Third Week in Lent [Monday - Saturday]
Monday of the Third Week of Lent
Taken from The Liturgical Year by Dom Prosper Gueranger (1841-1875)

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The Station is in the Church of Saint Mark, which was built in the fourth century, in honour of the Evangelist, by the holy Pope Mark, whose relics are kept there.

Cordibus nostris, quæsumus, Domine, gratiam tuam benignus infunde: ut sicut ab escis carnalibus abstinemus, ita sensus quoque nostros a noxiis retrahamus excessibus. Per Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen. 
We beseech thee, O Lord, mercifully to pour forth thy grace into our hearts; that, as we abstain from flesh, so we may keep our senses from all noxious excesses. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Lesson from the book of Kings. IV. Ch. V.

In those days: Naaman, general of the army of the king of Syria, was a great man with his master, and honorable: for by him the Lord gave deliverance to Syria, and he was a valiant man and rich, but a leper. Now there had gone out robbers from Syria, and had led away captive out of the land of Israel a little maid, and she waited upon Naaman’s wife. And she said to her mistress: I wish my master had been with the prophet that is in Samaria; he would certainly have healed him of the leprosy which he hath. Then Naaman went in to his lord, and told him, saying: Thus and thus saith the girl, that come from the land of Israel. And the king of Syria said to him: Go, and I will send a letter to the king of Israel. And he departed, and took with him ten talents of silver, and six thousand pieces of gold, and ten changes of raiment, and brought the letter to the king of Israel, in these words: When thou shalt receive this letter, know that I have sent to thee Naaman my servant, that thou mayest heal him of his leprosy. And when the king of Israel had read the letter, he rent his garments, and said: Am I God, to be able to kill and to give life, that this man hath sent to me, to heal a man of his leprosy? Mark, and see how he seeketh occasions against me. And when Eliseus the man of God had heard this, to wit, that the king of Israel had rent his garments, he sent to him, saying: Why hast thou rent thy garments? Let him come to me, and let him know that there is a prophet in Israel. So Naaman came with his horses and chariots, and stood at the door of the house of Eliseus; and Eliseus sent a messenger to him, saying: Go, and wash seven times in the Jordan, and thy flesh shall recover health, and thou shalt be clean. Naaman was very angry, and went away, saying: I thought he would have come out to me, and standing, would have invoked the name of the Lord his God, and touched with his hand the place of the leprosy, and healed me. Are not the Abama, and the Pharphar, rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel, that I may wash in them, and be made clean? So as he turned, and was going away with indignation, his servants came to him, and said to him: Father, if the prophet had bid thee do some great thing, surely thou shouldst have done it; how much rather what he now hath said to thee, “Wash, and thou shalt be clean?” Then he went down, and washed in the Jordan seven times, according to the word of the man of God; and his flesh was restored, like the flesh of a little child, and was made clean. And returning to the man of God with all his train, he came and stood before him, and said: In truth I know there is no other God in all the earth, but only in Israel.

Quote:Yesterday, the Church made known to our Catechumens that the day of their Baptism was at hand; today she reads them a passage from the Old Testament which relates a history that admirably symbolizes the saving Font prepared for them by divine Mercy. Naaman’s leprosy is a figure of sin. There is but one cure for the loathsome malady of the Syrian officer: he must go, and wash seven times in the Jordan, and he shall be made clean. The Gentile, the infidel, the infant, with its stain of original sin—all may be made just and holy; but this can only be effected by water and the invocation of the Blessed Trinity. Naaman objects to the remedy as being too simple; he cannot believe that one so insignificant can be efficacious; he refuses to try it; he expected something more in accordance with reason—for instance, a miracle that would have done honor both to himself and the Prophet. This was the reasoning of many a Gentile, when the Apostles went about preaching the Gospel; but they that believed, with simple-hearted faith, in the power of Water sanctified by Christ, received Regeneration; and the Baptismal Font created a new people, composed of all nations of the earth. Naaman, who represents the Gentiles, was at length induced to believe; and his faith was rewarded by a complete cure. His flesh was restored like that of a little child, which has never suffered taint or disease. Let us give glory to God, who has endowed Water with the heavenly power it now possesses; let us praise him for the wonderful workings of his grace, which produces in docile hearts that Faith whose recompense is so magnificent.

Sequel of the Holy Gospel according to Luke. Ch. IV.

At that time: Jesus said to the Pharisees: Doubtless you will say to me this similitude: Physician, heal thyself; as great things as we have heard done in Capharnaum, do also here in thy own country. And he said: Amen, I say to you, that no prophet is accepted in his own country. In truth, I say to you, there were many widows in the days of Elias in Israel, when heaven was shut up three years and six months, when there was a great famine throughout all the land; and to none of them was Elias sent, but to Sarephta of Sidon, to a widow woman. And there were many lepers in Israel in the time of Eliseus the prophet; and none of them was cleansed but Naaman the Syrian. And all they in the synagogue, hearing these things, were filled with anger, and they rose up and thrust him out of the city; and they brought him to the brow of the hill, whereon their city was built, that they might cast him down headlong. But he passing through the midst of them, went his way.

Quote:Here again, we find our Savior proclaiming the mystery of the Gentiles being called to take the place of the incredulous Jews; and he mentions Naaman as an example of this merciful substitution. He also speaks, in the same sense, of the widow of Sarephta, whose history we had a few days ago. This terrible resolution of our Lord to transfer his light from one people to another irritates the Pharisees of Nazareth against the Messias. They know that Jesus, who has only just commenced his public life, has been working great miracles in Capharnaum: they would have him honor their own little city in the same way; but Jesus knows that they would not be converted. Do these people of Nazareth so much as know Jesus? He has lived among them for eighteen years, during all which time he has been advancing in wisdom and age and grace before God and men; but they despise him, for he is a poor man, and the son of a carpenter. They do not even know that, though he has passed so many years among them, he was not born in their city, but in Bethlehem. Not many days before this, Jesus had gone into the synagogue of Nazareth, and had explained, with marvelous eloquence and power, the Prophet Isaias; he told the audience that the time of mercy was come, and his discourse excited much surprise and admiration. But the Pharisees of the city despised his words. They have heard that he has been working great things in the neighborhood; they are curious to see one of his miracles; but Jesus refuses to satisfy their unworthy desire. Let them recall to mind the discourse made by Jesus in their synagogue, and tremble at the announcement he then made to them, that the Gentiles were to become God’s chosen people. But the divine Prophet is not accepted in his own country; and had he not withdrawn himself from the anger of his compatriots of Nazareth, the blood of the Just would have been shed that very day. But there is an unenviable privilege which belongs exclusively to Jerusalem;—a Prophet cannot perish out of Jerusalem!

Humiliate capita vestra Deo. 
Bow down your heads to God.

Subveniat nobis, Domine, misericordia tua: ut ab imminentibus peccatorum nostrorum periculis, te mereamur protegente, eripi, te liberante, salvari. Per Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen. 
May thy mercy, O Lord, assist us, that by thy protection we may be delivered from the dangers of sin that surround us, and so brought to eternal happiness. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Let us, on this day, offer to God the following solemn Supplication, taken from the Gothic Missal.
(In Dominica Quadragesimæ.)
Rogamus te, Rex sæculorum, Deus sancte, jam miserere; peccavimus tibi. 
We beseech thee, O King Eternal! O holy God! have mercy now upon us, for we have sinned against thee.

℣. Audo clamantes, Pater altissime, et quæ precamur, clemens attribue: exaudi nos Domine. 
℣. Hear our cry, O Father, most high God! and mercifully grant us our requests. Graciously hear us, O Lord!

℟. Jam miserere. 
℟. Have mercy now upon us.

℣. Bone Redemptor, supplices quæsumus de toto corde flentes; requirimus, adsiste propitius.
℣. O good Redeemer! we suppliantly beseech thee, and with our whole heart we pour out our tears before thee. We seek after thee; be propitious, and show thyself unto us.

℟. Jam miserere. 
℟. Have mercy now upon us.

℣. Emitte manum, Deus omnipotens, et invocantes potenter protege ex alto, piissime. 
℣. Stretch forth thy hand, O Almighty God! and, in thy exceeding goodness, powerfully protect us from on high.

℟. Jam miserere. 
℟. Have mercy now upon us.

℣. Fertilitatem et pacem tribue: remove bella, et famen cohibe, Redemptor sanctissime. 
℣. Grant us fertility and peace, O most holy Redeemer! Drive wars away from us, and deliver us from famine.

℟. Jam miserere. 
℟. Have mercy now upon us.

