Christ is the son of Mary: come, let us adore him.
Year: B(I). Psalm week: 4. Liturgical Colour: White.
Our Lady, Help of Christians
‘This is your mother.’ Under the title of Help of Christians, Mary was chosen as Patroness of Australasia by the First Provincial Synod, convened by Archbishop Bede Polding, in Sydney in 1844. The fledgling colonies needed Mary’s help at that time, as the nation does today. We are helped through Mary’s powerful intercession, and through the example of her life that we find in the Gospels. See also the article in the Catholic Encyclopaedia.
In other years: The Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church
The Blessed Virgin Mary has been given the title of Mother of the Church since she gave birth to Christ, the Head of the Church, and she became the Mother of the redeemed people before her Son had given up the spirit on the Cross. Pope Paul VI solemnly confirmed the title in an address to the Fathers of the Second Vatican Council on 21 November 1964 and decreed that the whole Christian people should, by the use of this beautiful title, give still greater honour to the Mother of God.
‘The joyous veneration given to the Mother of God by the contemporary Church, in light of reflection on the mystery of Christ and on his nature, cannot ignore the figure of a woman (cf. Gal 4:4), the Virgin Mary, who is both the Mother of Christ and Mother of the Church. In some ways this was already present in the mind of the Church from the premonitory words of Saint Augustine and Saint Leo the Great. In fact the former says that Mary is the mother of the members of Christ, because with charity she cooperated in the rebirth of the faithful into the Church, while the latter says that the birth of the Head is also the birth of the body, thus indicating that Mary is at once Mother of Christ, the Son of God, and mother of the members of his Mystical Body, which is the Church’ (Decree of the Sacred Congregation for Divine Worship).
Other saints: Blessed Louis-Zépherin Moreau (1824 - 1901)
He was bishop of the St Hyacinthe diocese in Quebec for 25 years, from 1876 until his death.
Other saints: St Aldhelm
Aldhelm became a monk at Malmesbury, but completed his education at Canterbury. In about 675 he became Abbot of Malmesbury, and made foundations at Frome and Bradford-on-Avon. When the Wessex diocese was divided in 705 he became the first bishop of its western half, Sherborne, without ceasing to rule the abbey at Malmesbury.
He was renowned for his learning and sanctity. He wrote both prose and verse, and set his verse to music. Finding the people of his time somewhat dilatory in their church attendance, it is said that he would stand up in public places, singing songs and preaching sermons to attract people to the faith. His Old English verse, sung with harp accompaniment, has not survived, so we can judge this Anglo-Saxon writer only by his Latin works. It is thought that he invented the crossword puzzle. He died at Doulting near Wells in Somerset, and was buried at Malmesbury. His cult was discontinued by Lanfranc, but Osmund authorised its resumption with the translation of his relics in 1078.
Other saints: Translation of St. Dominic
24 May (where celebrated)
This memorial celebrates the first translation of the remains of Saint Dominic, who had been buried in the church of Saint Nicholas of the Vineyards at Bologna. Many people were healed at his tomb, yet his brethren were reluctant to acknowledge these miracles. Finally at the urging of Pope Gregory IX, Dominic’s remains were moved to a marble sepulcher. This translation took place on Pentecost Tuesday, May 24, 1233, and marked the beginning of the canonization process; upon its completion Gregory IX canonized Dominic on July 3, 1234. In 1267 Dominic’s remains were moved to his present tomb.
About the author of the Second Reading in today's Office of Readings:
Second Reading: St Sophronius of Jerusalem (c.560 - 638)
Sophronius was born in Damascus around 560. He became an ascetic in Egypt about 580 and subsequently entered the monastery of St Theodosius near Bethlehem. He was active in the battle against the heretics who rejected the nature of Christ as both God and man. He became Patriarch of Jerusalem in 634. At that time the Saracen armies under the caliph Umar I were advancing into Palestine, and Jerusalem itself fell in 637, Sophronius negotiating with Umar the terms of a surrender which gave religious freedom to Christians and preserved the Church of the Holy Sepulchre as a Christian church.
Sophronius’ writings show little sign of these grand historical events. He wrote a series of poems in classical style on Christian subjects, and a number of sermons and doctrinal works.
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)||Zephaniah 3:14,15 ©|
Shout for joy, daughter of Zion, Israel, shout aloud! Rejoice, exult with all your heart, daughter of Jerusalem! The Lord, the king of Israel, is in your midst; you have no more evil to fear.
|Noon reading (Sext)||Zechariah 9:9 ©|
Rejoice heart and soul, daughter of Zion! Shout with gladness, daughter of Jerusalem! See now, your king comes to you; he is victorious, he is triumphant.
|Afternoon reading (None)||Judith 13:18-19 ©|
May you be blessed, my daughter, by God Most High,
beyond all women on earth;
and may the Lord God be blessed,
the Creator of heaven and earth,
by whose guidance you cut off the head
of the leader of our enemies.
The trust you have shown
shall not pass from the memories of men,
but shall ever remind them
of the power of God.