STATION AT ST. VITALIS
(Indulgence of 10 years and 10 quarantines)
OF THE SECOND WEEK OF LENT
The Station for today is in the church of Saint Vitalis, martyr, the father of the two illustrious Milanese martyrs, Saints Gervasius and Protasius.
Commentary by Abbot Dom Guéranger
Ego autem cum justítia apparébo in conspéctu tuo: satiábor, dum manifestábitur glória tua. Ps 16:1. Exáudi, Dómine, justitiam meam: inténde deprecatióni meæ. Glória Patri.
But I in justice shall behold Your face; I shall be content when Your glory shall appear. Ps. Hear, O Lord, my justice; attend to my cry. Glory be to the Father.
Grant, we beseech Thee, almighty God, that cleansed with the sacred fast: we may with sincere hearts reach the coming feast. Through our Lord.
Lesson from the Book of Genesis
In those days, Joseph said to his brothers: Listen to this dream which I had. We were binding sheaves in the field; my sheaf rose up and remained standing, while your sheaves gathered round and bowed down to my sheaf. His brothers answered: Are you to be our king? Are you to rule over us? And because of his dreams and words they hated him the more. He had another dream which he also told to his brothers. I had another dream, he said. The sun, the moon and eleven stars were worshipping me. When he told that to his father and his brothers, his father reproved him. What is this dream that you have had? he said. Can it be that I and your mother and your brothers will come to bow to the ground before you? So his brothers envied him, while his father pondered the matter. When his brothers had gone to pasture their father’s flocks at Sichem, Israel said to Joseph: Your brothers are pasturing the flocks at Sichem; get ready, I will send you to them. Joseph answered: I am ready. Go, then, said Israel, and see if all is well with your brothers and with the flocks; and bring back a report to me. So he sent him from the valley of Hebron, and he came to Sichem. A man found Joseph wandering about in the fields and asked him: What are you looking for? I am looking for my brothers, he answered. Tell me, please, where they are pasturing. The man said: They have moved on from here, because I heard them say: Let us go to Dothain. So Joseph went after his brothers and found them in Dothain. They saw him in the distance, and before he drew near them, they plotted to kill him. They said to one another: Here comes that dreamer! Let us therefore kill him and throw him into a cistern; we can say that a wild beast devoured him. Let us see then what becomes of his dreams. But when Ruben heard of it, he tried to rescue him from them saying: We must not kill him. Then he continued: Do not shed blood. Throw him into the cistern there in the desert, but do not lay a hand on him. His purpose was to rescue him from them and restore him to his father.
Today the Church reminds us of the apostasy of the Jewish nation, and of the consequent vocation of the Gentiles. This instruction was intended for the catechumens; let us, also, proﬁt by it. The history here related from the old Testament is a ﬁgure of what we read in today’s Gospel. Joseph is exceedingly beloved by his father Jacob, not only because he is the child of his favourite spouse Rachel, but also because of his innocence. Prophetic dreams have announced the future glory of this child: but he has brothers; and these brothers, urged on by jealousy, are determined to destroy him. Their wicked purpose is not carried out to the full; but it succeeds at least this far, that Joseph will never more see his native country. He is sold to some merchants. Shortly afterwards, he is cast into prison; but he is soon set free, and is made the ruler, not of the land of Chanaan that had exiled him, but of a pagan country, Egypt. He saves these poor Gentiles from starvation, during a most terrible famine, nay, he gives them abundance of food, and they are happy under his government. His very brothers, who persecuted him, are obliged to come down into Egypt, and ask food and pardon from their victim. We easily recognize in this wonderful history our divine Redeemer, Jesus, Son of God and Son of Mary. He was the victim of His own people’s jealousy, who refused to acknowledge in Him the Messias foretold by the prophets, although their prophecies were so evidently fulﬁlled in Him. Like Joseph, Jesus is the object of a deadly conspiracy; like Joseph, He is sold. He traverses the shadow of death, but only to rise again, full of glory and power. But it is no longer on Israel that He lavishes the proofs of His predilection; He turns to the Gentiles, and with them He henceforth dwells. It is to the Gentiles that the remnant of Israel will come seeking Him, when, pressed by hunger after the truth, they are willing to acknowledge, as the true Messias, this Jesus of Nazareth, their King, whom they cruciﬁed.
In my distress I called to the Lord, and He answered me. V. O Lord, deliver me from lying lip, from a treacherous tongue.
Psalm 102:10; 78: 8, 9
O Lord, deal with us not according to our sins, nor requite us according to our crimes. Ps. O Lord, remember not against us the iniquities of the past; may Your compassion quickly come to us, for we are brought very low. [Kneel.] V. Help us, O God, our Saviour, because of the glory of Your Name, O Lord; deliver us and pardon our sins for Your Name’s sake.
