Today’s station – Surrounded by the ruins of the empire that put its patron to death, the humble church of St. George in the Velabrum is a continuing reminder of the faith and sacrifice of that great saint..
The station at St. George’s was instituted by St. Gregory II (715-31), when the cultus of the great Cappadocian martyr had become exceedingly popular in Rome. A titular church already existed here in 482, as an inscription of that date mentions an Augustus lector de Belabru, but the dedication to St. George was certainly of later date.
Today’s Gospel, telling of the centurion of Capharnaum, alludes to the military character ascribed by tradition to St. George, which caused him to be specially invoked during the Middle Ages as the armed champion of the Christian family.
The Mass is a call to penance. The Lesson from Isaias recalls the warning given to Ezechias of his approaching death; the thought of death is a powerful inducement to us to change our mode of life. If we would only realize that the moment of our passing from this world to eternity may come unawares, we would implore earnestly a space of time in which to do penance, and resolve to lead a good life.
St. Thomas Aquinas, priest and doctor of the Church, patron of all universities and of students. He was born toward the end of the year 1226. He was the son of Landulph, Count of Aquino, who, when St. Thomas was five years old, placed him under the care of the Benedictines of Monte Casino. His teachers were surprised at the progress he made, for he surpassed all his fellow pupils in learning as well as in the practice of virtue.
When he became of age to choose his state of life, St. Thomas renounced the things of this world and resolved to enter the Order of St. Dominic in spite of the opposition of his family. In 1243, at the age of seventeen, he joined the Dominicans of Naples. Some members of his family resorted to all manner of means over a two year period to break his constancy. They even went so far as to send an impure woman to tempt him. But all their efforts were in vain and St. Thomas persevered in his vocation. As a reward for his fidelity, God conferred upon him the gift of perfect chastity, which has merited for him the title of the “Angelic Doctor”.
After making his profession at Naples, he studied at Cologne under the celebrated St. Albert the Great. Here he was nicknamed the “dumb ox” because of his silent ways and huge size, but he was really a brilliant student. At the age of twenty-two, he was appointed to teach in the same city. At the same time, he also began to publish his first works. After four years he was sent to Paris. The saint was then a priest. At the age of thirty-one, he received his doctorate.
At Paris he was honored with the friendship of the King, St. Louis, with whom he frequently dined. In 1261, Urban IV called him to Rome where he was appointed to teach, but he positively declined to accept any ecclesiastical dignity. St. Thomas not only wrote (his writings filled twenty hefty tomes characterized by brilliance of thought and lucidity of language), but he preached often and with greatest fruit. Clement IV offered him the archbishopric of Naples which he also refused. He left the great monument of his learning, the “Summa Theologica”, unfinished, for on his way to the second Council of Lyons, ordered there by Gregory X, he fell sick and died at the Cistercian monastery of Fossa Nuova in 1274.
St. Thomas was one of the greatest and most influential theologians of all time. He was canonized in 1323 and declared Doctor of the Church by Pope Pius V.
INTROIT Psalm 54: 17, 19-20, 23
When I cried to the Lord, He heard my voice from them that draw near to me; and He humbled them, Who is before all ages, and remains forever: cast thy care upon the Lord, and He shall sustain thee. (Ps. 54: 2, 3) Hear, O God, my prayer, and despise not my supplication; be attentive to me and hear me. 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 cried to the Lord…
God, Who art offended by sin, and appeased by penance, graciously regard the prayers of Thy people making supplication to Thee, and turn aside the scourge of Thy anger, which we deserve for our sins. 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 St Thomas Aquinas
O God, who seest that we have no power whatever from ourselves; keep us both outwardly n our bodies and inwardly in our souls; that we may be defended from all adversities which may happen to the body and from all evil thoughts which may hurt the soul.
Third 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. 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.
EPISTLE Joel 2: 12-19
Lesson from Isaias the Prophet.In those days, Ezechias, was sick even to death; and Isaias the son of Amos the prophet came unto him, and said to Him, Thus saith the Lord, Take order with thy house, for thou shalt die, and not live. And Ezechias turned his face toward the wall, and prayed to the Lord, and said, I beseech Thee, O Lord, remember how I have walked before Thee in truth, and with a perfect heart, and have done that which is good in thy sight. And Ezechias wept with great weeping. And the word of the Lord came to Isaias, saying, Go, and say to Ezechias, Thus saith the Lord, the God of David thy father: I have heard thy prayer and I have seen thy tears: behold I will add to thy days fifteen years; and I will deliver thee and this city out of the hand of the king of the Assyrians, and I will protect it; said the Lord almighty.
GRADUAL Psalm 54: 23, 17-19
Cast thy care upon the Lord, and He shall sustain thee. V. When I cried to the Lord, He heard my voice from them that draw near to me.
GOSPEL Matthew 8: 5-13
At that time, when Jesus had entered into Capharnaum, there came to Him a centurion, beseeching Him, and saying, Lord, my servant lieth at home sick of the palsy, and is grievously tormented. And Jesus said to him: “I will come and heal him.” And the centurion making answer said: Lord, I am not worthy that Thou shouldst enter under my roof: but only say the word, and my servant shall be healed.For I also am a man subject to authority, having under me soldiers; and I say to this man, Go, and he goeth, and to another, Come, and he cometh, and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it. And Jesus hearing this marvelled; and said to them that followed Him: “Amen I say to you, I have not found so great faith in Israel. And I say to you that many shall come from the east and from the west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven: but the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into exterior darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” And Jesus said to the centurion: “Go, and as thou hast believed, so be it done to thee.” And the servant was healed at the same hour.
OFFERTORY Psalm 24: 1-3
To Thee, O Lord, have I lifted up my soul: In Thee, O my God, I put my trust: let me not be ashamed: neither let my enemies laugh at me: for none of them that wait on Thee shall be confounded.
Be appeased, O Lord, We beseech Thee, and look upon the sacrifices here before Thee, that they may profit both our devotion and our salvation. 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 for St Thomas Aquinas
May the pious prayer of holy Thomas thy Confessor and illustrious Doctor be not wanting to us, O Lord, but make our offerings acceptable to thee and ever win for us thy mercy.
Third 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. 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 Psalm 50: 21
Thou wilt accept the sacrifice of justice, oblations, and holocausts, upon Thy altar, O Lord.
Having received the blessing of the heavenly gift, we beseech and supplicate Thee, O almighty God, that the same may be the cause both of the sacrament and of salvation. 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 blessed Thomas thy Confessor and illustrious Doctor intercede for us, O Lord, that this thy sacrifice may obtain for us salvation..
Third Postcommunion to implore the Intercession of the Saints
Let us pray. 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. 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 down your heads before God.
Spare, O Lord, spare Thy people; that having been punished with deserved scourges, they may find relief in Thy mercy. 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.
PROPER LAST GOSPEL Matthew 5: 13-19
At that time, Jesus said to His disciples,”You are the salt of the earth: but if the salt lose its savor, wherewith shall it be salted? It is good for nothing any more but to be cast out, and to be trodden by men. You are the light of the world. A city seated on a mountain can not be hid. Neither do men light a candle and put it under a bushel, but upon a candlestick, that it may shine to all that are in the house; so let your light shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father Who is in Heaven. Do not think that I am come to destroy the law or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill. For, amen I say unto you, till Heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall not pass of the law till all be fulfilled. He therefore that shall break one of these least commandments, and shall so teach men, shall be called the least in the kingdom of Heaven: but he that shall do and teach, he shall be called great in the kingdom of Heaven.”