Indeed, how good is the Lord: bless his holy name.
Year: A(II). Psalm week: 2. Liturgical Colour: Green.
Other saints: St Onuphrius (d. 400)
Kenya, Southern Africa
Onuphrius lived as a hermit in the desert for seventy years. He was from Thebaid (Egypt) and at an early age he joined other monks in the desert. Soon he discovered that he was called to live as a hermit and, having left the monastery, he began a solitary life. In the desert he suffered much from privation of food and drink, and also from many temptations. He spent his life praying and working until his death at the age of ninety. It was about the year 400.
Other saints: Bl Alphonsus Mazurek and Companions
12 Jun (where celebrated)
He was born in 1891 at Baranowka, near Lubartow, Poland. He entered the Order of Discalced Carmelites in 1908, taking the religious name Alphonsus Mary of the Holy Spirit. He was ordained a priest and appointed as a professor, while dedicating himself to the education of youth. Afterwards he served in his Order as prior and bursar. In 1944, after having been arrested by the troops that had invaded his country, he was shot on 28th August at Nawojowa Gora, near Krzeszowice. He was beatified by John Paul II on 13th June 1999, together with many other Polish martyrs.
Other saints: Bl Hilary Januszewski (1907-1945)
12 Jun (where celebrated)
Hilary Januszweski was born in Krajenki, Poland on 11 June 1907. He was christened Pawel and raised by his parents, Martin and Marianne. At the age of 20, Pawel went to Krakow where he joined the Carmelite Order and took the religious name Hilary. Following the completion of philosophy studies in Krakow, he was sent to Rome for clerical studies at St Albert’s International College. He is remembered during this time by fellow Carmelites as a silent and prudent man who loved studying.
Hilary returned to the Krakow community, Poland in 1935, and was appointed professor of Dogmatic Theology and Church History at the institute of the Polish Carmelite Province. Four years later, in 1939 as world war threatened, he was appointed prior of the Krakow community. In September of the same year, the Gestapo, who had entered Poland, began arresting friars from the Krakow community. During one of these arrests, Father Hilary offered himself in the place of another friar, who was older and suffering sickness. He understood his act to be the duty of his role as prior of the community. After his arrest he was transferred between various concentration camps and ended up at Dachau.
At Dachau, Hilary was joined by other Carmelites who had been arrested, among them, Titus Brandsma. Letters from the time mention a ceremony held in secrecy to celebrate the feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel on 16 July 1942 by a group of imprisoned Carmelites. During the winter of 1945, a typhus epidemic struck the camp. Hilary, knowing that he would likely not survive, volunteered to care for those who were suffering the disease. After 21 days of ministering to the sick and dying, Hilary contracted typhus and died of the disease on 25 March 1945, shortly before the liberation of the concentration camp. Previous Carmelite Prior General, Joseph Chalmers, reflecting on the life of Bl Hilary, wrote: “Had it not been for his heroic death, he would probably have been forgotten, because he never stood out in extraordinary things. But with that strength that grows from a life of prayer, acting in the presence of the Lord – something very typical and genuine of Carmelite spirituality – he gave himself up for others with the same simplicity with which he lived a quiet, hardworking life.”
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.
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)||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.