Tuesday, March 29, 2022

Tuesday of the Fourth Week of Lent


The Station is in the Church of Saint Laurence in Damaso; so called because it was built, in the 4th century, in honor of the glorious Archdeacon of Rome by Pope St. Damasus, whose body rests there.


Sacræ nobis, quæsumus, Domine, observationis jejunia, et piæ conversationis augmentum, et tuæ propitiationis continuum præstent auxilium. Per Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen.

We beseech thee, O Lord, that the holy fast we observe, may be to our improvement in holy conversation, and draw down upon us the constant succors of thy mercy. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Lectio libri Exodi. Lesson from the Book of Exodus.

In diebus illis, locutus est Dominus adMoysen, dicens: Descende de monte: peccavit populus tuus, quem eduxisti de terra Ægypti. Recesserunt cito de via, quam ostendisti eis: feceruntque sibi vitulum conflatilem, et adoraverunt, atque immolantes ei hostias, dixerunt: Isti sunt dii tui, Israël, qui te eduxerunt de terra Ægypti. Rursumque ait Dominus ad Moysen: Cerno quod populus iste duræ cervicis sit: dimitte me, ut irascatur furor meus contra eos, et deleam eos, faciamque te in gentem magnam. Moyses autem orabat Dominum Deum sutum, dicens: Cur, Domine, irascitur furor tuus contra populum tuum, quem eduxisti de terra Ægypti in fortitudine magna, et in manu robusta? Ne, quæso, dicant Ægyptii: Callide eduxit eos, ut interficeret in montibus, et deleret e terra: quiescat ira tua, et esto placabilis super nequitia populi tui. Recordare Abraham, Isaac, et Israël servorum turorum, quibus jurasti per temetipsum, dicens: Multiplicabo semen vestrum sicut stellas cœli: et universam terram hanc, de qua locutus sum, dabo semini vestro, et possidebitis eam semper. Placatusque est Dominus ne faceret malum, quod locutus fuerat adversus populum suum.

In those days, the Lord spoke to Moses, saying: Go, get thee down from the mountain: thy people, which thou hast brought out of the land of Egypt, hath sinned. They have quickly strayed from the way which thou didst shew them; and they have made to themselves a molten calf, and have adored it, and sacrificing victims to it, have said: These are thy gods, O Israel, that have brought thee out of the land of Egypt. And again the Lord said to Moses: I see that this people is stiff-necked; let me alone, that my wrath may be kindled against them, and that I may destroy them, and I will make of thee a great nation. But Moses besought the Lord his God, saying: Why, O Lord, is thy indignation enkindled against thy people, whom thou hast brought out of the land of Egypt, with great power, and with a mighty hand? Let not the Egyptians say, I beseech thee: He craftily brought them out, that he might kill them in the mountains, and destroy them from the earth; let thy anger cease, and be appeased upon the wickedness of thy people. Remember Abraham, Isaac and Israel thy servants, to whom thou sworest by thy own self, saying: I will multiply your seed as the stars of heaven; and this whole land that I have spoken of, I will give to your seed, and you shall possess it for ever. And the Lord was appeased from doing the evil which he had spoken against his people.

When the world first received the preaching of the Gospel, Idolatry was the prevailing crime. For many centuries after, all the Catechumens, who were instructed in the true Faith, were tainted with it. It was in order to inspire them with a horror of their past lives that the Church read to them, on this day, the terrible words of God, who, had not Moses interceded, was about to exterminate his people, because they had relapsed into Idolatry; and this, after he had worked in their favor the most unheard-of miracles, and had come in person to give them his Law. The worship of false gods is no longer to be found among us; but it exists in all those countries where the Gospel has been preached and rejected. Strange as it may sound, yet it is most true: Europe, with all its civilization, would return to Idolatry, were it to lose the Faith of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is not a century ago, and an idol was erected to Reason; it had its altar, its decorations and its incense; and they who paid homage to it were Europeans! An individual or a people, once slaves to Satan, are not their own masters to say, “we will go thus far in sin, and no farther.” The descendants of Noah, notwithstanding the terrible lesson given to them by the Deluge, fell into Idolatry; nay, Abraham was called by God from the rest of men, lest he should be led away by the almost universal corruption. Let us be grateful to the Church, who by her teachings of Faith and Morals preserves us from this degrading abomination; and let us resist our passions, which, if the light of Faith were taken from us, would lead us into Idolatry.

