The Station today is at Sts. John And Paul. The stational Mass was on the Caelian Hill, in the Basilica of Bizante, erected by that senator and his son Pammachius within the house of SS. John and Paul. The two martyrs had suffered death on this spot for the faith, and had been secretly buried in a crypt. They were thus the only Roman martyrs buried in the very heart of the Eternal City.
The Mass sets forth the emptiness of external ceremonies where these are not accompanied by an internal spirit of true repentance. The Gospel sets forth the Christian law of love and good-will toward our neighbor.
To return the courtesy of others with equal grace is a rule of good manners that even pagans may practice, but in order to be able to pardon injuries, to do good without hope of return, we need the example of Christian love as Christ has set it down and to love Him as He loves the Father.
Saint John of God Having given up active Christian belief while a soldier, John was 40 before the depth of his sinfulness began to dawn on him. He decided to give the rest of his life to God’s service, and headed at once for Africa where he hoped to free captive Christians and, possibly, be martyred.
He was soon advised that his desire for martyrdom was not spiritually well based, and returned to Spain and the relatively prosaic activity of a religious goods store. Yet he was still not settled. Moved initially by a sermon of Saint John of Avila, he one day engaged in a public beating of himself, begging mercy and wildly repenting for his past life.
Committed to a mental hospital for these actions, John was visited by Saint John, who advised him to be more actively involved in tending to the needs of others rather than in enduring personal hardships. John gained peace of heart, and shortly after left the hospital to begin work among the poor.
He established a house where he wisely tended to the needs of the sick poor, at first doing his own begging. But, excited by the saint’s great work and inspired by his devotion, many people began to back him up with money and provisions. Among them were the archbishop and marquis of Tarifa.
Behind John’s outward acts of total concern and love for Christ’s sick poor was a deep interior prayer life which was reflected in his spirit of humility. These qualities attracted helpers who, 20 years after John’s death, formed the Brothers Hospitallers, now a worldwide religious order.
John became ill after 10 years of service, but tried to disguise his ill health. He began to put the hospital’s administrative work into order and appointed a leader for his helpers. He died under the care of a spiritual friend and admirer, Lady Ana Ossorio.
INTROIT Psalm 29: 11
The Lord hath heard and hath had mercy upon me: the Lord became my helper. (Ps. 29: 2) I will extol Thee, O Lord, for Thou hast upheld me: and hast not made my enemies to rejoice over 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 The Lord hath heard…
May Thy kindly favor, we beseech Thee, O Lord, accompany the fast we have begun, that we may be able to practise with a single heart the observance which we bodily perform. 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.
Commemoratio S. Joannis de Deo Confessoris
O God, Who caused blessed John when burning with love for You, to walk unharmed through the midst of flames, and through him enriched Your Church with a new religious family; grant that through the help of his merits, our sins may be burned away by the fire of Your love, and eternal remedies may come to us.
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 Isaias 58: 1-9
Lesson from Isaias the Prophet. Thus saith the Lord God: Cry, cease not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and show My people their wicked doings, and the house of Jacob their sins. For they seek Me from day to day, and desire to know My ways, as a nation that hath done justice, and hath not forsaken the judgment of their God: they ask of Me the judgments of justice: they are willing to approach to God. Why have we fasted, and Thou hast not regarded: have we humbled our souls, and Thou hast not taken notice? Behold in the day of your fast your own will is found, and you exact of all your debtors. Behold you fast for debates and strife, and strike with the fist wickedly. Do not fast as you have done until this day to make your cry to be heard on high. Is this such a fast as I have chosen: for a man to afflict his soul for a day? Is this it, to wind his head about like a circle, and to spread sackcloth and ashes? Wilt thou call this a fast, and a day acceptable to the Lord? Is not this rather the fast that I have chosen? Loose the bands of wickedness, undo the bundles that oppress, let them that are broken go free, and break asunder every burden. Deal thy bread to the hungry, and bring the harborless into thy house; when thou shalt see one naked, cover him, and despise not thy own flesh. Then shall thy light break forth as the morning and thy health shall speedily arise, and thy justice shall go before thy face, and the glory of the Lord shall gather thee up. Then shalt thou call, and the Lord shall hear: thou shalt cry, and He shall say: Here I am. Because I the Lord thy God am merciful.
GRADUAL Psalm 26: 4
One thing I have asked of the Lord. this will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord. V. That I may see the delight of the Lord, and be protected from His holy temple.
TRACT Psalm 102: 10
O 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 Savior: and for the glory of Thy name, O Lord, deliver us: and forgive us our sins for Thy name’s sake.
GOSPEL Matthew 5: 43-48; 6: 1-4
At that time, Jesus said to His disciples: “You have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbor, and hate thy enemy. But I say to you love your enemies: do good to them that hate you: and pray for them that persecute and calumniate you: that you may be the children of your Father Who is in Heaven, Who maketh His sun to rise upon the good and bad, and raineth upon the just and the unjust. For if you love them that love you, what reward shall you have? Do not even the publicans this? And if you salute your brethren only, what do you more? Do not also the heathens this? Be ye therefore perfect, as also your heavenly Father is perfect. Take heed that you do not your justice before men, to be seen by them: otherwise you shall not have a reward of your Father Who is in Heaven. Therefore when thou dost an almsdeed, sound not a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be honored by men. Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when thou dost alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doth, that thy alms may be in secret, and thy Father Who seeth in secret will repay thee.”
OFFERTORY Psalm 118: 154, 125
Quicken me, O Lord, according to Thy word: that I may know Thy testimonies.
Grant, we pray Thee, O Lord, that the sacrifice of the Lenten observance, which we offer, may both render our souls acceptable and give us the power of a readier self-denial. 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.
Commemoratio S. Joannis de Deo Confessoris
We offer You sacrifices of praise, O Lord, in memory of Your Saints; trusting that by them we may be delivered from both present and future evils.
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 2: 11, 12
Serve ye the Lord with fear: and rejoice unto Him with trembling. Embrace discipline, lest you perish from the just way.
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.
Commemoratio S. Joannis de Deo Confessoris
Refreshed with heavenly food and drink, we humbly pray You, our God, that we also may be helped by his prayers in memory of whom we have partaken.
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.
Watch over Thy people, O Lord, and of Thy clemency purge it of all its sins; for no adversity shall harm it, if no iniquity dominate it. 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 Matt 22:34 – 46.
At that time, the Pharisees came to Jesus and one of them, a doctor of the Law, putting Him to the test, asked Him, Master, which is the greatest commandment in the Law? Jesus said to him, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with your whole heart and with your whole souls, and your whole mind.’ This is the greatest and first commandment. And the second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets. Now while the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus questioned them, saying, What do you think of the Christ? Whose son is He? They said to Him, David’s. He said to them, How then does David in the Spirit call Him Lord, saying, ‘The Lord said to my Lord: Sit at My right hand, till I make Your enemies Your footstool’? If David, therefore, calls Him ‘Lord.’ how is He his son? And no one could answer Him a word; neither did anyone dare from that day forth to ask Him any more questions.