Continuation of the holy Gospel according to St. Matthew
At that time, Jesus spoke this parable to the multitude of the Jews and the chief priests: There was a man, a householder, who planted a vineyard, and put a hedge about it, and dug a wine vat in it, and built a tower; then he let it out to vine-dressers, and went abroad. But when the fruit season drew near, he sent his servants to the vinedressers to receive his fruits. And the vinedressers seized his servants, and beat one, killed another, and stoned another. Again he sent another party of servants more numerous than the first; and they did the same to these. Finally he sent his son to them, saying: They will respect my son. But the vine-dressers, on seeing the son, said among themselves: This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and we shall have his inheritance. So they seized him, cast him out of the vineyard, and killed him. When, therefore, the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those vine-dressers? They said to Him: He will utterly destroy those evil men, and will let out the vineyard to other vine-dressers, who will render to him the fruits in their seasons. Jesus said to them: Did you never read in the Scriptures: The stone which the builders rejected, has become the cornerstone; by the Lord this has been done, and it is wonderful in our eyes? Therefore I say to you, that the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and will be given to a people yielding its fruits. And he who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; but upon whomever it falls, it will grind him to powder. And when the chief priests and Pharisees had heard His parables, they knew that He was speaking about them. And though they sought to lay hands on Him, they feared the people, because they regarded Him as a prophet.
Here we have more than the mere ﬁgures of the old Law, which show us our Redeemer in the far distant future; we have the great reality. Yet a little while, and the thrice holy Victim will have fallen beneath the blows of His persecutors. How awful and solemn are the words of Jesus, as His last hour approaches! His enemies feel the full weight of what He says; but, in their pride, they are determined to keep up their opposition to Him, who is the Wisdom of the Father. They have made up their minds not to acknowledge Him to be what they well know He is—the stone, on which he that falls shall be broken, and which shall grind to powder him on whom it shall fall. But what is the vineyard, of which our Lord here speaks? It is revealed truth; it is the rule of faith and morals; it is the universal expectation of the promised Redeemer; and, lastly, it is the family of the children of God, His inheritance, His Church. God had chosen the Synagogue as the depository of such a treasure; He willed that His vineyard should be carefully kept, that it should yield fruit under their keeping, and that they should always look upon it as His possession, and one that was most dear to Him. But, in its hard-heartedness and avarice, the Synagogue appropriated the Lord’s vineyard to itself. In vain did He, at various times, send His prophets to reclaim His rights; the faithless husbandmen put them to death. The Son of God, the Heir, comes in Person. Surely, they will receive Him with due respect, and pay Him the homage due to His divine character! But no; they have formed a plot against Him; they intend to cast Him forth out of the vineyard, and kill Him. Come, then, ye Gentiles, and. avenge this God! Leave not a stone on a stone of the guilty city that has uttered this terrible curse: ‘May His Blood be upon us and upon our children!’ But you shall be more than the ministers of the divine justice; you yourselves are now the favoured people of God. The apostasy of these ungrateful Jews is the beginning of your salvation. You are to be keepers of the vineyard to the end of time; you are to feed on its fruits, for they now belong to you. From east and west, from north and south, come to the great Pasch, that is being prepared! Come to the font of salvation, O ye new people, who are gathered unto God from all nations under the sun! Your mother the Church will ﬁll up from you, if you be faithful, the number of the elect; and when her work is done, her Spouse will return, as the dread Judge, to condemn those who would not know the time of their visitation.
Psalm 39:14, 15
Deign, O Lord, to rescue me; let all be put to shame and confusion who seek to snatch away my life. Deign, O Lord, to rescue me.
PRAYER OVER THE PEOPLE
Bow down your heads to God.
Grant, we beseech thee, O Lord, to thy people health both of soul and body, that by the continual practice of good works they may always be defended by thy powerful protection. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Let us encourage within ourselves the spirit of humility and penance by the following hymn, which we take from the Greek liturgy. It was composed by St. Andrew of Crete.
(Feria V. quintae hebdomadae)
I would mourn over the sins of my wretched life; but where shall I begin? O Jesus! how shall I commence the lamentation I fain would make this day ‘I Do thou, my merciful God, forgive me my sins.
Come, my poor soul and thou, too, my body, come, and confess to the great Creator; and, henceforth, restrain your senseless passions, and ‘offer to God the tears of repentance.
I have imitated my ﬁrst parent in his sin; I acknowledge my nakedness, for I have lost my God, and the kingdom and the joys of eternity.
Alas, unhappy soul! wherefore hast thou made thyself like unto Eve! Oh that guilty look! Oh that cruel wound! Thou didst stretch forth thy hand to the tree; and, in thy frowardness, didst eat the forbidden fruit.
Adam was deservedly driven out of paradise, because he broke one of thy commandments. O my Saviour! I, then, who am forever setting thy life giving words at deﬁance, what punishment shall I not have?
Now is the time for repentance. I come to thee, O my Creator! Take from me the heavy yoke of sin, and, for thy mercy’s sake, pardon me my crimes. Despise me not, my Saviour!
Cast me not away from thy face. Take from me the heavy yoke of sin, and, for thy mercy’s sake, pardon me my crimes. Do thou, my Saviour, and my merciful God, pardon me my sins, deliberate or indeliberate, public or private, known or unknown. Have mercy on me, and save me!