Universalis
Thursday 27 February 2020    (other days)
Thursday after Ash Wednesday 
 (optional commemoration of Saint Gregory of Narek, Abbot and Doctor of the Church)

Christ the Lord was tempted and suffered for us. Come, let us adore him.
Or: O that today you would listen to his voice: harden not your hearts.

Year: A(II). Psalm week: 4. Liturgical Colour: Violet.

Saint Gregory of Narek (c.950-1005)

He was born around 950 to a noble family in the region of Anzevatsik in Armenia: a region now on the borders of south-eastern Turkey and north-western Iran. He received a cultured and literary upbringing. As a young man he entered the monastery of Narek, of which his great-uncle Ananias was abbot. He was educated by the famous school of the monastery and spent the rest of his life there, being ordained priest and eventually becoming abbot.
  His life was marked by an intense love of the Virgin Mary. He attained great heights of sanctity and mystical experience, and expounded his teaching in various mystical and theological works. In 1003 he wrote his outstanding work, the Book of Lamentations, and he died about two years later.
  The Book of Lamentations retains enormous importance as a foundation-stone of Armenian literature, and remains widely influential to this day. Gregory’s work is still little known in the West (no English translation has yet been produced by a major publisher); but he was declared a Doctor of the Church by Pope Francis in 2015 and his memorial was added to the General Calendar in 2021.

About the author of the Second Reading in today's Office of Readings:

Second Reading: Pope St Leo the Great (- 461)

Leo was born in Etruria and became Pope in 440. He was a true shepherd and father of souls. He constantly strove to keep the faith whole and strenuously defended the unity of the Church. He repelled the invasions of the barbarians or alleviated their effects, famously persuading Attila the Hun not to march on Rome in 452, and preventing the invading Vandals from massacring the population in 455.
  Leo left many doctrinal and spiritual writings behind and a number of them are included in the Office of Readings to this day. He died in 461.

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)Isaiah 55:6-7 ©
Seek the Lord while he is still to be found, call to him while he is still near. Let the wicked man abandon his way, the evil man his thoughts. Let him turn back to the Lord who will take pity on him, to our God who is rich in forgiving.

Noon reading (Sext)Deuteronomy 30:2-3 ©
If you return to the Lord your God, if you obey his voice with all your heart and soul in everything I enjoin on you today, you and your children, then the Lord your God will bring back your captives and will have pity on you.

Afternoon reading (None)Hebrews 10:35-36 ©
Continue to have confidence, since the reward is so great. You will need endurance to do God’s will and gain what he has promised.
Scripture readings taken from The Jerusalem Bible, published and copyright © 1966, 1967 and 1968 by Darton, Longman & Todd, Ltd and Doubleday, a division of Random House, Inc, and used by permission of the publishers. For on-line information about other Random House, Inc. books and authors, see the Internet web site at http://www.randomhouse.com.
 
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