The church of the collecta corresponds to the present Station Sancta Caterina dei Funari; at one time Sancta Maria domnæ rosæ was the residence of the Dean of the Lateran Schola, and in 1536 Pope Paul III granted it to St. Ignatius Loyola, who founded there an institution for poor girls. The Church of St. Lawrence in Damaso is built on a spot full of memories connected with the family of Pope Damasus (366-84). His relics rest under the high Altar.
[For the Epistle:] 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 favour 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 amongst 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. Not much more than a century ago, an idol was erected to reason; it had its altar, its decorations and its incense; and they who paid homage to it were Europeans! Individuals or peoples, 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 to idolatry.
[For the Gospel:] This Gospel carries our thoughts to the sacrifice of the divine Lamb, which is to be offered up in Jerusalem. The hour has 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 (St. Luke xiv: 5). They are dead 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 (St. Luke xi: 16), 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. Whilst 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 of the family of David? Now every Jew knows well enough that Jesus is of the 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 keep 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!”
INTROIT Psalm 54: 2, 3
Hear, O God, my prayer, and despise not my supplication: be attentive to me, and hear me. (Ps. 54: 3, 4) I am grieved in my exercise; and am troubled at the voice of the enemy, and at the tribulation of the sinner. V. Glory be
May the fasts of the sacred observance, we beseech Thee, O Lord, make us to grow in holiness and procure for us the continual help of Thy favor. 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 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 Exodus 20: 12-24
This Lesson contains the beautiful prayer of Moses for his people, who had fallen into the sin of idolatry. This is perfect love: to be willing that one’s name be struck off from the book of life rather than let one’s own brethren perish beneath the justice of God. God announced to Moses His intention to destroy the ungrateful race of the Jews: Almighty God had seen His people prostrated at the foot of the Golden Calf. Moses prayed, and his prayer appeased the anger of God. Let us do penance and Our Lord shall hear our prayers.
Lesson from the Book of Exodus. In those days, the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, Go 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 show 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 stiffnecked: 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 forever. And the Lord was appeased from doing the evil which He had spoken against His people.
GRADUAL Psalm 43: 26, 2
Arise O Lord, bring help to us, and deliver us for Thy name’s sake. V. O God, we have heard with our ears; and our fathers have declared to us the work which Thou didst work in their days, in the days of old.
GOSPEL St. John 7: 14-31
In going up to the feast of Tabernacles only when the festival was well begun, Jesus wishes to teach us to love and reverence the sacred Liturgy and the rites of religion, and shows us that He Himself is the center of creation and of all history. He confounds His perfidious enemies by appealing to the authority of Moses, but fails to change their hearts.
At that time, about the middle 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.
OFFERTORY ANTIPHON Psalm 39: 2, 3, 4
With expectation I have waited for the Lord, and He looked upon me: and He heard my prayer: and He put a new canticle into my mouth, a song to our God.
May this offering, we beseech Thee, O Lord, wipe out our sins, and sanctify the bodies and minds of Thy servants for the celebration of the sacrifice. 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 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 ANTIPHON Psalm 19: 6
We will rejoice in thy salvation, and in the name of our God we shall be exalted.
May the reception of this sacrament, O Lord, cleanse us from guilt and bring us to the kingdom of Heaven. 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
Have mercy on Thy people, O Lord, and from the unceasing tribulation under which they labor grant them relief in Thy mercy. Through our Lord…