℣. Indulge lapsis: indulge perditis, dimitte noxia: ablue crimina: acclines tu libera. 
℣. Grant pardon to the fallen; pardon them that have gone astray; forgive us our sins; cleanse us from our iniquities; deliver us who are here prostrate before thee.

℟. Jam miserere. 
℟. Have mercy now upon us.

℣. Gemitus vide: fletus intellige: extende manum: peccantes redime. 
℣. See our sighing; hear our weeping; stretch forth thy hand; redeem us sinners.

℟. Jam miserere. 
℟. Have mercy now upon us.

℣. Hanc nostram, Deus, hanc pacem suscipe: supplicum voces placatus suscipe: et parce, piissime. 
℣. Receive, O God, receive this our prayer for reconciliation; be appeased, and receive the petition of thy suppliants; and spare us, O most loving God!

℟. Rogamus te, Rex sæculorum, Deus sancte, jam miserere: peccavimus tibi. 

℟. We beseech thee, O King Eternal! O holy God! have mercy now upon us, for we have sinned against thee.
"So let us be confident, let us not be unprepared, let us not be outflanked, let us be wise, vigilant, fighting against those who are trying to tear the faith out of our souls and morality out of our hearts, so that we may remain Catholics, remain united to the Blessed Virgin Mary, remain united to the Roman Catholic Church, remain faithful children of the Church."- Abp. Lefebvre
Tuesday of the Third Week of Lent
Taken from The Liturgical Year by Dom Prosper Gueranger (1841-1875)

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The Station is in the Church of St. Pudentiana daughter of Pudens, the Senator. This holy virgin of Rome lived in the 2nd century. She was remarkable for her charity, and for the zeal wherewith she sought for and buried the bodies of the Martyrs. Her Church is built on the very spot where stood the house, in which she lived with her father, and her sister St. Praxedes. St. Peter, the Apostle, had honoured this house with his presence, during the lifetime of Pudentiana’s grandfather.

Exaudi nos, omnipotens et misericors Deus; et continentiæ salutaris propitius nobis dona concede. Per Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen. 
Graciously hear us, O Almighty and merciful God, and grant us the gift of salutary continence. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Lesson from the book of Kings. ii Ch. iv.

In those days: A certain woman cried to Eliseus, saying: Thy servant my husband is dead, and thou knowest that thy servant was one that feared God, and behold the creditor is come to take away my two sons to serve him. And Eliseus said to her: What tilt thou have me do for thee? Tell me what hast thou in thy house? And she answered: I thy handmaid have nothing in my house but a little oil, to anoint me. And he said to her: Go, borrow of all thy neighbors empty vessels not a few. And go in, and shut thy door, when thou art within, with thy sons, and pour out thereof into all these vessels; and when they are full take them away. So the woman went, and shut the door upon her, and upon her sons; they brought her the vessels and she poured in. And when the vessels were full, she said to her sons: Bring me yet a vessel. And he answered: I have no more. And the oil stood; and she came and told the man of God. And he said: Go, sell the oil, and pay the creditor; and thou and thy sons live of the rest.

Quote:It is not difficult to unravel the mystery of this day’s Lesson. Man’s creditor is Satan; our sins have made him so. Go, says the Prophet, and pay the creditor. But how is this to be done?—We shall obtain the pardon of our sins by works of mercy, of which Oil is the symbol. Blessed are the Merciful, for they shall obtain mercy. Let us, then, during these days of salvation, secure our reconciliation and forgiveness by doing all we can to assist our brethren who are in want; let us join Almsdeeds to our Fasting, and practice works of mercy. Thus shall we touch the heart of our Heavenly Father. Putting our debts into His hands, we shall take away from Satan all the claims he had upon us. Let us learn a lesson from this woman. She lets no one see her as she fills the vessels with oil: let us also shut the door when we do good, so that our left hand shall know not what our right hand doth. Take notice, too, that the woman goes on pouring out the oil as long as she has vessels to hold it. So our mercy towards our neighbors must be proportionate to our means. The extent of these means is known to God, and he will not have us fall short of the power he has given us for doing good. Let us, then, be liberal in our alms during this holy Season; let us make the resolution to be not so at all times. When our material resources are exhausted, let us be merciful in desire, by interceding with those who are able to give, and by praying to God to help the suffering and the poor.

Sequel of the Holy Gospel according to Matthew.  Ch. XVIII.

At that time: Jesus said to his disciples: If thy brother shall offend against thee, go and rebuke him between thee and him alone. If he shall hear thee, thou shalt gain thy brother. But if he will not hear thee, take with thee one or two more; that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may stand. And if he will not hear them, tell the Church; and if he will not hear the Church, let him be to thee as the heathen and publican. Amen I say to you, whatsoever you shall bind upon earth, shall be bound also in heaven: and whatsoever you shall loose upon earth, shall be loosed also in heaven. Again, I say to you, that if two of you shall consent upon earth, concerning anything whatsoever they shall ask, it shall be done to them by my Father, who is in heaven; for where there are two or three gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them. Then came Peter unto him, and said: Lord, how often shall my brother offend against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? Jesus saith to him: I say not to thee, till seven times, but till seventy times seven times.

Quote:The Mercy which God commands us to show our fellow creatures does not consist only in corporal and spiritual almsdeeds to the poor and the suffering; it includes, moreover, the pardon and forgetfulness of injuries. This is the test whereby God proves the sincerity of our conversion. With the same measure that you shall mete withal, it shall be measured to you again. If we, from our hearts, pardon our enemies, our Heavenly Father will unreservedly pardon us. These are the days when we are hoping to be reconciled with our God; let us do all we can to gain our brother; and for this end, pardon him, if needs be, seventy times seven times. Surely we are not going to allow the miserable quarrels of our earthly pilgrimage to make us lose heaven! Therefore, let us forgive insults and injuries, and thus imitate our God himself, who is ever forgiving us.

But how grand are these other words of our Gospel: Whatsoever you shall loose upon earth, shall be loosed also in heaven! Oh! the hope and joy they bring to our hearts! How countless is the number of sinners who are soon to feel the truth of this consoling promise! They will confess their sins and offer to God the homage of a contrite and humble heart; and at the very moment that the hand of the Priest shall loosen them upon earth, the hand of God will loosen them from the bonds which held them as victims to eternal punishment.

And lastly, let us not pass by unnoticed this other sentence, which has a close relation with the one we have just alluded to: If a man hear not the Church, let him be to thee as a heathen and publican. What is this Church? Men to whom Jesus Christ said: He that heareth you, heareth me; and he that despiseth you, despiseth me. Men from whose lips comes to the world the Truth, without which there is no salvation: Men who are the only ones on earth who have the power to reconcile the sinner with his God, save him from the hell he has deserved, and open to him the gates of heaven. Can we be surprised, after this, that our Savior—who would have these Men to be his instruments, and as it were, the communication between himself and mankind—should treat as a heathen, as one that has never received Baptism, him that refuses to acknowledge their authority? There is no revealed truth, except through their teaching; their is no salvation, except through the Sacraments which they administer; there is no hoping in Christ Jesus, except where there is submission to the spiritual laws which they promulgate.

Humiliate capita vestra Deo. 
Bow down your heads to God.

Tus nos, Domine, protectione defende: et ab omni semper iniquitate custodi. Per Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen. 
Defend us, O Lord, by thy protection, and ever preserve us from all iniquity. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Let us address ourselves to God in these words of a Hymn composed by St. Andrew of Crete. We take it from the Greek Liturgy.
(In V. Feria V. Hebdomadæ)
Audivit Propheta adventum tuum, Domine, et timuit: quod esses nasciturus ex Virgine et mundo exhibendus; dixitque: Audivi auditum tuum et timui. Sit gloria, Domine, tuæ potentiæ. 
The Prophet trembled when he heard that thou, O Lord, wast to come: that thou wast to be born of a Virgin, and made visible to the world. He said: I heard thy hearing, and was afraid. Glory be to thy power, O Lord!

No despexeris tua opera, ac tuum figmentum juste Judex, neglexeris: quanquam peccavi solus, tu o clemens, qua Homo supra hominem omnem, potestatem tamen dimittendi peccata, qua es Dominus universorum, habes. 
Despise not, O just Judge, thy works: turn not away from the creature thou hast formed. My sins are indeed all my own work; but thou, O merciful Jesus, as Man above all men, hast power to forgive sin, for thou art the Lord of the universe.

