According to a legend that appeared in the tenth century, Ursula was the daughter of a Christian king in Britain and was granted a three year postponement of a marriage she did not wish, to a pagan prince. With ten ladies in waiting, each attended by a thousand maidens, she embarked on a voyage across the North sea, sailed up the Rhine to Basle, Switzerland, and then went to Rome. On their way back, they were all massacred by pagan Huns at Cologne in about 451 when Ursula refused to marry their chieftain. According to another legend, Amorica was settled by British colonizers and soldiers after Emperor Magnus Clemens Maximus conquered Britain and Gaul in 383. The ruler of the settlers, Cynan Meiriadog, called on King Dionotus of Cornwall for wives for the settlers, whereupon Dionotus sent his daughter Ursula, who was to marry Cynan, with eleven thousand maidens and sixty thousand common women. Their fleet was shipwrecked and all the women were enslaved or murdered. The legends are pious fictions, but what is true is that one Clematius, a senator, rebuilt a basilica in Cologne that had originally been built, probably at the beginning of the fourth century, to honor a group of virgins who had been martyred at Cologne. They were evidently venerated enough to have had a church built in their honor, but who they were and how many of them there were, are unknown. From these meager facts, the legend of Ursula grew and developed. Feast day October 21.
Commemoration of Saint Hilarion, a Palestinian solitary, passed a life of self-denial and mortification in the wildernesses of Egypt and the Holy Land. His biography was written by St. Jerome. His last words were: “Go forth, O my soul, what do you fear? You have served Christ for seventy years, do you now fear death?” In the East he was the first to be venerated as a saint other than a martyr. He died at the age of eighty in 371.
INTROIT Psalm 118. 95, 96
I spoke of Thy testimonies before kings, and I was not ashamed : I meditated also on Thy commandments, which I loved. (Ps. 118: 1) Blessed are the undefiled in the way: who walk in the law of the Lord. V.: Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.
Grant us, we beseech Thee, O Lord, our God, to venerate with unceasing devotion the victories of Thy holy virgins and martyrs, St. Ursula and her Companions, that, though we can not worthily celebrate their merits, we may at least offer them our humble service. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, one God Forever and ever. R.Amen
Com. Sunday XXII Post Pentecost
O God, our refuge and our strength! give ear to the holy prayers of Thy Church, O Thou, the author of holiness and grant, that what we ask with faith, we may effectually obtain.
Com. St. Hilarion Abbot
O God, Who dost gladden us by the annual feast of blessed Hilarion, Thy confessor, mercifully grant that, as we celebrate his natal day, we may also imitate his actions. Through the same Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, Forever and ever. R.Amen.
EPISTLE Wisdom 51: 13-17
Lesson from the Book of Wisdom. O Lord, my God, Thou hast exalted my dwelling-place upon the earth, and I have prayed for death to pass away. I called upon the Lord, the Father of my Lord, that He would not leave me in the day of my trouble, and in the time of the proud, without help. I will praise Thy name continually, and will praise it with thanksgiving and my prayer was heard, and Thou hast saved me from destruction, and hast delivered me from the evil time. Therefore I will give thanks, and praise Thee, O Lord our God.
GRADUAL/ALLELUIA Psalm 44: 11-12
Harken, O daughter, and see, and incline thine ear; for the King hath greatly desired thy beauty. V. (Ps. 44: 5) With thy comeliness and thy beauty, set out, proceed prosperously, and reign. Alleluia, alleluia. V. (Matth. 25: 4, 6) The five wise virgins took oil in their vessels with the lamps: and at midnight there was a cry made: Behold the bridegroom cometh, go ye forth to meet Christ our Lord. Alleluia.
GOSPEL Matthew 25: 1-13
At that time, Jesus spoke to His disciples this parable: ‘The kingdom of Heaven shall be like to ten virgins, who taking their lamps went out to meet the bridegroom and the bride. And five of them were foolish, and five wise; but the five foolish having taken their lamps, did not take oil with them: but the wise took oil in their vessels with the lamps. And the bridegroom tarrying, they all slumbered and slept. And at midnight there was a cry made; Behold the bridegroom cometh, go ye forth to meet him. Then all those virgins arose and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said to the wise: Give us of your oil, for our lamps are gone out. The wise answered, saying: Lest perhaps there be not enough for us and for you, go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves. Now, whilst they went to buy, the bridegroom came: and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage, and the door was shut. But at last came also the other virgins, saying: Lord, Lord, open to us. But he answering said: Amen I say to you, I know you not. Watch ye therefore, because you know not the day nor the hour.’
OFFERTORY ANTIPHON Ps. 44: 15, 16
After her shall virgins be brought to the King: her neighbors shall be brought to Thee with gladness and rejoicing: they shall be brought into the temple of the King, the Lord.
