Saturday, February 16, 2008

Saturday In the Lenten Embertide

Station Church: St. Peter in the Vatican

Devotions for a Lenten Saturday Holy Hour:

Divine Mercy Chaplet
Seven Penitential Psalms
Prayer of St. Thomas More
Threnus Prayer of Saint Augustine
Stabat Mater Dolorosa
Litany of Our Lady of Sorrows
Sorrowful Mysteries


Our Blessed Lady's Saturday

By Fr. Reginald Walsh, OP, MEDITATION ON THE PASSION, 1922

Shall I not condole with my Mother --- the Mother of Sorrows --- as with unutterable woe she lives through the whole Passion again, following it out by the dreadful traces it has left? Now she sees it all close at hand. What have I to say to her as she arranges the hair, touches, kisses, and closes the wounds? And of what does she think? Surely of happier times --- of the hour of the Last Supper --- the majesty and nobility of His Sacred Person during the three years of His public life --- of the sweet days in Nazareth and Bethlehem. See! the Babe of Bethlehem has come back to His Mother's lap. But how differently His arms are stretched out now! Oh, of what do all these wounds speak to the Blessed Mother, if not of His love for us? We were bought with these wounds, this Blood, and this death. How could she help loving us? How could she forget us? We are graven on her heart in a thousand wounds. Everyone who passes by the Cross sees the Mother there with her dead Son on her lap, and blesses God for having so confounded our enemies through her means. Blessed art thou --- above all upon earth! O Holy Mother, Queen of Martyrs, imprint deeply on my heart the wounds of thy Crucified Son. So long as this heart of mine shall be capable of loving, it will love thee. O Mother of Jesus, and my Mother, too --- yea --- it will burn to influence all hearts with the same fire of love --- that all may begin upon earth to love thee for the sake of Jesus --- and Jesus for His Own dear sake. O Mother, give me to Jesus! Now and at the hour of my death. Amen.


Friday, February 15, 2008

Friday In the Lenten Embertide

Station Church: Ss. XII Apostoli al Foro Traiano

Devotions for a Lenten Friday Holy Hour:
Dies Irae
Divine Mercy Chaplet
Seven Penitential Psalms
Prayer of St. Thomas More
Threnus Prayer of Saint Augustine
Devotions To the Holy Cross
Stations of the Cross


Friday At the Foot Of the Cross

" Amen I say to thee, this day thou shalt be with Me in paradise." [Luke 23: 43]

St. Luke writes that of the two thieves who were crucified with Jesus Christ, one continued obstinate, the other was converted; and seeing his miserable companion blaspheming Jesus Christ, and saying, If Thou art the Christ, save Thyself and us, he turned and reproved him, saying that they were deservedly punished, but that Jesus was innocent. Then he turned to Jesus Himself and said, Lord, remember me when Thou comest into Thy kingdom," by which words he recognized Jesus Christ as his true Lord and the King of Heaven." Jesus then promised him Paradise on that very day; Amen I say to thee, this day thou shalt be With Me in Paradise." [Luke 23: 39-43] A learned author writes that, in conformity with this promise, the Lord, on that very day, immediately after His death, showed Himself openly, and rendered the repentant thief blessed, though He did not confer on him all the delight of Heaven before he entered there.

Arnold of Chartres, in his treatise on the seven words, remarks upon all the virtues which the good thief exercised at the time of his death: "He believed, he repented, he confessed, he preached, he loved, he trusted, he prayed."

He exercised faith when he said, When Thou comest into Thy kingdom; believing that Jesus Christ, after His death, would enter into His glorious kingdom. He believed, says St. Gregory, that He Whom he saw dying was about to reign.

He exercised penitence together with the confession of his sins, saying, We indeed justly; for we received the due reward of our deeds. St. Augustine observes that before his confession he had not boldness to hope for pardon; he did not dare to say Remember me, until, by the confession of his guilt, he had thrown off the burden of his sins. On this St. Athanasius exclaims, O blessed thief, thou hast stolen a kingdom by that confession!

This holy penitent also exercised other noble virtues; he preached, declaring the innocence of Jesus Christ, This man hath done no evil. He exercised love to God, receiving death with resignation, as the punishment due to his sins, saying, We receive the due reward of our deeds. Hence St. Cyprian, St. Jerome, and St. Augustine do not scruple to call him a Martyr; and Silveira says that this happy thief was a true Martyr, as the executioners broke his legs with increased fury, because he had declared the innocence of Jesus; and that the Saint willingly accepted this torment for the love of his Lord.

