EMBER FRIDAY IN LENT
The Station is in the basilica of the twelve apostles; it is one of the grandest of the churches of Rome, and is enriched by the bodies of the two apostles, St. Philip and St. James the less.
STATION AT THE TWELVE APOSTLES
(Indulgence of 10 years and 10 quarantine’s)
INTROIT – Psalm 24:17, 18, 1, 2
De necessitatibus meis eripe me, Domine: vide humilitatem meam et laborem meum et dimitte omnia peccata mea. Ps. Ad te, Domine, levavi animam meam: Deus meus, in te confio, no erubescam. Gloria Patri. Deliver me, O Lord, from my necessities; see my abjection and my labour; and forgive me all my sins. Ps. To Thee, O Lord, have I lifted up my soul: in Thee, O my God, I put my trust; let me not be ashamed. Glory to the Father.
O Lord, be gracious to Thy people; and as Thou makest them devoted to Thee, in Thy mercy cherish them by Thy kind assistance. Through our Lord.
EPISTLE – Ezechiel 18:20-28
Thus saith the Lord God: The soul that sinneth, the same shall die: the son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, and the father shall not bear the iniquity of the son: the justice of the just shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him. But if the wicked do penance for all his sins which he hath committed, and keep all my commandments, and do judgment, and justice, living he shall live, and shall not die. I will not remember all his iniquities that he hath done: in his justice which he hath wrought, he shall live. Is it My will that a sinner should die, saith the Lord God, and not that he should be converted from his ways, and live? But if the just man turn himself away from his justice, and do iniquity according to all the abominations which the wicked man useth to work, shall he live? All his justices which he hath done, shall not be remembered: in the prevarication, by which he hath prevaricated, and in his sin, which he hath committed, in them he shall die. And you have said: The way of the Lord is not right. Hear ye, therefore, O house of Israel: Is it My way that is not right, and are not rather your ways perverse? For when the just turneth himself away from his justice, and committeth iniquity, he shall die therein: in the injustice that he hath wrought he shall die. And when the wicked turneth himself away from his wickedness, which he hath wrought, and doeth judgment, and justice: he shall save his soul alive. Because he considereth and turneth away himself from all his iniquities which he hath wrought, he shall surely live, and not die. Let us not forget the ancient discipline of the Church, during Lent. We should frequently be at a loss to understand her liturgy of this season, unless we picture her to ourselves as preparing the public penitents for a renewed participation in the mysteries. But ﬁrst they must be reconciled with God, whom they have offended. Their soul is dead by sin; can it be restored to life? Yes; we have God’s word for it. The lesson from the prophet Ezechiel, which the Church began yesterday for the catechumens, is continued today for the beneﬁt of the public penitents. If the wicked do penance for all his sins, which he hath committed, and keep all My commandments, and do and justice; living he shall live, and shall not die. But his iniquities are upon him, and rise up against him, crying to heaven for eternal vengeance! And yet God, who knows all things, and forgets nothing, assures us that He will not remember iniquities which have been redeemed by penance. Such is the affection of His fatherly Heart, that He will forget the outrage offered Him by His son, if this son will but return to his duty. Thus, then, our penitents are to be reconciled; and on the feast of the Resurrection they will be associated with the just, because God will have forgotten their iniquities; they themselves will be just men. Thus it is that the liturgy, which never changes, brings frequently before us the ancient discipline of public penance. Nowadays, sinners are not visibly separated from the faithful; the Church doors are not closed against them; they frequently stand near the holy altar, in the company of the just; and when God’s pardon descends upon them, the faithful are not made cognizant of the grace by any special and solemn rite. Let us here admire the wonderful mercy of our heavenly Father, and proﬁt by the indulgent discipline of our holy mother the Church. The lost sheep may enter the fold at any hour and Without any display; let him take advantage of the condescension thus shown him, and never more wander from the Shepherd, who thus mercifully receives him. Neither let the just man be puffed up with self-complacency, by preferring himself to the lost sheep; let him rather reﬂect on those words of today’s lesson: If the just man turn himself away from his justice, and do iniquity . . . the justices which he hath done shall not be remembered. Let us, therefore, tremble for ourselves, and have compassion on sinners. One of the great means on which the Church rests her hopes for the reconciliation of sinners is the fervent prayers offered up for them by the faithful during Lent.
GRADUAL – Psalm 85: 2, 6
Save Thy servant, O my God, that trusteth in Thee. Give ear. O Lord, to my prayer.
TRACT – Psalm 102:10; 78: 8, 9
O Lord, repay us not according to the sins we have committed, nor according to our iniquities. O Lord, remember not our former iniquities, let Thy mercies speedily prevent us: for we are become exceeding poor. Here kneel. Help us, O God, our Saviour: and for the glory of Thy Name, O Lord, deliver us: and forgive us our sins for Thy Name’s sake.
