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: A(I). Psalm week: 2. Liturgical Colour: Violet.
|Other saints: Blessed John Anne (- 1589)|
It is hard to know who he was. He may have been John Amias, born at Wakefield in Yorkshire, where he married and had a family: on his wife’s death he divided his property among his children and left for the Continent to become a priest. In this case the surname “Anne” would be an alias. But equally he may have been William Anne, youngest son of John and Katherine Anne, of Frickley near Wakefield.
In any case, on 22 June 1580 a widower calling himself “John Amias” entered the English College at Rheims to study for the priesthood. He was ordained a priest in Rheims Cathedral on 25 March 1581 and on 5 June he set out for Paris and then England, as a missionary, in the company of another priest, Edmund Sykes. Little is known of his missionary life. Towards the end of 1588 he was arrested at the house of a Mr. Murton at Melling in Lancashire and imprisoned in York Castle. He was hanged, drawn and quartered outside York on 16 March 1589, together with a fellow priest, Robert Dalby. Both were beatified by Pope Pius XI on 15 December 1929.
About the author of the Second Reading in today's Office of Readings:
|Second Reading: St Irenaeus (130 - 202)|
Irenaeus was born in Smyrna, in Asia Minor (now Izmir in Turkey) and emigrated to Lyons, in France, where he eventually became the bishop. It is not known for certain whether he was martyred or died a natural death.
Whenever we take up a Bible we touch Irenaeus’s work, for he played a decisive role in fixing the canon of the New Testament. It is easy for people nowadays to think of Scripture – and the New Testament in particular – as the basis of the Church, but harder to remember that it was the Church itself that had to agree, early on, about what was scriptural and what was not. Before Irenaeus, there was vague general agreement on what scripture was, but a system based on this kind of common consent was too weak. As dissensions and heresies arose, reference to scripture was the obvious way of trying to settle what the truth really was, but in the absence of an agreed canon of scripture it was all too easy to attack one’s opponent’s arguments by saying that his texts were corrupt or unscriptural; and easy, too, to do a little fine-tuning of texts on one’s own behalf. Irenaeus not only established a canon which is almost identical to our present one, but also gave reasoned arguments for each inclusion and exclusion.
Irenaeus also wrote a major work, Against the Heresies, which in the course of denying what the Christian faith is not, effectively asserts what it is. The majority of this work was lost for many centuries and only rediscovered in a monastery on Mount Athos in 1842. Many passages from it are used in the Office of Readings.
|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)||Ezekiel 18:30-32 ©|
Repent, renounce all your sins, avoid all occasions of sin! Shake off all the sins you have committed against me, and make yourselves a new heart and a new spirit! Why are you so anxious to die, House of Israel? I take no pleasure in the death of anyone – it is the Lord who speaks. Repent and live!
|Noon reading (Sext)||Zechariah 1:3-4 ©|
Return to me, says the Lord of Hosts, and I will return to you. Do not be like your ancestors, to whom the prophets in the past cried ‘Turn back from your evil ways and evil deeds’ but they would not listen.
|Afternoon reading (None)||Daniel 4:24 ©|
By virtuous actions break with your sins, break with your crimes by showing mercy to the poor, and so live long and peacefully.
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Office of Readings for 2nd Wednesday of Lent
Morning Prayer for 2nd Wednesday of Lent
Evening Prayer for 2nd Wednesday of Lent
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