The church of the Collecta is at the Church of St. Mennas, which stood on the left bank of the Tiber at the first milestone on the Via Ostiensis. The Alexandrians in Rome had such devotion to this Egyptian saint that his birth on November 11th was still honored in the Seventh Century by the celebration of the station at his sanctuary. The Station today is at the Basilica of St. Paul “in áperitione aurium” (outside the walls). St. Paul is the prototype and model of catechumens, on account of his conversion on the way to Damascus. The miracle which Christ worked upon the blind man was renewed in a spiritual sense upon the candidates for baptism, to whom the Pontiff explained for the first time with solemn rites the Creed, the Lord’s Prayer and the beginning of the four Gospels.
[Dom Prosper describes the ceremony of the Church (even in his century) which took place on Wednesday of this Fourth Week, when those preparing to be received into the Church, went through an elaborate but wonderfully beautiful ceremony, and the explanation of the Our Father Since this is very lengthy, and will be treated and published at another time, it is so worth reading for everyone in order to better understand the “Why” of the laws and disciplines of the True Church, and it shows clearly how the VulgArians have established a totally false religion, one of idolatry, that will certainly bring down God’s wrath on the good and the evil! For those who have access to the Fifth Volume, please see page 342-52.]
For the Gospel of Wednesday in the Fourth Week of Lent… Our Savior asks him (the blind man), as the Church asked us on the day of our Baptism: Dost thou believe in the Son of God? The blind man, ardently desiring to believe, answers eagerly: Who is He, Lord, that I may believe in Him? Faith brings the weak reason of man into union with the sovereign wisdom of God, and puts us in possession of His eternal truth. No sooner has Jesus declared Himself to be God, than this simple-hearted man falls down and adores Him: he that from being blind is blessed with bodily sight is now a Christian! What a lesson was here for our catechumens! At the same time, this history showed them, and reminds us, of the frightful perversity of Jesus’ enemies. He, the pre-eminently Just Man, is shortly to be put to death, and it is by the shedding of His Blood that He is to merit for us, and for all mankind, the cure of that blindness in which we were all born, and which our own personal sins have tended to increase. Glory, then, love, and gratitude be to our divine Physician, who, by uniting Himself to our human nature, has prepared the ointment, whereby our eyes are cured of their infirmity, and strengthened to gaze, for all eternity, on the brightness of the Godhead!
INTROIT Psalm 30: 7, 8
When I shall be sanctified in you, I will gather you from every land: and I will pour upon you clean water, and you shall be cleansed from all your filthiness: and I will give you a new spirit. (Ps. 33: 2) I will bless the Lord at all times: His praise shall be ever in my mouth. v. Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Ghost, as it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.
Repeat When I shall be sanctified… prayer…
Let us pray. Let us kneel down. (Kneel) R. Arise. God, Who dost vouchsafe to the just the reward of their merits, and to sinners pardon through fasting, have mercy upon Thy suppliants, that the confession of our guilt may have power to obtain for us forgiveness of our misdoings. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, one God Forever and ever. R.Amen.
LESSON: Ezechiel 36: 23-28
[God will purify our souls and cleanse them from all defilement.]
Lesson from Ezechiel the Prophet. Thus saith the Lord God, I will sanctify My great name, which was profaned among the gentiles which you have profaned in the midst of them; that the gentiles may know that I am the lord, saith the Lord of hosts, when I shall be sanctified in you before their eyes. For I will take you from among the gentiles, and will gather you together out of all countries, and will bring you into your own land; and I will pour upon you clean water, and you shall be cleansed from all your filthiness, and I will cleanse you from all your idols, and will give you a new heart, and put a new spirit within you; and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and will give you a heart of flesh. And I will put My spirit in the midst of you, and I will cause you to walk in My commandments, and to keep My judgments, and do them, and you shall dwell in the land which I gave to your fathers, and you shall be My people, and I will be your God; saith the Lord almighty.
GRADUAL: Psalm 33: 12, 6
Come, children, harken to me: I will teach the fear of the Lord. V. Come ye to Him, and be enlightened; and your faces shall not be confounded.
Grant, we beseech Thee, O almighty God, that we who have undertaken to chastise our bodies by fasting may, even in this devotion, find cause for rejoicing: forasmuch as earthly passions being thereby subdued, we are the better able to fix our hopes on the delights of Heaven. Through Jesus Christ our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, one God Forever and ever. R.Amen.
