Christ has appeared to us: come, let us adore him.
Year: A(II). Psalm week: 2. Liturgical Colour: White.
Other saints: St Adrian of Canterbury (d. 710)
Kenya, Southern Africa
Feeling called to the monastic life, Adrian left his native North Africa and joined the Benedictines in Italy. Renowned for his scholarship and holiness, he was elected abbot of his monastery and later nominated archbishop of Canterbury. Out of humility he declined the appointment to archbishop, but volunteered to go to England as a missionary. He endured various trials and even imprisonment on his journey to Canterbury, since he was taken for a spy. Once in England, he was appointed abbot of the monastery of Sts Peter and Paul where he lived for 39 years, actively involved in preaching and education. He died in 710.
Other saints: St Andrew Corsini (c.1315-1374)
9 Jan (where celebrated)
Andrew was born into nobility, a member of the powerful Corsini family of Florence, and was one of 12 children. He joined the Carmelite community at the Carmine on the southern bank of the Arno sometime before the year 1338. This community was known for its sanctity and regular observance amidst a more tumultuous environment of religious life in the early Renaissance period. After completing his studies in Florence he was teacher of the younger students in the community.
During the 1348 general chapter at Metz, he was made Tuscan provincial and briefly lead the province through the ravages of the Black Death that was to claim over 100 Carmelites. This election was short-lived because in October 1349 Pope Clement VI nominated him to be bishop of Fiesole, a town about 5 miles north-east of Florence. Taking up his episcopal duties in March of the following year, Andrew was faced not only with the consequences of the Black Death, but also with a diocese that had been neglected by his predecessors. The diocesan bishops of Fiesole had not lived in the diocese for over a century leaving the cathedral and diocese to fall into ruin. Andrew moved swiftly to repair the material and spiritual damage to his diocese, working tirelessly to rebuild the cathedral, restore parish churches, and improve the moral life of his priests.
Andrew went about establishing a small religious community around him, disbanding the large Episcopal entourage and reducing the number of house servants to six. He also invited two friars from the Carmine to live with him in community. He considered himself the “father and helper of the poor” and devoted special care to the sick in the wake of the devastation brought about by the plague. He was also an eloquent preacher of reconciliation, and a successful peacemaker in Fiesole, Florence, Prato and Pistoia.
After his death in January 1374, Andrew was venerated in Fiesole and Florence as a devout religious and an outstanding bishop whose life demonstrated the pattern for a true shepherd of the Christ’s people.
About the author of the Second Reading in today's Office of Readings:
Second Reading: St Cyril of Alexandria (370 - 444)
Cyril was born in 370 . He entered a monastery, became a priest and in 412 succeeded his uncle as Bishop of Alexandria. Alexandria was the largest city in the ancient world. Rather like Los Angeles, it was a sprawling mixture of races and creeds; and it was a byword for the violence of its sectarian politics, whether of Greeks against Jews or of orthodox Christians against heretics.
In 428, Nestorius, the new Patriarch of Constantinople (and hence one of the most important bishops in the world) made statements that could be interpreted as denying the divinity of Christ. The dual nature – human and divine – has always been hard for us to accept or understand, and if it seems easy it is only because we have not thought about it properly. Those who dislike problems have had two responses: to deny the human nature of Christ or to deny his divinity: and either leads to disaster, since both deny the Incarnation and hence the divinisation of human nature.
Cyril fought strongly against the teachings of Nestorius and took the lead at the Council of Ephesus, plunging into the turbulent politics of the time and defending the Catholic faith through to its ultimate victory.
Cyril wrote many works to explain and defend the Catholic faith. He died in 444.
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)||Isaiah 2:3-4 ©|
The Law will go out from Zion, and the oracle of the Lord from Jerusalem. He will wield authority over the nations and adjudicate between many peoples; these will hammer their swords into ploughshares, their spears into sickles. Nation will not lift sword against nation, there will be no more training for war.
|Noon reading (Sext)||Isaiah 9:1 ©|
The people that walked in darkness has seen a great light; on those who live in a land of deep shadow a light has shone.
|Afternoon reading (None)||Isaiah 60:4-5 ©|
O Jerusalem, your sons are coming from far away and your daughters are being tenderly carried. At this sight you will grow radiant, your heart throbbing and full; since the riches of the sea will flow to you, the wealth of the nations come to you.