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Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Station at St. Balbina's

Tuesday of the Second Week of Lent.
Station at St. Balbina's.
(S. Balbina.)

St. Balbina, a Roman virgin who lived in the second century
and whose remains rest under the altar
with those of her father, St. Quirinus.
They suffered martyrdom
in the persecution of Hadrian, A.D. 132.

The church is ancient,
and was probably built in the 4th century
above the house of the consul Lucius Fabius Cilone.
The first reference to it is found in a Roman Synod of 594,
where it's referred to as Sanctae Balbinae.
It was consecrated, or re-consecrated by St. Gregory the Great.

This church, which stands on a slope of the Aventine,
was in the fifth century
one of the twenty-five parish churches of Rome.

Let us pray.

O Nazarene, lux Bethlem, verbum Patris...
O Jesus of Nazareth,
O Light of Bethlehem,
O Word of the Father,
born to us from a Virgin's womb,
be Thou with us in our chaste abstinence.

Do thou, our King,
look with a propitious eye upon our feast,
whereon we offer Thee the tribute of our fast.
Truly, nothing can be more holy than this fast,
which purifies the inmost recesses of man's heart.
By it is tamed the unruly carnal appetite;
that thus the ardent soul may not be choked
by the surfeiting of a pampered body.

By fasting are subdued luxury and vile gluttony.
The drowsiness that comes from wine and sleep;
lust with its defilements; the impudence of buffoonery;
yea, all the pests that come from our sluggish flesh,
are hereby disciplined into restraint.

For, if thou freely indulgest in meat and drink,
and bridlest not thy appetite by fasting,
it needs must be that the noble fire of the spirit,
smothered by the frequent indulgence of the body,
should grow dull,
and the soul, like the drowsy flesh it inhabits,
fall into heavy sleep.

Therefore, let us bridle our bodily desires,
and follow the clear interior light of prudence.
Thus, the soul having her sight made keener,
will breathe more freely,
and will pray to the Creator with stronger hope.

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