Let us also in this circumstance remark the goodness of God, Who always gives us more than we ask for, as St. Ambrose says, "The Lord always grants more than we ask; the thief prayed that Jesus would remember him, and Jesus said, Today thou shalt be with Me in Paradise. St. John Chrysostom further remarks that no one merited the possession of Paradise before this thief. Thus is confirmed what God said by Ezechiel, that, when the sinner heartily repents of his sins, God pardons him in the same way as if He had forgotten all the sins he had committed. And Isaiah gives us to understand that God is so urgent for our good, that when we pray He instantly hears us. [Isaiah 30: 19] St. Augustine says that God is ever prepared to embrace penitent sinners.

And thus it was that the cross of the wicked thief, being endured with impatience, became to him a precipice leading to Hell; while the cross endured with patience by the good thief became to him a ladder to Paradise. Happy wert thou, O holy thief, who hadst the fortune to unite thy death to the death of thy Savior.

O my Jesus! henceforth I sacrifice to Thee my life, and I seek for grace to enable me, at the hour of my death, to unite the sacrifice of my life to that which Thou didst offer to God upon the Cross, and through which I hope to die in Thy grace, and, loving Thee with pure love stripped of every earthly affection, to attain to love Thee with all my powers through all eternity.

From The Passion and Death of Jesus Christ, by Saint Alphonsus Liguori


Thursday, February 14, 2008

Requiescat In Pace

Boston radio legend Jess Cain has died, at the age of 81, after a fight with cancer. I listened to him regularly on the old WHDH, in the morning drive-time slot. Another of the old buoys which have marked the channels of my life is gone. Requiescat in pace.


I'm Just Glad It Wasn't Snow

Yesterday, Boston was pummeled with nearly 8 hours of heavy rain. I am not quite sure howm much was officially recorded as falling, but I would estimate 3-4 inches of rain fell in the city, at least. If it had been snow, we would have been buried under 30-40 inches!


Saint Valentine's Day

Today is the feast of Saints Valentine. There appear to be more than one.

Fisheaters has the details.

Happy Saint Valentine's Day!


Thursday Of the First Week In Lent

Station Church: S. Lorenzo in Panisperna

Devotions For A Lenten Thursday Holy Hour:

Dies Irae
Divine Mercy Chaplet
Seven Penitential Psalms
Prayer of St. Thomas More
Threnus Prayer of Saint Augustine
Devotion To the Holy Face

Today is not an Ember Day, even though we are in the midst of the Lenten Embertide. Thursday is never counted as an Ember Day because of the Institution of the Most Blessed Sacrament on Maundy Thursday.

In listing devotions you might choose to make use of for every day of the week during Lent, I often use the shorthand for one, calling it simply "Threnus Prayer." It occurs to me that many people might not know what prayer I am referring to. The Threnus Prayer of Saint Augustine I make a part of daily Lenten devotions. It is one of the most penitential, and one of the truest to human nature that I have encountered. Saint Augustine knew what he was talking about when he discussed human sinfulness. I have taken the liberty of re-writing it to put it in the 1st person singular, rather than the 1st person plural, and to break it up, as far as possible, into matched lines. I think this makes it a much more personal prayer. Here it is as I have re-written it:

If I place before Thine eyes, O Lord,
My sins and the wounds I have received,
The less I suffer
And the greater I merit.

I feel the punishment for sin,
Yet I do not shun my obstinacy in sinning.

My fragile nature is shattered by Thy scourges,
Yet my evil ways remain unchanged.

My sick mind is wrenched,
Yet my stiff neck is not bent.

My life sighs in pain, and
Yet it does not amend itself.

If Thou waiteth, I do not reform,
If Thou punisheth, I do not last.

When accused, I admit what I have done,
Yet, when punished, I forget.

If Thou punisheth me, I make promises.
If Thou holdeth back the sword, I do not carry out my promises.

If Thou striketh me, I cry out that Thou might spare me;
If Thou sparest me, I again provoke Thee to strike me.

If difficulties come, I ask for a time for repentance.
If mercy comes to my aid, I abuse the patience which has spared me.

Even when my wounds are scarcely healed,
My ungrateful mind forgets.

If Thou hearest me quickly, I become haughty from Thy mercy.
If Thou art slow, I complain out of impatience.

I am willing to serve Thee because of what Thou hast done,
Yet I do not fear to neglect what Thou wouldst have me do.

Thou hast in Thy power, O Lord, this guilty wretch who has confessed;
Be merciful, for Thou art kind and loving.

I know that, unless Thou forgiveth me, Thou shalt justly punish me.
But with Thee is much pity and abundant forgiveness.

Grant, without any merit on my part, what I ask,
O Thou, who hast made from nothing him who asks Thee.

Have mercy on me crying out to Thee, O Lord.
May my faithful and tearful voice stir up Thy mercy.

May that forgiveness not consider that I have sinned,
But may it reflect on the fact I am asking.

Since it is a great misery that I am accused,
May the fact that I am miserable make Thy mercy the greater.

