Come before the Lord, singing with joy.
Year: B(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 Hearts of Jesus and 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.
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.
Other saints: St Oswin (- 651)
Hexham & Newcastle
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.
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: 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 John 3:23-24 ©|
God’s commandments are these:
that we believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ
and that we love one another
as he told us to.
Whoever keeps his commandments
lives in God and God lives in him.
We know that he lives in us
by the Spirit that he has given us.
|Noon reading (Sext)||Wisdom 1:1-2 ©|
Love virtue, you who are judges on earth, let honesty prompt your thinking about the Lord, seek him in simplicity of heart; since he is to be found by those who do not put him to the test, he shows himself to those who do not distrust him.
|Afternoon reading (None)||Hebrews 12:1-2 ©|
We should throw off everything that hinders us, especially the sin that clings so easily, and keep running steadily in the race we have started. Let us not lose sight of Jesus, who leads us in our faith and brings it to perfection: for the sake of the joy which was still in the future, he endured the cross, disregarding the shamefulness of it, and from now on has taken his place at the right of God’s throne.