Indeed, how good is the Lord: bless his holy name.
Year: C(I). Psalm week: 2. Liturgical Colour: Green.
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 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: 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 Ambrose of Milan (340? - 397)|
Ambrose was born in Trier (now in Germany) between 337 and 340, to a Roman family: his father was praetorian prefect of Gaul. Ambrose was educated at Rome and embarked on the standard cursus honorum of Roman advocates and administrators, at Sirmium, the capital of Illyria. In about 372 he was made prefect of Liguria and Emilia, whose capital was Milan.
In 374 the bishopric of Milan fell vacant and when Ambrose tried to pacify the conflict between the Catholics and Arians over the appointment of a new bishop, the people turned on him and demanded that he become the bishop himself. He was a layman and not yet baptized (at this time it was common for baptism to be delayed and for people to remain for years as catechumens), but that was no defence. Coerced by the people and by the emperor, he was baptized, ordained, and installed as bishop within a week, on 7 December 374.
He immediately gave his money to the poor and his land to the Church and set about learning theology. He had the advantage of knowing Greek, which few people did at that time, and so he was able to read the Eastern theologians and philosophers as well as those of the West.
He was assiduous in carrying out his office, acting with charity to all: a true shepherd and teacher of the faithful. He was unimpressed by status and when the Emperor Theodosius ordered the massacre of 7,000 people in Thessalonica, Ambrose forced him to do public penance. He defended the rights of the Church and attacked the Arian heresy with learning, firmness and gentleness. He also wrote a number of hymns which are still in use today.
Ambrose was a key figure in the conversion of St Augustine to Catholicism, impressing Augustine (hitherto unimpressed by the Catholics he had met) by his intelligence and scholarship. He died on Holy Saturday, 4 April 397.
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 season in which we are being neither especially penitent (in purple) nor overwhelmingly joyful (in white).
|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)||Deuteronomy 1:31 ©|
The Lord carried you, as a man carries his child, all along the road you travelled.
|Noon reading (Sext)||Baruch 4:28-29 ©|
As by your will you first strayed away from God, so now turn back and search for him ten times as hard; for as he brought down those disasters on you, so will he rescue you and give you eternal joy.
|Afternoon reading (None)||Wisdom 1:13-15 ©|
Death was not God’s doing, he takes no pleasure in the extinction of the living. To be – for this he created all; the world’s created things have health in them, in them no fatal poison can be found, and Hades holds no power on earth; for virtue is undying.