Sequentia sancti Evangelii secundum Joannem. Sequel of the Holy Gospel according to John.
Cap. VII. Ch. VII.

In illo tempore: Jam die festo mediante, ascendit Jesus in templum, et docebat. Et mirabantur Judæi, dicentes: Quomodo hic litteras scit, cum non didicerit? Respondit eis Jesus, et dixit: Mea doctrina non est mea, sed ejus qui misit me. Si quis voluerit voluntatem ejus facere, cognoscet de doctrina, utrum ex Deo sit an ego a meipso loquar. Qui a semetipso loquitur, gloriam propriam quærit gloriam ejus qui misit eum, hic verax est, et injustitia in illo non est. Nonne Moyses dedit vobis legem; et nemo ex vobis facit legem? Quid me quæritis interficere? Respondit turba, et dixit: Dæmonium habes: quis te quærit interficere? Respondit Jesus, et dixit eis: Unum opus feci, et omnes miramini. Propterea Moyses dedit vobis circumcisionem (non quia ex Moyse est, sed ex patribus): et in Sabbato circumciditis hominem. Si circumcisionem accipt homo in Sabbato, ut non solvatur lex Moysi: mihi indignamini quia totum hominem sanum feci in Sabbato? Nolite judicare circumdum faciem, sed justum judicium judicate. Dicebant ergo quidam ex Jerosolymis: Nonne hic est quem quærunt interficere? Et ecce palam loquitur, et nihil ei dicunt. Numquid vere cognoverunt principes quia hic est Christus? Sed hunc scimus unde sit: Christus autem cum venerit, nemo scit unde sit. Clamabat ergo Jesus in templo docens, et dicens: Et me scitis, et unde sim scitis: et a meipso non veni, sed est verus qui misit me, quem vos nescitis. Ego scio eum: quia ab ipso sum, et ipse me misit. Quærebant ergo eum apprehendere: et nemo misit in illum manus, quia nondum venerat hora ejus. De turba autem multi crediderunt in eum.

At that time: About the midst of the feast, Jesus went up into the temple and taught. And the Jews wondered, saying: How doth this man know letters, having never learned? Jesus answered them, and said: My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me. If any man will do the will of him, he shall know of the doctrine whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself. He that speaketh of himself, seeketh his own glory; but he that seeketh the glory of him that sent him, he is true, and there is no injustice in him. Did not Moses give you the law? And yet none of you keepeth the law. Why seek you to kill me? The multitude answered and said: Thou hast a devil: who seeketh to kill thee? Jesus answered, and said to them: One work I have done, and you all wonder. Therefore Moses gave you circumcision (not because it is of Moses, but of the fathers), and on the Sabbath-day you circumcise a man. If a man receive circumcision on the Sabbath-day, that the law of Moses may not be broken, are you angry at me, because I have healed the whole man on the Sabbath-day? Judge not according to the appearance, but judge just judgment. Some therefore of Jerusalem said: Is not this he whom they seek to kill? And behold he speaketh openly, and they say nothing to him. Have the rulers known for a truth that this is the Christ? But we know this man whence he is. But when the Christ cometh, no man knoweth whence he is. Jesus therefore cried out in the temple, teaching and saying: You both know me, and you know whence I am; and I am not come of myself, but he that sent me is true, whom you know not; I know him, because I am from him, and he hath sent me. They sought therefore to apprehend him; and no man laid hands on him, because his hour was not yet come. But of the people many believed in him.

