Behold, he comes to his holy temple, our Lord and Master: come, let us adore him.
Liturgical Colour: White.
In other years: St Blaise
He was bishop of Sebaste and was martyred, probably early in the fourth century. Devotion to him spread throughout the Church during the Middle Ages. He is particularly invoked for disorders of the throat. See the articles in the Catholic Encyclopaedia
Other saints: St Laurence of Canterbury (- 619)
He was one of the original missionaries who came from Rome with St Augustine in 597. He succeeded Augustine as Archbishop of Canterbury in about 604. He died at Canterbury on 3 February 619. See the articles in the Catholic Encyclopaedia
Other saints: St Dunstan of Canterbury (- 988)
His career began at Glastonbury, where he became abbot in 945. In 960 he became Archbishop of Canterbury, where he remained until his death on 19 May 988. He worked hard for the spiritual and temporal well-being of his people, restoring churches, judging lawsuits, defending the weak and friendless, reforming institutions and even promoting the draining of parts of the Somerset Levels so that they could be used for agriculture. In folklore he figures in many duels with the Devil, which he wins by ingenuity as much as by holiness. See the articles in the Catholic Encyclopaedia
Other saints: St Theodore of Canterbury (602 - 690)
He was born in Tarsus in about 602. In 667 he was living in Rome, still a layman, when the Pope chose him to be Archbishop of Canterbury. He was ordained priest, consecrated as Archbishop, and arrived in Canterbury in May 669. The English Church at this time was troubled and divided, and he travelled round the country filling vacant bishoprics and promoting peace and unity. He died at Canterbury on 19 September 690. See the article in the Catholic Encyclopaedia
Other saints: Saint Werburg
Saint Werburgh belonged to the royal family of Mercia, the last kingdom of Anglo-Saxon England to accept Christianity. Her father, King Wulfhere, was the first Christian King of Mercia. Werburgh became a nun at Ely, but her uncle Etheldred, who had succeeded her father as King in 674, recalled her to Mercia and put her in charge of several monasteries: Weedon (Northants), Hanbury (Staffs) and Threckingham (Lincs). There are no other known facts about her life. Werburgh was venerated as a saint from the time of her death which occurred c. 700; she was buried at Hanbury. When the pagan Danes invaded England in the late 9th century, her relics were taken for safety to Chester. The Cathedral at Chester is dedicated to her.
Other saints: St Anne Line, née Heigham (1565? - 1601)
She was the daughter of William Heigham of Dunmow, Essex, a gentleman of means and an ardent Calvinist. When she and her brother announced their intention of becoming Catholics they were both disinherited and driven from home. In 1585 Anne married Roger Line, also a convert, and lived for a time in his home town of Ringwood, now in the Diocese. Shortly after their marriage he was arrested for attending Mass and imprisoned. After a short confinement he was allowed to go into exile in Flanders, where he died in 1594.
Anne became housekeeper to Fr John Gerard SJ, who had established a house in London offering refuge to priests. She took vows of poverty, chastity and obedience in order to be more completely dedicated to her work. After Fr Gerard’s escape from the Tower in 1597, Anne moved to another house which became a rallying-point for neighbouring Catholics.
On 2 February 1601 Fr Francis Page was saying Mass in the house when priest-catchers broke in to arrest him. Fr Page quickly unvested and slipped into a hiding place prepared for him by Anne, but the altar prepared for the service was still visible. Although Fr Page subsequently escaped, Anne was arrested with two other lay people and tried at the Old Bailey on 26 February 1601. She was so weak that she was brought to trial in a chair. She told the court that, far from regretting having concealed a priest, her only grief was that she “could not receive a thousand more”. She was sentenced to hang the next day at Tyburn. Anne was executed immediately before two priests, Fr Roger Filcock SJ and Fr Mark Barkworth OSB, though as a woman she was spared the disembowelling that they endured. At the scaffold she repeated what she had said at her trial, declaring loudly to the bystanders: “I am sentenced to die for harbouring a Catholic priest, and so far I am from repenting for having so done, that I wish, with all my soul, that where I have entertained one, I could have entertained a thousand.”
About the author of the Second Reading in today's Office of Readings:
Second Reading: St Sophronius of Jerusalem (c.560 - 638)
Sophronius was born in Damascus around 560. He became an ascetic in Egypt about 580 and subsequently entered the monastery of St Theodosius near Bethlehem. He was active in the battle against the heretics who rejected the nature of Christ as both God and man. He became Patriarch of Jerusalem in 634. At that time the Saracen armies under the caliph Umar I were advancing into Palestine, and Jerusalem itself fell in 637, Sophronius negotiating with Umar the terms of a surrender which gave religious freedom to Christians and preserved the Church of the Holy Sepulchre as a Christian church.
Sophronius’ writings show little sign of these grand historical events. He wrote a series of poems in classical style on Christian subjects, and a number of sermons and doctrinal works.
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)||Isaiah 8:14 ©|
The Lord is the sanctuary and the stumbling-stone and the rock that brings down the two Houses of Israel; a trap and a snare for the inhabitants of Jerusalem.
|Noon reading (Sext)||Isaiah 42:13 ©|
The Lord advances like a hero,
his fury is stirred like a warrior’s.
He gives the war shout, raises the hue and cry,
marches valiantly against his foes.
|Afternoon reading (None)||Isaiah 12:5-6 ©|
Sing of the Lord, for he has done marvellous things, let them be made known to the whole world. Cry out for joy and gladness, you dwellers in Zion, for great in the midst of you is the Holy One of Israel.