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Monday, March 01, 2010

Station at St. Clement's

Monday of the Second Week of Lent.
Station at St. Clement's.
(S. Clemente.)

Interior of St. Clement's Basilica.

This Station church,
one of the most ancient and interesting in Rome,
is thought to be the paternal home of St. Clement,
disciple of St. Peter,
his third successor in the Papacy,
and a fellow-labourer of St. Paul.

His house, converted by him into an oratory,
was enlarged to the dimensions of a church,
probably in the reign of Constantine.
It is mentioned by
St. Jerome, 420;
Pope St. Zozimus, 417;
St. Leo the Great, 499.

There is nothing unlikely in the story that Clement,
in the days following the Neronian persecution,
gathered together the scattered flock of Christians
under the very roof of the house which we visit today,
and encouraged them to persevere in the faith.
It appears that later, during the final persecution,
there was a deliberate attempt to profane
the spot sanctified by Christian worship,
by erecting here an altar to Mithras, which, however,
under Constantine,
gave place once more to the Cross of Christ.

Mosaic in the apse of St. Clement's Basilica.

Let us pray.

O crucis tuae potentiam! ...
O wonderful power of Thy Cross!

It was Thy Cross that made the plant of abstinence
to bloom in the Church,
after having uprooted the old intemperance of Adam in Eden.

From the intemperance came death upon mankind;
but from Thy Cross,
the ever pure stream of immortality flowed upon the world,
for from Thy side, as from a fount of paradise,
streamed Thy life-giving Blood, mingled with water,
and from these have all creatures received life.

Therefore, do we beseech Thee, O God of Israel,
to grant us, in Thy mercy,
that we may experience the sweet delights of fasting. Amen.

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