Cry out with joy to God, all the earth: serve the Lord with gladness.
Year: C(II). Psalm week: 4. Liturgical Colour: Green.
St Wilfrid (634 - 709)
Wilfrid was born in Northumbria in 634. As a boy he was educated in the monastery of Lindisfarne. Later he travelled to Rome in the company of Benet Biscop, spending a considerable time at Lyons on the way. This wider, continental experience had a profound effect upon the young man and, on his return, he showed himself to have become a keen supporter of the traditions of the Roman Church as against the prevailing ‘Celtic’ customs introduced by the Irish missionaries from Iona under St Aidan. Shortly afterwards he was appointed Abbot of Ripon, and sometime later he was ordained priest.
After the death of Aidan, the differing customs of the Romans and the Celts became the cause of bitter dispute. In 664 a Synod was held in Whitby, in the famous monastery of St Hilda, to settle the question and Wilfrid took a leading part in the debate, successfully arguing for the abolition of the Celtic traditions and the imposition of the church discipline of Rome.
Within twelve months he had been appointed Bishop of Lindisfarne. He chose to be consecrated in Paris, and was absent in France for so long that St Chad, one of Aidan’s pupils, was consecrated bishop in his place. Wilfrid had to appeal to St Theodore of Canterbury, his metropolitan, before he was able to take possession of his diocese. He established himself at York, but encountered much hostility being opposed at various times not only by some of the secular rulers of his day but even by men of great sanctity like St John of Beverley. A particular dispute arose in 678 when Theodore made an attempt to divide the large, unwieldy diocese of Lindisfarne/York into two parts. Wilfrid objected to the division and made an appeal to Rome against his archbishop. Not only was he successful, but in doing so he became the first Englishman to take a law suit to the Roman courts.
In spite of this, his return to Northumberland was much less successful. For a while he was imprisoned by the King of Northumbria and eventually escaped to Sussex. It is a tribute to his courage and dedication that he was able to use this time well, carrying on an energetic mission to the South Saxons and also for a brief period among the people of Friesland, so beginning the great English mission to the Germanic people that was to be continued by his pupil, St Willibrord.
Wilfrid returned to Northumbria in 686, but was not allowed to remain long in the area. Once again he appealed in person to Rome. But in the end he accepted a compromise solution under which he became Bishop of Hexham while retaining his monastery at Ripon. There he introduced many additional Roman customs and reorganised the monastery under the rule of St Benedict. He died in 709.
Other saints: Blessed Jan Beyzym (1850-1912)
Poland: 12 Oct
Madagascar: 3 Oct
Jan Beyzym (1850-1912) was born in Beyzymy Wielkie, which was then in the Russian-occupied Kingdom of Poland and is now in Ukraine. His father was sentenced to death for his part in the October Uprising of 1863. Jan entered the Jesuit novitiate at Stara Wieś in 1872. After his ordination as priest in 1881, he taught in schools for seventeen years, and was given charge of the school infirmary. In 1898, at the age of forty-eight, in response to his desires, he was appointed to Madagascar to work among lepers. He was the first priest in the mission to live among the lepers. He personally dressed and bandaged their wounds. He begged for finances to provide them with food and clothing. He raised funds to build a well-equipped hospital for them. The lepers called him “rayamendreny” — father and mother — which he truly was.
Other saints: Our Lady of Aparecida
The statue of Our Lady of Aparecida has been venerated since it was found by fishermen in October 1717 after they had prayed to Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception. The statue was kept at the house of one of the fishermen for fifteen years, until the local parish priest had a chapel built for it. The devotion to Our Lady grew and the site attracted numerous pilgrims, so that the construction of a larger church was started in 1834: it was consecrated on the feast of the Immaculate Conception in 1888. Princess Elizabeth of Brazil visited the shrine in 1868 and, in 1888 she donated a golden crown and blue cloak for the statue in fulfilment of a vow.
In 1894 Redemptorist missionaries arrived to the site to look after the many pilgrims who were coming to the shrine. In 1928 the locality was granted municipal status with the name “Aparecida”. A new basilica was started in 1955 and consecrated in 4 July 1980 by Pope John Paul II.
Many miracles have been ascribed to the intercession of Our Lady of Aparecida.
In 2007 the General Conference of the Bishops of Latin America and the Caribbean held a conference at Aparecida whose concluding document, the “Aparecida Document”, has been the inspiration for a new flowering of the Church’s life in Latin America, especially where lay people and movements are concerned.
About the author of the Second Reading in today's Office of Readings:
Second Reading: St Maximus the Confessor (c.580 - 662)
Beginning life as a civil servant and rising to high office, Maximus saw the light and took monastic vows, at an unknown time and for unknown reasons, at the monastery of Philippicus in Chrysopolis, a city across the Bosporus from Constantinople (later known as Scutari, the modern Turkish city of Üsküdar). In due course he became the abbot there.
When the Persians conquered Anatolia, Maximus was forced to flee to a monastery near Carthage. It was there that he came under the tutelage of Saint Sophronius, and began studying in detail with him the Christological writings of Gregory of Nazianzus and Dionysius the Areopagite. He applied rigorous Aristotelian logic to these writings to make their doctrine clearer, and harder to misunderstand.
The perennial argument in the East over the nature of Christ – whether true God and true man, or just a divinely commanded man-shaped puppet – flared up yet again, and this time both the Emperor and the Patriarch of Constantinople were on the latter side. Maximus taking the side of orthodoxy, he was arrested in Rome in 653, together with Pope Martin I. The Pope was condemned without a trial and died before he could be sent to Constantinople. Maximus was taken there to be tried as a heretic in 658 and was sentenced to four years’ exile. In 662 he was brought back and tried again, and this time his tongue was cut out so that he could no longer speak rebellion and his right hand cut off so that he could no longer write letters. He was exiled to a distant region of the empire, where he died on 13 August of the same year.
The passages from St Maximus which adorn the Office of Readings have nothing of these controversies in them, but are chosen to reflect for us the glory of the light of the events of our redemption.
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 Corinthians 10:24,31 ©|
Nobody should be looking for his own advantage, but everybody for the other man’s. Whatever you eat, whatever you drink, whatever you do at all, do it for the glory of God.
|Noon reading (Sext)||Colossians 3:17 ©|
Never say or do anything except in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
|Afternoon reading (None)||Colossians 3:23-24 ©|
Whatever your work is, put your heart into it as if it were for the Lord and not for men, knowing that the Lord will repay you by making you his heirs. It is Christ the Lord that you are serving.