Second Collect for the Intercession of Thy Saints
Defend us, we beseech Thee, O Lord, from all dangers of mind and body; that through the intercession of the blessed and glorious ever Virgin Mary, Mother of God, together with blessed Joseph, Thy blessed apostles Peter and Paul, and blessed N. (Here mention the titular saint of the church), and all the saints, mercifully grant us safety and peace; that all adversities and errors being overcome, Thy Church may serve Thee in security and freedom.
Third Collect for the Living and the Dead
O almighty and eternal God, who hast dominion over both the living and the dead, and hast mercy on all whom Thou forekowest shall be Thine by faith and good works : we humbly beseech Thee that all for whom we have resolved to make supplication whether the present world still holds them in the flesh or the world to come has already received them out of the body, may, through the intercession of all Thy saints, obtain of Thy goodness and clemency pardon for all their sins. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Who livest and reignest, with God the Father, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, one God For ever and ever. R. Amen.
LESSON Isaias 1: 16-19
[Our souls shall be made white as snow.]
Thus saith the Lord God, Wash yourselves, be clean, take away the evil of your devices from My eyes; cease to do perversely, learn to do well; seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge for the fatherless, defend the widow, and then come, and accuse Me, saith the Lord: if your sins be as scarlet, they shall be made as white as snow: and if they be red as crimson, they shall be white as wool. If you be willing and will harken to Me, you shall eat the good things of the land; saith the Lord almighty.
GRADUAL: Psalm 32: 12, 6
Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord: the people whom He hath chosen for His inheritance. V. By the word of the Lord the heavens were established; and all the power of them by the spirit of His mouth.
TRACT: Psalm 102: 10
Lord, repay us not according to the sins we have committed, nor according to our iniquities. V. (Ps. 78: 8-9) O Lord, remember not our former iniquities: let Thy mercies speedily prevent us, for we are become exceeding poor. V. (Here all kneel down) Help Us, O Lord our Saviour: and for the glory of Thy name, O Lord, deliver us: and forgive us our sins for Thy name’s sake.
GOSPEL John 9: 1-39
[Healing of the man blind from birth, who was sent to wash himself in the pool of Siloe.]
At that time, Jesus passing by, saw a man who was blind from his birth: and His disciples asked Him, Rabbi who hath sinned, this man of his parents, that he should be born blind? Jesus answered, “Neither hath this man sinned nor his parents, but that the works of God should be made manifest in him. I must work the works of Him that sent Me, whilst it is day; the night cometh when no man can work. As long as I am in the world I am the light of the world.” When He had said these things, He spat on the ground, and made clay of the spittle, and spread the clay upon his eyes, and said to him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloe,” (which is interpreted, Sent). He went therefore, and washed, and he came seeing. The neighbors therefore and they who had seen him before that he was a beggar said, Is not this he that sat and begged? Some said, This is he. But others said, No, but he is like him. But he said, I am he. They said therefore to him How were thy eyes opened? He answered, That man that is called Jesus, made clay, and anointed my eyes, and said to me, Go to the pool of Siloe, and wash: and I went, I washed, and I see. And they said to him, Where is He? He saith, I know not. They bring him that had been blind to the pharisees. Now it was the Sabbath when Jesus made the clay, and opened his eyes. Again therefore the pharisees asked him how he had received his sight. But he said to them, He put clay upon my eyes, and I washed, and I see. Some therefore of the pharisees said, This man is not of God, who keepeth not the Sabbath. But others said, How can a man that is a sinner do such miracles? And there was a division among them. They say therefore to the blind man again, What sayest thou of Him that hath opened thy eyes? And he said, He is a prophet. The Jews then did not believe concerning him, that he had been blind and had received his sight, until they called the parents of him that had received his sight and asked them, saying, Is this your son, who you say was born blind? How then doth he now see? His parents answered them and said, We know that he is our son, and that he was born blind: but how he seeth we know not, or who hath opened his eyes we know not: ask himself; he is of age, let him speak for himself. These things his parents said, because they feared the Jews: for the Jews had already agreed among themselves, that if any man should confess Him to to be Christ, he should be put out of the synagogue. Therefore did his parents say, He is of age, ask him. They therefore called the man again that had been blind, and said to him, Give glory to God. We know that this man is a sinner. He said therefore to them, If He be a sinner, I know not; one thing I know, that whereas I was blind, now I see. They then said to him, What did He to thee? How did He open thine eyes? He answered them, I have told you already and you have heard; why would you hear it again? will you also become His disciples? They reviled him therefore, and said, Be thou His disciple: but we are the disciples of Moses. We know that God spoke to Moses; but as to this man, we know not from whence He is. The man answered and said to them, Why, herein is a wonderful thing that you know not from whence He is, and He hath opened my eyes. Now we know that God doth not hear sinners; but if a man be a server of God, and doth His will, him He heareth. From the beginning of the world it hath not been heard, that any man hath opened the eyes of one born blind. Unless this man were of God, He could not do anything. They answered and said to him, Thou wast wholly born in sins, and dost thou teach us? And they cast him out. Jesus heard that they had cast him out; and when He had found him, He said to him, “Dost thou believe in the Son of God?” He answered and said, Who is He, Lord, that I may believe in Him? And Jesus said to him, “Thou hast both seen Him, and it is He that talketh with thee.” And he said, I believe, Lord: (Here all kneel down) and falling down he adored Him.