GOSPEL – John 5:1-15
At that time there was a festival day of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. Now there is at Jerusalem a pond, called Probatica, which in Hebrew is named Bethsaida, having five porches. In these lay a great multitude of sick, of blind, of lame, of withered; waiting for the moving of the water. And an Angel of the Lord descended at certain times into the pond; and the water was moved. And he that went down first into the pond after the motion of the water, was made whole, of whatsoever infirmity he lay under. And there was a certain man there, that had been eight and thirty years under his infirmity. Him when Jesus had seen lying, and knew that he had been now a long time, He saith to him: Wilt thou be made whole? The infirm man answered Him: Sir, I have no man, when the water is troubled, to put me into the pond. For whilst I am coming, another goeth down before me. Jesus saith to him: Arise, take up thy bed, and walk. And immediately the man was made whole: and he took up his bed, and walked. And it was the sabbath that day. The Jews therefore said to him that was healed: It is the sabbath; it is not lawful for thee to take up thy bed. He answered them: He that made me whole, He said to me, Take up thy bed, and walk. They asked him therefore: Who is that man who said to thee, Take up thy bed, and walk? But he who was healed, knew not who it was; for Jesus went aside from the multitude standing in the place. Afterwards, Jesus findeth him in the temple, and saith to him: Behold thou art made whole: sin no more, lest some worse thing happen to thee. The man went his way, and told the Jews, that it was Jesus who had made him whole. Let us return to our penitents of the ancient discipline of the Church ; those of the present day, and we ourselves, can easily make a practical application of the reﬂections suggested by the Gospel. We have just been told by the prophet that God is ever ready to pardon a penitent sinner. But how is this pardon to be administered? Who is to pronounce the sentence of absolution? The answer is given in our Gospel. He that had been eight-and-thirty years under his inﬁrmity, is a ﬁgure of ‘the inveterate sinner: and yet he is made whole, and recovers the use of his limbs. How has the cure been wrought? First of all, the inﬁrm man says to Jesus: I have no man, when the water is troubled, to put me into the pond. The water would have cured him; but observe, he has need of some man to lead him to the water. This Man is the Son of God, and He became Man in order to heal us. As Man, He has received power to forgive sins; and, before leaving this earth, He gives that same power to other men, and says to them: ‘Whose sins ye shall forgive, they are forgiven them.’ Our penitents, then, are to be reconciled with God by virtue of this supernatural power; and the inﬁrm man, who takes up’ his bed and walks, is a ﬁgure of the sinner, whose sins have been forgiven him by the Church, by the divine power of the keys. In the third century, a heretic, named Novatian, taught that the Church has not the power to forgive sins committed after Baptism. This doctrine was condemned by the Councils and the holy doctors of the Church; and in order to offer to the faithful some outward expression of the power given to the Son of Man of forgiving sins to such as repent, there was painted on the walls of the places where the Christians used to assemble, the inﬁrm man of our Gospel, walking with his bed upon his shoulders This consoling symbol is frequently met with in the frescoes which were painted, even in the age of the martyrs, in the Roman catacombs. They show us how the early Christians were taught to understand this passage of the Gospel, which the Church, so many centuries ago, assigned to this day. The water of the Probatica was also a symbol; and here our Gospel conveyed a special instruction to the catechumens. By water they were to be made whole, and by water endowed with a supernatural virtue. The miraculous pond of Jerusalem could cure only the body, and that at rare intervals, and the favour could be conferred only upon a single individual; but now that the angel of the Great Counsel has come down from heaven, and sanctiﬁed the waters of the Jordan, the Probatica is everywhere; it is giving health to the souls of men, without any limitation either of time or of number. Man is the minister of this grace; but it is the Son of God, become the Son of Man, that works by the human minister. Let us also consider the multitude of sick, who, as the Gospel tells us, were waiting for the moving of the water. They represent the various classes of sinners, who are seeking, during this holy time, to be converted to their God. There are the sick, or, as the Latin word has it, the languid; these are the tepid, who never thoroughly give up their evil habits; there are the blind; these are they whose spiritual eye is dead; there are the lame, who limp and falter in the path of salvation; and, lastly, there are the withered, who seem incapable of doing a single good action. All are waiting for the favourable moment. Jesus will soon be with them, and will say to each of them: Wilt thou be made whole? Let them answer this question with love and conﬁdence, and they will be healed.
OFFERTORY – Psalm 102: 2, 5
Bless the Lord, O my soul, and never forget all He hath done for thee, and thy youth shall be renewed like the eagle’s.
We beseech Thee, O Lord, receive the offerings of our service: and mercifully hallow Thy gifts. Through our Lord.
PREFACE OF LENT
It is truly meet and just, right and availing unto salvation, that we should at all times and in all places give thanks unto Thee, O holy Lord, Father almighty and everlasting God. Who by the fasting of the body dost curb our vices, elevate our minds and bestow virtue and reward; through Christ our Lord. Through whom the angels praise Thy majesty, the dominions worship it, and the powers stand in awe. The heavens and the heavenly hosts, with the blessed seraphim join together in celebrating their joy. With these we pray Thee join our voices also, while we say with lowly praise:
Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus, Dóminus Deus Sábaoth. Pleni sunt cæli et terra glória tua. Hosánna in excélsis. Benedíctus qui venit in nómine Dómini. Hosánna in excélsis.
COMMUNION – Psalm 6:11
Let all mine enemies be ashamed and be very much troubled: let them be turned back and be ashamed very speedily.
O Lord, by the working of this mystery may our vices be purged away and our just desires fulfilled. Through our Lord.
PRAYER OVER THE PEOPLE
Bow your heads to God. Graciously hear us, O merciful God, and manifest the light of thy grace to our souls. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.