Find Us Online

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Holy Tuesday

Tuesday in Holy Week.
Station at St. Prisca.
(S. Prisca.)

St. Prisca, a young girl of thirteen,
of noble birth was baptized by St. Peter on this spot.
She was condemned by the emperor Claudius
to be exposed in the amphitheatre.
A fierce Lion was let loose upon her,
but the savage beast, instead of tearing her to pieces,
awed as it were, by her innocence and youth,
came and licked her feet.
Such miracles the pagans ascribed to magic,
and she was ordered to be beheaded.
Her body lay concealed on the Aventine till discovered
by Pope St. Eutychian in the year 208,
and translated by him to this church.
It still rests beneath the high altar.

From today’s Introit:

“May God have mercy on us and bless us;
may He cause the light of His countenance to shine upon us,
and may He have mercy on us.” (Ps. lxvi)

This is the most beautiful prayer that, in union with the Church, we can lift up to Christ crucified. He chose to die in the darkness of that awestruck earth, having Himself become an object of malediction in the sight of the ineffable holiness of God; but, at the same time, his dying eyes are fixed on us in love, and that glance in a living and shining ray which enlightens the whole world.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Holy Monday

Monday in Holy Week.
Station formerly at the "Church of the bandage"
now called SS Nerus and Achilleo
(Titulus "de fasciola", SS. Nereo ed Achilleo.)

Titulus de fasciola

The basilica "de fasciola",
which very old tradition connects with St. Peter,
at the time when he sought, by leaving Rome,
to escape from persecution.
Near the first milestone on the Via Appia,
the Apostle stopped to replace the bandage (fasciola)
which covered the wound in his leg caused by the fetters
that he had worn in prison.
At that moment Christ Himself appeared to him
as He was going towards Rome.
Domine quo vadis?
Lord wither goest Thou?

Peter enquired of his Divine Master.
Eo Romam iterum crucifigi
I go to Rome to be crucified again,
answered Our Lord.
The vision passed and Peter understood from these words
that it was in the person of His first Vicar
that Christ was to be put to death in Rome,
so, obedient to the implied command,
he returned in all haste to the city.

Domine quo vadis?
This account is of very great antiquity,
and it gathers support from the very name,
de fasciola - of the bandage,
given to the church
as far back as the beginning of the 4th century.
It now has the dedication to Saints Nereus and Achilleus,
officers in the service of the imperial family,
who had been converted to the faith by St. Peter himself.

St Praxedes

Holy Monday
Station at St Praxedes.
(S. Prassede.)

Our present missal assigns today's station
to the Church of St Praxedes,
an arrangement which dates from the end of the Middle Ages,
when the Church "de fasciola" was completely abandoned;
as was the whole area of the Via Appia,
on account of malaria.

The titulus Praxedis, on the Esquiline,
appears for the first time in an inscription in the year A.D. 491.
Under the high altar lies the body of St. Praxedes.
In a crypt under the sanctuary are numerous bodies of martyrs
removed by Paschal I from the cemeteries outside Rome.
This basilica by reason of its antiquity,
its monuments
and the sacred relics which it contains,
may well be considered as
one of the most famous sancturies of Christian Rome.

I see the modern Pilate so relentless.

"...I see ...
Christ in his own Vicar captive made.

I see him yet another time derided;
I see renewed the vinegar and gall,
And between living thieves I see him slain.

I see the modern Pilate so relentless,
This does not sate him, but without decretal
He to the temple bears his sordid sails!..."

(Dante, Purgatorio, XX: 88-90)

Thank you, Fr. Hunwicke.

From Fr. Hunwicke:
... We all know that those who are gunning for the Pope are hypocrites.

We know that they are in many cases dirty hypocrites
whose own lifestyle is unmarked by any evidence of sexual continence.
We know that they are bigoted hypocrites who are only marginally,
if at all, interested
if a rabbi or a humanist gets 'done' for pedophilia
or if an Anglican diocese is bankrupted
by the compensation it has paid out to abused Inuit children.

There is one organisation that they detest
with a loathing curiously like Hitler's dislike of the Jews.
There is one man for whose downfall they have an insatiable bloodlust.

Nil novi sub sole.
Dante described
(Purgatorio XX 86-88)
how Christ was again made captive and mocked
in the person of His Vicar.

How very, very, appropriate
that this malevolent evil
should be reaching its climax in Holy Week.

Satan has a real sense of liturgy. ...

