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Wednesday 11 March 2020    (other days)
Wednesday of the 2nd week of Lent 

Christ the Lord was tempted and suffered for us. Come, let us adore him.
Or: O that today you would listen to his voice: harden not your hearts.

Year: A(II). Psalm week: 2. Liturgical Colour: Violet.

Other saints: Saint Aengus (- 824)

Ireland
He was born near Clonenagh and educated there at the monastic school founded there by St Fintan, not far from the present town of Mountrath. He lived for some time as a hermit and then joined the monastery of Tallaght, near Dublin, under St Maelruain. He was a co-author of a martyrology (written in 790 and the oldest in Ireland) and wrote a long poem, the Feliré, or Festology of the Saints, which he finished in about 805. After St Maelruain’s death he returned to his hermitage, where he died on 11 March 824. See the article in Wikipedia.

Other saints: St Constantine (6th century)

Argyll & the Isles
St Constantine has been revered at Govan since time immemorial and there is no reason to doubt that the tradition was based on a real person. But attempts to construct a biography for him have to depend purely on occasional references in chronicles, and there is always the risk of tripping over the problem of “someone else of the same name”. This will happen to all of us eventually: in the year 1,000,000 AD, will anyone be sure of the difference between Thomas More and Thomas Becket, who were both martyred by kings called Henry?
  A Constantine was converted to Christianity (Annals of Ulster, 588). A Constantine appears in the Breviary of Aberdeen as entering a monastery in Ireland incognito before joining Saint Mungo (alias Kentigern) and becoming a missionary to the Picts. He is probably the same man. This Constantine was martyred in Scotland about 576 and John of Fordun tells how he was buried at Govan, where his shrine can still be seen today. He is probably not the Saint Constantine of Devon and Cornwall, and certainly not the King Constantine of Dumnonia (south-western Britain) mentioned unfavourably by the chronicler Gildas. The fact that there were separate tribes of Dumnonii in the south-west and in Scotland merely serves to make things even more interesting. But – at the risk of upsetting historians – the only thing that matters to us is that the Constantine we celebrate today has been revered as a saint continuously for a millennium and a half. When all the facts about us are lost, may we also be worthy to be remembered.

About the author of the Second Reading in today's Office of Readings:

Second Reading: St Irenaeus (130 - 202)

Irenaeus was born in Smyrna, in Asia Minor (now Izmir in Turkey) and emigrated to Lyons, in France, where he eventually became the bishop. It is not known for certain whether he was martyred or died a natural death.
  Whenever we take up a Bible we touch Irenaeus’s work, for he played a decisive role in fixing the canon of the New Testament. It is easy for people nowadays to think of Scripture – and the New Testament in particular – as the basis of the Church, but harder to remember that it was the Church itself that had to agree, early on, about what was scriptural and what was not. Before Irenaeus, there was vague general agreement on what scripture was, but a system based on this kind of common consent was too weak. As dissensions and heresies arose, reference to scripture was the obvious way of trying to settle what the truth really was, but in the absence of an agreed canon of scripture it was all too easy to attack one’s opponent’s arguments by saying that his texts were corrupt or unscriptural; and easy, too, to do a little fine-tuning of texts on one’s own behalf. Irenaeus not only established a canon which is almost identical to our present one, but also gave reasoned arguments for each inclusion and exclusion.
  Irenaeus also wrote a major work, Against the Heresies, which in the course of denying what the Christian faith is not, effectively asserts what it is. The majority of this work was lost for many centuries and only rediscovered in a monastery on Mount Athos in 1842. Many passages from it are used in the Office of Readings.

Liturgical colour: violet

Violet is a dark colour, ‘the gloomy cast of the mortified, denoting affliction and melancholy’. Liturgically, it is the colour of Advent and Lent, the seasons of penance and preparation.

Mid-morning reading (Terce)Ezekiel 18:30-32 ©
Repent, renounce all your sins, avoid all occasions of sin! Shake off all the sins you have committed against me, and make yourselves a new heart and a new spirit! Why are you so anxious to die, House of Israel? I take no pleasure in the death of anyone – it is the Lord who speaks. Repent and live!

Noon reading (Sext)Zechariah 1:3-4 ©
Return to me, says the Lord of Hosts, and I will return to you. Do not be like your ancestors, to whom the prophets in the past cried ‘Turn back from your evil ways and evil deeds’ but they would not listen.

Afternoon reading (None)Daniel 4:24 ©
By virtuous actions break with your sins, break with your crimes by showing mercy to the poor, and so live long and peacefully.
Scripture readings taken from The Jerusalem Bible, published and copyright © 1966, 1967 and 1968 by Darton, Longman & Todd, Ltd and Doubleday, a division of Random House, Inc, and used by permission of the publishers. For on-line information about other Random House, Inc. books and authors, see the Internet web site at http://www.randomhouse.com.
 
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