Universalis
Thursday 8 June 2023    (other days)
The Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ 
Solemnity

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Christ is the bread of life: come, let us adore him.

Year: A(I). Liturgical Colour: White.

Other saints: Saint James Berthieu (1838 - 1896)

Madagascar
James Berthieu was born in 1838 in France. He was ordained a priest in 1864. At the age of 35 he joined the Society of Jesus and in 1875 left for Madagascar where he spent the rest of his life. The local people started fighting in order to chase away the French Colonialists and to destroy the Christian faith. The colonial authority managed to suppress the rebellion. But, in 1896, during another rebellion, Fr Berthieu was taken prisoner, beaten and put into prison. He was asked to reject his faith in order to save his life, but he said he preferred death to apostasy. On the night of 8 June 1896, while he was praying, he was shot dead and his body thrown in the river Mananara.
  He was canonized on 21 October 2012.

Other saints: St William of York (-1154)

Hallam, Hexham & Newcastle, Leeds, Middlesbrough
William Fitzherbert was born at the end of the eleventh century into a position of favour and wealth, and was a nephew of the future King Stephen. In his early days he received a good education and when he took holy orders, he became the treasurer of the cathedral church of York. Even if he received this office through patronage, it was generally agreed that he carried it out with wisdom and charity.
  This was the time of the accession of King Stephen and the civil war with Queen Maud, with all the disastrous effects that it was bound to have on the government of the Church in England. When William was elected to the archbishopric of York in 1140, his election was challenged by supporters of the Queen because of his family relationship with the King. So began a dispute over his position as archbishop that was to continue almost until the time of William’s own death. Some accounts would suggest that he was ill-served by his advisers and suffered the disadvantages of having too many politically minded relatives in positions of authority. But he himself would seem to have lived an exemplary life and was even careless of his own interests. Although Pope Innocent II upheld the appointment, the next Pope Eugenius III suspended him from his duties on the advice of no less than St Bernard of Clairvaux and another candidate was appointed to the See of York.
  William retired for seven years to Winchester where his uncle was bishop and papal legate and lived there quietly without complaint. It was only when his successor at York died and he was again elected to the archbishopric that he travelled to Rome and received the pallium from Pope Anastasius IV. On his return to England, William was mild and conciliatory towards his former enemies and well-liked by his flock. But he had hardly begun work in the city of York when he was taken ill and died in 1154. He was buried in his cathedral and the solemn translation of his relics took place in 1283.
Middlesbrough Ordo

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: 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)Wisdom 16:20
Lord, you have given your people the food of angels, from heaven untiringly sending them bread already prepared, containing every delight, satisfying every taste.

Noon reading (Sext)Proverbs 9:1-2
Wisdom has built herself a house, she has erected her seven pillars, she has slaughtered her beasts, prepared her wine, she has laid her table.

Afternoon reading (None)Acts 2:42,47
These remained faithful to the teaching of the apostles, to the brotherhood, to the breaking of bread and to the prayers. They praised God and were looked up to by everyone.

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