Let us come before the Lord, giving thanks.
Year: B(II). Psalm week: 3. Liturgical Colour: Green.
As might be expected for a saint of such an early period, practically no hard facts about Saint Denis survive. According to St Gregory of Tours, writing some 300 years later, Denis came to Gaul from Rome in the middle of the third century. He arrived at what is now the Ile de la Cité in Paris, where he built a church, arranged the regular celebration of Mass, and preached the Gospel. Together with two members of his clergy he was martyred near the city.
Denis (in Latin, Dionysius) is not Dionysius the Areopagite, whom St Paul converted to Christianity, nor is he the author of the writings of the “Pseudo-Dionysius,” but both these confusions helped to popularise devotion to him from the seventh century onwards.
Nevertheless, the real St Denis did exist, he brought the Gospel to Paris, and he was its first martyr. For these things alone devotion to him is proper and justified.
|Saint John Leonardi (1541 - 1609)|
He was born at Lucca in Tuscany. Trained initially as an apothecary, he fought hard to become a priest and was ordained in 1572. A few laymen attached themselves to him in 1574 and something began to grow that looked as if it might become a religious order. A storm of persecution erupted. It seems possible that the Republic of Lucca felt that being the birthplace of a religious order might be dangerous for the independence of the state, given the complicated international politics of the time. Whatever the reason, Leonardi spent most of the rest of his life in exile from Lucca, only occasionally obtaining permission to visit it after extreme pressure from the Pope.
The order that he founded, now known as the Order of Clerks Regular of the Mother of God, is in charge of eight churches in Italy and is also involved in missionary work. In addition, his work was taken up and extended by the Popes into the Work of the Propagation of the Faith (de propaganda fidei), of which he is therefore honoured as the founder.
The web site of Order of Clerks Regular of the Mother of God is here
. See also the article in Wikipedia
, which at present is essentially a reformatting of the Catholic Encyclopaedia article.
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.
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).
|Mid-morning reading (Terce)||2 Corinthians 13:11 ©|
Brethren, be joyful. Try to grow perfect; help one another. Be united; live in peace, and the God of love and peace will be with you.
|Noon reading (Sext)||Romans 6:22 ©|
Now you have been set free from sin, you have been made slaves of God, and you get a reward leading to your sanctification and ending in eternal life.
|Afternoon reading (None)||Colossians 1:21-22 ©|
Not long ago, you were foreigners and enemies, in the way that you used to think and the evil things that you did; but now he has reconciled you, by his death and in that mortal body. Now you are able to appear before him holy, pure and blameless.