The Lord is a great king: come, let us adore him.
Year: C(II). Psalm week: 1. Liturgical Colour: Green.
St Jerome Emiliani (1486 - 1537)
He was born near Venice in 1486. He started his career as a soldier but after he was taken prisoner and then miraculously liberated, he devoted himself to helping the poor, distributing his own possessions among them also. Two priests joined him in this task and in 1532 he founded a religious order, the Clerks Regular of Somaschi, for the relief of poor and orphaned children. He died at Somaschi (near Bergamò) in 1537. See the articles in Wikipedia
and the Catholic Encyclopaedia
St Josephine Bakhita (1869 - 1947)
Josephine Bakhita was born near Jebel Agilere in South Darfur (Sudan). Kidnapped when still very young, she experienced the cruelty of slavery as she was sold several times in slave markets of Africa. Finally she was rescued by an Italian family and brought to Italy where she not only became a Christian but also felt the call to consecrate her life to God as a sister. She joined the Canossian Daughters of Charity and lived the rest of her life at Schio, a small village near Vicenza. She died on 8 February, 1947.
Other saints: St Cuthman of Steyning
Arundel & Brighton
The story of St Cuthman is told in the Acta Sanctorum of the Bollandists (1658), from an anonymous source. Cuthman was a shepherd, who after his father died, had to look after his crippled mother. They fell on hard times, and Cuthman was forced to beg from door to door. He set out from his home, perhaps at Chidham near Bosham, going eastwards, pushing his mother in a one-wheeled cart or wheelbarrow which he made. A rope from the handles over his shoulders took part of the weight. The rope broke, and he improvised a new one from withies. Some haymakers who were watching laughed at him, but a heavy rainstorm ruined their hay and taught them a lesson.
Cuthman decided that when the makeshift rope of withies gave way he would take it as a sign from God that he should stop at that place and build a church. It happened at the place we call Steyning. His biographer gives us his prayer: “Father Almighty, you have brought my wanderings to an end; now enable me to begin this work. For who am I, Lord, that I should build a house to name? If I rely on myself, it will be of no avail, but it is you who will assist me. You have given me the desire to be a builder; make up for my lack of skill, and bring the work of building this holy house to its completion.” After building a hut to accommodate his mother and himself, he set to work to build the church. The local people helped him, and those who did not found themselves in trouble. As the church neared completion, Cuthman had difficulty with a roof-beam. A stranger showed him how to fix it. When Cuthman asked his name, he replied “I am he in whose name you are building this church.”
We can picture Cuthman living in Steyning, continuing his work as shepherd and builder, but above all (as his biographer attests) as a man of prayer. He had accomplished his great work for God; the church he built would stand as his memorial.
Cuthman was venerated as a saint before the Norman Conquest. After the conquest his relics were transferred to Fécamp, since the Steyning church had been given to the Abbey there. In charters of William the Conqueror Steyning is sometimes called “St Cuthman’s Port” or “St Cuthman’s Parish”. In “lives” which were preserved at Fécamp it is said that he was born about 681 A.D., probably at Chidham, near Bosham, which is about 25 miles from Steyning. If this is so, his parents would have heard the preaching of St Wilfrid, the Apostle of Sussex (680-685), and no doubt became Christian. Did Wilfrid himself baptise the child Cuthman? Some authorities give him a date later than this, but at least it can be said that Cuthman’s church was in existence in 857, for we know that King Ethelwulf was buried there in that year.
In Norman times Steyning was a minster church, administered by a college of secular canons. This college was dissolved in 1260 and vicars were appointed by the Abbey of Fécamp. It was at this time that the church was re-dedicated in honour of St Andrew, which is its dedication today.
However, Cuthman’s name and exploits were not forgotten. There is a German engraving of him with his “cart” dated about 1450 and a choir seat carving at Ripon Cathedral dating from a few decades later. And at Chidham, where he was born, there was a Guild of St Cuthman, which was subject to a tax in 1522 under Henry VIII. Finally in 1658 the Bollandists transcribed and printed his Life, giving his feast day as February 8th. Visitors to Steyning to this day will see the representation of “The Boy with a Cart” on the town sign, and Christopher Fry’s play of that name continues to keep his memory green.
About the author of the Second Reading in today's Office of Readings:
Second Reading: Origen (184 - 254)
Origen is a giant among early Christian thinkers. He was knowledgeable in all the arguments of the Greek philosophical schools but believed firmly in the Bible as the only source of true inspiration. He is thus a representative of that curious hybrid called “Christianity”, which on the one hand maintains (like the Jews) an ongoing direct relationship with the living God, who is the principle and source of being itself, but on the other hand maintains (like the Greeks) that everything makes sense rationally and it is our duty to make sense of it. As the Gospels say (but the Pentateuch does not), “You shall love the Lord your God with all your mind”.
A first stage in this, when it comes (for example) to disputations with the Jews over their view of Christianity as a recently-founded syncretizing heresy of Judaism, is to decide what Scripture is and what it says. If I argue from my books and you argue from yours, we will never meet; but if we share an agreed foundation, there is some chance. Accordingly Origen compiled a vast synopsis of the different versions of the Old Testament, called the Hexapla. Not all Origen’s specific judgements on soundness were generally accepted, even at the time, but the principle remains a necessary one, indispensable for any constructive meeting of minds.
Origen’s principle of interpretation of Scripture is that as well as having a literal meaning, its laws, stories and narratives point us to eternal and spiritual truths. The prime purpose of Scripture is to convey spiritual truth, and the narrative of historical events is secondary to this. While we still accept that “Scripture provides us with the truths necessary for salvation”, this view does leave room for over-interpretation by the unscrupulous, and in the controversies of succeeding centuries people would either claim Origen as an authority for their own interpretations or accuse their opponents of Origenizing away the plain truths of Scripture. Even today, the literalist view taken by some heretics of narratives in Genesis which most of us accept as allegorical shows that this controversy will never die.
As part of his programme of founding everything on Scripture, Origen produced voluminous commentaries – too many of them for the copyists to keep up, so that today some of them have perished. But what remains has definite value, and extracts from his commentaries and also his sermons are used as some of our Second Readings in the Office of Readings.
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)||Jeremiah 17:7-8 ©|
A blessing on the man who puts his trust in the Lord, with the Lord for his hope. He is like a tree by the waterside that thrusts its roots to the stream: when the heat comes it feels no alarm, its foliage stays green; it has no worries in a year of drought, and never ceases to bear fruit.
|Noon reading (Sext)||Proverbs 3:13-15 ©|
Happy the man who discovers wisdom, the man who gains discernment: gaining her is more rewarding than silver, more profitable than gold. She is beyond the price of pearls, nothing you could covet is her equal.
|Afternoon reading (None)||Job 5:17-18 ©|
Happy indeed the man whom God corrects! So do not refuse this lesson from the Omnipotent: for he who wounds is he who soothes the sore, and the hand that hurts is the hand that heals.