Indeed, how good is the Lord: bless his holy name.
Year: A(I). Psalm week: 2. Liturgical Colour: Green.
St Bruno (c.1033 - 1101)
He was born at Cologne and educated partly at Reims. He was head of the episcopal school there for almost 20 years. In 1075 he was appointed chancellor of the church of Reims and had to devote himself to the administration of the diocese. The bishop at that time, Manasses de Gournai, was impious, corrupt, and violent. Through the intervention of Bruno and others, the Council of Autun suspended Manasses, who retaliated by demolishing the houses of his accusers and confiscating their goods. In 1080 a final decision of the Pope, together with a popular uprising, deposed Manasses.
Bruno was the obvious candidate as his successor – nearly 50, known and trusted, and experienced in administration. But in 1077 he and two of his fellow-canons at Reims had made a vow to abandon the world and enter the religious life. It had not been possible to act on that vow at the time. Now it was. Bruno fled.
He went first to join St Robert, who had settled at Molesme and gathered followers round him, who were later to become the Cistercian Order. But this was not his vocation. In 1084, with six of his companions, he presented himself to St Hugh of Châteauneuf, Bishop of Grenoble, who installed them in a wild spot called Chartreuse, not far from Grenoble, among steep rocks and snow-covered mountains. They built a small monastery where they lived in deep retreat and poverty, entirely occupied in prayer and study.
In 1088 one of Bruno’s pupils from Reims became Pope Urban II and resolved to continue the work of reform begun by Gregory VII. In 1090 Urban summoned Bruno to Rome to help. Narrowly avoiding being elected bishop again – of Reggio in Calabria, this time, which he escaped by getting one of his former pupils to be elected instead – Bruno managed to persuade the Pope to let him resume the solitary life. He founded a new monastery in the diocese of Squillace in Calabria, and for the rest of his life led an amphibian existence, being called away from time to time to help the Pope in his project of reform, but always returning.
Bruno pioneered the “mixed” form of religious life, of hermits who live together in a community. He did not plan to found an Order, but the seed he had planted at Chartreuse grew into the Carthusian Order, which continues to this day, with some 24 houses spread across the world.
Other saints: Blessed Marie Rose Durocher (1811 - 1849)
Canada, United States
Eulalie Durocher was born at Saint Antoine-sur-Richelieu in Quebec. Housekeeper at the rectory in Beloeil and facilitator of pastoral activities from 1831 to 1843, she saw the great need for instruction of youth. Girls especially received little schooling. At the request of Bishop Ignace Bourget, she went to Longueuil to found a new teaching community with her companions Henriette Céré and Mélodie Dufresne. On December 8, 1844, the three foundresses made their religious profession in the church of Longueuil.
She died on 6 October 1849 at the age of 38. By her faith, her judgement and her apostolic creativity, this woman had a great influence on the society and the Church of Quebec.
About the author of the Second Reading in today's Office of Readings:
Second Reading: Pseudo-Ambrosius
The writings of the Fathers do from time to time contain works attributed to pseudo-characters such as Pseudo-Athanasius or Pseudo-Hippolytus. Very occasionally this is because the author in question has deliberately used the name of someone else, such as the late 5th-century writer who used the name “Dionysius the Areopagite”, after St Paul’s convert in the Acts of the Apostles. But more often it is just a question of an early attribution successfully challenged by later scholars, coupled with the understandable question “So what else can we call him?” This is the case with Pseudo-Ambrosius, or “Ambrosiaster”, whose writings used to be part of the works of Ambrose of Milan, and were copied alongside them, until the scholarship of the early Renaissance successfully challenged the attribution. When, in the world of art, this sort of thing happens to paintings, the work in question tends to descend into obscurity, but in the case of pseudo-Ambrose his written works were worth keeping even if we no longer had any idea who wrote them.
Pseudo-Ambrose’s commentary on St Paul’s epistles was written during the papacy of Pope Damasus I, which puts it between 366 and 384. Students of the text of the Bible find it useful because it quotes a version of the Latin text earlier than the Vulgate. But it has a value beyond this, as a clear and succinct work of exegesis.
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.