Prope est finis, o anima, prope est, nec es solicita? non te præparas? tempus urget, exsurge: prope est judex in januis: velut somnium, velut flos, vita decurrit; ut quid vero frustra conturbamur? 
Thy end is near, O my soul! How comes it thou art heedless? How is it, that thou art making no preparation? Time presses; arise! The Judge is near, even at the very gate. Life is passing away, as a dream, and as a flower. Why trouble we ourselves with vain things?

Resipisce, o anima mea, actus quos es operata, recogita, eosque ob oculos statue, atque ab oculis lacrymarum stillas funde. Die palam Christo actiones tuas et cogitationes, et justificare. Recover thyself, O my soul! Recall to mind the acts of thy life; bring them before thee, and let thine eyes shed tears over them. Openly confess thy deeds and thoughts to Christ, and be justified.

Non fuerit in vita peccatum, actiove, aut malitia, quam ego, Salvator, intellectu et cogitatione atque proposito non peccaverim, affectu, mentis judicio, et actione, ut nemo unquam gravius peccaverit. 
There is no sin, or evil action, or wickedness, which I, O Jesus! have not committed in mind and thought and intention. None ever sinned more grievously than I, in desire, in judgment, and in deed.

Inde etiam damnationis incurri reatum; inde, miser ego, conscientia propria judice, qua nihil mundus violentius habet, causa cecidi: tu judex et redemptor, cognitorque meus, parce et libera, salvumque fac servum tuum. 
Therefore have I incurred damnation; therefore is sentence given against me, a wretched sinner, whose own conscience is my judge, and whose crimes surpass all that this world has seen. Do thou, my Judge, my Redeemer, and my Witness, spare and deliver and save thy servant.

Tempus vitæ meæ exisguum est, laboribusque et molestia plenum: verum pœnitentem suscipe et revoca agnoscentem. Ne fiam alieni possessio et esca: tu ipse Salvator, mei miserere. My life is short, and filled with labor and trouble: but do thou receive me, for I repent; call me back unto thee, for I acknowledge thee to be my Lord. Let me not become the property and prey of any but thee. Thou art my Savior; have mercy on me.

Jam grandiloquum ago, et corde temere audacem. Ne me condemnes cum Pharisæo: imo Publicani, qui solus misericors sis, humilitatem concede: tu me, juste judex, huic adcense. 
My words are haughty, and my heart presumptuous. Condemn me not with the Pharisee, but give me, O thou the one only merciful God, the humility of the Publican, and number me with him, O my just Judge!

Ipse mihi factus sum idolum, vitiis corrumpens animam: verum pœnitentem suscipe, et revoca agnoscentem. Ne efficiar alieno in possessionem et escam: tu ipse Salvator mei miserere. 

I have made myself my idol, and my sins have corrupted my soul: but do thou receive me, for I repent; call me back unto thee, for I acknowledge thee to be my Lord. Let me not become the property and prey of any but thee. Thou art my Savior; have mercy on me.
"So let us be confident, let us not be unprepared, let us not be outflanked, let us be wise, vigilant, fighting against those who are trying to tear the faith out of our souls and morality out of our hearts, so that we may remain Catholics, remain united to the Blessed Virgin Mary, remain united to the Roman Catholic Church, remain faithful children of the Church."- Abp. Lefebvre
Wednesday of the Third Week of Lent
Taken from The Liturgical Year by Dom Prosper Gueranger (1841-1875)

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The Station, at Rome, is in the Church of Saint Xystus, on the Appian Road. It now goes under the name of Saint Xystus the Old, in order to distinguish it from another Church that is dedicated to the same holy Pope and Martyr.

Præsta nobis, quæsumus, Domine, ut salutaribus jejuniis eruditi, a noxiis quoque vitiis abstinentes, propitiationem tuam facilius impetremus. Per Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen. Grant, O Lord, we beseech thee, that being improved by this wholesome fast, we may abstain from all pernicious vice, and by that means, more easily obtain thy mercy. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Lesson from the Book of Exodus. Ch. XX.

Thus saith the Lord God: Honor thy father and thy mother, that thou mayest be long lived upon the land which the Lord thy God will give thee. Thou shalt not kill. Thou shalt not commit adultery. Thou shalt not steal. Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s house, neither shalt thou desire his wife, nor his servant, nor his handmaid, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is his. And all the people saw the voices and the flames, and the sound of the trumpet, and the mount smoking; and being terrified and struck with fear, they stood afar off, saying to Moses: Speak thou to us, and we will hear; let not the Lord speak to us, lest we die. And Moses said to the people: Fear not; for God is come to prove you, and that the dread of him might be in you, and you should not sin. And the people stood afar off. But Moses went to the dark cloud wherein God was. And the Lord said to Moses: Thus shalt thou say to the children of Israel: You have seen that I have spoken to you from heaven. You shall not make gods of silver, nor shall you make to yourselves gods of gold. You shall make an altar of earth unto me, and you shall offer upon it your holocausts and peace-offerings, your sheep and oxen, in every place where the memory of my Name shall be.

Quote:The Church reminds us today of the divine Commandments which relate to our duties towards our neighbor, beginning with that which enjoins respect to Parents. Now that the Faithful are intent on the great work of the conversion and amendment of their lives, it is well that they should be reminded that their duties towards their fellow men are prescribed by God himself. Hence, it was God whom we offended when we sinned against our neighbor. God first tells us what he himself has a right to receive from our hands: he bids us adore and serve him; he forbids the worship of idols; he enjoins the observance of the Sabbath, and prescribes Sacrifices and Ceremonies: but at the same time, he commands us to love our neighbors as ourselves, and assures us that he will be their avenger when we have wronged them, unless we repair the injury. The voice of Jehovah on Sinai is not less commanding when it proclaims what our duties are to our neighbor, than when it tells us our obligations to our Creator. Thus enlightened as to the origin of our duties, we shall have a clearer view of the state of our conscience, and of the atonement required of us by Divine Justice. But if the Old Law that was written on tablets of stone thus urges upon us the precept of the love of our neighbor, how much more will not the New Law—that was signed with the blood of Jesus when dying upon the Cross for his ungrateful brethren—insist that our observance of fraternal charity? These are the two Laws on which we shall be judged; let us, therefore, carefully observe what they command on this head, that thus we may prove ourselves to be Christians, according to those words of our Savior: By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, if you have love one for another.

Sequel of the Holy Gospel according to Matthew. Ch. XV.

At that time: The Scribes and Pharisees came from Jerusalem to Jesus, and saying to him: Why do thy disciples transgress the tradition of the ancients? For they wash not their hands when they eat bread. But he answering, said to them: Why do you also transgress the commandment of God for your tradition? For God said: “Honor thy father and mother:” and “He that shall curse father or mother, let him die the death.” But you say: Whosoever shall say to his father or mother, The gift whatsoever proceedeth from me, shall profit thee; and he shall not honor his father or mother, and you have made void the commandment of God for your tradition. Hypocrites, well has Isaias prophesied of you, saying: “This people honoreth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. And in vain do they worship me, teaching doctrines and commandments of men.” And having called together the multitudes unto him, he said to them: Hear ye and understand. Not that which goeth into the mouth, defileth a man; but what cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man. Then came his disciples, and said to him: Dost thou know that the Pharisees, when they heard this word, were scandalized? But he answering, said: Every plant which my heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up. Let them alone; they are blind, and leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both fall into the pit. And Peter answering, said to him: Expound to us this parable. But he said: Are you also yet without understanding? Do you not understand, that whatsoever entereth into the mouth, goeth into the belly, and is cast out into the privy? But the things which proceed out of the mouth, come forth from the heart, and those things defile a man. For out of the heart come forth evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false testimonies, blasphemies. These are the things that defile a man. But to eat with unwashed hands, doth not defile a man.

Quote:The Law that was given by God to Moses enjoined a great number of exterior practices and ceremonies; and they that were faithful among the Jews, zealously and carefully fulfilled them. Jesus himself, though he was the Divine Lawgiver, most humbly complied with them. But the Pharisees had added their own superstitious traditions to these divine laws and ordinances, and made religion consist in the observance of these fanciful inventions. Our Savior here tells the people not to be imposed upon by such teaching, and instructs them as to what is the real meaning of the external practices of the Law. The Pharisees prescribed a great many ablutions or washings to be observed during the course of the day. They would have it that they who eat without having washed their hands (and indeed the whole body, some time during the day), were defiled, and that the food they thus partook of was unclean, by reason, as they said, that they themselves had become defiled by having come near or touched objects which were specified by their whims. According to the Law of God, these objects were perfectly innocent; but according to the law of the Pharisees, almost everything was contagious, and the only escape was endless washings! Jesus would have the Jews throw off this humiliating and arbitrary yoke, and reproaches the Pharisees for having corrupted and made void the Law of Moses.

