Universalis
Saturday 7 November 2020    (other days)
Saint Willibrord, Bishop and Missionary 
 on Saturday of week 31 in Ordinary Time

Christ is the chief shepherd, the leader of his flock: come, let us adore him.

Year: A(II). Psalm week: 3. Liturgical Colour: White.

St Willibrord (658 - 739)

He was born in Yorkshire and after being a pupil of St Wilfrid, studied for twelve years at Rathmelsige in Ireland, where he was ordained priest. He returned to England but set out again in 690 to evangelize Frisia. He was ordained bishop by Pope Sergius in 695 and founded the metropolitan see of Utrecht in the Netherlands. He preached the Gospel in Denmark and North Germany and founded several dioceses and monasteries in the Netherlands and Luxembourg. He died at Echternach in Luxembourg in 739.
  He was the first of the great Anglo-Saxon missionaries to Europe and is remembered not just for his devotion in preaching the Gospel but also for his joyfulness of character and his holiness of 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: 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)1 Samuel 15:22 ©
Is the pleasure of the Lord in holocausts and sacrifices or in obedience to the voice of the Lord? Obedience is better than sacrifice, submissiveness better than the fat of rams.

Noon reading (Sext)Galatians 5:26,6:2 ©
We must stop being conceited, provocative and envious. You should carry each other’s troubles and fulfil the law of Christ.

Afternoon reading (None)Micah 6:8 ©
What is good has been explained to you, man; this is what the Lord asks of you: only this, to act justly, to love tenderly and to walk humbly with your God.

Free audio for the blind

Office of Readings for Saturday of week 31

Morning Prayer for Saturday of week 31

Evening Prayer 1 for 32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time

Full page including sources and copyrights

Scripture readings taken from The Jerusalem Bible, published and copyright © 1966, 1967 and 1968 by Darton, Longman & Todd, Ltd and Doubleday, a division of Random House, Inc, and used by permission of the publishers. For on-line information about other Random House, Inc. books and authors, see the Internet web site at http://www.randomhouse.com.
 
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