I beg Thine help,
And before Thee I place the evils and sorrows of my crimes.

By my prayers I seek Thy mercy,
The very mercy which I have spurned by my sins.

Raise me up in Thy mercy, o Lord my God,
so that in the fellowship of salvation and the joy of charity,
While I long to be saved,
I may rejoice in the faith and peace of all the world to come.

Through Christ our Lord,


Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Wednesday In the Lenten Embertide

It is the Lenten embertide, probably the most solemn period of penitence until Holy Week itself. In embertide, which occurs four times per year (the week of Gaudete Sunday in Advent, the week after Ash Wednesday in Lent, the week of Pentecost, and the week after the Exaltation of the True Cross in September) the Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday are set aside as special days of prayer, fasting, abstinence, and almsgiving.

Station Church: Saint Mary Major

Devotions For a Lenten Wednesday Holy Hour:
Dies Irae
Divine Mercy Chaplet
Seven Penitential Psalms & the prayers against the Seven Deadly Sins
Prayer of St. Thomas More
Threnus Prayer
Seven Prayers of St. Gregory


Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Wierd Weather

Sunday had to have been about the oddest day of weather I have ever seen. The day started off relatively mild, with bright sun. After twenty minutes submerged in the T, the bright blue skies had transformed to clouds and dense fog. Then the blue skies came back. Then it clouded up again, and stayed that way for a while. Then it rained. Then it cleared up, and then clouded again. Then we had sun showers. Then it cleared up again. Then it clouded up, and we had a sudden fierce snow squall. Then it cleared up, and we had an hour or so of lovely sunshine. Then, you guessed it, it clouded up, and we had another snow squall, this time with thunder and lightning. Clearing, then, finally, a third snow squall. And after that, I got tired of keeping track.

Monday, we woke up to the worst combination of cold temperatures and bitter winds yet this year. Wind chills were hovering in the -20 range a good part of the day. Yesterday was a truly brutal day. And today, the temperatures seem just as cold, though the wind has abated a little.

I know Mark Twain said that, in New England, if you don't like the weather, just wait a minute, and it will change, but this has been ridiculous.


Tuesday Of the First Week In Lent

Station Church:
S. Anastasia (S. Teodoro) al Palatino

Devotions for a Lenten Tuesday Holy Hour:
Dies Irae
Divine Mercy Chaplet
Seven Penitential Psalms
Prayer of St. Thomas More
Threnus Prayer of Saint Augustine
Devotion of the Seven Last Words

Note: This is the Lenten Ember Week. Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday are Ember Days.


BC Wins the Beanpot!

For those of you in the hinterland, the area outside Route 495, which on my map just says, "Here there be dragons," the Beanpot is an annual tournament of college hockey featuring the four major universities in the Boston area that have somewhat respectable sports programs, Boston College, Boston University, Harvard University, and Northeastern University.

I am not sure how they select who plays who in the first round, but the winners of the first round face each other the following week. Last week, Harvard beat Northeastern, and BC beat BU. So last night, BC and Harvard were playing for the Beanpot Trophy, essentially local bragging rights until next February. BU and Northeastern were playing in the consolation game.

BC beat Harvard 6-5 in overtime, to take their first Beanpot title since 2004.



Monday, February 11, 2008

Good Solid Commen Sense On McCain

From Bill Bennett, at NR.

Here is the link:


Our Lady Of Lourdes

This is the 150th Anniversary of Our Blessed Lady's appearance to Saint Bernadette at Lourdes. There is a plenary indulgence, which ends today, available for devotion to Our Lady of Lourdes.

See this link: http://rectaratio.blogspot.com/2008_02_03_archive.html#7460674303418802885


Monday Of the First Week In Lent

Station Church:
S. Pietro in Vincoli al Colle Oppio

Devotions for a Lenten Monday Holy Hour
Dies Irae
Divine Mercy Chaplet
Seven Penitential Psalms
Prayer of St. Thomas More
Threnus Prayer of Saint Augustine
Devotion of the Five Sacred Wounds

Note: This is the Lenten Ember Week. Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday are Ember Days.


Sunday, February 10, 2008

First Sunday In Lent

Station Church:
St. John Lateran

Devotions For a Lenten Sunday Holy Hour
Divine Mercy Chaplet
Seven Penitential Psalms
Prayer of St. Thomas More
Psalter of St. Jerome
Threnus Prayer of St. Augustine

From The Liturgical Year, by Abbot Prosper Gueranger, OSB:

Lent solemnly opens today. We have already noticed that the four preceding days were added since the time of St. Gregory the Great, in order to make up forty days of fasting. Neither can we look upon Ash Wednesday as the solemn opening of the season; for the faithful are not bound to hear Mass on that day. The holy Church, seeing her children now assembled together, speaks to them, in her Office of Matins, these eloquent and noble words of St. Leo the Great: "Having to announce to you, dearly beloved, the most sacred and chief fast, how can I more appropriately begin, than with the words of the Apostle, in whom Christ Himself spoke, and by saying to you what has just been read: Behold! now is the acceptable time; behold! now is the day of salvation. For although there be no time which is not replete with divine gifts, and we may always, by God's grace, have access to His mercy, yet ought we all to redouble our efforts to make spiritual progress and be animated with unusual confidence, now that the anniversary of the day of our redemption is approaching, inviting us to devote ourselves to every good work, that so we may celebrate, with purity of body and mind, the incomparable mystery of our Lord's Passion.