He tells them that there is no creature which is intrinsically and of its own nature unclean; and that a man’s conscience cannot be defiled by the mere fact of his eating certain kinds of food. Evil thoughts and evil deeds, these, says our Savior, are the things that defile a man. Some heretics have interpreted these words as being an implicit condemnation of the exterior practices ordained by the Church and more especially of Abstinence. To such reasoners and teachers we may justly apply what our Savior said to the Pharisees: They are blind and leaders of the blind. From this, that the sins, into which a man falls by his use of material things, are only sins on account of the malice of the Will, which is spiritual—it does not follow that therefore, man may, without any sin, make use of material things, when God or his Church forbid their use. God forbade our First Parents, under pain of death, to eat the fruit of a certain tree; they ate it, and sin was the result of their eating. Was the fruit unclean of its own nature? No; it was a creature of God as well as the other fruits of Eden; but our First Parents sinned by eating it, because their doing so was an act of disobedience. Again, when God gave his Law on Mount Sinai, he forbade the Hebrews to eat the flesh of certain animals; if they ate it, they were guilty of sin, not because this sort of food was intrinsically evil or cursed, but because they that partook of it disobeyed the Lord. The commandments of the Church regarding Fasting and Abstinence are of a similar nature with these. It is that we may secure to ourselves the blessing of Christian Penance—in other words, it is for our spiritual interest that the Church bids us abstain and fast at certain times. If we violate her law, it is not the food we take that defiles us, but the resisting a sacred power, which our Savior, in yesterday’s Gospel, told us we are to obey under the heavy penalty which he expressed in those words: He that will not hear the Church, shall be counted as a heathen and publican.

Humiliate capita vestra Deo. 
Bow down your heads to God.

Concede, quæsumus, omnipotens Deus: ut qui protectionis tuæ gratiam quærimus, liberati a malis omnibus, secura tibi mente serviamus. Per Christum Dominum notrum. Amen. 
Grant, we beseech thee, O Almighty God, that we who beg the favor of thy protection, being delivered from all evils, may serve thee with a secure mind. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Let us take for today one of the solemn Supplications offered to God by the Gothic Church of Spain during Lent.
(Breviar. Mozarab. In Dominica Quadragesimæ)
℣. Ad te, Redemptor omnium, rex summe, oculos nostros sublevamus flentes: exaudi, Christe, supplicantium preces. 
℣. To thee, O Redeemer of all mankind! O sovereign King! we raise up our tearful eyes. Graciously hear, O Christ, the prayers of thy suppliants.

℟. Et miserere.
℟. And have mercy.

℣. Dextra Patris, lapis angularis, via salutis, janua cœlestis, ablue nostri maculas delicti. 
℣. O thou that art the right hand of the Father, the Corner Stone, the Way of Salvation, the Gate of heaven, wash away the stains of our sin.

℟. Et miserere.
℟. And have mercy.

℣. Rogamus, Deus, tuam majestatem; auribus sacris gemitus exaudi, crimina nostra placitus indulge. 
℣. We beseech thy Majesty, O God! Bow down thy divine ear to our sighs, and mercifully pardon our crimes.

℟. Et miserere.
℟. And have mercy.

℣. Tibi fatemur crimina admissa, contrito corde pandimus occulta: tua, Redemptor, pietas ignoscat. 
℣. We confess unto thee the crimes we have committed, we make known to thee, with a contrite heart, what is hidden in our conscience. Do thou, O Redeemer, in thy clemency forgive.

℟. Et miserere.
℟. And have mercy.

℣. Innocens captus, nec repugnans ductus; testibus falsis pro impiis damnatus: quos redemisti, tu conserva, Christe. 
℣. Thou wast led captive though innocent; thou wast led, and didst not resist. Thou wast condemned by false witnesses for the wicked. O Jesus! Save us, whom thou hast redeemed.

℟. Et miserere. 

℟. And have mercy.
"So let us be confident, let us not be unprepared, let us not be outflanked, let us be wise, vigilant, fighting against those who are trying to tear the faith out of our souls and morality out of our hearts, so that we may remain Catholics, remain united to the Blessed Virgin Mary, remain united to the Roman Catholic Church, remain faithful children of the Church."- Abp. Lefebvre
Thursday of the Third Week of Lent
Taken from The Liturgical Year by Dom Prosper Gueranger (1841-1875)

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This day brings us to the middle of Lent, and is called Mid-Lent Thursday. It is the twentieth of the forty fasts imposed upon us at this holy Season by the Church. The Greeks call this Thursday Mesonēstios, that is, the mid-Fast. They give this name to the entire week, which, in their Liturgy, is the fourth of the seven which form their Lent. But the Thursday of this week is, with them, a solemn feast, and a day of rejoicing, whereby they animate themselves to courage during the rest of the Season. The Catholic nations of the West, though they do not look on this day as a Feast, yet have they always kept it with some degree of festivity and joy. The Church of Rome has countenanced the custom by her own observance of it; but in order not to give a pretext to dissipation, which might interfere with the spirit of fasting—she postpones to the following Sunday the formal expression of this innocent joy, as we shall see further on. Yet it is not against the spirit of the Church that this Mid-Day of Lent should be marked by some demonstration of gladness; for example, by sending invitations to friends, as our Catholic forefathers used to do; and serving up to table choicer and more abundant food than on other days of Lent, taking, however, that the laws of the Church are strictly observed. But alas! how many there are, even of them that call themselves Catholics, who have been breaking, for the past twenty days, these laws of abstinence and fasting! Whether the Dispensations they trust to be lawfully or unlawfully obtained, the joy of Mid-Lent Thursday seems scarcely made for them. To experience this joy, one must have earned and merited it, by penance, by privations, by bodily mortifications; which is just what so many nowadays cannot think of doing. Let us pray for them, that God would enlighten them, and enable them to see what they are bound to do, consistently with the Faith they profess.

There is not a single duty in which the Church does not instruct her Children. If, on the one hand, she insists on their fulfilling certain exterior practices of penance, she, on the other, warns them against the false principle of supposing that exterior observances, however carefully complied with, can supply the want of interior virtues. God refuses to accept the homage of the spirit and the heart if man, through pride or sensuality, refuse that other service which is equally due to his Creator, namely, his bodily service; but to make one’s religion consist of nothing but material works, is little better than mockery; for God bids us serve him in spirit and in truth. The Jews prided themselves on having the Temple of Jerusalem, which was the dwelling place of God’s glory; but this privilege, which exalted them above other nations, was not unfrequently turned against themselves, inasmuch as many of them were satisfied with a mere empty respect for the holy Place; they never thought of that higher and better duty of showing themselves grateful to their divine Benefactor, by observing his Law. Those Christians would be guilty of a like hypocrisy who, though most scrupulously exact in the exterior duty of fasting and abstinence, were to take no pains to amend their lives, and follow the rules of justice, charity, and humility. They would deserve that our Lord should say of them what he said of Israel: This people glorify me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. This Christian pharisaism is very rare nowadays. What we have to fear is a disregard for the exterior practices of religion. Those of the Faithful who are diligent in the fulfilment of the laws of the Church are not, generally speaking, behindhand in the practice of other virtues. Still, this false conscience is sometimes to be met with, and is a scandal which does much spiritual injury. Let us, therefore, observe the whole law. Let us offer to God a spiritual service, which consists in the heart’s obedience to all his commandments; and to this let us join the homage of our bodies, by practicing those things which the Church has prescribed. The body is intended to be an aid to the soul, and is destined to share in her eternal happiness: it is but just that it should share in the service of God.

Magnificet te, Domine, sanctorum tuorum Cosmæ et Damiani beata solemnitas: qua et illis gloriam sempiternam, et opem nobis ineffabili providentia contulisti. Per Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen
May this sacred solemnity of thy servants, Cosmas and Damian, show thy greatness, O Lord; by which, in thy unspeakable providence, thou hast granted them eternal glory, and us the aid of their prayers. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Lesson from Jeremias the Prophet. Ch. VII.

In those days: The word of the Lord came to me, saying: Stand in the gate of the house of the Lord, and proclaim there this word, and say: Hear ye the word of the Lord, all ye men of Juda, that enter in at these gates, to adore the Lord. Thus saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: Make your ways and your doings good; and I will dwell with you in this place. Trust not in lying words, saying: The temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord, it is the temple of the Lord. For if you will order well your ways and your doings; if you will execute judgment between a man and his neighbor; if you oppress not the stranger, the fatherless and the widow, and shed not innocent blood in this place, and walk not after strange gods to your own hurt; I will dwell with you in this place, in the land which I gave to your fathers from the beginning and for ever more, saith the Lord Almighty.

