Come before the Lord, singing with joy.
Year: A(II). Psalm week: 4. Liturgical Colour: Green.
St Bridget of Sweden (1303 - 1373)
She was married to a nobleman and had eight children. At the age of 30 she was summoned to the court of the King of Sweden, where she served as lady-in-waiting to the queen. She tried without much success to moderate the riotous and indecent life of the royal court.
After a pilgrimage to the shrine of St James at Compostela in Spain, Bridget and her husband Ulf decided to spend the rest of their lives in monasteries. Ulf died in 1344, but Bridget went on to found a double monastery (for men and women in separate but adjacent institutions) as the start of a new monastic order.
In 1350 she travelled to Rome for the Holy Year, and spent the rest of her life there caring for the poor and the sick, denouncing the excesses of the aristocracy, and robustly telling the Pope to return to Rome from Avignon.
She had many mystical visions, which alarmed her because she feared that they might be the work of the Devil; but a learned Cistercian monk reassured her, and she subsequently dictated and published the revelations she received, which were partially devotional and partly prophetic.
Other saints: SS. Philip Evans and John Lloyd (- 1679)
Philip Evans was born in Monmouth in 1645 and became a Jesuit. He arrived in South Wales as a missionary in 1675. John Lloyd, from Breconshire, was a secular priest who took the missionary oath in 1649 and was sent to minister in Wales. In the scare caused by the lies of Titus Oates, both were arrested. They were tried in 1679 on the charge of being priests and coming into Wales, of which they were undoubtedly guilty. They were executed in Cardiff on 22 July 1679. See the article in WIkipedia
Other saints: St Philip Evans (1645-1679) and St John Lloyd (c.1630-1679)
Philip Evans was born in Monmouth, 1645, and was educated at St Omer where he joined the Society of Jesus. After ordination he was sent to South Wales to work. Despite the official anti-Catholic policy he was left alone for some years by the local officials. In 1678 in the wake of the so-called ‘Popish Plot’ he was taken prisoner, £200 (then a huge sum of money) having been offered as a reward for his arrest. He refused to take the Oath of Allegiance and was kept in Cardiff Castle. He was not put on trial for several months because, it is said, no one could be found to testify against him.
John Lloyd was a Welshman, born in Brecon about the year 1630. He studied for the priesthood in Valladolid, Spain and then returned to Wales where he ministered as a diocesan priest for over twenty years without any recorded problems. Following the ‘Popish Plot’ of Titus Oates, Lloyd was arrested in Glamorgan and charged with having said Mass at Llantilio, Penrhos, and Trievor. He was imprisoned at Cardiff Castle with Philip Evans. They were tried together and were both condemned for their priesthood. They were hanged, drawn, and quartered together on 22 July, 1679 on Gallows Field in Cardiff. Philip Evans spoke at some length to the crowd in both English and Welsh. In the course of his speech he said: “I die for God and religion’s sake; and I think myself so happy that if I had many lives I would willingly give them all for so great a cause.” His companion John Lloyd said very little: “I never was a good speaker in my life”, but that he died in “the true Catholic and Apostolic faith”.
Other saints: Our Lady, Mother of Divine Grace
23 Jul (where celebrated)
The Blessed Virgin Mary was eternally predestined, in the context of the incarnation of the divine Word, to be Mother of God. As decreed by divine Providence, she served on earth as the loving Mother of the divine Redeemer, his associate, uniquely generous, and the Lord’s humble servant. She conceived, bore, and nourished Christ; presented him to the Father in the Temple; and was united with him in his suffering as he died on the cross. In a completely unparalleled way she cooperated, by her obedience, faith, hope and burning charity, with our Saviour’s work of restoring supernatural life to souls. For this reason she is Mother to us all in the order of grace.
About the author of the Second Reading in today's Office of Readings:
Second Reading: St Ambrose of Milan (340? - 397)
Ambrose was born in Trier (now in Germany) between 337 and 340, to a Roman family: his father was praetorian prefect of Gaul. Ambrose was educated at Rome and embarked on the standard cursus honorum of Roman advocates and administrators, at Sirmium, the capital of Illyria. In about 372 he was made prefect of Liguria and Emilia, whose capital was Milan.
In 374 the bishopric of Milan fell vacant and when Ambrose tried to pacify the conflict between the Catholics and Arians over the appointment of a new bishop, the people turned on him and demanded that he become the bishop himself. He was a layman and not yet baptized (at this time it was common for baptism to be delayed and for people to remain for years as catechumens), but that was no defence. Coerced by the people and by the emperor, he was baptized, ordained, and installed as bishop within a week, on 7 December 374.
He immediately gave his money to the poor and his land to the Church and set about learning theology. He had the advantage of knowing Greek, which few people did at that time, and so he was able to read the Eastern theologians and philosophers as well as those of the West.
He was assiduous in carrying out his office, acting with charity to all: a true shepherd and teacher of the faithful. He was unimpressed by status and when the Emperor Theodosius ordered the massacre of 7,000 people in Thessalonica, Ambrose forced him to do public penance. He defended the rights of the Church and attacked the Arian heresy with learning, firmness and gentleness. He also wrote a number of hymns which are still in use today.
Ambrose was a key figure in the conversion of St Augustine to Catholicism, impressing Augustine (hitherto unimpressed by the Catholics he had met) by his intelligence and scholarship. He died on Holy Saturday, 4 April 397.
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).
Other notes: Gabryela Teresa Kochanski (1927 - 2006)
On this day in 2006 died Thérèse Kochanski, mother of Martin Kochanski, the founder of Universalis. Please pray for the repose of her soul; and for her son and daughter who survive her.
If you would like to follow the funeral service, you can do so here
|Mid-morning reading (Terce)||1 John 3:23-24 ©|
God’s commandments are these:
that we believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ
and that we love one another
as he told us to.
Whoever keeps his commandments
lives in God and God lives in him.
We know that he lives in us
by the Spirit that he has given us.
|Noon reading (Sext)||Wisdom 1:1-2 ©|
Love virtue, you who are judges on earth, let honesty prompt your thinking about the Lord, seek him in simplicity of heart; since he is to be found by those who do not put him to the test, he shows himself to those who do not distrust him.
|Afternoon reading (None)||Hebrews 12:1-2 ©|
We should throw off everything that hinders us, especially the sin that clings so easily, and keep running steadily in the race we have started. Let us not lose sight of Jesus, who leads us in our faith and brings it to perfection: for the sake of the joy which was still in the future, he endured the cross, disregarding the shamefulness of it, and from now on has taken his place at the right of God’s throne.