"It is true that our devotion and reverence towards so great a mystery should be kept up during the whole year, and we ourselves should be at all times, in the eyes of God, the same as we are bound to be as we are bound to be at the Easter solemnity. But this is an effort which only few among us have the courage to sustain. The weakness of the flesh induces us to relax our austerities; the various occupations of everyday life take up our thoughts; and thus even the virtuous find their hearts clogged by this world's dust. Hence it is that our Lord has most providentially given us these forty days, whose holy exercises should be to us a remedy, whereby to regain our purity of soul. The good works and the holy fastings of this season were instituted as an atonement for, and an obliteration of, the sins we commit during the rest of the year.

"Now, therefore, that we are about to enter upon these days, which are so full of mystery, and which were instituted for the holy purpose of purifying both soul and body, let us, dearly beloved, be careful to do as the Apostle bids us, and cleanse ourselves from all defilement of the flesh and of the spirit: that thus the combat between the two substances being made less fierce, the soul, which, when she herself is subject to God, ought to be the ruler of the body, will recover her own dignity and position. Let us avoid giving offense to any man, so that there be none to blame or speak evil things of us. For we deserve the harsh remarks of infidels, and we provoke the tongues of the wicked to blaspheme religion, when we who fast lead unholy lives. For our fast does not consist in the mere abstinence from food; nor is it of much use to deny food to our body, unless we restrain the soul from sin."

Each Sunday of Lent offers to our consideration a passage from the Gospel, which is in keeping with the sentiments wherewith the Church would have us be filled. Today she brings before us the temptation of our Lord in the desert. What light and encouragement there is in this instruction!

We acknowledge ourselves to be sinners; we are engaged, at this very time, in doing penance for the sins we have committed-but how was it that we fell into sin? The devil tempted us; we did not reject the temptation; then we yielded to the suggestion, and the sin was committed. This is the history of our past; and such it would, also, be for the future, were we not to profit by the lesson given us today by our Redeemer.

When the Apostle speaks of the wonderful mercy shown us by our divine Saviour, who vouchsafed to make Himself like us in all things save sin, He justly lays stress on His temptations (cf. Heb. 4:15). He, who is very God, humbled Himself even so low as this, to prove how tenderly He compassionated us. Here, then, we have the Saint of saints allowing the wicked spirit to approach Him, in order that we might learn from His example, how we are to gain victory under temptation.

Satan has had his eye upon Jesus; he is troubled at beholding such matchless virtue. The wonderful circumstances of His birth; the shepherds called by angels to His crib, and the Magi guided by the star; the Infant's escape from Herod's plot; the testimony rendered to this new Prophet by John the Baptist: are all these things, which seem so out of keeping with the thirty years spent in obscurity at Nazareth, are a mystery to the infernal serpent, and fill him with apprehension. The ineffable mystery of the Incarnation has been accomplished unknown to him; he never once suspects that the humble Virgin, Mary, is she who was foretold by the prophet Isaisas, as having to bring forth the Emmanuel (Is. 7:14). But he is aware that the time has come, that the last week spoken of to Daniel has begun its course, and that the very pagans are looking towards Judea for a deliverer. He is afraid of this Jesus; he resolves to speak with Him, and elicit from Him some expression which will show Him whether He be or not the Son of God; he will tempt Him to some imperfection or sin, which, should He commit it, will prove that the object of so much fear is, after all, but a mortal man.

The enemy of God and men is, of course, disappointed. He approaches Jesus; but all his efforts turn only to his own confusion. Our Redeemer, with all the self-possession and easy majesty of a God-Man, repels the attacks of Satan; but He reveals not His heavenly origin. The wicked spirit retires without having made any discovery beyond this-that Jesus is a prophet, faithful to God. Later on, when he sees the Son of God treated with contempt, calumniated and persecuted; when he finds that his own attempts to have Him put to death are so successful; his pride and his blindness will be at their height; and not till Jesus expires on the cross, will he learn that his victim was not merely Man, but Man and God. Then he will discover how all his plots against Jesus have but served to manifest, in all their beauty, the mercy and justice of God: His mercy, because He saved mankind; and His justice, because He broke the power of hell forever.


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