Sequel of the Holy Gospel according to Luke. Ch. IV.

At that time: Jesus rising up out of the synagogue, went in to Simon’s house. And Simon’s wife’s mother was taken with a great fever, and they besought him for her. And standing over her, he commanded the fever, and it left her. And immediately rising, she ministered to them. And when the sun was down, all they that had any sick with divers diseases, brought them to him. And devils went out from many, crying out and saying: Thou art the Son of God. And he, rebuking them, suffered them not to speak, for they knew that he was Christ. And when it was day, going out, he went into a desert place, and the multitude sought him, and came to him; and they stayed him that he should not depart from them. To whom he said: To other cities I must preach the kingdom of God; for therefore am I sent. And he was preaching in the synagogues of Galilee.

Quote:Let us here admire the goodness of our Redeemer, who deigns to exercise his power for the cure of bodily infirmities. How much more ready will he not be to heal our spiritual ailments! Our fever is that of evil passions; Jesus alone can allay it. Let us imitate the eagerness of these people of Galilee, who brought all their sick to Jesus; let us beseech him to heal us. See with what patience he welcomes each poor sufferer! Let us also go to him. Let us implore of him not to depart from us, but abide with us forever; he will accept our petition, and remain. Let us pray for sinners: the days of the great Fast are quickly passing away: we have reached the second half of Lent, and the Passover of our deliverance will soon be here. Look at the thousands that are unmoved, with their souls still blind to the light, and their hearts hardened against every appeal of God’s mercy and justice; they seem resolved on making their eternal perdition less doubtful than ever, by neglecting both the Lent and the Easter of this year. Let us offer up our penances for them; and beg of Jesus, by the merits of his sacred Passion, to redouble his mercies towards them, and deliver from Satan these souls, for whose sakes he is about to shed his Blood.

Humiliate capita vestra Deo. 
Bow down your heads to God.

Subjectum tibi populum, quæsumus Domine, propitiatio cœlestis amplificet: et tuis semper faciat servire mandatis. Per Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen. 
May thy heavenly mercy, O Lord, always increase thy people, and make them ever obedient to thy commandments. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Mozarabic Liturgy offers us this beautiful exhortation. It will inspire us to persevere in our Lenten penances and duties.
(Missale Gothicum. Dominica IV. in Quadragesima.)
Exspectantes illam spem passionis ac resurrectionis Filii Dei, fratres charissimi: et manifestationem gloriæ beati et Salvatoris nostri Jesu Christi, resumite virium fortitudinem: et non quasi futuro terreamini de labore: qui ad Paschalis Dominicæ cupitis anhelando pervenire celebritatem. Sacratæ etenim Quadragesimæ tempore mediante, arripite de futuro labore fiduciam: qui præteriti jejunii jam transegistis ærumnas. Dabit Jesus lassis fortitudinem: qui pro nobis dignatus est infirmari. Tribuet perfectionem futuri: qui initia donavit præteriti. Aderit in auxilio, filii: qui suæ nos cupit præstolari gloriam passionis. Amen. 

Looking forward, dearly beloved Brethren, to the hope of the Passion and Resurrection of the Son of God, as also to the manifestation of the glory of our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ: resume your strength and courage. Be not daunted by the labor you have to go through, but remember the solemnity of the holy Pasch, for which you are so ardently longing. One half of holy Lent is over; you have gone through the difficulties of the past, why should you not be courageous about the future Fast? Jesus, who deigned to suffer fatigue for our sakes, will give strength to them that are fatigued. He that granted us to begin the past, will enable us to complete the future. Children! He will be with you to assist us, who wishes us to hope for the glory of his Passion. Amen.
"So let us be confident, let us not be unprepared, let us not be outflanked, let us be wise, vigilant, fighting against those who are trying to tear the faith out of our souls and morality out of our hearts, so that we may remain Catholics, remain united to the Blessed Virgin Mary, remain united to the Roman Catholic Church, remain faithful children of the Church."- Abp. Lefebvre
Friday of the Third Week of Lent
Taken from The Liturgical Year by Dom Prosper Gueranger (1841-1875)

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The Station is at the Church of Saint Laurence in Lucina, In this venerable and celebrated Church is kept the Gridiron, on which the holy Archdeacon consummated his martyrdom.

Jejunia nostra, quæsumus, Domine, benigno favore prosequere: ut, sicut ab alimentis abstinemus in corpore, ita a vitiis jejunemus in mente. Per Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen. 
Let thy kind favor, O Lord, accompany our fast, that as we abstain from corporal food, so we may likewise refrain from all vice. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Lesson from the book of Numbers. Ch. XX.

In those days: The children of Israel came together against Moses and Aaron: and making a sedition they said: Give us water to drink. And Moses and Aaron leaving the multitude, went into the tabernacle of the covenant, and fell flat upon the ground, and cried to the Lord and said: O Lord God, hear the cry of this people, and open to them thy treasure, a fountain of living water, that being satisfied, they may cease to murmur. And the glory of the Lord appeared over them. And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying: Take the rod, and assemble the people together, thou and Aaron thy brother, and speak to the rock before them, and it shall yield waters. And when thou hast brought forth water out of the rock, all the multitude and their cattle shall drink. Moses therefore took the rod, which was before the Lord, as he had commanded him, and having gathered together the multitude before the rock, he said to them: Hear, ye rebellious and incredulous; can we bring you forth water out of this rock? And when Moses had lifted up his hand, and struck the rock twice with the rod, there came forth water in great abundance, so that the people and their cattle drank. And the Lord said to Moses and Aaron: Because you have not believed me, to sanctify me before the children of Israel, you shall not bring these people into the land which I will give them. This is the water of contradiction, where the children of Israel strove with words against the Lord, and he was sanctified in them.

Quote:Here we have one of the most expressive figures of the Old Testament: it symbolizes the Sacrament of Baptism, for which our Catechumens are now preparing. A whole people asks for Water; if it be denied them, they must perish in the wilderness. St. Paul, the sublime interpreter of the types of the Old Testament, tells us that the Rock was Christ, from whom came forth the fountain of living Water, which quenches the thirst of our souls and purifies them. The Holy Fathers observe that the Rock yielded not its water until it had been struck with the Rod which signifies the Passion of our Redeemer. The Rod itself, as we are told by some of the earliest commentators of the Scriptures, is the symbol of the Cross; and the two strokes, wherewith the Rock was struck, represent the two parts of which the Cross was formed. 

The paintings which the primitive Church has left us in the Catacombs of Rome frequently represent Moses in the act of striking the Rock, from which flows a stream of Water; and a glass, found in the same Catacombs, bears an inscription, telling us that the first Christians considered Moses as the type of St. Peter, who, in the New Covenant, opened to God’s people the fountain of grace, when he preached to them on the day of Pentecost; and gave also to the Gentiles to drink of this same Water, when he received Cornelius, the Centurion, into the Church. This symbol of Moses striking the Rock, and the figures of the Old Testament, which we have already come across, or shall still meet with, in the Lessons given by the Church to the Catechumens—are not only found in the earliest frescoes of the Roman Catacombs, but we have numerous proofs that they were represented in all the Churches both in the East and West. Up to the thirteenth century, and even later, we find them in the windows of our Cathedrals, and in the traditional form or type which was given to them in the early times. It is to be regretted that these Christian symbols, which were so dear to our Catholic forefathers, should now be so forgotten as to be almost treated with contempt. Let us love them and, by the study of the holy Liturgy, let us return to those sacred traditions which inspired our ancestors with heroic faith, and made them undertake such grand things for God and their fellow men.

Sequel of the Holy Gospel according to John. Ch. IV.

