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

Spiritual Reading

  • Thursday 16 June 2022

    Thursday of week 11 in Ordinary Time 

    Spiritual Reading

    Your Second Reading from the Office of Readings:

    Thursday of week 11 in Ordinary Time

    St Cyprian's treatise on the Lord's Prayer
    After the support of bread, we ask for the forgiveness of sins

    As the prayer continues, we ask Give us this day our daily bread. This can be understood both spiritually and literally, because either way of understanding is rich in divine usefulness to our salvation. For Christ is the bread of life, and this bread does not belong to anyone at all, but to us. And so, just as we say Our Father, because he is the father of those who understand and believe, so also we call it our bread, because Christ is the bread of us who come into contact with his body.
    We ask that this bread should be given to us daily, that we who are in Christ and daily receive the Eucharist as the food of salvation may not be prevented, by the interposition of some heinous sin, from partaking of the heavenly bread and be separated from Christ’s body, for as he says: I am the bread of life which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of my bread, he will live for ever; and the bread I shall give is my flesh, for the life of the world.
    So when he says that whoever eats of his bread will live for ever; and as it is clear that those are indeed living who partake of his body and, having the right of communion, receive the Eucharist, so, on the other hand, we must fear and pray lest anyone should be kept at a distance from salvation who, being withheld from communion, remains separate from Christ’s body. For he has given us this warning: Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you will have no life in you. And therefore we ask that our bread – that is, Christ – may be given to us daily, so that we who live in Christ may not depart from his sanctification and his body.
    After this we entreat for our sins, saying Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. After the supply of food, pardon of sin is also asked for.
    How necessary, how provident, how salutary are we reminded that we are sinners, since we have to beg for forgiveness, and while we ask for God’s pardon, we are reminded of our own consciousness of guilt! Just in case anyone should think himself innocent and, by thus exalting himself, should more utterly perish, he is taught and instructed that he sins every day, since he is commanded to pray daily for forgiveness.
    This is what John warns us in his epistle: If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us; but if we confess our sins, the Lord is faithful and just and will forgive us. In his epistle he combines two things, both that we ought to beg for mercy because of our sins and that we will receive forgiveness when we ask for it. This is why he says that the Lord is faithful to forgive sins, keeping faith with what he promised; because he who taught us to pray for our debts and sins has promised that his fatherly mercy and pardon will follow.


    In other parts of the world and other calendars:

    Saint Richard of Chichester, Bishop

    Monochrome rendition of 13th-century wall painting of Saint Richard of Chichester, painted not long after his canonisation. Current location Church of England parish church of St Mary the Virgin, Black Bourton, Oxfordshire, England.

    A Tribute to Saint Richard by John R. H. Moorman
    A great pastor, a great lover of God and man

    Facetus, largus, curialis, vultu hilaris (“jolly, warm-hearted, courteous, and of cheerful countenance”); in these words Friar Ralph Bocking described his old master, St Richard of Chichester, whom he served for many years as companion and confessor. There was something big and impressive about St Richard, something large, warm, and comfortable. If the Church had not seen fit to canonize him, he would certainly have been canonized by popular opinion, for he was just the sort of man whom people loved and revered.
    Richard is remembered not as a great scholar or a great political figure, but as a great pastor – a wise, diligent and saintly bishop who administered his diocese with a perfect mixture of what St Paul calls “goodness and severity”, of discipline and love. He found himself called to the administration of a diocese sadly disorganized by neglect and by the fact that he himself was, for the first two years, a homeless vagrant. Yet he pulled it together. As early as 1246, while he was still under the royal ban, he published his Statutes which he expected all his people to observe.
    He was a strict disciplinarian – in his diocese, in his household, and in himself. Clergy who were lazy or immoral came in for severe rebuke, and he expelled one man from his living in spite of appeals from some of the highest personages in the land, including the king and queen. So also with the laity. When the people of Lewes dragged a thief out of a church, in which he had sought sanctuary, and lynched him, Richard made them dig up the body, carry it on their shoulders to the church, and give it Christian burial. In his own household he was much loved as a wise father, though here again he ruled with severity. He expected high standards of honesty and uprightness among his household and dismissed those who misbehaved. But he was above all things severe with himself. Unlike many of his fellow bishops, he hated ostentation and display, and always dressed soberly and fared simply. Meanwhile his greatest self-discipline was in the realm of his prayer life. Early visitors to his chapel sometimes found the bishop stretched on the ground, having spent all night in prayer. He used always to reproach himself if the birds were awake and singing their songs before he was at his prayers and praises before the altar of God.
    Richard was therefore a disciplinarian; but the quality for which he was so greatly loved by his people was his generosity and affection. He loved to give things away, to the great distress of his stewards and bailiffs who were trying so hard to restore the ravaged resources of the diocese. When he entered a village he would ask the priest to give him the names of any in his parish who were poor or sick, so that he could visit them himself and relieve them with gifts of food or money. Bocking records that, on many occasions, the bishop went out of his way to bury the dead “with his own hands”.
    There are many miracles connected with Richard’s life, many of them very human. Once, when celebrating Candlemas at Cakeham, he joined in a procession which went outside the church, each member carrying a lighted candle. A gust of wind blew all the candles out. Suddenly it was noticed that the bishop’s candle was alight again. “Who lit my candle?” said Richard to one of his chaplains. “No one, my Lord”, came the reply. Richard looked again at the candle, then put his finger to his lips and said: “Not a word”. Out of a century which produced many great lights the candle of St Richard of Chichester still burns brightly, for he was a great saint, a great pastor, a great lover of God and man.

    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.