From Anglican Fr. Hunwicke, SSC

"Fr John Hunwicke, SSC is the Priest-in-Charge of S. Thomas the Martyr, Oxford.
He was for many years Head of Theology at Lancing College, Sussex,
before moving on to serve as a simple country parson in the Diocese of Exeter."

[ - From the introduction to Fr. Hunwicke's Blog]

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Palm Sunday: Station with Peter at the Christus Vincit.

Palm Sunday.

Station with Peter at the Christus Vincit.
(Station with the Pope at the 'Christ conquers'.)

Palm Sunday Introit: Pro Papa
Domine ne longe facias auxillium...
O Lord remove not Thy help to a distance from me,
look toward my defence;

deliver me from the lion's mouth,

and my lowliness from the horns of the unicorns.

Palm Sunday Tract: Pro Papa
Omnes qui videbant me, ...
All they that saw me have laughed me to scorn:
they have spoken with the lips,
and wagged their head. ...
Ye that fear the Lord, praise Him:

all ye the seed of Jacob, glorify Him.

There shall be declared to the Lord a generation to come:

and the heavens shall show forth His justice.
To a people that shall be born, which the Lord hath made.

His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI.
Vicar of Christ.

And I say to thee that thou art Peter,
and upon this rock I will build my Church,
And the gates of hell shall not previal against it;
and to thee will I give the keys of the kingdom of heaven;
and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth,
it shall be bound also in heaven;
and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth,
it shall be loosed also in heaven.
(Mt. 16: 18-19)

Pro Papa

My dear friends –
at this moment I can only say:
pray for me,
that I may learn to love the Lord more and more.
Pray for me, that I may learn to love his flock more and more
– in other words, you, the holy Church,
each one of you and all of you together.
Pray for me,
that I may not flee for fear of the wolves.

Let us pray for one another,
that the Lord will carry us
and that we will learn to carry one another.

[Pope Benedict XVI, 24 April, 2005]
Oremus pro beatissimo Papa nostro Benedicto.
Dominus conservet eum,
et vivificet eum,
et beatum faciat eum in terra,
et non tradat eum in animam inimicorum eius.
+ + + + +

Station at St. John before the Latin Gate

Saturday after Passion Sunday.
Station at St. John before the Latin Gate.
(S. Giovanni a Porta Latina.)

Interior of the Church of St. John before the Latin Gate.

In the early Middle Ages,
this Saturday preceding Holy Week
in which the great ceremonies began was aliturgical:
sabbatum vacat.
This was in order that the people might be able to take some rest,
whilst the Pope, too, in the Vatican or the Lateran,
having distributed the paschal alms to the poor,
consigned the consecrated Host to the Titular priests.
This latter rite
signified their close connection with the Apostolic See;
and during the following week
they could begin their Mass at whatever time they preferred,
without having to wait every day
for the acolyte to bring the particle consecrated by the Pope
for them to place in their chalice.
It was sufficient that after the ritual breaking of the Host,
they should place in the chalice
a particle of that Host sent to them on this Saturday by the Pope.
To this ceremony, with its profound significance,
was joined the distrbbution of abundant alms
-in imitation of the Saviour who, on the occasion of the Pasch,
was wont to entrust Judas with the duty of giving alms to the poor.

In the course of time, both these ceremonies became obsolete,
and in their place a new station was instituted
at the Church of St. John before the Latin Gate,
which was first connected by Ado in his Martyrology
with the martyrdom suffered at Rome by the Apostle under Diocletian.
St. John being lowered into the oil.
The tradition which relates
that St. John was miraculously preserved from death
when plunged into a caldron of boiling oil is very ancient,
and is vouched for by Tertullian;
but that this scene took place before the Latin Gate
precisely on the spot where the Church of St. John now stands,
is a conjecture of Ado.
Oratory commemorating the location of the martyrdom.
However this may be,
the important fact is the coming of the Apostle John to Rome
some ten years after the martyrdom of Sts. Peter and Paul.
This stational Church of St. John before the Latin Gate i
s the most ancient and venerable monument
which records for the faithful the apostolate at Rome
of the disciple whom Jesus loved so well.

Poissy Antiphonary 1335 - 1345

Liturgical Note:
The Mass has no proper except for the collects and the Lessons,
for in the early Middle Ages
so great was the respect for the Antiphonary of St. Gregory,
that no one whould have dared to insert in it any new musical compositions.
Hence the chants for today's Mass are all borrowed from that of yesterday.
For so it was and thus must be so.

Let us pray.
O Lord we beseech Thee that Thy people,
since thet are hallowed as Thine Own,
may grow ever in godly love towards Thee
their Father Who art in heaven,
and may be so schooled in holy works,
that being more and more pleasing in the sight
of Thy Divine Majesty,
they may ever receive more and more of Thy gifts.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ.

