Christ has been born for us: come, let us adore him.
Year: B(II). Psalm week: 1. Liturgical Colour: White.
|Other saints: St John Neumann (1811 - 1860)|
He was born in Bohemia and studied for the priesthood. His bishop would not allow him to be ordained because the diocese had too many priests already, and eventually he went to the United States and was ordained in New York in 1836. He was consecrated Bishop of Philadephia in 1852 and died there in 1860. See the article in Wikipedia
About the author of the Second Reading in today's Office of Readings:
|Second Reading: St Augustine of Hippo (354 - 430)|
Augustine was born in Thagaste in Africa of a Berber family. He was brought up a Christian but left the Church early and spent a great deal of time seriously seeking the truth, first in the Manichaean heresy, which he abandoned on seeing how nonsensical it was, and then in Neoplatonism, until at length, through the prayers of his mother and the teaching of St Ambrose of Milan, he was converted back to Christianity and baptized in 387, shortly before his mother’s death.
Augustine had a brilliant legal and academic career, but after his conversion he returned home to Africa and led an ascetic life. He was elected Bishop of Hippo and spent 34 years looking after his flock, teaching them, strengthening them in the faith and protecting them strenuously against the errors of the time. He wrote an enormous amount and left a permanent mark on both philosophy and theology. His Confessions, as dazzling in style as they are deep in content, are a landmark of world literature. The Second Readings in the Office of Readings contain extracts from many of his sermons and commentaries and also from the Confessions.
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)||Ezekiel 20:41-42 ©|
I will welcome you like an appeasing fragrance when I bring you out from among the peoples. I mean to gather you together from the foreign countries in which you have been scattered and through you I intend to display my holiness for all the nations to see. You will learn that I am the Lord.
|Noon reading (Sext)||Ezekiel 34:11-12 ©|
I am going to look after my flock myself and keep all of it in view. As a shepherd keeps all his flock in view when he stands up in the middle of his scattered sheep, so shall I keep my sheep in view. I shall rescue them from wherever they have been scattered.
|Afternoon reading (None)||Micah 2:12 ©|
I am going to gather all Jacob together, I will gather the remnant of Israel, bring them together like sheep in the fold; like a flock in its pasture they will fear no man.