At that time: Jesus came to a city of Samaria which is called Sichar, near the land which Jacob gave to his son Joseph. Now Jacob’s well was there. Jesus therefore being wearied with his journey, sat thus on the well. It was about the sixth hour. There cometh a woman of Samaria to draw water. Jesus saith to her: Give me to drink. For his disciples were gone into the city to buy meats. Then that Samaritan woman saith to him: How dost thou, being a Jew, ask of me to drink, who am a Samaritan woman? For the Jews do not communicate with the Samaritans. Jesus answered, and said to her: If thou didst know the gift of God, and who he is that saith to thee, Give me to drink: thou perhaps wouldst have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water. The woman saith to him: Sir, thou hast nothing wherein to draw, and the well is deep; from whence then hast thou living water? Art thou greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well, and drank thereof himself, and his children, and his cattle? Jesus answered, and said to her: Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again: but he that shall drink of the water that I shall give him, shall not thirst for ever. But the water that I shall give him, shall become in him a fountain of water springing up into life everlasting. The woman saith to him: Sir, give me this water, that I may not thirst, nor come hither to draw. Jesus saith to her: Go, call thy husband, and come hither. The woman answered, and said: I have no husband. Jesus saith to her: Thou hast said well, I have no husband; for thou hast had five husbands; and he whom thou now hast, is not thy husband. This thou hast said truly. The woman saith to him: Sir, I perceive that thou art a prophet. Our fathers adored on this mountain, and you say that at Jerusalem is the place where men must adore. Jesus saith to her: Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when you shall neither on this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, adore the Father. You adore that which you know not; we adore that which we know, for salvation is of the Jews. But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true adorers shall adore the Father in spirit and truth. For the Father also seeketh such to adore him. God is a spirit; and they that adore him, must adore him in spirit and in truth. The woman saith to him: I know that the Messias cometh (who is called Christ). Therefore when he is come, he will tell us all things. Jesus saith to her: I am he, who am speaking with thee. And immediately his disciples came; and they wondered that he talked with the woman. Yet no man said: What seekest thou, or why talkest thou with her? The woman therefore left her waterpot, and went her way into the city, and saith to the men there: Come, and see a man who hath told me all things whatsoever I have done. Is not he the Christ? They went therefore out of the city, and came unto him. In the meantime the disciples prayed him, saying: Rabbi, eat. But he said to them: I have meat to eat which you know not of. The disciples therefore said one to another: Hath any man brought him to eat? Jesus saith to them: My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, that I may perfect his work. Do not you say, there yet four months, and then the harvest cometh? Behold I say to you, life up your eyes, and see the countries, for they are white already to harvest. And he that reapeth receiveth wages, and gathereth fruit unto life everlasting; that both he that soweth, and he that reapeth may rejoice together. For in this is that saying true: that it is one man that soweth, and it is another that reapeth. I have sent you to reap that in which you did not labor; others have labored, and you have entered into their labors. Now of that city many of the Samaritans believed in him, for the word of the woman giving testimony: He told me all things whatsoever I had done. So when the Samaritans were come to him, they desired him that he would tarry there. And he abode there two days. And many more believed in him because of his own word. And they said to the woman: We now believe, not for thy saying; for we ourselves have seen him, and know that he is indeed the Savior of the world.

Quote:Our Gospel shows us the Son of God continuing the ministry of Moses by revealing to the Samaritan woman, who represents the Gentiles, the mystery of the Water that gives life everlasting. We find this subject pained on the walls of the Catacombs and carved on the tombs of the Christians, as far back as the 5th, and even the 4th century. Let us, then, meditate upon this event of our Lord’s life, for it tells us of his wonderful mercy. Jesus is wearied with his journey; He, the Son of God, who had but to speak and the world was created, is fatigued seeking after his lost sheep. He is obliged to rest his wearied limbs; he sits; but it is near a well. He finds a Samaritan woman there; she is a Gentile, an idolatress; she comes to draw water from the well; she has no idea of there being a Water of eternal life—Jesus intends to reveal the mystery to her. He begins by telling her that he is tired and thirsty. A few days hence, when expiring on his Cross, he will say: I thirst: and so now, he says to this woman: Give me to drink. So true is it, that in order to appreciate the grace brought by our Redeemer, we must first know this Redeemer in his weakness and sufferings.

But before the woman had time to give Jesus what he asks, he tells her of a Water, of which he that drinks shall not thirst for ever; he invites her to draw from a fountain, that springeth up into life everlasting. The woman longs to drink of this Water; she knows not who he is that is speaking with her, and yet she has faith in what he says. This idolatress evinces a docility of heart which the Jews never showed to their Messias; and she is docile, notwithstanding her knowing that he who speaks to her belongs to a nation which despises all Samaritans. The confidence wherewith she listens to Jesus is rewarded by his offering still greater graces. He begins by putting her to the test. Go, he says, call thy husband, and come hither. She was living in sin, and Jesus would have her confess it. She does so without the slightest hesitation; her humility is rewarded, for she at once recognizes Jesus to be a Prophet, and she begins to drink of the Living Water. Thus was it with the Gentiles. The Apostles preached the Gospel to them; they reproached them with their crimes, and showed them the holiness of the God they had offended; but the Gentiles did not therefore reject their teaching; on the contrary, they were docile, and only wanted to know what they should do to render themselves pleasing to their Creator. The Faith had need of Martyrs; and they were found in abundance amidst these converts from paganism and its abominations.

Jesus, seeing such simple-heartedness in the Samaritan, mercifully reveals to her who he is. He tells this poor sinner that the time is come when all men shall adore God; he tells her that the Messias has come upon the earth, and that he himself is that Messias. It is thus that Christ treats a soul that is simple and obedient. He shows himself to her without reserve. When the Disciples arrived, they wondered; they had as yet too much of the Jew in them; they therefore could not understand how their Master could show anything like mercy to this Samaritan. But the time will soon come when they will say with the great Apostle St. Paul: There is neither Jew nor Greek; there is neither bond nor free; there is neither male nor female; for all are one in Christ Jesus.

Meanwhile, the Samaritan becomes an apostle, for she is filled with heavenly ardor. She leaves her pitcher at the well—what cares she for its water, now that Jesus has given her to drink of the Living Water? She goes back to the city; but it is that she may preach Jesus there, and bring to him, if she could, all the inhabitants of Samaria. In her humility, she gives this proof of his being a great Prophet—that he had told her all the sins of her life! These pagans, whom the Jews despised, hasten to the well, where Jesus had remained, speaking to his Disciples on the coming harvest. They acknowledge him to be the Messias, the Savior of the world; and Jesus condescends to abide two days in this city, where there was no other religion than that of idolatry, with a fragment here and there of some Jewish practice. Tradition tells us that the name of the Samaritan woman was Photina. She and the Magi were the first fruits of the new people of God. She suffered martyrdom for him who revealed himself to her at Jacob’s Well. The Church honors her memory each year, in the Roman Martyrology, on the 20th of March.

Humiliate capita vestra Deo. 
Bow down your heads to God.

Præsta, quæsumus, omnipotens Deus: ut qui in tua protectione confidimus, cuncta nobis adversantia, te adjuvante, vincamus. Per Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen. 
Grant, we beseech thee, O Almighty God, that we who confide in thy protection, may, through thy grace, overcome all the enemies of our salvation. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Mozarabic Liturgy celebrates the vocation of the Samaritan woman in the following beautiful Preface.
(In Dominica I. Quadragesimæ.)
Dignum et justum est nos tibi semper gratias agere, Domine sancte, Pater æterne, omnipotens Deus, per Jesum Christum Filium tuum Dominum nostrum. Qui ad salvationem humani generis veniens e cœlo: sitiens atque fatigatus sedisse ad puteum dicitur. Ille est enim in quo omnis plenitudo divinitatis corporaliter permanebat: quia nostræ mortalitatis corpus assumpserat: veritatem assumptæ carnis quibusdam significationibus demonstrabat. Fatigatum enim eum non aliter credimus ab itinere, nisi infirmatum in carne. Exivit quippe ad currendam viam, per significationem carnis assumptæ; ideo igitur etsi fatigatus ille in carne, non tamen nos sinit infirmari in sua infirmitate. Nam quod infirmum est illius, fortius est hominibus. Ideoque per humilitatem veniens eripere mundum a potestate tenebrarum: sedit et sitivit quando aquam mulieri petivit. Ille etenim humiliatus erat in carne: quando sedens ad puteum loquebatur cum muliere, sitivit aquam, et exegit fidem ab ea. In ea quippe muliere, fidem quam quæsivit, quamque petivit, exegit: atque venientibus dicit de ea discipulis: Ego cibum habeo manducare quem vos nescitis. Ille jam qui in ea creaverat fidei donum: ipse poscebat aquæ sibi ab ea porrigi potum. Quique eam dilectionis suæ flamma cremabat: ipse ab ea poculum quo refrigeraretur sitiens postulabat. Ob hoc nos ad ista tantarum virtutum miracula quid apponemus, sancte et immaculate et piisime Deus: nisi conscientiam mundam et voluntatem dilectioni tuæ omni modo præparatam? Tuo igitur Nomini offerentes victimam mundam: rogamus atque exposcimus: ut opereris in nobis salutem: sicut in muliere illa operatus es fidem. Operare in nobis extirpationem carnalium vitiorum, qui in illa idolalatriæ pertulisti figmentum, Sentiamus quoque te in illa futura examinatione mitissimum: sicut illa te promeruit invenire placatum. Opus enim tuum sumus: qui nisi per te salvari non possumus. Subveni nobis, vera redemptio: pietatis indeficiens plenitudine. Non perdas quod tuum est: quibus dedisti rationis naturam, da æternitatis gloriam indefessam. Ut qui te in hac vita laudamus, in æterna quoque beatitudine multo magis glorificemus. Tu es enim Deus noster: non nos abjicias a facie tua: sed jam respice quos creasti miseratione gratuita: ut cum abstuleris a nobis omne debitum culpæ: et placitos reddideris aspectibus gratiæ tuæ: eruti ab illa noxialis putei profunditate facinorum, hydriam nostrarum relinquentes cupiditatum, ad illam æternam civitatem Hierusalem post hujus vitæ transitum convolemus. 