This Gospel carries our thoughts to the sacrifice of the Divine Lamb, which is to be offered up in Jerusalem. The hour is not yet come, but it is fast approaching. His enemies are already seeking how they may put him to death. So blinded are they by their passions, that they accuse him of being a violator of the Sabbath, because he healed the sick, by the simple act of his will, on the Lord’s Day! In vain does Jesus refute their prejudices, by reminding them that they themselves have no scruple in fulfilling the law of circumcision on this day, or (as he said to them on another occasion) in drawing out of the pit an ass or an ox that may have fallen in. They are deaf to all he says; they are men of one idea, and it is that their victim shall not escape death. His Miracles are incontestable, and all are wrought out of a motive of mercy and love. The only time he refuses to work one is when his enemies ask him to satisfy their curiosity and pride by letting them see a sign. This exercise of his power of working miracles, far from exciting them to admiration and gratitude, only incites them to envy, and in their envy, they declare not only that he acts by Beelzebub, but that he has a devil within him. We shudder at such a blasphemy. Yet such is the pride of these Jewish doctors, that they care neither for common sense nor for religion, and their hearts thirst more and more for the Blood of Jesus. While some of the people allow themselves to be seduced by their leaders into the same feelings against Jesus, others, who affect to be indifferent, reason about him, and then declare it to be their opinion, that this Jesus does not realize in himself the character of the promised Messias! They argue that when the Christ cometh, no one will know whence he is. But have not the Prophets declared that he is to be one of the family of David? Now every Jew knows well enough that Jesus is of that royal race. Besides, they own that there is to be something mysterious about the Messias, and that he is to come from God. Had they listened with docile attention to the teachings of Jesus—teachings which he had confirmed by numerous miracles—they would have been enlightened both as to his temporal birth, and to his being the Son of God. But indifference and the perversity of the human heart kept them in culpable ignorance; and perhaps on the day of his death, they will join in the cry: Let his blood be upon us and upon our children!

Humiliate capita vestra Deo.

Bow down your heads to God.

Miserere, Domine, populo tuo: et continuis tribulationibus laborantem, propitius respirare concede. Per Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen.

Take compassion, O Lord, on thy people, and mercifully refresh them laboring under continual tribulations. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Greek Liturgy supplies us with the following humble act of contrition. We take it from the Hymn composed by St. Andrew of Crete.

(Triodion. Feria V. Hebdomadæ V. Jejuniorum.)

Peccavimus, inique egimus, injuste fecimus coram te, nec servivimus, autve fecimus quemadmodum nobis mandasti: verum ne nos, tu Deus patrum, tradideris in finem.

We have sinned, we have done wickedly, we have acted unjustly against thee, neither have we served thee, nor have done what thou commandedst: but abandon us nor for ever, O thou the God of our fathers!

Peccavi, inique egi, ac mandatum tuum violavi; quippe natus sum in peccatis, addidique vulnus livoribus meis: verum tu velut misericors, qui patrum es Deus, miserere.

I have sinned, I have done wickedly, I have broken thy commandment; for I was born in sins, and have added wound to wound: but thou art merciful, and the God of our fathers; have mercy on me!

Occulta cordis mei tibi meo judici annuntiavi: vide humilitatem meam; vide et meam afflictionem, ac intende judicio meo; meique ipse ut misericors, qui es Deus patrum, miserere.

To thee, O my Judge, have I made known the hidden things of my heart: see me now humbled before thee; see too my affliction, and be attentive to my judgment. O thou that art merciful, and the God of our fathers, have mercy on me!

Obrui tuam imaginem, tuumque mandatum violavi: tota species obscurata est exstinctaque est lampas, o Salvator! vitiis: sed misertus ipse, redde mihi lætitiam, ut canit David.

I have disfigured thine image, and have broken thy commandment: all my beauty is obscured, O my Savior, and my lamp is put out, by my sins. But have mercy on me, and restore joy unto me, as David sings.

Convertere; pœnitere; revela occulta; dic Deo qui novit omnia: Tu solus Salvator, scis occulta, tu mei, ut psallit David, secundum misericordiam tuam miserere.

Be converted, my soul! Do penance; reveal thy hidden sins; say to thy God, who knoweth all things: thou, my only Savior, knowest all things; do thou, as David sings, have mercy on me according to thy great mercy.

Defecerunt dies mei, sicut somnium ejus qui suscitatur; quare velut Ezechias in lecto meo lacrymor, ut annos mihi vitæ adjicias. Cæterum quis tibi, o anima, Isaias affuerit, præter Deum, illum universorum?

My days have vanished as the dream of one that waketh; wherefore, like Ezechias, I weep on my couch and beseech thee to add to the years of my life. But who, O my soul, can be thine Isaias and help thee, save him that is the God of all?


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