Cry out with joy to God, all the earth: serve the Lord with gladness.
Year: C(I). Psalm week: 4. Liturgical Colour: Green.
St Charbel Makhlouf (1828 - 1898)
He was born in the Lebanon, the son of a mule-driver, and brought up by his uncle, who did not approve of his devotion to prayer and solitude. He would go secretly to the monastery of St Maron at Annaya, and eventually became a Maronite monk and was ordained priest. After being a monk for many years, he was drawn to a closer imitation of the Desert Fathers and became a hermit.
At his hermitage he lived a severely ascetic life with much prayer and fasting. He refused to touch money and considered himself the servant of anyone who came to stay in the three other cells that the hermitage possessed. He spent the last 23 years of his life there, and increasing numbers of people would come to receive his counsel or his blessing.
Other saints: Saint Declan
He was an early Irish bishop and abbot. He is sometimes said to be one of four bishops to have preceded Saint Patrick in Ireland in the early 5th century (See also Saints Ailbhe, Ciaran, and Ibar), although he is also made a contemporary of Saint David in the mid-6th century. See the article in Wikipedia
Other saints: St John Boste (c.1544-1594)
24 Jul (where celebrated)
John Boste was born in Westmorland around 1544. He studied at Queen’s College, Oxford where he became a Fellow. He converted to Catholicism in 1576. He left England and was ordained a priest at Reims in 1581. He returned as an active missionary priest to Northern England. He was betrayed to the authorities near Durham in 1593. Following his arrest he was taken to the Tower of London for interrogation. Returned to Durham he was condemned by the Assizes and hanged, drawn and quartered at nearby Dryburn on 24 July 1594. He denied that he was a traitor saying: “My function is to invade souls, not to meddle in temporal invasions”.
Other saints: Blessed Robert Ludlam and Nicholas Garlick (d. 1588)
Robert Ludlam was born around 1551, in Derbyshire, the son of a yeoman. After studying at Oxford he went to the English College at Rheims and was ordained priest there in September 1581. At the end of April 1582 he set out for England to pursue his ministry there.
Nicholas Garlick was born around 1555, also in Derbyshire. He spend several years as a schoolmaster, then went to the English College and was ordained at the end of March 1582. He came to England in January 1583.
Both Ludlam and Garlick were arrested at the home of a Catholic recusant, convicted of the crime of being priests, and hanged, drawn, and quartered on 24 July 1588 in Derby. According to eyewitnesses Ludlam stood smiling while the execution of Garlick was being carried out, and smiled still when his own turn came.
Other saints: Bl John Soreth (1394-1471)
24 Jul (where celebrated)
John Soreth was born near Caen in Normandy, France in 1394. He entered the Carmelite friars in that city and was ordained a priest about 1417. John later went to Paris for advanced theological studies, earning a Doctorate in 1438. Soon after he was elected Provincial for north-central France and served in that office from 1440 until 1451.
Recognised for his outstanding spiritual and administrational leadership, he was elected the Prior General of the Carmelites in 1451. As Prior General he was a determined reformer at a time when reform was needed in the entire Church, but not always willingly accepted. John set about a program of reforming legislation and visiting as many Carmelite communities as he could. He travelled widely in an effort to encourage his fellow Carmelites to live Carmelite life more authentically. During his canonical visits, he frequently stayed longer, urging and encouraging friars in formal observance and deeper commitment to a genuinely virtuous life.
John was also instrumental in encouraging and establishing the first communities of Carmelite nuns, and oversaw the official incorporation of many women’s communities into the Order, following the papal bull “Cum Nulla” of Nicholas V. As a result of the same papal bull, he was instrumental in the development of the Lay Carmelite Third Order. John Soreth died at Angers, France, in 1471, after 20 years of spirited servant leadership. Among those who praised his work, following his death, was fellow Carmelite and poet Baptist Spagnoli of Mantua.
