We are the people of the Lord, the flock that is led by his hand: come, let us adore him, alleluia.
Year: C(II). Psalm week: 4. Liturgical Colour: Green.
In other years: Saint Gregory of Narek (c.950-1005)
He was born around 950 to a noble family in the region of Anzevatsik in Armenia: a region now on the borders of south-eastern Turkey and north-western Iran. He received a cultured and literary upbringing. As a young man he entered the monastery of Narek, of which his great-uncle Ananias was abbot. He was educated by the famous school of the monastery and spent the rest of his life there, being ordained priest and eventually becoming abbot.
His life was marked by an intense love of the Virgin Mary. He attained great heights of sanctity and mystical experience, and expounded his teaching in various mystical and theological works. In 1003 he wrote his outstanding work, the Book of Lamentations, and he died about two years later.
The Book of Lamentations retains enormous importance as a foundation-stone of Armenian literature, and remains widely influential to this day. Gregory’s work is still little known in the West (no English translation has yet been produced by a major publisher); but he was declared a Doctor of the Church by Pope Francis in 2015 and his memorial was added to the General Calendar in 2021.
About the author of the Second Reading in today's Office of Readings:
Second Reading: Pope St Gregory the Great (540 - 604)
Gregory was born in Rome and followed the career of public service that was usual for the son of an aristocratic family, finally becoming Prefect of the City of Rome, a post he held for some years.
He founded a monastery in Rome and some others in Sicily, then became a monk himself. He was ordained deacon and sent as an envoy to Constantinople, on a mission that lasted five years.
He was elected Pope on 3 September 590, the first monk to be elected to this office. He reformed the administration of the Church’s estates and devoted the resulting surplus to the assistance of the poor and the ransoming of prisoners. He negotiated treaties with the Lombard tribes who were ravaging northern Italy, and by cultivating good relations with these and other barbarians he was able to keep the Church’s position secure in areas where Roman rule had broken down. His works for the propagation of the faith include the sending of Augustine and his monks as missionaries to England in 596, providing them with continuing advice and support and (in 601) sending reinforcements. He wrote extensively on pastoral care, spirituality, and morals, and designated himself “servant of the servants of God.”
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 orderly sequence of weeks through the year, a season in which we are being neither single-mindedly penitent (in purple) nor overwhelmingly joyful (in white).
Other notes: Quinquagesima Sunday
Today is the last Sunday before Lent. Ash Wednesday is only three days away. It is a good time to make sure that you are ready for Lent. At some times, and in some parts of the world, Quinquagesima had a semi-lenten character, because Lent started gradually rather than, as now, all at once on the Wednesday. The liturgy also reflected the coming start of Lent, and the liturgical colour was already violet.
The modern calendar has curbed this tendency of Lent to spread backwards, and there is no sign at all that this is the last Sunday of Ordinary Time for quite a few months. Nevertheless, it is still worth reflecting that Lent is coming very soon and we should make our plans for it.
Incidentally, Quinquagesima means ‘fiftieth’, and indeed if you count Easter as 1, and count backwards, you will reach exactly 50 when you get to today.
|Mid-morning reading (Terce)||1 Corinthians 6:19-20 ©|
Your body, you know, is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you since you received him from God. You are not your own property; you have been bought and paid for. That is why you should use your body for the glory of God.
|Noon reading (Sext)||Deuteronomy 10:12 ©|
And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God ask of you? Only this: to fear the Lord your God, to follow all his ways, to love him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and all your soul.
|Afternoon reading (None)||Song of Songs 8:6-7 ©|
Love is strong as death,
jealousy as relentless as Sheol.
The flash of it is a flash of fire,
a flame of the Lord himself.
Love no floods can quench,
no torrents drown.