The morrow is the Lord's Day of the Palms,
on the which day our Lord Jesus Christ entered Jerusalem
sitting upon the foal of an ass,
as had been foretold in the prophecy of Zacharias,
and the multitude came forth to meet Him
carrying branches of palm-trees.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Station at St. Stephen on the Coelian

Friday in Passion Week.
Station at St. Stephen on the Coelian.
(S. Stefano Rotondo.)

High Altar of S. Stefano Rotondo.

This Station is one of the most ancient religious edifices of Rome, having been built by Pope Simplicius in the fifth century. It is also architecturally interesting because of its remarkable construction.

It consists of a double circle of granite columns,
36 in the outer, 20 in the inner circle.

Originally there were three concentric rings of pillars enclosed by a wall decorated with pilasters. Pope Nicholas V (1447-1455) shut out this wall, and raised the space between the outer circle with masonry, thus reducing the church's size from 210 feet to 133 feet. The 56 columns still seen present a unique and striking appearance.

The dome rests on two lofty columns of granite
and two piers or pillars of masonry.

Though cold and bare now, the interior was once rich with marbles and noble monuments.

Around the circular walls of the Basilica is a wonderful series of frescoes representing the chief forms of martyrdom in the ten great persecutions of the early Church. These pictures are intended to enable the beholder to realize how terrible were the sufferings of the martyrs, the horror of which no painter can adequately portray. They show, too, how precious the gift of Faith is to which they clung more than life.

They are a reminder that in just a week from now,
the King of Martyrs will mount the throne of the Cross.
The Martyr St Cyprian wrote:

"Pretiosa mors haec est...
Right dear indeed is that death which,
with the price of its own blood,
buyeth the life that can never die,
and receiveth the crown which is the consummation of its own courage!

O how joyful was Christ in that place!
How gladly did He, the Keeper of their faith,
when He found servants like these, fight and triumph in them!

He it was who was there when they fought.
He it was who raised them up to be His warriors,
and endued them with might to become champions of His holy Name.
For He who once conquered earth in His own Person on our behalf,
liveth for ever now to conquer death in the person of each of us.

He it was who was there when they where martyred by wild beasts.

He it was who was there when they where martyred by fire.

When they where martyred by being asphyxiated.

He beheld them being flayed alive.

He it was who was there when they where martyred by being dismembered.

By being boiled alive.

... and He it was who was there when they where
by forms of racking.

Liturgical Note:

The Introit of today's Mass is taken from Psalm 30 and very alludes to the mental anguish of Jesus, the martyr's King, as the hour of His Passion draws near:
"Miserere mihi, Domine...

Have mercy on me, O Lord, for I am troubled - laden with the sins of the whole world, I have become the object of implacable hatred on the part of my enemies and of them that persecute me," and a sign of the offended justice and holiness of God - "deliver me from the hands of my enemies; O Lord, let me not be confounded, for I have called upon thee."

The prayer of Our Lord was answered; for the Eternal Father delivered Him and the whole human race from the bonds of death in the day of the resurrection, when the fullness of the glorious life of Christ was transmitted also to His mystical body in such a manner as to make the spiritual resurrection of souls the beginning of their future glory.

St Stephen stands before Caiphas,
who beheld his face as if that of an angel -
and who would condemn him to death.

The Gospel (St John XI, 47-54) relates how the Sanhedrim assembled to devise the death of Jesus, Ciaphas, turning arrogantly to the rest, taunts them with their ignorance: Vos nescitis quidquam nec cogitatis; but in prophesying the death of Christ and declaring it to be expedient, he speaks not of himself, but as high priest, for God never fails to grant the graces necessary to our state. Whosoever is permitted to hold the office of superior, speaks in the name of God, even though he be as Ciaphas.
Jesus, then, must die for all mankind; Ciaphas has spoken thus in prophecy, being moved thereto by the power of the Holy Ghost, quite otherwise as was intended by the high priest himself.
Our Lord is to die in order to bring together all the children of God dispersed throughout the world in one great family, which shall be neither Jew nor Greek nor Gentile, but only one holy Catholic Church, the Ecclesia Sancta Dei.

Image of Our Lady of Sorrows in S. Stefano Rotondo.

On Friday in Passion Week is also commemorated Our Blessed Lady of Sorrows.
By a sort of prophetic presentiment, the church of the great protomartyr St Stephen was chosen as the place where the faithful were to assemble on this Friday,
a day which was, in future times,
to be consecrated to the Queen of Martyrs.