Other saints: Bl Maria Mercedes Prat (1880-1936)
24 Jul (where celebrated)
Mercedes Prat was born on March 6, 1880, in Barcelona, baptized on the following day, and made her First Holy Communion on June 30, 1890. From her childhood she gave herself completely to God, whom she received every day in Communion. She displayed a great love for her neighbour and tried to foster this kind of love in others. During her years in school, she was known for her goodness and her dedication to school work, excelling especially in painting and needlework, which were areas in which she had a natural talent. Entering the novitiate of the Society of Saint Teresa of Jesus in 1904, in Tortosa, she made her temporary profession in 1907. She was a religious according to the heart of God: prudent and truthful, calm and gentle in her reactions, having a natural goodness in all her dealing with others, but firm in character. God was her one love, and her love for God kept growing to the point where she would give her life for Him. In 1920 she was assigned to the motherhouse in Barcelona. From there the path to martyrdom began on July 19, 1936, when the community was forced to give up the school and flee. On July 23, because she was a religious, Sr Mercedes was arrested and shot; she died in the early morning of July 24.
About the author of the Second Reading in today's Office of Readings:
Second Reading: Thomas à Kempis (1379 - 1471)
The first thing to know about The Imitation of Christ is that it was published anonymously and that its attribution to Thomas à Kempis is not uncontested. Other possible authors have included (as his translator Betty I. Knott points out) thirty-five different people, including Gerhard Groote; Walter Hilton, the English mystic; St Bernard; St Bonaventure; Pope Innocent III; and John Gerson, Chancellor of the University of Paris. But on the whole Thomas à Kempis himself is still in the lead. (In any case, “Do not ask who said this,” says Book I chapter 5, “but listen to what is said”).
The late 14th and early 15th centuries saw a miraculous outpouring of mysticism and spirituality all over western Europe, encompassing The Cloud of Unknowing, Walter Hilton, Julian of Norwich, and even the maddening Margery Kempe. Much of it was lay, and even Thomas à Kempis, who became a priest, belongs not to any of the great monastic or preaching orders but to the Brethren of the Common Life, a movement which started in the Netherlands and Rhineland in the late fourteenth century. The birth of the movement was the teaching of Gerhard Groote, who preached and taught a simple prayerful way of life which people could follow in their own homes. Groote shared most of his own large house in Deventer, in the Netherlands, with a group of devout women who lived together as a community (without taking formal vows), and Florentius Radwijns, one of the cathedral clergy and a follower of Groote’s, then hosted a similar community of men. The Brethren of the Common Life aimed to live a communal life in imitation of the simplicity and poverty of the earliest Christians, devoting themselves both to contemplation and to active works. In the time of relative ecclesial peace which preceded the Reformation the Brethren were allowed to grow and develop largely without too much interference. In due course a progression was also established whereby those Brethren who desired a more formal commitment founded, or joined, houses of regular Augustinian canons or canonesses.
Thomas à Kempis himself was born in Kempen, a small town not far from Cologne. He went to a school founded by Gerhard Groote, and in 1399 became a member of the recently founded Augustinian house of which John, his elder brother, was the first prior. He remained a member of this community for the rest of his life.
It was a custom of the Brethren to make collections of sayings on spiritual topics, and Thomas followed this practice from his schooldays onwards. Thus some of the Second Readings from the Imitation that we use in the liturgy read almost like a sequence of “bullet points”. In a sense this is the best use of the Imitation – as a bedside book to be read one chapter out of each night, as Monsignor Ronald Knox did in his later years. Thomas à Kempis manages, in each short chapter, to propound a theme or even sketch a situation, and to bring out of it a moral or a conclusion, food for the spirit. Knox tells us that in the days when English Protestants treated The Pilgrim’s Progress as a sort of extra book of the New Testament, The Imitation of Christ was practically the Catholic equivalent. But that does not make it a warm bath to sink oneself into. As Knox puts it:
“The whole work… is a sustained irritant which preserves us… from sinking back into relaxation: from self-conceit, self-pity, self-love. It offers consolation here and there, but always at the price of fresh exertion… Heaven help us if we find easy reading in The Imitation of Christ.”
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 Corinthians 10:24,31 ©|
Nobody should be looking for his own advantage, but everybody for the other man’s. Whatever you eat, whatever you drink, whatever you do at all, do it for the glory of God.
|Noon reading (Sext)||Colossians 3:17 ©|
Never say or do anything except in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
|Afternoon reading (None)||Colossians 3:23-24 ©|
Whatever your work is, put your heart into it as if it were for the Lord and not for men, knowing that the Lord will repay you by making you his heirs. It is Christ the Lord that you are serving.