The Lord is the king of virgins: come, let us adore him.
Year: C(I). Psalm week: 2. Liturgical Colour: White.
St Lidwina (1380 - 1433)
She was born in Schiedam in Holland. At the age of 15 she was ice-skating when she fell and broke a rib. Contemporary accounts describe how gangrene appeared in the wound and spread through her whole body. She had lost the use of her legs by the age of 19 and eventually was completely paralysed except for her left hand. Living in constantly increasing pain, she had a wonderful gift of prayer and contemplation; suffering an incurable disease, she yet had the power to heal others. Some thought that she was under the influence of an evil spirit, but she was greatly revered by many holy men, one of whom wrote a pious tract in her honour. On the morning of Easter Day 1433, she was in deep contemplation and saw a vision of Christ coming towards her to administer the sacrament of Extreme Unction, and two days later, on 14 April, she died. Her grave immediately became a place of pilgrimage. Joannes Brugmann and Thomas à Kempis wrote biographies of her, and she was more and more venerated as time went on. Finally, in 1890 Pope Leo XIII gave the Church’s official sanction to this centuries-old devotion by canonizing St Lidwina. Her feast day in the Netherlands is 14 June, which is the anniversary of the transfer of her relics to Schiedam in 1871.
The details in the contemporary biographies have enabled modern medical opinion to reach the conclusion that St Lidwina suffered from a form of multiple sclerosis, making her (by some centuries) the earliest documented case of this disease.
Other saints: Saint Davnet
She is the patron saint of the diocese of Clogher. Nothing is known about her for certain. She may have lived and died at Tydavnet in County Monaghan, possibly in the seventh century.
Other saints: St Elisha (1-2 Kings, Prophet)
14 Jun (where celebrated)
On this day, together with the eastern rites of the Catholic Church, Carmelites commemorate the prophet Elisha, a prophet of the Hebrew Scriptures. The story of Elisha is found in the first and second Book of Kings. God’s word to Elijah names Elisha to be his successor as prophet (1Kgs 19:16). Elisha received this commission for the first time when Elijah “threw his mantle over him” (1Kgs 19:19). Soon after Elijah is taken from the earth. As he goes, Elisha requests and receives a “double share” of Elijah’s spirit, the special blessing of an elder son who traditionally received twice the inheritance of other children. Taking up Elijah’s mantle and prophetic role, Elisha, as Elijah’s disciple and ‘son’ carries on his prophetic legacy, standing in the presence of the true God and witnessing to this presence among the people of Israel in acts of service. The Elisha story cycle represents the prophet as one who walked in the way of Elijah. Elisha’s prophetic actions and deeds echo those of Elijah: cleansing drinking water, feeding large crowds, healing a foreigner of leprosy and raising a boy from the dead. In Hebrew, Elisha means “God is Salvation”.
The memorial of St Elisha was incorporated into the Carmelite liturgical calendar by the Carmelite General Chapter in 1399. Like Elisha, Carmelites call Elijah “father” and strive to live the prophetic life of disciple and son that Elisha did, seeking always to stand in the presence of the true God now revealed in Jesus Christ.
Other saints: Bl Maria Candida of the Eucharist (1884-1949)
14 Jun (where celebrated)
Blessed Maria Candida of the Eucharist was born on 16 January 1884 in Catanzano. Her parents, Pietro Barba and Giovanna Florona, returned to Palermo, Sicily, where she received First Holy Communion 3rd April 1894. In 1919 she entered the Discalced Carmelite Monastery, Ragusa, making solemn profession 23rd April 1924. She was Prioress and Mistress of Novices many times, radiating a sense of Carmelite holiness both within and outside of the community, influencing others with her love for the Eucharist, as well as by her numerous writings. She died on 12th June 1949, the solemnity of the Holy Trinity, and was beatified 21st March 2004.
About the author of the Second Reading in today's Office of Readings:
Second Reading: St Cyprian (210 - 258)
Cyprian was born in Carthage and spent most of his life in the practice of the law. He was converted to Christianity, and was made bishop of Carthage in 249. He steered the church through troubled times, including the persecution of the emperor Decius, when he went into hiding so as to be able to continue looking after the church. In 258 the persecution of the emperor Valerian began. Cyprian was first exiled and then, on the 14th of September, executed, after a trial notable for the calm and courtesy shown by both sides.
Cyprian’s many letters and treatises shed much light on a formative period in the Church’s history, and are valuable both for their doctrine and for the picture they paint of a group of people in constant peril of their lives but still determined to keep the faith.
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.
Other notes: G.K. Chesterton (1874 - 1936)
On this day in 1936 died G.K. Chesterton, writer and journalist. His writings – stories, essays, poems, books, journalism – are infused with an unequalled joy and love of truth.
In youth, he went through a crisis of nihilistic pessimism and it was his recovery from this that led him to God and ultimately to conversion. “The Devil made me a Catholic,” he said – meaning that it was the experience of evil and nothingness that convinced him of the goodness and sanity of the world and his creator. His poem “The Ballade of a Suicide” celebrates the salvific value of ordinary things; his novel, “The Man who was Thursday,” narrates the fight for sanity in an insane world and ponders the paradox of God; and “Orthodoxy” (downloadable here
), written long before he became a Catholic, highlights orthodoxy not as a dead and static thing but as the only possible point of equilibrium between crazy heresies any one of which would drive us mad.
He took part in all the major controversies of his age, and was a lifelong adversary and friend of socialists and atheists such as George Bernard Shaw. These controversies were conducted with passion but with unfailing charity: he never sought to defeat his opponents, only to defeat their ideas. He would never cheat to score a point: and his love for the people he fought against is something that all controversialists should imitate, however hard it may be.
Read him, and pray for him.
|Mid-morning reading (Terce)||Wisdom 8:21 ©|
I knew I could not master Wisdom but by the gift of God – a mark itself of understanding, to know whose the bounty was.
|Noon reading (Sext)||1 Corinthians 7:25 ©|
About remaining celibate, I have no directions from the Lord but give my own opinion as one who, by the Lord’s mercy, has stayed faithful.
|Afternoon reading (None)||Apocalypse 19:6,7 ©|
The reign of the Lord our God Almighty has begun; let us be glad and joyful and give praise to God, because this is the time for the marriage of the Lamb.