Alleluia! Christ ascends into heaven as Lord. Come, let us adore him. Alleluia!
Year: A(II). Liturgical Colour: White.
Other saints: Our Lady, Help of Christians
Kenya, Southern Africa, Malaysia, Poland, New Zealand: 24 May
Australia, Shrewsbury, Slovenia: 25 May
‘This is your mother.’ Under the title of Help of Christians, Mary was chosen as Patroness of Australasia by the First Provincial Synod, convened by Archbishop Bede Polding, in Sydney in 1844. The fledgling colonies needed Mary’s help at that time, as the nation does today. We are helped through Mary’s powerful intercession, and through the example of her life that we find in the Gospels. See also the article in the Catholic Encyclopaedia.
Other saints: Blessed Louis-Zépherin Moreau (1824 - 1901)
He was bishop of the St Hyacinthe diocese in Quebec for 25 years, from 1876 until his death.
Other saints: St Aldhelm
Aldhelm became a monk at Malmesbury, but completed his education at Canterbury. In about 675 he became Abbot of Malmesbury, and made foundations at Frome and Bradford-on-Avon. When the Wessex diocese was divided in 705 he became the first bishop of its western half, Sherborne, without ceasing to rule the abbey at Malmesbury.
He was renowned for his learning and sanctity. He wrote both prose and verse, and set his verse to music. Finding the people of his time somewhat dilatory in their church attendance, it is said that he would stand up in public places, singing songs and preaching sermons to attract people to the faith. His Old English verse, sung with harp accompaniment, has not survived, so we can judge this Anglo-Saxon writer only by his Latin works. It is thought that he invented the crossword puzzle. He died at Doulting near Wells in Somerset, and was buried at Malmesbury. His cult was discontinued by Lanfranc, but Osmund authorised its resumption with the translation of his relics in 1078.
Other saints: Translation of St. Dominic
24 May (where celebrated)
This memorial celebrates the first translation of the remains of Saint Dominic, who had been buried in the church of Saint Nicholas of the Vineyards at Bologna. Many people were healed at his tomb, yet his brethren were reluctant to acknowledge these miracles. Finally at the urging of Pope Gregory IX, Dominic’s remains were moved to a marble sepulcher. This translation took place on Pentecost Tuesday, May 24, 1233, and marked the beginning of the canonization process; upon its completion Gregory IX canonized Dominic on July 3, 1234. In 1267 Dominic’s remains were moved to his present tomb.
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: 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.
|Mid-morning reading (Terce)||(Apocalypse 1:17-18) ©|
I saw the Son of Man, and he said to me, ‘Have no fear! I am the First and the Last. I was dead and now I am to live for ever and ever, and I hold the keys of death and of the underworld.’
|Noon reading (Sext)||Hebrews 8:1-3 ©|
Our High Priest has his place at the right of the throne of divine Majesty in the heavens, and he is the minister of the sanctuary and of the true Tent of Meeting which the Lord, and not any man, set up. It is the duty of every high priest to offer gifts and sacrifices.
|Afternoon reading (None)||Colossians 3:1-2 ©|
Since you have been brought back to true life with Christ, you must look for the things that are in heaven, where Christ is, sitting at God’s right hand. Let your thoughts be on heavenly things, not on the things that are on the earth.