Christ the Lord was tempted and suffered for us. Come, let us adore him.
Or: O that today you would listen to his voice: harden not your hearts.
Year: C(II). Psalm week: 3. Liturgical Colour: Violet.
Other saints: Bl Francis Palau y Quer (1811-1872)
20 Mar (where celebrated)
Francis Palau y Quer was born in the year 1811 at Aitona in Spain. His early aspirations to live in the way of the Gospel led him to join the seminary in Lírida in 1828. During his seminary studies Francis came to know some Discalced Carmelite friars, whose way of life echoed with his own personal vocation. In 1832, spurred on by this appeal, he joined a Discalced Carmelite community at Barcelona and was later ordained in 1836.
Francis’ Carmelite life was marked by a rhythmic movement between life as a hermit and work as a missionary preacher in the region of Catalonia and southern France. Soon after his ordination he became a wandering preacher hoping to reignite the Catholic faith among the local people. He regularly spent periods of solitude living in caves in the region, following the pattern of the Desert Fathers. In 1840 Francis was named an Apostolic Missionary by the dioceses in which he preached. Soon after bans on religious communities were imposed in Spain, and so Francis crossed the Pyrenees to live in exile and to continue his solitary life and preaching in southern France. Over the next decade he would write three works exploring and defending the solitary life. His example inspired others to live as he did, and he became a spiritual guide for those seeking a solitary life in service of the Gospel.
Returning to Spain in 1851, Francis entered back into more active work as a spiritual director of seminarians and a parish catechist for adults. The movement between his missionary work and solitary life brought him to the insight that the Church, his Beloved, was God and neighbours together. His life continued in this pattern even during a six-year banishment by the Spanish government to the island of Ibiza. In his final years, Francis worked to establish the Teresian Missionary Carmelite Sisters and the Brothers of Charity (who later become re-affiliated with the Discalced Carmelite friars). Francis died on 20 March 1872, in the midst of his work that had sought to base the spiritual life on recognising and returning God’s love, rather than merely being caught up in the rational doctrines of his day.
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.
Liturgical colour: violet
Violet is a dark colour, ‘the gloomy cast of the mortified, denoting affliction and melancholy’. Liturgically, it is the colour of Advent and Lent, the seasons of penance and preparation.
|Mid-morning reading (Terce)||1 Thessalonians 4:1,7 ©|
My brethren, we urge you and appeal to you in the Lord Jesus to make more and more progress in the kind of life that you are meant to live: the life that God wants, as you learnt from us, and as you are already living it. We have been called by God to be holy, not to be immoral.
|Noon reading (Sext)||Isaiah 30:15,18 ©|
For thus says the Lord, the Holy One of Israel: ‘Your salvation lies in conversion and tranquillity, your strength will come from complete trust.’ The Lord is waiting to be gracious to you, to rise and take pity on you, for the Lord is a just God. Happy are all who hope in him.
|Afternoon reading (None)||Deuteronomy 4:29-31 ©|
You will seek the Lord your God, and if you seek him with all your heart and with all your soul, you shall find him. In your distress, all that I have said will overtake you, but at the end of days you will return to the Lord your God and listen to his voice. For the Lord your God is a merciful God and will not desert or destroy you or forget the covenant he made on oath with your fathers.