PMPC IV

St. Etheldreda

St. Etheldreda, commonly known as Audry, was Queen of Northumbria. She was born at around 630, and while still very young she was given in marriage by her father, Anna, King of East Anglia, to a subordinate prince, who gave her a piece of land locally known as the Isle of Ely. She remained a virgin even during her marriage, and five years after his early death, lived in isolation.

St. Etheldreda was forced to marry again out political convenience, this time to the heir of Oswy, King of Northumbria. Throughout her 12 years of marriage, she kept her virginity, as if  living with her brother, not her husband, and she gave much of her time to devotion and charity.

St. Wilfrid was her friend and spiritual guide, and helped to persuade her husband that St. Etheldreda should live for some time in peace as a sister of the Coldingham nunnery, founded by her aunt, St. Ebb.

During this time, St. Etheldreda only ate once a day, except on feast days or while she was sick, and wore only clothes made of wool. After midnight prayers, she would always go back to the church and continue praying until morning.

St. Etheldreda took pain and humiliation as a blessing – on her death bed, she thanked God for an illness that had painfully swollen her neck, which she considered to be punishment for having vainly worn necklaces with jewels as a young lady.

She died on June 23, 679, and was buried in a wooden coffin, as she had asked.

When St. Etheldreda’s body was moved to a stone coffin, it was found incorrupt and her neck was perfectly healed, according to physicians.


Blessed Basil Hopko

Blessed Basil Hopko is considered one of the many priests and religious martyred by Communism. He was born in Slovakia to poor parents. His father died when he was a year old and his mother left for the United States when he was four in seach of work.

He remained in Europe and was an excellent student. He wanted to join his mother in the United States and pursue his vocation to the priesthood there, but his poor health did not permit him to travel.

He was ordained in 1929 and served as a parish priest in Prague, with a spcial mission to assist the poor, unemployed and students. In 1947, he was named auxiliary bishop of Prjashev. Three years later, he was arrested by Communist officials and tortured.

He was given a trial and sentenced to 15 years for “subversive activity.” His health failed as he was continually tortured. In 1964, he was transferred to a home for seniors. There, he was kept under guard but managed to minister to a group of 120 nuns who had been imprisoned in the home as well.

Though his eparchy was restored in 1968, officials did not permit him to resume his leadership. A Slovak bishop was appointed in his place. He never recovered from his health and died in 1976. He was beatified by Pope John Paul II in 2003 in the Slovak Republic.


Deuteronomy 7:6-11

6 "For you are a people holy to the LORD your God; the LORD your God has chosen you to be a people for his own possession, out of all the peoples that are on the face of the earth.
7 It was not because you were more in number than any other people that the LORD set his love upon you and chose you, for you were the fewest of all peoples;
8 but it is because the LORD loves you, and is keeping the oath which he swore to your fathers, that the LORD has brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you from the house of bondage, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt.
9 Know therefore that the LORD your God is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, to a thousand generations,
10 and requites to their face those who hate him, by destroying them; he will not be slack with him who hates him, he will requite him to his face.
11 You shall therefore be careful to do the commandment, and the statutes, and the ordinances, which I command you this day.


Matthew 11:25-30

25 At that time Jesus declared, "I thank thee, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou hast hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to babes;
26 yea, Father, for such was thy gracious will.
27 All things have been delivered to me by my Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and any one to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.
28 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."


Psalms 103:1-4, 6-7, 8, 10

1 Bless the LORD, O my soul; and all that is within me, bless his holy name!
2 Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits,
3 who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases,
4 who redeems your life from the Pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy,
6 The LORD works vindication and justice for all who are oppressed.
7 He made known his ways to Moses, his acts to the people of Israel.
8 The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
10 He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor requite us according to our iniquities.


Second Reading

1 John 4:7-16

7 Beloved, let us love one another; for love is of God, and he who loves is born of God and knows God.
8 He who does not love does not know God; for God is love.
9 In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him.
10 In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the expiation for our sins.
11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.
12 No man has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.
13 By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his own Spirit.
14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son as the Savior of the world.
15 Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God.
16 So we know and believe the love God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.


Lord Jesus, grant us hope and courage

MOST SACRED HEART OF JESUS
Deut. 7:6-11; Ps. 103(102):1-2,3-4,6-7,8,10;
1 Jn. 4:7-16; Mt. 11:25-30 (Psalter proper)


Though every Mass is a reminder and a celebration of God’s love for us, each Mass may have many subordinate themes. Hence it is good pastoral and spiritual practice to have a feast day specifically dedicated to a remembrance and celebration of God’s love for us.

In one of his more spiritual writings, the great German Jesuit theologian Karl Rahner suggested that it is impossible properly to teach devotion to the Sacred Heart. Rather, relying on the Church and its teaching, we can only try to approach the mystery of God’s love shown unconditionally and irreversibly in the Sacred Heart of Jesus pierced with a soldier’s lance, pouring forth water and blood, which symbolize the sacraments of baptism and Eucharist.

Fr Rahner suggests that a way to develop a deep devotion to the Heart of Jesus, would be to recite a brief prayer such as “Heart of Jesus, have mercy on me” especially in the dark moments of life, — those moments that Pope Francis has recently called “empty moments”, when God seems absent or even non-existent.

Lord Jesus, in the love which the symbol of Your heart manifests to us, grant us hope and courage to be steadfast in the dark moments of life, those empty moments when You seem so far away from us.