It is meet and just that we should always give thanks to thee, O Holy Lord, Eternal Father, Almighty God, through Jesus Christ, thy Son, our Lord. Who, having come from heaven for the salvation of mankind, sat near a well, thirsting and wearied. For this is he, in whom dwelt all the fulness of the Godhead corporally. But whereas he had assumed the body of our mortality, he wished to show, by certain signs, the reality of the flesh thus assumed; for when we say that he was wearied with a journey, we believe that this weakness was only in the flesh. He went forth to run the way, that he might show that he had taken a true body; hence, although he was wearied in the flesh, yet would he not that our faith should grow weak at the sight of this his weakness; for that which is weak in him, is stronger than men. Having, therefore, come in humility, that he might deliver the world from the power of darkness, he sat and thirsted, when he asked the woman to give him to drink. For he was humbled in the flesh, when, sitting at the well, he spoke with the woman, and thirsted after water, and required of her her faith. Yea, he required from her the faith, which he sought and asked for; and when his disciples came he said to them concerning it: I have meat to eat which you know not of. He that had already created in her the gift of faith, asked her to give him water to drink; and he that had enkindled within her the fire of his love, asked her to give him a cup, whereby to refresh his thirst. Seeing these miracles of divine power, what else shall we offer unto thee, O holy and immaculate and most merciful God, but a pure conscience, and a heart that is well prepared to receive thy love? Now, therefore, whilst offering to thy Name this clean Oblation, we pray and beseech thee, that thou mayest work salvation in us, as thou didst work faith in that woman. Thou didst destroy in her the delusion of idolatry; produce in us the extirpation of our carnal vices. May we find thee full of most tender mercy when thou comest to judge us, as she deserved to find thee. We are the work of thy hands, neither can we be otherwise saved than by thee. Come to our assistance, O thou our true Redeemer, the fulness of whose mercy faileth not. Destroy not what is thine own. Thou hast given us a rational nature; bestow upon us exhaustless glory of eternity, that so we who praise thee in this life, may still more fervently glorify thee in a blessed eternity. Thou art our God; cast us not away from thy face, but look upon us, whom thou didst create out of thy pure mercy: that when thou hast taken from us the whole debt of our guilt, and rendered us worthy of thy gracious sight, we, being drawn out from the deep well of our sins, and leaving behind us the pitcher of our evil desires, may, after passing through this life, take our flight to Jerusalem, the eternal City.
"So let us be confident, let us not be unprepared, let us not be outflanked, let us be wise, vigilant, fighting against those who are trying to tear the faith out of our souls and morality out of our hearts, so that we may remain Catholics, remain united to the Blessed Virgin Mary, remain united to the Roman Catholic Church, remain faithful children of the Church."- Abp. Lefebvre
Saturday of the Third Week of Lent
Taken from The Liturgical Year by Dom Prosper Gueranger (1841-1875)

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The Station is in the Church of Saint Susanna, Virgin and Martyr of Rome. The reason of this Church having been chosen is, that, today, there is read the history of the chaste Susanna, the daughter of Helcias.

Præsta, quæsumus, omnipotens Deus; ut qui se, affligendo carnem, ab alimentis abstinent, sectando justitiam, a culpa jejunent. Per Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen. 
Grant, we beseech thee, O Almighty God, that they who mortify themselves by abstinence from food, may, by observing thy holy law, also fast from all sin. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Lesson from Daniel the Prophet. Ch. XIII.

In those days: There was a man that dwelt in Babylon, and his name was Joakim; and he took a wife whose name was Susanna, the daughter of Helcias, a very beautiful woman, and one that feared God. For her parents being just, had instructed their daughter according to the Law of Moses. Now Joakim was very rich, and had an orchard near his house; and the Jews resorted to him, because he was the most honorable of them all. And there were two of the ancients of the people appointed judges that year, of whom the Lord said: Iniquity came out from Babylon from the ancient judges, that seemed to govern the people. These men frequented the house of Joakim, and all that had any matters of judgment came to them. And when the people departed away at noon, Susanna went in, and walked in her husband’s orchard. And the old men saw her going in every day, and walking; and they were inflamed with lust towards her; and they perverted their own mind, and turned away their eyes, that they might not look unto heaven, nor remember just judgments. And it fell out, as they watched a fit day, she went in on a time, as yesterday and the day before, with two maids only, and was desirous to wash herself in the orchard for it was hot weather. And there was nobody there but the two old men, that had hid themselves and were considering her. So she said to the maids: Bring me oil and washing balls, and shut the doors of the orchard, that I may wash me. And they did as she bade them; and they shut the doors of the orchard, and went out by a back door to fetch what she had commanded them, and they knew not that the elders were hid within. Now when the maids were gone forth, the two elders arose, and ran to her, and said: Behold the doors of the orchard are shut, and nobody seeth us, and we are in love with thee; wherefore consent to us, and lie with us. But if thou wilt not, we will bear witness against thee, that a young man was with thee, and therefore thou didst send away thy maids from thee. Susanna sighed, and said: I am straitened on every side; for if I do this thing, it is death to me, and if I do it not, I shall not escape your hands. But it is better for me to fall into your hands without doing it, than to sin in the sight of the Lord. With that Susanna cried out with a loud voice, and the elders also cried against her; and one of them ran to the door of the orchard, and opened it. So when the servants of the house heard the cry in the orchard, they rushed in by the back door, to see what was the matter. But after the old men had spoken, the servants were greatly ashamed, for never had there been any such word said of Susanna. And on the next day, when the people were come to Joakim her husband, the two elders also came, full of their wicked device against Susanna, to put her to death. And they said before the people: Send to Susanna, daughter of Helcias, the wife of Joakim. And they presently sent; and she came with her parents, and children, and all her kindred. Therefore her friends and all her acquaintance wept. But the two elders, rising up in the midst of the people, laid their hands upon her head. And she weeping looked up to heaven, for her heart had confidence in the Lord. And the elders said: As we walked in the orchard alone, this woman came in with two maids, and shut the doors of the orchard, and sent away the maids from her. Then a young man that was there hid, came to her, and lay with her. But we that were in the corner of the orchard, seeing this wickedness, ran up to them, and we saw them lie together. And as for him we could not take him, because he was stronger than we, and opening the doors he leaped out; but having taken this woman, we asked who the young man was, but she would not tell us. Of this thing we are witnesses. The multitude believed them, as being the elders and judges of the people, and they condemned her to death. Then Susanna cried out with a loud voice, and said: O eternal God, who knowest hidden things, who knowest all things before they come to pass, thou knowest that they have borne false witness against me; and behold I must die, whereas I have done none of these things, which these men have maliciously forged against me. And the Lord heard her voice. And when she was led to be put to death, the Lord raised up the holy spirit of a young boy, whose name was Daniel; and he cried out with a loud voice: I am clear form the blood of this woman. Then all the people turning towards him, said: What meaneth this word that thou hast spoken? But he standing in the midst of them, said: Are ye so foolish, ye children of Israel, that without examination or knowledge of the truth, ye have condemned a daughter of Israel? Return to judgment, for they have borne false witness against her. So all the people turned again in haste. And Daniel said to the people: Separate these two far from one another, and I will examine them. So when they were put asunder one from the other, he called one of them and said to him: O thou that art grown old in evil days, now are thy sins come out which thou hast committed before, in judging unjust judgments, oppressing the innocent, and letting the guilty go free, whereas the Lord saith: The innocent and the just thou shalt not kill. Now then, if thou sawest her, tell me under what tree thou sawest them conversing together. He said: Under a mastick tree. And Daniel said: Well hast thou lied against thy own head; for behold the Angel of God, having received the sentence of him, shall cut thee in two. And having put him aside, he commanded that the other should come, and he said to him: O thou seed of Chanaan, and not of Juda, beauty hath deceived thee, and lust hath perverted thy heart; thus did you do as the daughters of Israel, and they for fear conversed with you; but a daughter of Juda would not abide your wickedness. Now, therefore, tell me under what tree didst thou take them conversing together? And he answered: Under a holm tree. And Daniel said to him: Well hast thou also lied against thy own head; for the Angel of the Lord waiteth with a sword to cut thee in two, and to destroy thee. With that all the assembly cried out with a loud voice, and they blessed God, who saveth them that trust in him. And they rose up against the two elders (for Daniel had convicted them of false witness by their own mouth), and they did to them as they had maliciously dealt against their neighbor, and they put them to death, and innocent blood was saved in that day.

