Welcome to the ULC Minister's Network

Arch Bishop Micheal Ralph Vendegna S.O.S.M.A.

Spiritual Reading

  • Saturday 21 May 2022

    Saturday of the 5th week of Eastertide 
    or Saint Christopher Magallanes and his Companions, Martyrs 

    Spiritual Reading

    Your Second Reading from the Office of Readings:

    Saturday of the 5th week of Eastertide

    From a discourse on the psalms by Saint Augustine, Bishop
    The Easter alleluia

    Our thoughts in this present life should turn on the praise of God, because it is in praising God that we shall rejoice for ever in the life to come; and no one can be ready for the next life unless he trains himself for it now. So we praise God during our earthly life, and at the same time we make our petitions to him. Our praise is expressed with joy, our petitions with yearning. We have been promised something we do not yet possess, and because the promise was made by one who keeps his word, we trust him and are glad; but insofar as possession is delayed, we can only long and yearn for it. It is good for us to persevere in longing until we receive what was promised, and yearning is over; then praise alone will remain.
    Because there are these two periods of time – the one that now is, beset with the trials and troubles of this life, and the other yet to come, a life of everlasting serenity and joy – we are given two liturgical seasons, one before Easter and the other after. The season before Easter signifies the troubles in which we live here and now, while the time after Easter which we are celebrating at present signifies the happiness that will be ours in the future. What we commemorate before Easter is what we experience in this life; what we celebrate after Easter points to something we do not yet possess. This is why we keep the first season with fasting and prayer; but now the fast is over and we devote the present season to praise. Such is the meaning of the Alleluia we sing.
    Both these periods are represented and demonstrated for us in Christ our head. The Lord’s passion depicts for us our present life of trial – shows how we must suffer and be afflicted and finally die. The Lord’s resurrection and glorification show us the life that will be given to us in the future.
    Now therefore, brethren, we urge you to praise God. That is what we are all telling each other when we say Alleluia. You say to your neighbour, “Praise the Lord!” and he says the same to you. We are all urging one another to praise the Lord, and all thereby doing what each of us urges the other to do. But see that your praise comes from your whole being; in other words, see that you praise God not with your lips and voices alone, but with your minds, your lives and all your actions.
    We are praising God now, assembled as we are here in church; but when we go on our various ways again, it seems as if we cease to praise God. But provided we do not cease to live a good life, we shall always be praising God. You cease to praise God only when you swerve from justice and from what is pleasing to God. If you never turn aside from the good life, your tongue may be silent but your actions will cry aloud, and God will perceive your intentions; for as our ears hear each other’s voices, so do God’s ears hear our thoughts.


    Other choices for today:

    Saint Christopher Magallanes and his Companions, Martyrs

    From a sermon of St Caesarius of Arles
    He who bears witness to the truth will be a martyr of Christ

    As often as we celebrate the feasts of martyrs, dearest brethren, we ought to consider that we are fighting under the same king under whom they merited both to fight and to conquer. We ought to reflect that we have been saved by the same baptism by which they were saved, have been confirmed by the same sacraments which they deserved to receive, and carry on our foreheads the sign of the same commander whose insignia they, too, happily bore.
    Therefore as often as we desire to celebrate the feasts of the holy martyrs, the blessed martyrs ought to recognise in us something of their virtues, in order that it may please them to beseech the mercy of God on our behalf. For “every living thing loves its own kind”. If, then, like associates with like, the unlike is separated at a distance. Behold, our special blessed patron, whose feast we are eager to celebrate with joy, was temperate; how can the drunkard be associated with him? What companionship can the humble soul have with the proud, the kind with the envious, the generous with the avaricious, the meek with the angry? Without any doubt the blessed martyr was chaste; how will an adulterer be able to associate with him? And since the glorious martyrs lavished even their own possessions on the poor, dearest brethren, how will people who rob the property of another be able to be friends with them? The holy martyrs endeavoured to love even their enemies; how, then, will those who are often unwilling to make a return of love even to their friends have a part with them? Let it not grieve us, dearest brethren, to imitate the holy martyrs as far as we can, in order that we may merit to be absolved from all our sins through their merits and prayers.
    Now someone says: Who is there who can imitate the holy martyrs? If not in everything, at least in many things we both can and ought to do so with the help of God.
    You cannot endure the flame of fire? You can avoid dissipation. You are unable to stand the torturing claw which tears one to pieces? Despise the avarice which encourages wicked business deals and evil profits. If easy circumstances overwhelm you, how will harsh ones fail to break you? Peace also takes hold of its martyrs; for to overcome anger, to reject envy as the poison of serpents, to resist pride, to repel hatred from one’s heart, to bridle superfluous desires of the appetite, not to give way to immoderate drink – all this is a great part of martyrdom.
    Whenever and wherever you see the cause of justice oppressed, if you give testimony on its behalf, you will be a martyr. Because Christ is both truth and justice, whenever either justice or truth or chastity is in difficulty, you will receive the reward of the martyrs if you have defended it with whatever strength you possess. And since in our tongue a martyr is interpreted as a witness, one who has borne witness to the truth doubtless will be a martyr of Christ, who is the truth.

    Copyright © 1996-2022 Universalis Publishing Limited: see www.universalis.com. Scripture readings from the Jerusalem Bible are 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. Text of the Psalms: Copyright © 1963, The Grail (England). Used with permission of A.P. Watt Ltd. All rights reserved.