The Lord’s is the earth and its fullness: come, let us adore him.
Year: B(I). Psalm week: 3. Liturgical Colour: Green.
Saturday memorials of the Blessed Virgin Mary
‘On Saturdays in Ordinary Time when there is no obligatory memorial, an optional memorial of the Blessed Virgin Mary is allowed.
‘Saturdays stand out among those days dedicated to the Virgin Mary. These are designated as memorials of the Blessed Virgin Mary. This memorial derives from Carolingian times (9th century), but the reasons for having chosen Saturday for its observance are unknown. While many explanations of this choice have been advanced, none is completely satisfactory from the point of view of the history of popular piety.
‘Whatever its historical origins may be, today the memorial rightly emphasizes certain values to which contemporary spirituality is more sensitive. It is a remembrance of the maternal example and discipleship of the Blessed Virgin Mary who, strengthened by faith and hope, on that “great Saturday” on which Our Lord lay in the tomb, was the only one of the disciples to hold vigil in expectation of the Lord’s resurrection. It is a prelude and introduction to the celebration of Sunday, the weekly memorial of the Resurrection of Christ. It is a sign that the Virgin Mary is continuously present and operative in the life of the Church.’
Directory on Popular Piety and the Liturgy (2001), §188
Other saints: All the Saints of Ireland
Ireland, especially in the early Christian centuries, was known as an isle of saints and scholars. More than once, when the rest of western Europe was submerged in ignorance and chaos, Ireland kept learning alive.
Many of the Irish saints combined pastoral care with an observance of the monastic life. The Irish also did much as missionaries, bringing the faith to other parts of Europe, and the story of St Brendan, whether authentic history or not, shows that they set their sights even further afield.
Other saints: All Saints of Africa
Kenya, Southern Africa
Today we celebrate the feast of all the Saints of Africa who, down through the ages, have followed the Lord with courage, love and dedication. Many of these saints are unknown to us, while others are remembered in various countries on account of their exemplary life of discipleship. Their example and teaching remind us of our call to holiness, while their intercession makes it possible for us to achieve it, thanks to God’s grace. The feast we celebrate today is a foretaste of the joy we shall experience one day in heaven.
Other saints: St Illtud or Illtyd
He was a Welsh abbot in the early 6th century, and founder of a monastery in Glamorgan that carried his name. He may have been a disciple of St Germanus of Auxerre. No reliable biographical details survive: the earliest Life that we have was written 500 years after his death.
Other saints: St Nuno Alvares Pereira (1360-1431)
6 Nov (where celebrated)
Nuno was born into a Portuguese noble family, a family noted for its history of distinguished religious and military service. He followed the path of a young nobleman becoming a royal page at thirteen, and marrying a wealthy noblewoman at sixteen. He and his wife had three children, but only their daughter Beatriz survived to adulthood.
At the age of twenty-three, Nuno was named the Constable (commander in chief) of the Portuguese loyalist forces who were formed to defend Portugal against the King of Castile’s plans to annex the country after the death of the Portuguese king. Between 1383 and 1411 Nuno led many battles, insisting that his soldiers remembered the holy cause for which they were fighting and that they acted as moral Christians who were ready to die, if necessary. He was strict on moral behaviour in camp, urged the soldiers to pray and receive the sacraments, and upheld respect and mercy toward enemies and civilians. Every victory Nuno attributed to the protection the the Virgin Mary offered to the Portuguese nation. After the fighting had ended and the stability of Portugal was re-established under King John I, Nuno had become a popular, powerful and wealthy man. His wife having died during his military career and with his daughter married to the King’s son, Nuno gave much of his wealth to his veterans and at his own expense built numerous churches and monasteries, one of which was the Carmelite church in Lisbon.
In 1423, Nuno decided to enter the convent of Carmelites he had founded in Lisbon, abandoning any remaining power and privilege he had gained as the glorified commander. He entered the convent as a serving brother and took the name Brother Nuno of Saint Mary. He did not seek any privileges but put himself at the service of Jesus in the poor and offered his work to the Virgin Mary his loyal patron. He died on Easter Sunday, 1 April 1431 after which the people acclaimed him as “O Santo Condestavel” – the Holy Constable. At Nuno’s canonisation in 2009, Pope Benedict XVI presented Nuno as one who having gained all wealth, power and acclaim, gave it all up in thanksgiving to a merciful God and to Mary who remained with him even in the darkest moments.
Other saints: Bl Josepha Girbes (1820-1893)
6 Nov (where celebrated)
Josepha Naval Girbés was born at Algemes in the Archdiocese of Valencia, Spain, on December 11, 1820. As a very young woman she consecrated herself to the Lord by a perpetual vow of chastity. Josepha’s life was simple. She stood out for her ardent love, and she made progress along the way of prayer and evangelical perfection, while dedicating herself generously to apostolic works in her parish community. In her own home she opened a school where she taught needlework, prayer, and the evangelical virtues. She formed many young girls and women and shared with them her wisdom and spiritual understanding. She was a member of the Third Order Secular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel and Saint Teresa of Jesus, and had a special love for the Virgin Mother of God. Her holy death took place on February 24, 1893. She is buried in her parish church of Saint James in her native city.
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)||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.