Quote:Yesterday, we shared in the joy felt by our Catechumens, as they listened to the Church describing that limpid and life-giving fountain, which flows from the Savior; in these Waters they were soon to receive a new life. Today, the instruction is for the Penitents, whose reconciliation is drawing near. But how can they hope for pardon, who have sullied the white robe of their baptism, and trampled on the precious Blood that redeemed them? And yet, they are really to be pardoned and saved. If you would understand the mystery, read and meditate upon the Sacred Scriptures; for there you will learn that there is a Salvation which comes from justice, and a Salvation that proceeds from mercy. Today we have an example of both. Susanna, who is unjustly accused of adultery, receives from God the recompense of her virtue; he avenges and saves her: another woman, who is really guilty of the crime, is saved from death by Jesus Christ himself. Let the just, therefore, confidently and humbly await the reward they have merited; but let sinners also hope in the mercy of the Redeemer, who is come for them rather than for the just. Thus does the holy Church encourage her Penitents, and call them to conversion, by showing them the riches of the Heart of Jesus, and the mercies of the New Covenant, which this same Savior has signed by his Blood.

In this history of Susanna, the early Christians saw a figure of the Church, which in their time was solicited by the Pagans to evil, but remained faithful to her Divine Spouse, even though death was the punishment of her resistance. A holy Martyr of the 3rd century, St. Hippolytus, mentions this interpretation. The carvings on the ancient Christian Tombs, and the frescoes of the Roman Catacombs, represent this history of Susanna’s fidelity to God’s law, in spite of the death that threatened her, as a type of the Martyrs’ preferring death to apostasy; for apostasy, in the language of the Sacred Scriptures, is called Adultery, which the soul is guilty of by denying her God, to whom she espoused herself when she received Baptism.

Sequel of the Holy Gospel according to John. Ch. VIII.

At that time: Jesus went to Mount Olivet. And early in the morning he came again into the temple, and all the people came to him, and sitting down he taught them. And the Scribes and Pharisees bring unto him a woman taken in adultery, and they set her in the midst, and said to him: Master, this woman was even now taken in adultery. Now, Moses in the law commanded us to stone such a one: but what sayest thou? And this they said tempting him, that they might accuse him. But Jesus bowing himself down, wrote with his finger on the ground. When therefore they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said to them: He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her. And again stooping down, he wrote on the ground. But they hearing this went out one by one, beginning at the eldest; and Jesus alone remained, and the woman standing in the midst. Then Jesus lifting up himself, said to her: Woman, where are they that accused thee? Hath no man condemned thee? Who said: No man, Lord. And Jesus said: Neither will I condemn thee. Go, and now sin no more.

Quote:This is the Salvation that proceeds from Mercy. The woman is guilty: the Law condemns her to be put to death; her accusers are justified in insisting on her being punished—and yet she shall not die. Jesus saves her; and all he asks of her is that she sin no more. What must have been her gratitude! How must she not have desired to obey, henceforward, that God who would not condemn her, and to whom she owed her life! Let us enter into like dispositions towards our Redeemer, for we too are sinners. Is it not He that has stayed the arm of Divine Justice when it was raised to strike us? Has he not turned the blow upon himself? Our salvation, then, has been one of Mercy; let us imitate the Penitents of the primitive Church, and during these remaining days of Lent, consolidate the foundations of the new life we have begun.

The answer made by Jesus to the Pharisees, who accused this woman, deserves our respectful attention. It not only shows his compassion for the humble sinner, who stood trembling before him; it contains a practical instruction for us. He that is without sin among you, let him be the first to cast a stone at her. During these days of conversion and repentance, let us recall to mind the detractions we have been guilty of against our neighbor. Alas! these sins of the tongue are looked upon as mere trifles; we forget them almost as soon as we commit them; nay, so deeply rooted in us is the habit of finding fault with everyone that we scarcely know ourselves to be detractors. If this saying of our Redeemer had made the impression it ought to have done upon us; if we had thought of our own numberless defects and sins—how could we have dared to criticize our neighbor, publish his faults, and pass judgment upon his very thoughts and intentions? Jesus knew what sort of life these man had led, who accuse the woman; he knows what ours has been! Woe to us if, henceforth, we are not indulgent with others!

And lastly, let us consider the malice of Jesus’ enemies; what they said, they said, tempting him, that they might accuse him. If he pronounce in the woman’s favor, they will accuse him of despising the Law of Moses, which condemns her to be stoned: if he answer in conformity with the Law, they will hold him up to the people as a man without mercy or compassion. Jesus, by his divine prudence, eludes their stratagem; but we can foresee what he will have to suffer at their hands when, having put himself in their power, that they may do with him what they please, he will make no other answer to their calumnies and insults than the silence and patience of an innocent Victim condemned to death.

Humiliate capita vestra Deo. 
Bow down your heads to God.

Prætende, Domine, fidelibus tuis dexteram cœlestis auxilii: ut te toto corde perquirant; et quæ digne postulant, consequi mereantur. Per Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen.
 Stretch forth, O Lord, over thy people, the right hand of thy heavenly aid, that they may seek thee with their whole heart, and mercifully obtain what they ask for us as they ought. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

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Let us offer to Mary, as we are accustomed to do on the last day of each week, some special expression of our love.
Let us say, in her honor, the following Sequence, which is taken from the ancient Roman-French Missals.
Mariæ præconio
Serviat cum gaudio,
Fervens desiderio,
Verus amor

Let this be our joyous praise of Mary,—true and fervent love.

Amoris suffragio
Præsentetur Filio
Matris in obsequio,
Cordis clamor. 

Let the cry of our heart, as it sings in the Mother’s honor, be presented to her Son as a tribute of love.

Ave salus hominum,
Virgo decus virginum,
Te decet post Dominum
Laus et honor. 

Hail thou that broughtest Salvation to men! O Virgin, and Queen of Virgins! to thee, after God, are due praise and honor.

Tu rosa, tu lilium,
Cujus Dei Filium
Carnis ad connubium
Traxit odor. 

Thou art the fair Rose and Lily, whose fragrance drew the Son of God to assume our human nature.

Ave manans satie
Fons misericordiæ,
Vera mentis sauciæ

Hail overflowing fount of Mercy! Hail true balm of the wounded heart!

Tu pincerna veniæ,
Tu lucerna gratiæ,
Tu supernæ gloriæ
Es regina. 

Thou art the ministress of pardon, the flame richly fed with grace, the Queen of matchless glory.

Ave carens carie
Speculum munditiæ,
Venustans Ecclesiæ

Hail spotless Mirror of purity, that givest beauty to the holy Church of God!

Tu finis miseriæ,
Tu ver ees lætitiæ,
Pacis et concordiæ

Where thou art, there can be no sadness, for thou art the Spring-time of joy; thou art the bond of peace and concord.

O felix puerpera,
Nostra pians scelera,
Jure matris impera

O happy Mother! use a Mother’s right; and bid thy Son, our Redeemer, forgive us our sins.

Da fidei fœdera,
Da salutis opera,
Da in vitæ vespera
Bene mori. Amen. 

These are the gifts we ask of thee: firmness of faith, works available to salvation, and in the evening of life, a happy death. Amen.
"So let us be confident, let us not be unprepared, let us not be outflanked, let us be wise, vigilant, fighting against those who are trying to tear the faith out of our souls and morality out of our hearts, so that we may remain Catholics, remain united to the Blessed Virgin Mary, remain united to the Roman Catholic Church, remain faithful children of the Church."- Abp. Lefebvre
A reminder ....

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