Christ the Lord was tempted and suffered for us. Come, let us adore him.
Or: O that today you would listen to his voice: harden not your hearts.
Year: C(I). Psalm week: 4. Liturgical Colour: Violet.
|St Frances of Rome (1384 - 1440)|
She was born in Rome in 1384 and was married at the age of 13. Although she had wanted to be a nun, she was happily married for 40 years and had three sons. She distributed gifts to the poor and ministered to the sick. She was remarkable for her humility and detachment, her obedience and patience in adversity (including her husband’s banishment, the death of two of her sons from plague, and the loss of all her property). She was a mystic and contemplative, part of the great flourishing of mysticism in that period, and after her husband’s death she retired to a convent she had founded, where she died on 9 March 1440. See the articles in the Catholic Encyclopaedia
About the author of the Second Reading in today's Office of Readings:
|Second Reading: St Irenaeus (130 - 202)|
Irenaeus was born in Smyrna, in Asia Minor (now Izmir in Turkey) and emigrated to Lyons, in France, where he eventually became the bishop. It is not known for certain whether he was martyred or died a natural death.
Whenever we take up a Bible we touch Irenaeus’s work, for he played a decisive role in fixing the canon of the New Testament. It is easy for people nowadays to think of Scripture – and the New Testament in particular – as the basis of the Church, but harder to remember that it was the Church itself that had to agree, early on, about what was scriptural and what was not. Before Irenaeus, there was vague general agreement on what scripture was, but a system based on this kind of common consent was too weak. As dissensions and heresies arose, reference to scripture was the obvious way of trying to settle what the truth really was, but in the absence of an agreed canon of scripture it was all too easy to attack one’s opponent’s arguments by saying that his texts were corrupt or unscriptural; and easy, too, to do a little fine-tuning of texts on one’s own behalf. Irenaeus not only established a canon which is almost identical to our present one, but also gave reasoned arguments for each inclusion and exclusion.
Irenaeus also wrote a major work, Against the Heresies, which in the course of denying what the Christian faith is not, effectively asserts what it is. The majority of this work was lost for many centuries and only rediscovered in a monastery on Mount Athos in 1842. Many passages from it are used in the Office of Readings.
|40 Days and 40 Ways: Saturday after Ash Wednesday|
The Lord will always guide you,
giving you relief in desert places.
He will give strength to your bones
and you shall be like a watered garden,
like a spring of water
whose waters never run dry. (Is 58:11)
The reading is a continuation of yesterday’s reading, but gives the positive side, the rewards of true fasting and repentance, the answering gifts which God will give to true repentance. God is never to be outdone in generosity. The first qualities which are demanded in this reading are sensitivity to those in need: no clenched fist or malicious word, but awareness of the needs of the needy. The second quality is honour for the Sabbath and refraining from work; the importance of this is giving time to the Lord and making space for the appreciation of the Lord’s gifts, rather than a determination to work feverishly for one’s own purposes, so the achievement of a leisure in which God can approach us and mould us as he wills.
The concept which sets the tone for the reading comes at the beginning: the saving justice of God will go ahead of you and the Lord’s glory follow behind you. The saving justice of God is not like human justice. Human justice consists in obedience to law, but divine justice consists in God’s own observance of his promises, which makes it in itself a saving justice. It is often paired with ‘salvation’ or such concepts as ‘forgiveness’, ‘mercy’, ‘rescue’. From the human point of view it is not really justice at all, for it does not pursue us according to our deserts, but goes far beyond them in generosity and forgiveness. It is God’s initiative in salvation, to which we open ourselves by generous repentance. That is also the glory of God, which will follow behind us.
The Gospel reading for the day is Lk 5:27-32.
Saturdays are traditionally the days of Our Lady. Decide on a prayer to Our Lady for each Saturday of Lent. Say a decade of the Rosary, perhaps the Sorrowful Mysteries?
This passage is an extract from the booklet “40 Days and 40 Ways” by Dom Henry Wansbrough OSB, published by the Catholic Truth Society and used by permission. “40 Days and 40 Ways” has meditations for each day in Lent. To find out more about the booklet, or to buy it, please visit the CTS web site.
The Universalis Readings at Mass page shows the readings for today’s Mass.
|Liturgical colour: violet|
Violet is a dark colour, ‘the gloomy cast of the mortified, denoting affliction and melancholy’. Liturgically, it is the colour of Advent and Lent, the seasons of penance and preparation.
|Mid-morning reading (Terce)||Apocalypse 3:19-20 ©|
I am the one who reproves and disciplines all those he loves: so repent in real earnest. Look, I am standing at the door, knocking. If one of you hears me calling and opens the door, I will come in to share his meal, side by side with him.
|Noon reading (Sext)||Isaiah 44:21-22 ©|
Remember these things, Jacob, and that you are my servant, Israel. I have formed you, you are my servant; Israel, I will not forget you. I have dispelled your faults like a cloud, your sins like a mist. Come back to me, for I have redeemed you.
|Afternoon reading (None)||Galatians 6:7-8 ©|
What a man sows, he reaps. If he sows in the field of self-indulgence he will get a harvest of corruption out of it; if he sows in the field of the Spirit he will get from it a harvest of eternal life.