St Martina of Rome, Virgin Martyr; Commemoration of Sunday IV post Epiphany: Missa “Loquebar de testimonies”
Roman virgin, martyred in 226, according to some authorities, more probably in 228, under the pontificate of Pope Urban I, according to others. The daughter of an ex-consul and left an orphan at an early age, she so openly testified to her Christian faith that she could not escape the persecutions under Alexander Severus. Arrested and commanded to return to idolatry, she courageously refused, whereupon she was subjected to various tortures and was finally beheaded. The accounts of her martyrdom which we possess belong to a late period and as usual contain many amplifications which have not, as Baronius has already observed, any historical value. The relics of St. Martina were discovered on 25 Oct., 1634, in a crypt of an ancient church situated near Mamertine prison and dedicated to the saint. Urban VIII, who occupied the Holy See at that time, had the church repaired and, it would seem, composed the hymns which are sung at the office of the noble martyr, 30 January.
Sunday IV Post Epiphany
In today’s Gospel, Our Lord shows His divinity by commanding the angry sea and raging wind, powerful and intractable forces in creation. The wonderful character of the miracle is brought out clearly by the sacred writer in the contrast which he draws between the fierce turmoil of the waves and the “great calm” that followed (Gospel). Since it is in the Church that the kingship of Christ is most fully carried out, the Fathers saw in the howling wind of the storm a type of the devils whose pride stirs up persecutions against God’s people, and in the troubled sea the passions and malice of men, the great source of disobedience to authority and of fraternal strife.
On the other hand, in the Church the great law of charity prevails, for while in the first three commandments the duty of loving God is laid upon us, by the remaining seven, as a natural result, we are bound to the love of our neighbor (Epistle). Our Lord manifests Himself as the Son of God, and all those who acknowledge Him as such, and accept Him as their Leader and Head, become members of His mystical body. Being one in Christ, all Christians should love one another.
“This ship,” says St. Augustine, “was a type of the Church,” which through the centuries shows forth the divinity of our Lord. To His all-powerful protection indeed she owes the fact that in spite of her frailty (Collect, Secret) she has not been swallowed up by the dangers which threaten her (Collect). St. John Chrysostom remarks, “Our Lord seems to sleep, that He may oblige us to have recourse to Him, nor does He ever fail to save those who call upon Him.”
INTROIT Psalm 118. 95, 96
I spoke of Thy testimonies before kings, and I was not ashamed : I meditated also on Thy commandments, which I loved. (Ps. 118: 1) Blessed are the undefiled in the way: who walk in the law of the Lord. 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.
O God, Who among the other miracles of Your power have bestowed the victory of martyrdom even upon the weaker sex, graciously grant that we who commemorate the anniversary of the death of blessed Martina, Your Virgin and Martyr, may come to You by the path of her example. 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.
Sunday IV Post Epiphany
O God, You Who know that our human frailty cannot stand fast against the great dangers that beset us, grant us health of mind and body, that with your help we may overcome what we suffer on account of our sins. Through Jesus Christ, thy Son our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end. R. Amen.
EPISTLE Wisdom 51: 1-12
Lesson from the Book of Wisdom. I will give glory to Thee, O Lord my king, and I will praise Thee, O God my Saviour. I will give glory to Thy name: for Thou hast been a helper and protector to me, and hast preserved my body from destruction, from the snare of an unjust tongue, and from the lips of them that forge lies; and in the sight of them that stood by, Thou hast been my helper; and Thou hast delivered me, according to the multitude of the mercy of Thy name, from them that did roar, prepared to devour. Out of the hands of them that sought my life, and from the gates of afflictions which compassed me about from the oppression of the flame which surrounded me, and in the midst of the fire I was not burnt; from the depth of the belly of hell, and from an unclean tongue, and from lying words, from an unjust king, and from a slanderous tongue; My soul shall praise the Lord even to death: because Thou, O Lord, our God, deliverest them that wait for Thee, and savest them out of the hands of the nations.
GRADUAL/ALLELUIA Psalm 44: 8
Thou hast loved justice, and hated iniquity. V. Therefore, God, thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness. Alleluia, alleluia. V. (Ps. 44: 15, 16) After her shall virgins be brought to the King, her neighbors shall be brought to thee with gladness. Alleluia.
GOSPEL Matthew 25: 1-13
At that time, Jesus spoke to His disciples this parable: ‘The kingdom of Heaven shall be like to ten virgins, who taking their lamps went out to meet the bridegroom and the bride. And five of them were foolish, and five wise; but the five foolish having taken their lamps, did not take oil with them: but the wise took oil in their vessels with the lamps. And the bridegroom tarrying, they all slumbered and slept. And at midnight there was a cry made; Behold the bridegroom cometh, go ye forth to meet him. Then all those virgins arose and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said to the wise: Give us of your oil, for our lamps are gone out. The wise answered, saying: Lest perhaps there be not enough for us and for you, go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves. Now, whilst they went to buy, the bridegroom came: and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage, and the door was shut. But at last came also the other virgins, saying: Lord, Lord, open to us. But he answering said: Amen I say to you, I know you not. Watch ye therefore, because you know not the day nor the hour.’
OFFERTORY ANTIPHON Ps. 44: 15, 16
After her shall virgins be brought to the King: her neighbors shall be brought to Thee with gladness and rejoicing: they shall be brought into the temple of the King, the Lord.
Accept, O Lord, the gifts we bring on the festival of blessed Martina, Your Virgin and Martyr, through whose patronage we hope to be delivered. Jesus Christ Thy Son our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, one God Forever and ever. R.Amen.
Sunday IV Post Epiphany
Grant, we beseech You, almighty God, that the offering of this sacrifice may always cleanse and strengthen the weakness of our nature. Through Jesus Christ, thy Son our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end. R. Amen.
PREFACE of the Holy Trinity
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, together with Thine only-begotten Son, and the Holy Ghost, art one God, one Lord: not in the oneness of a single Person, but in the Trinity of one substance. For what we believe by Thy revelation of Thy glory, the same do we believe of Thy Son, the same of the Holy Ghost, without difference or separation. So that in confessing the true and everlasting Godhead, distinction in persons, unity in essence, and equality in majesty may be adored. Which the Angels and Archangels, the Cherubim also and Seraphim do praise: who cease not daily to cry out, with one voice saying: Holy, Holy, Holy…
COMMUNION ANTIPHON Psalm 118: 78, 80
Let the proud be ashamed, because they have done unjustly towards me: but I will be employed in Thy commandments and in Thy justifications, that I may not be confounded.
May the sacrament we have received, aid us, O Lord, and by the intercession of blessed Martina, Your Virgin and Martyr, may it keep us forevermore under Your everlasting protection. Through the Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, one God For ever and ever. R. Amen.
Sunday IV Post Epiphany
May Your gifts, O God, free us from the attraction of earthly pleasures and give us new strength through Your heavenly nourishment. Through Jesus Christ, thy Son our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end. R. Amen.
PROPER LAST GOSPEL St Matthew 8:23-27
At that time, Jesus got into a boat, and His disciples followed Him. And behold, there arose a great storm on the sea, so that the boat was covered by the waves; but He was asleep. So they came and woke Him, saying, Lord, save us! we are perishing! But He said to them, Why are you fearful, O you of little faith? Then He arose and rebuked the wind and the sea, and there came a great calm. And the men marvelled, saying, What manner of Man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey Him?