Let us pray.

Cordibus nostris...
Of Thy loving-kindness pour Thy grace into our hearts, we beseech Thee, O Lord,
that, curbing our sinful propensities with voluntary chastisement,
we may suffer in this life
and not be condemned to eternal punishments.
Through our Lord...

(Collect, Friday in Passion Week)

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Station at St. Apollinaris "in Archipresbyteratu."

Thursday in Passion Week.
Station at St. Apollinaris "in Archipresbyteratu".
(S. Apollinare alle Terme Neroniane-Allesandrine.)

The "glory" above the High Altar of
St Apollinaris
"in Archipresbyteratu".

The basilica "in Archipresbyteratu" is dedicated to St Apollinaris, the patron saint of Ravenna, a city of such importance in the Middle Ages, consequent on the presence there of the Byzantine Exarchs, that its archbishops, copying the ecumenical patriarchs of Constantinople, began to arrogate to themselves papal honours.

It was therefore necessary to treat these prelates with great consideration, and it was during their ascendancy - at a time when even St Gregory the Great assigned a place of distinction to the apocrisarius of the metropolitans of Ravenna at the papal functions in Rome - that many churches and chapels were built in honour of St Apollinaris. There was one at the Vatican, another at the Lateran, a third - at which today's station is held - at the Baths, and another on the Via Appia.

St Apollinaris.

Rome, whilst showing this special veneration for St Apollinaris, was careful to point out (and for this she had excellent reasons) that the saint had been a disciple of St Peter, from whom he had received a mission to evangelize the Romagna; but there were certain patriarchs of Ravenna who tried to emancipate themselves entirely from papal jurisdiction, so much so that the Roman Missal does not fail to incalculate in its lessons on the Feast of St Apollinaris the necessity of humility and of avoiding that spirit of domineering arrogance which characterizes secular authority.

The magnificent Basilica of St Apollinaris in Ravenna,
known throughout the world for its splendid mosaics.
The small white altar in the centre of the nave
crowns the actual tomb of the saint.

Under the High Altar of the Basilica of St Apollinaris in Rome repose the relics of the Armenian martyrs Eustacius, Mardarius, Eugenius, Orestes and Eusentius, who were greatly renowned among the Greeks.

The Armenian Martyrs.

A great treasury of relics may be seen in the adjoining college on special days . Of interest is the fact that among those relics, before her translation to Mugnano by Canon Francis de Lucia in 1805, were once those of St Philomena after they had been discovered in the Catacomb of St Priscilla.

The Holy Relics of St Philomena.

Liturgical Note:

Today's Gospel (St Luke VII, 36-50) narrates the conversion of St Mary Magdalene, whom widespread tradition, as early as the time of Tertullian, identifies with the sister of Martha and Lazarus. God does not heed the past sins of the penitent, and in the Magdalene He wishes to give us an example of the way in which He will receive a sinner who returns to Him with true contrition. The fire of the Holy Ghost, says St Chrysostom, envelopes the poor penitent, sanctifies her and raises her up, even above the virgins.

St Mary Magdalene.
We are not all able to fast as did she,
nor can we all be apostles, as she was of the Apostles,
but every one of us has a heart
to consecrate to the love of God alone.

The post-Communion is ancient, and was chosen in the Middle Ages as a prayer of private devotion, which the priest used to recite immediately after having participated in the sacred mysteries. In this way it came to form part of the Ordinarium Missae of the Roman Missal...

Let us pray.

Quod ore sumpsimus...
Grant, O Lord, that what we have taken with our mouth, we may receive with a clean mind, and that from a temporal gift it may become for us an everlasting remedy.


Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Station at St. Marcellus

Wednesday in Passion Week.
Station at St. Marcellus.
(S. Marcello al Corso.)

This venerable sanctuary, one of the oldest tituli or parishes of the city, dates its origin from the year 308 when Pope Saint Marcellus here opened an oratory in the house of a devout matron Lucina. Excavations have corroborated the data furnished by the Acta of St Marcellus.

The tyrant Maxentius, who was afterwards defeated by Constantine in 312, desecrated this spot, ordering the horses of the public carriers to be stabled there, and condemning Pope Marcellus to the degrading duties of stable work.

St. Marcellus condemned to taking care of beasts in the church.

The venerable Pontiff, wretchedly clad and wearing a hair-shirt, worked in the vile service of the animals, says St Damasus. His austerities and the brutal treatment he suffered soon exhausted his strength; he sank under his hardships and privations in the year 310, and was buried in the cemetery of St. Priscilla. In the fifth century, when the oratory was enlarged into a church, the relics of the Holy Pontiff were translated to beneath the high altar, where they remain to this day.

