Let us rejoice in the Lord, with songs let us praise him.
Year: C(I). Psalm week: 4. Liturgical Colour: Green.
Saint John Eudes (1601 - 1680)
He was born and died in Normandy. He was ordained priest and spent many years preaching parish missions. He organized a congregation of nuns that grew into the Sisters of Our Lady of Charity, dedicated to the care of women rescued from a disorderly life, and a congregation of priests dedicated to the running of seminaries. He was active in encouraging devotion to the Sacred Heart, and to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
In his time the Church in France was corrupt and in many ways a source of evil rather than grace. The higher clergy were rich and privileged, and enjoyed and guarded their privileges (the country was run, and wars were waged, by a cardinal). The lower clergy were ignorant and the common people were poor, superstitious, and oppressed as much spiritually as materially. To this mix was added the poison of Jansenism, which taught that human nature was corrupt, original sin rampant, and perfection was both necessary for salvation and practically unattainable.
In such circumstances, setting up seminaries to ensure the proper education of priests becomes itself a revolutionary act, and the encouragement of devotion to the Sacred Heart – to the emotional core of Jesus – becomes not a sweet pious platitude but a defiant proclamation that the centre of God’s essence is his love, not condemnation.
Over and over again in the lives of the saints we find the Church sick and corrupt. Perhaps it must always be so, journeying in a fallen world and staffed by sinners who are as fallen as the rest of us and subject to worse temptations. And over and over again we find God’s grace acting through people like St John Eudes. They do not stand outside and complain or run campaigns, they go in and do things, removing the mould of worldly corruption and putting back, bit by bit, the leaven of grace. They will always be needed, until the world ends.
St Oswin (- 651)
In the political upheaval caused by King Oswald’s death in 641/2, his precarious kingdom of Northumbria disintegrated. This allowed Oswin, a relative of the former king Edwin, to regain control of Deira, its southern part, while Oswald’s half-brother Oswy held on to its northern half, Bernicia. Oswin proved a popular ruler, who worked as successfully with St Aidan as Oswald had. Bede tells us that he was courteous in manner and generous to all, and “among his other qualities of virtue and moderation the greatest was humbleness.” In an effort to consolidate his position against the enemies who had overthrown Oswald, Oswy eventually invaded Deira, conniving at Oswin’s murder, the news of which brought about the death of Aidan twelve days later, in August 651. Oswin, always popularly regarded as a martyr, was later buried at Tynemouth.
Other saints: Saint Ezekiel Moreno (1848 - 1906)
Hel was born in Alfaro in Spain on April 9, 1848. He joined the Recollect Congregation of the Augustinian Order in Monteagudo (Navarra) in 1864. He was sent to the Philippines, where he was ordained in 1871 and where he worked for 15 years. He then returned to Spain to serve as prior in Monteagudo for three years, after which he gave all of his energy to various forms of ministry in Colombia until shortly before his death. He was a leader in the restoration of the Augustinian Recollect Province of La Candelaria in Colombia. In 1899 he became bishop of Pasto.
His life as bishop was not easy due to the horrors of a cruel civil war, a period of rising anticlericalism, and persecution of the Church. Nevertheless, through his simple spirit of openness and rigorous defence of the rights of the Church, he showed himself a faithful pastor whose concern was the well-being of the Church entrusted to his care. Struck by cancer, he returned to Spain at the insistence of his priests in order to receive treatment, and died there at Monteagudo on August 19, 1906 at the age of 58.
He was beatified in 1975, and canonized in the Dominican Republic by Pope John Paul II in 1992 at the close of the 5th Century Celebration of the Evangelization of Latin America.
About the author of the Second Reading in today's Office of Readings:
Second Reading: Pope St Gregory the Great (540 - 604)
Gregory was born in Rome and followed the career of public service that was usual for the son of an aristocratic family, finally becoming Prefect of the City of Rome, a post he held for some years.
He founded a monastery in Rome and some others in Sicily, then became a monk himself. He was ordained deacon and sent as an envoy to Constantinople, on a mission that lasted five years.
He was elected Pope on 3 September 590, the first monk to be elected to this office. He reformed the administration of the Church’s estates and devoted the resulting surplus to the assistance of the poor and the ransoming of prisoners. He negotiated treaties with the Lombard tribes who were ravaging northern Italy, and by cultivating good relations with these and other barbarians he was able to keep the Church’s position secure in areas where Roman rule had broken down. His works for the propagation of the faith include the sending of Augustine and his monks as missionaries to England in 596, providing them with continuing advice and support and (in 601) sending reinforcements. He wrote extensively on pastoral care, spirituality, and morals, and designated himself “servant of the servants of God.”
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 season in which we are being neither especially penitent (in purple) nor overwhelmingly joyful (in white).
|Mid-morning reading (Terce)||Leviticus 20:26 ©|
Be consecrated to me, because I, the Lord, am holy, and I will set you apart from all these peoples so that you may be mine.
|Noon reading (Sext)||Wisdom 15:1,3 ©|
You, our God, are kind, loyal and slow to anger, and you govern all things with mercy. To acknowledge you is indeed the perfect virtue, to know your power is the root of immortality.
|Afternoon reading (None)||Baruch 4:21-22 ©|
Take courage, my children, call on God: he will deliver you from tyranny, from the hands of your enemies; for I look to the Eternal for your rescue, and joy has come to me from the Holy One at the mercy soon to reach you from your saviour, the Eternal.