Favorably look down, We beseech Thee, upon the gifts laid laid upon Thine altars, that, of Thy holy virgins and martyrs, O Lord, for the festival of Thy holy virgins and martyrs, Ursula and and her Companions, that, as Thou hast conferred glory upon them through these blessed mysteries, so Thou mayest bestow upon us forgiveness. Through Jesus Christ Thy Son our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, one God Forever and ever. R.Amen
Com. Sunday XXII Post Pentecost
Grant unto us, O merciful God, that this saving oblation may unceasingly free us from our own guilty deeds, and keep us from all things that may hurt us.
Com. St Hilarion, Abbot
We offer Thee, O Lord, sacrifices of praise in commemoration of Thy saints, by whom we trust to be delivered from evils both present and future. Through our Lord Jesus Christ Thy Son our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, one God Forever and ever.
PREFACE of the Most Holy Trinity
It is truly meet and just, right and for our salvation, that we should at all times and in all places, give thanks unto Thee, O holy Lord, Father almighty, ever-lasting God: Who, together with Thine only-begotten Son, and the Holy Ghost, are one God, one Lord: not in the oneness of a single Person, but in the Trinity of one substance. For what we believe by Thy revelation of Thy glory, the same do we believe of Thy Son, the same of the Holy Ghost, without difference or separation. So that in confessing the true and everlasting Godhead, distinction in persons, unity in essence, and equality in majesty may be adored. Which the Angels and Archangels, the Cherubim also and Seraphim do praise: who cease not daily to cry out with one voice saying: HOLY, HOLY, HOLY…
COMMUNION ANTIPHON Psalm 118: 78, 80
Let the proud be ashamed, because they have done unjustly towards me: but I will be employed in Thy commandments and in Thy justifications, that I may not be confounded.
Grant us, we beseech Thee, O Lord, by the intercession of Thy holy virgins and martyrs, Ursula and her Companions, that, what we touch with our lips we may receive with pure hearts. Through the Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, one God For ever and ever. R. Amen.
Com. Sunday XXII Post Pentecost
We have received, O Lord, the gifts of this sacred Mystery, and humbly beseech Thee: that what Thou hast bidden us to do in memory of Thee may avail us as a help in our weakness.
Com. St Hilarion, Abbot
We, Thy suppliants, who are refreshed with heavenly food and drink, beseech Thee, O our God, that we may be fortified by the prayers of him in whose commemoration we have partaken of these gifts. Through the Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, one God For ever and ever. R. Amen
PROPER LAST GOSPEL Matthew 22: 15-21
At that time, the Pharisees went and consulted among them-selves, how to ensnare Jesus in His speech. And they sent to Him their disciples, with the Herodians, Saying: “Master, we know that Thou art a true speaker, and teachest the way of God in truth, neither carest Thou for any man, for Thou dost not regard the person of men.Tell us therefore, what dost Thou think? Is it lawful to give tribute to Caesar, or not?” But Jesus knowing their wickedness, said: “Why do you tempt Me, you hypocrites? Show Me the coin of the tribute.” And they offered Him a penny. And Jesus saith to them: “Whose image and superscription is this? They say to Him: “Caesar’s.” Then He saith to them: “Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.”
SUNDAY XXII POST PENTECOST Let us remember today that we must render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, i.e., observe the law of Justice, and render to God the things that are God’s, i.e., the soul made in the image of its Creator must render to Him the tribute of adoration and obedience.
On this Sunday, one of the last of the ecclesiastical year, the Church is full of thought “of the day of Christ” (Epistle) or of the approaching end of the world. “If the Lord considers our iniquities, who will stand before Him ?” (Introit). Wherefore the liturgy speaks to us of divine mercy (Introit, Secret). But, to obtain it we must be full of mercy ourselves. “It is good and pleasant indeed for brothers to be united” (Gradual). In the hour of danger, let us use the prayers of the Church which have an eminently social and fraternal character, and which will by heard by God, the author of all charity (Collect) as King Assuerus heard the prayers of Queen Esther (Offertory).
Remembering in these days that the love of God and of our neighbor gives to the mind a greater understanding of divine things, “let then our charity increase more and more in light and in intelligence” that we may resist the more terrible assaults of the enemy.
The Gospel recalls to us a scene which took place on one of the last days of Jesus’ life when He confounded, by a reply full of wisdom from above, His enemies who more than ever were compassing His ruin. The Jews, subject to the Romans, had to pay tribute to Caesar, an obligation all the more odious to them that it went counter to the spirit of universal domination promised to Israel as they imagined. What would the Master reply to the question of the Pharisees? He would excite the Jewish people against Him if He told them to pay tribute or the Roman authorities and the Herodians, if He told them not to do so. The enemies of Jesus already thought they had sufficient cause to have Him arrested.
The Savior ingeniously avoids the trap. “Whose image and superscription is this?” “Caesar’s,” they reply. The law required that to pay the tribute they should first change the national coin into coin bearing the effigy of the Roman Emperor. Jesus convicts them of having themselves answered the question by this very change. If you have procured coins with the effigy of Caesar, you must have had the intention of paying the tribute. “Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s.” And the Master completes His lesson by saying “and render to God, the things that are God’s” for the human soul, made to the image of its Creator, owes Him the tribute of its adoration and obedience.