Give thanks to the Lord, for his great love is without end.
Year: B(I). Psalm week: 3. Liturgical Colour: Green.
The Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel
Mount Carmel is commemorated in Scripture for its beauty, and it was there that the prophet Elijah defended the purity of Israel’s faith in the living God. Towards the end of the twelfth century AD, near a spring called after Elijah, a group of hermits established themselves on Mount Carmel and built an oratory in honour of Our Lady, whom they chose as their titular and patroness. They became known as ‘the Brothers of Saint Mary of Mount Carmel’. They regarded the Blessed Virgin as their Mother, and their model first of all in leading the contemplative life, and later in sharing the fruits of their contemplation with others. The Solemn Commemoration of Our Lady of Mount Carmel was first celebrated in England in the fourteenth century, but was gradually adopted throughout the Carmelite Order as an occasion of thanksgiving for the countless blessings which Our Lady had bestowed on the Carmelite family.
Other saints: St Helier (-555)
St Helier was a 6th-century ascetic and hermit. He was born to pagan parents in Tongeren in what is now Belgium. His wanderings led him across Normandy to the monastic community of St Marculf at Nantus (now Nanteuil, St-Marcouf-de-l’Isle). However, the contemplative life did not bring him the peace that he sought, and he was sent with St Romard to Jersey where he settled on a tidal island, today known as the Hermitage Rock, next to L’Islet. He was killed on the beach there by robbers or infidel barbarians, traditionally in AD 555.
While he is known in Jersey as the saint who brought Christianity to the Island, in Normandy and Brittany he is better known as a healing saint. Today he is invoked for diseases of the skin and eyes.
About the author of the Second Reading in today's Office of Readings:
Second Reading: St Ambrose of Milan (340? - 397)
Ambrose was born in Trier (now in Germany) between 337 and 340, to a Roman family: his father was praetorian prefect of Gaul. Ambrose was educated at Rome and embarked on the standard cursus honorum of Roman advocates and administrators, at Sirmium, the capital of Illyria. In about 372 he was made prefect of Liguria and Emilia, whose capital was Milan.
In 374 the bishopric of Milan fell vacant and when Ambrose tried to pacify the conflict between the Catholics and Arians over the appointment of a new bishop, the people turned on him and demanded that he become the bishop himself. He was a layman and not yet baptized (at this time it was common for baptism to be delayed and for people to remain for years as catechumens), but that was no defence. Coerced by the people and by the emperor, he was baptized, ordained, and installed as bishop within a week, on 7 December 374.
He immediately gave his money to the poor and his land to the Church and set about learning theology. He had the advantage of knowing Greek, which few people did at that time, and so he was able to read the Eastern theologians and philosophers as well as those of the West.
He was assiduous in carrying out his office, acting with charity to all: a true shepherd and teacher of the faithful. He was unimpressed by status and when the Emperor Theodosius ordered the massacre of 7,000 people in Thessalonica, Ambrose forced him to do public penance. He defended the rights of the Church and attacked the Arian heresy with learning, firmness and gentleness. He also wrote a number of hymns which are still in use today.
Ambrose was a key figure in the conversion of St Augustine to Catholicism, impressing Augustine (hitherto unimpressed by the Catholics he had met) by his intelligence and scholarship. He died on Holy Saturday, 4 April 397.
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)||Romans 1:16-17 ©|
The power of God saves all who have faith – Jews first, but Greeks as well – since this is what reveals the justice of God to us: it shows how faith leads to faith, or as scripture says: The upright man finds life through faith.
|Noon reading (Sext)||Romans 3:21-22 ©|
God’s justice that was made known through the Law and the Prophets has now been revealed outside the Law, since it is the same justice of God that comes through faith to everyone who believes.
|Afternoon reading (None)||Ephesians 2:8-9 ©|
It is by grace that you have been saved, through faith; not by anything of your own, but by a gift from God; not by anything that you have done, so that nobody can claim the credit.