A daily study of the Network’s diverse faiths
Leavetaking of The Nativity of the Venerable and Glorious Prophet and Forerunner John the Baptist (Apodosis, ἀπόδοσις, отдание). Celebration of the conclusion of the previous day’s Feast, when most elements of the festal services are appointed to be served again. Each major Feast on the Church calendar has an Apodosis (period of celebration) for the Church to once again give an opportunity to celebrate the beauty of the Feast but this is one of four Third Class Feasts that have leavetakings. This Apodosis is on a fast-free day, as the 20 June Sunday of Holy Pentecost was the start of a fast-free week. Image: goarch.org.
Blessed Jutta of Thuringia (1184-1235). Feast Day for noble Ludowingian eldest daughter of Landgrave Hermann I of Thuringia, child bride of the Margrave Dietrich I of Meissen, and mother of Henry the Illustrious and Herman I of Henneberg. Truth, virtue and piety were always of prime importance to Jutta and her husband, both of noble rank. The two were set to make a pilgrimage together to the holy places in Jerusalem but her husband died on the way. The newly-widowed Jutta, after taking care to provide for her children, resolved to live in a manner she felt was utterly pleasing to God. She disposed of the costly clothes, jewels and furniture befitting one of her rank and became a Secular Franciscan, taking on the simple garment of a religious. From that point, her life was utterly devoted to others: caring for the sick, particularly lepers; tending to the poor, whom she visited in their hovels; and helping the crippled and blind with whom she shared her own home. Many of the townspeople of Thuringia laughed at how the once-distinguished lady now spent her time but Jutta saw the face of God in the poor and felt honoured to render whatever services she could. Two years after her husband’s death in 1221, she married her second husband, Count Poppo VII of Henneberg. Not long before her death, Jutta lived near the pagans in eastern Germany and there she built a small hermitage and prayed unceasingly for their conversion. Having begun her life amidst luxury and power, Jutta died the death of a simple servant of the poor in Schleusingen. She has been venerated for centuries as the special patron of Prussia. Image: youtube.com.
Prayer Our Lord said that a camel can pass through a needle’s eye more easily than a rich person can enter God’s realm. Much to the amusement of her neighbours, Jutta disposed of her wealth after her husband’s death and devoted her life to caring for those who had no means. Should we follow her example, people will probably laugh at us too but we pray that God will smile. We may not have great fortunes but we all enjoy a share of the world’s goods that people in the rest of the world cannot imagine. May we follow Jutta’s example and share what good fortune has brought us. Amen
Divine Motherhood of Our Lady. The 431 Third Ecumenical Council that started on 22 June condemned the Nestorian heresy in the see of Constantinople that taught against the two natures in the Person of Jesus Christ and openly persecuted anyone who would call the Most Holy Virgin Mary the Theotokos (Mother of God). The Council declared that the Blessed Virgin must be called Mother of God. As Archbishop Cyril who presided said: “The Word was made flesh can mean nothing else but that He partook of flesh and blood like to us, He made our body His own and came forth Man from a woman, not casting off his existence as God or His generation of God the Father, but even in taking to Himself flesh remaining what He was. This the declaration the correct faith proclaims everywhere. This was the sentiment of the Holy Fathers, therefore they ventured to call the holy Virgin the Mother of God, not as if the nature of the Word or His divinity had its beginning from the holy Virgin, but because of her was born that Holy Body with a rational soul, to which the Word being personally united is said to be born according to the flesh.” The title of Mother of God with which the Catholic Church honours Mary is not only the source of incomparable greatness in her, but it is also a potent means to ground us firmly in the possession of the true Faith and to bring us to a more perfect knowledge of God. The Divine Maternity is the starting point of the work of salvation. In believing Mary to be the Mother of God we believe also that the Word was made Flesh. A faithful Christian cannot do better than follow the example given by the Church, which never tires of proclaiming to the universe at large the truth of the Divine Motherhood of Mary. She does this by erecting shrines and churches in Mary’s honour, by the establishment of sodalities consecrated to her, by the approval of religious orders devoted to her service and by the institution of practices of piety in her honour. To Mary we can apply the words addressed to Judith of old: “Blessed art thou, O daughter, by the Lord the Most High God, above all women upon the earth.” Image: facebook.com.