Christ is the chief shepherd, the leader of his flock: come, let us adore him.
Year: A(I). Psalm week: 1. Liturgical Colour: White.
Saint José de Anchieta (1534-1597)
José de Anchieta y Díaz de Clavijo was born on 19 March 1534 on Tenerife in the Canary Islands, to a noble family. He became a Jesuit at the age of 17 and, to help him recover from a serious illness, he was sent to Bahia in Brazil in 1553 as an assistant to the missionaries there.
Brazil at this time was in a very bad way spiritually. On the one hand, there were the Indians to be evangelized and led away from pagan practices including cannibalism (to which they were much attached). On the other hand, both the European settlers and many of the priests, finding themselves in a land where there was no real authority, lived scandalous lives, practising both slavery and concubinage. When the Jesuits arrived in Brazil in 1549 they worked hard to regularize the situation.
Brother Anchieta became the assistant and interpreter of the Jesuit superior Father Nóbrega. They set up a mission which later grew into the city of São Paulo, and Anchieta made the school there his headquarters. He learned the local Tupi language and wrote the first ever grammar of it; he wrote dramas to teach the faith to the illiterate and the uneducated; he gave medical assistance to the Indians and taught them skills such as agriculture, carpentry, and the use of stone and metal. With Nóbrega he gave himself up as a hostage in 1563 so that a peace settlement could be reached between two warring tribes, and he narrowly escaped martyrdom on more than one occasion.
He was ordained a priest in 1566 and was the Jesuit Provincial in Brazil from 1577 to 1587. He died on 9 June 1597, exhausted by his labours.
He was beatified by Pope John Paul II in 1980 and recognized as a saint by Pope Francis on April 2014.
In other years: St Ephraem the Deacon (306 - 373)
Saint Ephraem was a poet and a theologian. He lived all his life in Mesopotamia, first founding a school and then, when the Persians invaded his native town of Nisibis, moving to Edessa. He preached there, and laid the foundations of its great school of theology.
He is famous not only for the beauty of expression of his homilies but also for his hymns, which have spread far beyond his native Syriac church and are in use in East and West alike.
Other saints: St Columba (521? - 597)
England, Ireland, Scotland
Columba (Gaelic Colm Cille) He was born in Gartan, in County Donegal, and was of royal lineage. He studied under Finnian of Moville and Finnian of Clonard. He founded monasteries at Derry, Durrow, and possibly Kells, before leaving Ireland as a missionary, “an exile for Christ.” His greatest foundation was Iona, from where he converted much of western Scotland, and his followers took the Gospel as far as northern England. He died at Iona in 597. He was renowned as a poet and scribe as well as a spiritual guide. In Gaelic literature he appears as Ireland’s most popular saint, noted for his great personal love of all creatures, both human and animal.
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: white
White is the colour of heaven. Liturgically, it is used to celebrate feasts of the Lord; Christmas and Easter, the great seasons of the Lord; and the saints. Not that you will always see white in church, because if something more splendid, such as gold, is available, that can and should be used instead. We are, after all, celebrating.
In the earliest centuries all vestments were white – the white of baptismal purity and of the robes worn by the armies of the redeemed in the Apocalypse, washed white in the blood of the Lamb. As the Church grew secure enough to be able to plan her liturgy, she began to use colour so that our sense of sight could deepen our experience of the mysteries of salvation, just as incense recruits our sense of smell and music that of hearing. Over the centuries various schemes of colour for feasts and seasons were worked out, and it is only as late as the 19th century that they were harmonized into their present form.
Other notes: Universalis anniversary
On this day in 1996 the Universalis Web site was opened to the public.
Pray for those who contribute to it.
|Mid-morning reading (Terce)
|Philippians 2:2-4 ©
Be united in your convictions and united in your love, with a common purpose and a common mind. There must be no competition among you, no conceit; but everybody is to be self-effacing. Always consider the other person to be better than yourself, so that nobody thinks of his own interests first but everybody thinks of other people’s interests instead.
|Noon reading (Sext)
|2 Corinthians 13:4 ©
He was crucified through weakness, but still he lives now through the power of God. So then, we are weak, as he was, but we shall live with him, through the power of God, for your benefit.
|Afternoon reading (None)
|Colossians 3:12-13 ©
You are God’s chosen race, his saints; he loves you, and you should be clothed in sincere compassion, in kindness and humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with one another; forgive each other as soon as a quarrel begins. The Lord has forgiven you; now you must do the same.