The High Altar under which repose the relics of St. Marcellus,
a suitable glory for the martyr
who knew this place in quite another state.

A miracle took place here in 1519, which is very fitting for this Stational Church in Passiontide. The present church, which is the work of the seventeenth century, contains nothing of the ancient structure due to a fire which raised it to the ground in that year. All that was left standing was a Crucifix which had been left untouched by the flames and burning ashes.

In this church the words of the Passiontide Lauds hymn take on a very special charm:

Crux fidelis inter omnes...

Faithful Cross! above all other,

One and only noble Tree!
None in foliage, none in blossom,
None in fruit thy peers may be:
Sweetest wood and sweetest iron!
Sweetest weight is hung on thee.

The miraculous Crucifix carried in procession
at S. Marcello in 1931.

The Gospel of today speaks of the feast of the Encaenia, as the Hellenist Jews called the new dedication of the temple, which was being celebrated at Jerusalem (John X, 22-28). Our Lord's presence at the feast of Encaenia again teaches us that we should take frequent part in the solemn festivals of the Church, that they may be in truth the social and collective expression of the mystical union which binds all the faithful to the person of the Redeemer in a common bond of faith, hope and charity.

Liturgical Note:

The Lenten fast is now drawing to its close. In a short time, the catechumens will be called upon to take a solemn vow in public that they will observe the Law of God, for which reason the Church, with more than her usual insistence, dwells on the teaching of the Decalogue in the lessons of today. The ten precepts of the Torah are indeed comprised in the New Testament in a single word, "Love," for, as St Paul explains, the law of love having no limit embraces God as well as our neighbour, and is the chief motive of all dutiful service .

Let us pray.

Liberator meus de gentibus...
My deliverer from the angry nations:
Thou wilt lift me up above them that rise up against me:
from the unjust man Thou wilt deliver me, O Lord.
I will love Thee, O Lord, my strength:
the Lord is my firmament, and my refuge.

... et liberator meus. Liberator meus de gentibus...

(Introit of today's Mass.Ps 17:48,49; 17:2,3.
The repetitive idea of a deliverer, a liberator,
with which the prayer begins and ends
evokes a charming reflection on the sufferings endured
by the saint with whom this Station is associated.)

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Station at St. Cyriacus - S. Maria in Via Lata

Tuesday in Passion Week.
Station at St. Cyriacus - S. Maria in Via Lata.
(S. Maria in Via Lata.)

The station in Rome was formerly the church of the martyr St. Ciriacus,
and as such it is still given in the Roman missal;
but this holy sanctuary having been destroyed,
and the relics of the holy deacon translated to the church
of St. Mary in Via lata,
it is here that the station is now held.

A Roman tradition dating from the tenth century,
points to the crypt of this church
as the house where St. Paul lived a prisoner for two years.
If this crypt was the actual prison,
as the tradition of a thousand years and more would have us believe,
then it was here that the great Apostle converted Onesimus;
here that he received the alms of the Philippians brought by Epaphroditus;
here that he wrote several of his Epistles;
here that he preached the Cross of Christ
with such startling eloquence that many of Rome's noblest citizens
came to listen to him.
His words, powerful in themselves,
were rendered still more impressive
by the sight of the iron chains that fettered his venerable form,
and the presence of the rough military guard,
who never left his side.

Liturgical Note:
The Church makes use of the Psalter during these last days of the Fast,
in order to reveal to us the innermost thoughts of the Redeemer,
as the hour of His Passion draws near.
The Psalms form indeed the chief of all books of prayer.
While the Gospels relate the details of the life of Our Lord
and expound his teaching,
the Psalms of David show us the mind of our Saviour,
and make known to us His preferences,
His feelings, His struggles and His anxieties
and tell us of the accents of deep love
in which He prayed to His Heavenly Father.
Throughout His life, Jesus addressed Him in the words of the Psalter,
and on the Cross, during His last agony,
the twenty-first psalm was on His lips.

Let us pray.

Make not my soul to perish with sinners, O God,
nor my life with bloody men.
Redeem me, O Lord!
Deliver me, O Lord, from evil man,
preserve me from the wicked man.
Redeem me, O Lord!
make not my soul to perish with sinners, O God,
nor my life with bloody men.
Redeem me, O Lord!

(Third Responsory of Matins.Ps 25:9; 139:2)

  © Blogger templates The Professional Template by 2008

Back to TOP  

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...