The Lord’s is the earth and its fullness: come, let us adore him.
Year: A(II). Psalm week: 1. Liturgical Colour: Green.
St Elizabeth of Portugal (1271 - 1336)
She was the daughter of King Peter III of Aragón and was named after her great-aunt, St Elizabeth of Hungary. She was married to King Denis of Portugal, by whom she had two children. She set up hospitals, orphanages, and other institutions, patiently endured her husband’s infidelities and provided for the education of his bastards, and acted as peacemaker in the quarrelsome and complicated politics of the time.
On her husband’s death in 1325 she retired from public affairs and devoted herself to prayer and the service of the poor. Throughout her life she was faithful and regular in prayer, and daily recited the Liturgy of the Hours.
In 1336 her son, by now King Alfonso IV of Portugal, went to war against King Alfonso XI of Castile. Elizabeth followed the Portuguese army on the field in an effort to bring about peace. She succeeded, but the effort killed her.
The canonization of royal personages may seem offensive to our modern egalitarian principles; but though it may be hard to attain sanctity in a mediaeval kingdom or its equivalent, a modern corporation, with God nothing is impossible.
Saturday memorials of the Blessed Virgin Mary
‘On Saturdays in Ordinary Time when there is no obligatory memorial, an optional memorial of the Blessed Virgin Mary is allowed.
‘Saturdays stand out among those days dedicated to the Virgin Mary. These are designated as memorials of the Blessed Virgin Mary. This memorial derives from Carolingian times (9th century), but the reasons for having chosen Saturday for its observance are unknown. While many explanations of this choice have been advanced, none is completely satisfactory from the point of view of the history of popular piety.
‘Whatever its historical origins may be, today the memorial rightly emphasizes certain values to which contemporary spirituality is more sensitive. It is a remembrance of the maternal example and discipleship of the Blessed Virgin Mary who, strengthened by faith and hope, on that “great Saturday” on which Our Lord lay in the tomb, was the only one of the disciples to hold vigil in expectation of the Lord’s resurrection. It is a prelude and introduction to the celebration of Sunday, the weekly memorial of the Resurrection of Christ. It is a sign that the Virgin Mary is continuously present and operative in the life of the Church.’
Directory on Popular Piety and the Liturgy (2001), §188
Other saints: Our Lady of Budslau
The multi-ethnic Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth was destroyed by the Prussian, Austrian and Russian Empires in 1793. Budslau (Belarusian: Будслаў, Polish: Budsław) is in the Mińsk district, which was taken over by the Russian Empire. Between the wars it formed part of the restored Poland; after the Second World War it was ethnically cleansed and became part of the Soviet Union until the Soviet Union itself collapsed in 1989. It is now part of the newly independent country of Belarus.
The miracle-working icon of Our Lady of Budslau has been a focus of pilgrimage since the 16th century. A monastery grew up to serve the pilgrims, and was later destroyed in the wars and revolutions that swept the area; but the icon survived wars, revolutions, and even the attempts by the Soviet secret police to destroy it.
Pilgrims have come from all the successor states of the Commonwealth: Belarus, Poland, Lithuania and Ukraine: secretly in the late 20th-century times of oppression and persecution, but openly since 1992.
This feast was traditionally celebrated on 2 July but in 2012 it was moved to the first Saturday of the month, because “Many believers, including students and priests, expressed their wish to celebrate the feast of Lord’s Mother of Budslau on Saturday because they want to do it to the full. Previously that was not possible because the feast often occurred to be on a workday.”
Other saints: Blessed John Cornelius (-1594)
John Cornelius was born of Irish parents in Bodmin, and his talent was soon noticed by Sir John Arundell of Lanherne, who sent him to Oxford. From there he went to the English College in Rheims, and to Rome, where he was ordained priest. He came back to England, and worked here for ten years, before being arrested at Chideock Castle, where he was acting as chaplain to Lady Arundell. Whilst being escorted to the sheriff’s house he was met on the way by Thomas Bosgrave, a relative of the Arundell family, who offered him his own hat, as he had been dragged out bare-headed. Thereupon Bosgrave was promptly arrested. Two servants of the castle, John (or Terence) Carey and Patrick Salmon, both natives of Dublin, shared the same fate. They were executed at Dorchester on July 4th 1594.
Other saints: Bl Maria Crocifissa Curcio (1877-1957)
4 Jul (where celebrated)
Rosa Curcio was born on 30 January 1877 in Ispica, Sicily, Italy. She was the seventh of ten children born to Salvatore Curcio and Concetta Franzò. As was the general custom of the time, Rosa completed her formal schooling at the age of twelve. In her own readings in the family library she happened upon the Life of St Teresa of Jesus, the impact of which would propel her into her Carmelite journey. At age thirteen she enrolled in the Carmelite Third Order, which had been recently re-established in Ispica. As she grew in her understanding and practice of Carmelite Spirituality she came to discern that her mission was to “make Carmel flourish”.
As a young women she joined other Third Order Carmelites, to live together as a community in a small apartment. Following this experience, she was transferred to Modica and entrusted with the management of Carmela Polara, an institution that supported and educated orphaned and disadvantaged girls. Later still, inspired by her attendance at the canonisation of St Therésè of the Child Jesus in Rome, 1925, Rosa resolved to found a community of missionary Carmelite sisters. In 1930 her Congregation of the Carmelite Missionary Sisters of St Therésè of the Child Jesus was given official recognition. The mission of the congregation was to ‘bring souls to God’ by feeding the poor, educating children and supporting families in Christian living. Following the end of World War II, in 1947 Rosa (now Madre Maria Crocifissa) sent missionary sisters to Brazil to carry out their work. Her passion for mission was lived out in her congregation, as her own health limited her ability to travel throughout her life. Madre Maria Crocifissa died on July 4, 1957 in Porto Santa Rufina, after a life spent in living the Carmelite life of contemplative prayer, community and prophetic action.
About the author of the Second Reading in today's Office of Readings:
Second Reading: St Cyril of Jerusalem (315 - 386)
Cyril was born in 315 of Christian parents and succeeded Maximus as bishop of Jerusalem in 348. He was active in the Arian controversy and was exiled more than once as a result. His pastoral zeal is especially shown in his Catecheses, in which he expounded orthodox doctrine, holy Scripture and the traditions of the faith. They are still read today, and several of the Second Readings of the Office of Readings are taken from them. He died in 386. He is held in high esteem by both the Catholics and the Orthodox, and he was declared a Doctor of the Church by the Pope in 1883.
Liturgical colour: green
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 orderly sequence of weeks through the year, a season in which we are being neither single-mindedly penitent (in purple) nor overwhelmingly joyful (in white).
|Mid-morning reading (Terce)||1 Kings 8:60-61 ©|
May all the peoples of the earth come to know that the Lord is God indeed, and that there is no other. May your hearts be wholly with the Lord our God, following his laws and keeping his commandments as at this present day.
|Noon reading (Sext)||Jeremiah 17:9-10 ©|
The heart is more devious than any other thing, perverse too: who can pierce its secrets? I, the Lord, search to the heart, I probe the loins, to give each man what his conduct and his actions deserve.
|Afternoon reading (None)||Wisdom 7:27,8:1 ©|
Although she is alone, Wisdom can accomplish everything. She deploys her strength from one end of the earth to the other, ordering all things for good.