How wonderful is God among his saints: come, let us adore him.
Year: C(I). Psalm week: 4. Liturgical Colour: White.
St Gilbert of Sempringham (1083 - 1190)
He was born at Sempringham, near Bourne in Lincolnshire, the son of Jocelin, an Anglo-Norman lord of the manor, who sent him to the University of Paris to study theology; it may be that he had some deformity which barred him from the military career which would normally have been expected. When he returned home in 1120 he became a clerk in the household of Robert Bloet, Bishop of Lincoln, started a school for boys and girls, and was finally ordained by Robert’s successor, Alexander.
When his father died in 1130 and he became lord of the manor of Sempringham, he used his inherited wealth to found an order of monks and nuns, known as the Gilbertines.
When he was 90, some of his lay brothers revolted and spread serious calumnies against him, but he received the support of King Henry II, and Pope Alexander III freed him from suspicion and confirmed the privileges granted to the order. Gilbert resigned his office late in life because of blindness and ill health, and died at Sempringham in about 1190, at the age of 106.
Other saints: St John de Britto (1647 - 1693)
He was born in Lisbon on 1 March, 1647 and brought up at the royal court there. He became a Jesuit at the age of 15, and was given Madura in southern India as his missionary field.
In September, 1673, he reached Goa. He apparently entered the Kshatriyas, a noble caste. His dress was yellow cotton; he abstained from every kind of animal food and from wine. Setting out early in 1674, he traversed the Ghauts on foot and reached Colei in the Cauvery Delta, where he perfected himself in the language. He journeyed northward at least as far as Madras and Vellore, but Cauvery Delta, Tanjore, Madura, and Marava, between Madura and the sea, were his chief field. In 1684 he was imprisoned in Marava, and, though freed by the king, he was expelled from the country. In 1688 he was sent to Europe as deputy to the triennial Congregation of Procurators. Resisting urgent attempts to keep him in Portugal, and refusing the Archbishopric of Cranganore, he returned in 1691 to the borders of Madura and Marava. Having converted Teriadeven, a Maravese prince, he required him to dismiss all his wives but one. Among them was a niece of the king, who took up her quarrel and began a general persecution. De Britto and others were taken and carried to the capital, Ramnad, the Brahmins clamouring for his death. Thence he was led to Oreiour, some thirty miles northward along the coast, where he was beheaded on 11 February, 1693. He was beatified by Pope Pius IX on 21 August 1853 and canonized by Pope Pius XII on 22 June 1947.
About the author of the Second Reading in today's Office of Readings:
Second Reading: St Hilary of Poitiers (- 367)
Hilary was born at the beginning of the fourth century. He was elected Bishop of Poitiers in 350. He fought strongly against Arianism and was exiled by the Emperor Constantius. His works are full of wisdom and learning, directed to the strengthening of the Catholic faith and the right interpretation of Scripture. He died in 367. He was declared a Doctor of the Church by Pope Pius IX in 1851.
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)||Leviticus 20:26 ©|
Be consecrated to me, because I, the Lord, am holy, and I will set you apart from all these peoples so that you may be mine.
|Noon reading (Sext)||Wisdom 15:1,3 ©|
You, our God, are kind, loyal and slow to anger, and you govern all things with mercy. To acknowledge you is indeed the perfect virtue, to know your power is the root of immortality.
|Afternoon reading (None)||Baruch 4:21-22 ©|
Take courage, my children, call on God: he will deliver you from tyranny, from the hands of your enemies; for I look to the Eternal for your rescue, and joy has come to me from the Holy One at the mercy soon to reach you from your saviour, the Eternal.