Christ the Lord was tempted and suffered for us. Come, let us adore him.
Year: A(I). Psalm week: 2. Liturgical Colour: Violet.
In other years: St Isidore of Seville (560 - 636)
He was born in Seville in about 560 and after his father’s death he was educated by his brother Leander, Archbishop of Seville. He was instrumental in converting the Visigothic kings from the Arian heresy; he was made Archbishop of Seville after his brother’s death; and he took a prominent part in councils at Toledo and Seville. The Council of Toledo, in particular, laid great emphasis on learning, with all bishops in the kingdom commanded to establish seminaries and to encourage the teaching of Greek and Hebrew, law and medicine. He promoted the study of Aristotle, long before the Arabs discovered him and centuries before 13th-century Christian philosophers discovered him through the Arabs.
He embarked on the project of writing an encyclopaedia of universal knowledge but did not live to complete it. See the articles in the Catholic Encyclopaedia
In other years: St Benedict 'The Black' (1526 - 1589)
Benedict was born in 1526, the son of Christopher and Diana, an Ethiopian couple who were kept as slaves in Sicily. When Benedict reached the age of 18, he was set free and after a while he joined a hermit called Jerome. His reputation for holiness was spread throughout the area and people flocked to him all the time. Eventually he moved to a Franciscan monastery where he spent the rest of his life serving his brothers as a cook. Even though he was a lay brother and without education, he was chosen to be their Superior and, at the end of his term of 6 years, he went back to the kitchen. People kept on visiting him seeking his advice and the help of his prayers. He died on 4 April, 1589. Humility, spirit of service, wisdom and powerful intercession were the special gifts bestowed on Benedict “The Black”. See the articles in the Catholic Encyclopaedia
About the author of the Second Reading in today's Office of Readings:
Second Reading: St Basil the Great (330 - 379)
St Basil the Great, or Basil of Caesarea, was one of the three men known as the Cappadocian Fathers. The others are his younger brother, St Gregory of Nyssa, and St Gregory Nazianzen. They were active after the Council of Nicaea, working to formulate Trinitarian doctrine precisely and, in particular, to pin down the meaning and role of the least humanly comprehensible member of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit. Basil was the leader and organizer; Gregory of Nazianzus was the thinker, the orator, the poet, pushed into administrative and episcopal roles by circumstances and by Basil; and Gregory of Nyssa, Basil’s brother, although not a great stylist, was the most gifted of the three as a philosopher and theologian. Together, the Cappadocian Fathers hammered out the doctrine of the Trinity like blacksmiths forging a piece of metal by hammer-blows into its perfect, destined shape. They were champions – and successful champions – of orthodoxy against Arianism, a battle that had to be conducted as much on the worldly and political plane as on the philosophical and theological one.
In addition to his role in doctrinal development, Basil is also the father of Eastern monasticism. He moderated the heroic ascetic practices that were characteristic of earlier monastic life, to the point where they could be part of a life in which work, prayer and ascetic practices could be in harmonious balance. Knowledge of Basil’s work and Rule spread to the West and was an influence on the founding work of St Benedict.
The works of Basil that appear in the Second Readings are mostly from his works on the Holy Spirit, but there are also extracts from his monastic Rule.
Liturgical colour: violet
Violet is a dark colour, ‘the gloomy cast of the mortified, denoting affliction and melancholy’. Liturgically, it is the colour of Advent and Lent, the seasons of penance and preparation.
|Mid-morning reading (Terce)||1 Corinthians 1:18-19 ©|
The language of the cross may be illogical to those who are not on the way to salvation, but those of us who are on the way see it as God’s power to save. As scripture says: I shall destroy the wisdom of the wise and bring to nothing all the learning of the learned.
|Noon reading (Sext)||1 Corinthians 1:22-24 ©|
The Jews demand miracles and the Greeks look for wisdom, but we are preaching a crucified Christ; to the Jews an obstacle that they cannot get over, to the pagans madness, but to those who have been called, whether they are Jews or Greeks, a Christ who is the power and the wisdom of God.
|Afternoon reading (None)||1 Corinthians 1:25,27 ©|
God’s foolishness is wiser than human wisdom, and God’s weakness is stronger than human strength. It was to shame the wise that God chose what is foolish by human reckoning.