remotest villages and taught children, and often the adults, the rudiments of the faith, and how to read and write.
There were many difficulties, not least the incomprehension of the local clergy, but things gradually got better. Marcellin was freed from his parish duties in 1825 and in 1836 the Church recognised the Society of Mary and entrusted to it the missions of Oceania. The first missionaries were sent out in the same year.
Worn out by the effort of obtaining official recognition, and after suffering long and painfully from cancer, Marcellin died on 6 June 1840. The order he founded continues to thrive: today there are about 5,000 Marist brothers.
Other saints: Saint Jarlath (- 540/550)
He founded a monastery at Tuam and became the first Bishop of that see. See the article in Wikipedia
About the author of the Second Reading in today's Office of Readings:
Second Reading: St Thomas Aquinas (1225 - 1274)
Thomas was born of a noble family in southern Italy, and was educated by the Benedictines. In the normal course of events he would have joined that order and taken up a position suitable to his rank; but he decided to become a Dominican friar instead.
He studied in Paris and in Cologne under the great philosopher St Albert the Great, at a time of great philosophical ferment, when the writings of Aristotle, the greatest philosopher of the ancient world, had been newly rediscovered and were becoming available to people in the West for the first time in a thousand years. Many feared that Aristotelianism was flatly contradictory to Christianity, and the fact that Aristotle’s works were coming to the West from mostly Muslim sources did nothing to help matters.
Thomas’ clarity of thought ensured that the truth would be recognised whatever its source. He inaugurated a form of disputation which would bring ideas together not so that one would win and the other lose through clever tricks of debate, but so that the single unifying truth behind them should be found. He thus not only transformed the practice of theology but also laid the foundations of the modern scientific revolution.
As well as producing major philosophical and theological works, Thomas, at the request of Pope Urban IV, composed the Divine Office for the newly-created feast of Corpus Christi.
Liturgical colour: green
The theological virtue of hope is symbolized by the colour green, just as the burning fire of love is symbolized by red. Green is the colour of growing things, and hope, like them, is always new and always fresh. Liturgically, green is the colour of Ordinary Time, the season in which we are being neither especially penitent (in purple) nor overwhelmingly joyful (in white).
|Mid-morning reading (Terce)||1 Kings 8:60-61 ©|
May all the peoples of the earth come to know that the Lord is God indeed, and that there is no other. May your hearts be wholly with the Lord our God, following his laws and keeping his commandments as at this present day.
|Noon reading (Sext)||Jeremiah 17:9-10 ©|
The heart is more devious than any other thing, perverse too: who can pierce its secrets? I, the Lord, search to the heart, I probe the loins, to give each man what his conduct and his actions deserve.
|Afternoon reading (None)||Wisdom 7:27,8:1 ©|
Although she is alone, Wisdom can accomplish everything. She deploys her strength from one end of the earth to the other, ordering all things for good.