Come before the Lord, singing with joy.
Year: C(II). Psalm week: 4. Liturgical Colour: Green.
Blessed Victoria Rasoamanarivo (1848 - 1894)
She was born in Tananarive in Madagascar to one of the most powerful families of the country.
She was educated by the Jesuits and by the Sisters of the Congregation of St Joseph of Cluny. Her Catholic education made a strong impression on her, and she subsequently asked to be received into the Church.
She was baptized in 1863. During the persecutions that were aimed at the Catholic Mission, her parents tried to get her to give up her faith but she refused. She asked to become a nun but the missionaries felt it wiser not to permit this. She was given in marriage to the son of the Prime Minister, a high officer in the army. Because of her husband’s character and behaviour (he was violent and an alcoholic) the marriage was a true martyrdom for her. Nevertheless she remained faithful to her vows and refused to divorce her husband despite the urgings of her parents and of the queen herself. Christian matrimony, she said, was indissoluble.
Her exemplary Christian life gained her the admiration of the court and the people. This admiration, and her moral authority, made her a providential support of the Catholic Church in Madagascar after the expulsion of the Catholic missionaries. She publicly defended the Catholic Church against the authorities and kept the people’s faith alive. When the missionaries returned in 1886 they found a vigorously flourishing community thanks to Victoria’s virtues and activities. She prayed for her husband’s conversion and when he died in 1888 as a result of an accident, he asked for baptism on his deathbed.
She herself died on 21 August 1894 and was beatified by Pope John Paul II in 1989.
Other saints: Saint Alberto Hurtado Cruchaga (1901-1952)
18 Aug (where celebrated)
Alberto Hurtado Cruchaga (1901-1952) was born in Viña del Mar, Chile. He entered the Jesuit novitiate at Chilean in July 1923, did his religious studies in Spain and Belgium, and was ordained a priest in 1933. On returning to Chile in 1936, he was a teacher, counsellor, retreat director, author and youth organizer. In Santiago he founded the Hogar de Cristo for homeless children. He was also involved in various social action organizations and activities. He died in 1952, and was given full state honours at his burial.
Other saints: Bls John-Baptist Duverneuil, Michael-Aloysius Brulard and James Gagnot (d.1794)
18 Aug (where celebrated)
Fr. Jean-Baptiste Duverneuil (b. 1737 at Limoges), in religion Fr. Leonard, Fr. Michel-Louis Brulard (b. 1758 at Chartres), and Fr. Jacques Gagnot (b. 1753 at Frolois), in religion Fr. Hubert of Saint Claude, were among a group of 64 Martyrs beatified 1st October 1995, victims of the French Revolution who came from 14 French dioceses and from various religious Orders. In their loyalty to God, the Church and the Pope, they refused to take the oath of the Civil Constitution for the Clergy imposed by the Constituent Assembly of the Revolution. As a result they were imprisoned, massed like animals, on a slave-trader in Rochefort Bay, awaiting in vain to be deported into slavery. During 1794, the first two Carmelites died on board ship: Fr. John-Baptist on 1st July, and Fr. Michael-Aloysius on 25th July, both being buried on the island of Aix. After plague broke out on the ship, those remaining disembarked on the island of Madame, where Fr. James died and was buried on 10th September. Noted for their loving ministry to their fellow prisoners and their patience in accepting every type of outrage, privation and cruelty, not to mention the vicissitudes of weather, hunger and sickness, our three Discalced Carmelite priest martyrs and their companions in martyrdom gave unsurpassed Christian witness to their faith and love.
About the author of the Second Reading in today's Office of Readings:
Second Reading: Bishop Baldwin of Canterbury (- 1190)
Baldwin was born in Exeter, but his date of birth is unknown. He was ordained priest and made archdeacon by Bartholomew, Bishop of Exeter. He subsequently became a Cistercian monk at the Abbey of Ford, in Devonshire, and within a year was made Abbot of Ford. In 1180 he was promoted to the Bishopric of Worcester and in the same year was elected to the primatial see of Canterbury by the bishops of the province. The election was disputed by the monks of Canterbury, necessitating the intervention of King Henry II. Even after his appointment was ratified he was engaged in disputes with the Canterbury monks, so that King Richard and the Holy See had to become involved.
Baldwin acted as legate in Wales, where he held a visitation in 1187. In 1188 he preached the Crusade, after having himself taken the cross on hearing the news of the loss of Jerusalem. In 1190 he set out for the Holy Land, in company with Hubert, Bishop of Salisbury, and others, providing at his own expense two hundred knights and three hundred retainers. While there he acted a vicegerent of the patriarch. He died during the siege of Acre, leaving all he possessed for the relief of the Holy Land and naming Bishop Hubert as his executor.
The Spiritual Tractates were written almost entirely during the decade Baldwin lived at Ford, probably as sermons which were later re-cast. They reveal a man thoroughly and happily at home in Cistercian spirituality, an acute theologian well aware of contemporary currents, and one of the last true representatives of the rich patristic-monastic tradition. The Tractate on the Angel’s Salutation, in particular (read on Thursday of the 20th week in Ordinary Time), marks an important stage in the evolution of Marian spirituality.
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 John 3:23-24 ©|
God’s commandments are these:
that we believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ
and that we love one another
as he told us to.
Whoever keeps his commandments
lives in God and God lives in him.
We know that he lives in us
by the Spirit that he has given us.
|Noon reading (Sext)||Wisdom 1:1-2 ©|
Love virtue, you who are judges on earth, let honesty prompt your thinking about the Lord, seek him in simplicity of heart; since he is to be found by those who do not put him to the test, he shows himself to those who do not distrust him.
|Afternoon reading (None)||Hebrews 12:1-2 ©|
We should throw off everything that hinders us, especially the sin that clings so easily, and keep running steadily in the race we have started. Let us not lose sight of Jesus, who leads us in our faith and brings it to perfection: for the sake of the joy which was still in the future, he endured the cross, disregarding the shamefulness of it, and from now on has taken his place at the right of God’s throne.