OFFERTORY Psalm 65: 8, 9, 20
Let us pray. O ye gentiles, bless the Lord our God, and make the voice of His praise to be heard; Who hath set my soul to live, and hath not suffered my feet to be moved: blessed be the Lord, Who hath not turned away my prayer nor His mercy from me.
We humbly entreat Thee, O almighty God, that our sins may be purged by these sacrifices; for so dost Thou grant us health of body and soul. Through our Lord Jesus Christ Thy Son. Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, one God Forever and ever. R.Amen.
Second Secret to implore the Intercession of the Saints
Graciously hear us, O God our Savior, and by the virtue of this sacrament protect us from all enemies of soul and body, bestowing on us both grace in this life and glory hereafter.
Third Secret for the Living and the Dead
O God, Who alone knowest the number of the elect to be admitted to the happiness of Heaven, grant, we beseech Thee, that through the intercession of all Thy saints, the names of all who have been recommended to our prayers and of all the faithful, may be inscribed in the book of blessed predestination. Protect us, O Lord, who assist at Thy mysteries; that, fixed upon things divine we may serve Thee in both body and mind. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Who livest and reignest, with God the Father, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, one God For ever and ever. R. Amen.
PREFACE of Lent
It is truly meet and just, right and for our salvation that we should at all times, and in all places, give thanks unto Thee, O holy Lord, Father almighty, everlasting God: Who by this bodily fast, dost curb our vices, dost lift up our minds and bestow on us strength and rewards; through Christ our Lord. Through whom the Angels praise Thy Majesty, the Dominations worship it, the Powers stand in awe. The Heavens and the heavenly hosts together with the blessed Seraphim in triumphant chorus unite to celebrate it. Together with these we entreat Thee that Thou mayest bid our voices also to be admitted while we say with lowly praise: HOLY, HOLY, HOLY…
COMMUNION John 9: 11
The Lord made clay of spittle, and anointed my eyes; and I went, and I washed, and I saw, and I have believed in God.
May the sacrament we have received, O Lord, our God, both fill us with spiritual nourishment and keep us with bodily assistance. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Who livest and reignest, with God the Father, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, one God For ever and ever. R. Amen.
Second Postcommunion to implore the Intercession of the Saints
May the oblation of this divine sacrament cleanse and defend us, we beseech Thee, O Lord, and, through the intercession of the blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God, with blessed Joseph, Thy blessed apostles Peter and Paul, blessed N. (here mention the titular saint of the church), and all the saints, purify us from all our sins and deliver us from all adversity.
Third Postcommunion for the Living and the Dead
Let us pray. May the sacraments which we have received purify us, we beseech Thee, O almighty and merciful Lord; and through the intercession of all Thy saints, grant that this Thy sacrament may not be unto us a condemnation, but a salutary intercession for pardon; may it be the washing away of sin, the strength of the weak, a protection against all dangers of the world, and a remission of all the sins of the faithful, whether living or dead. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Who livest and reignest, with God the Father, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, one God For ever and ever. R. Amen.
PRAYER OVER THE PEOPLE
Let us pray. Bow your heads to God.
May the ears of Thy mercy, O Lord, be open to the prayers of Thy suppliants, and, that Thou mayest grant their desires to them that seek Thee, make them to ask the things that are pleasing to Thee. Through Jesus Christ, thy Son our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. R. Amen.