Tuesday in Passion Week
STATION AT ST. CYRIACUS
(Indulgence of 10 years and 10 quarantines)
Abbot Dom Guéranger
The Station, in Rome, was formerly the Church of the Martyr Saint Cyriacus, 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 Saint Mary in Via lata, it is here that the Station is now held.
INTROIT – Psalm 26: 14, 1
Exspecta Dóminum, viríliter age: et confortétur cor tuum, et sústine Dóminum. Ps 26: 1. Dóminus illuminátio mea et salus mea: quem timebo?
Wait for the Lord with courage; be stouthearted, and wait for the Lord. Ps. The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom should I fear?
May our fasting be acceptable to You, we beseech You, O Lord; may it be atonement for our sins, make us worthy of Your grace, and lead us to the everlasting remedy of the life to come. Through our Lord.
EPISTLE – Daniel 14: 27-42
In those days, the Babylonians went to the king and demanded: Hand over to us Daniel, who has destroyed Bel and killed the dragon, or we will kill you and your family. When he saw himself threatened with violence, the king was forced to hand Daniel over to them. They threw Daniel into a lions’ den, where he remained six days. In the den were seven lions, and two carcasses and two sheep had been given to them daily. But now they were given nothing, so that they would devour Daniel. In Judea there was a prophet, Habacuc; he mixed some bread in a bowl with the stew he had boiled, and was going to bring it to the reapers in the field, when an Angel of the Lord told him, Take the lunch you have to Daniel in the lions’ den at Babylon. But Habacuc answered, Babylon, sir, I have never seen, and I do not know the den! The Angel of the Lord seized him by the crown of his head and carried him by the hair; with the speed of the wind, he set him down in Babylon above the den. Daniel, servant of God, cried Habacuc, take the lunch God has sent you. You have remembered me, O God, said Daniel; You have not forsaken those who love You. While Daniel began to eat, the Angel of the Lord at once brought Habacuc back to his own place. On the seventh day the king came to mourn for Daniel. As he came to the den and looked in, there was Daniel, sitting in the midst of the lions! The king cried aloud, You are great, O Lord, the God of Daniel! Daniel he took out of the lions’ den, but those who had tried to destroy him he threw into the den, and they were devoured in a moment before his eyes. Then the king said: Let all the inhabitants of the whole earth fear the God of Daniel; for He is the Saviour, working signs and wonders in the earth, Who has delivered Daniel out of the lions’ den.
This Lesson was intended, in an especial manner, as an instruction to the Catechumens. They were preparing to enroll themselves as Christians; it was, therefore, necessary that they should have examples put before them, which they might study and imitate. Daniel, cast into the Lions’ Den for having despised and destroyed the idol Bel, was the type of a Martyr. This Prophet had confessed the true God in Babylon; he had put to death a Dragon, to which the people, after Bel had been destroyed, had given their idolatrous worship: nothing less than Daniel’s death could appease their indignation. The holy man, full of confidence in God, allowed himself to be thrown into the Lions’ Den, thus setting an example of courageous faith to the future Christians: they would imitate him, and, for three centuries, would nobly shed their blood for the establishment of the Church of Christ. In the Roman catacombs, we continually meet with the representation of Daniel surrounded by lions, and many of these paintings date from the ages of Persecution. Thus, the eye of the Catechumens could see what their ear heard, — both told them to be ready for trial and sacrifice.
It is true, the history of Daniel showed them the power of God interfering and delivering him from death; but they were fully aware, that in order to merit a like deliverance, they would have to show a like constancy, and be ready to suffer death, rather than deny their faith. From time to time, a Christian was led to the amphitheatre, and the wild beasts would fawn at his feet; but such miracles only put off the Martyr’s sacrifice, and perhaps won others to the faith. It was the Prophet’s courage, and not his victory over the lions, that the Church proposed to her Catechumens. The great thing for them to bear in mind, was this maxim of our Lord: Fear not them that kill the body, and are not able to kill the soul; but rather fear him that can destroy both soul and body into hell.
We are the descendants of these early Christians; but our faith has not cost us what it cost them. And yet we have a tyrant to try even ours: we have to confess our faith, not indeed before Proconsuls or Emperors, but before the World. Let the example of the brave Martyrs send us forth from our Lent with a courageous determination to withstand this tyrant, with his maxims, his pomps, and his works. There has been a truce between him and us, during these days of retirement and penance; but the battle will soon be renewed, and then we must stand the brunt, and show that we are Christians.
GRADUAL – Psalm 42: 1, 3
Fight my fight, O Lord; from the deceitful and impious man rescue me. V. Send forth Your light and Your fidelity; they shall lead me on and bring me to Your holy mountain.
GOSPEL – John 7: 1-13
At that time, Jesus went about in Galilee, for He did not wish to go about in Judea because the Jews were seeking to put Him to death. Now the Jewish feast of Tabernacles was at hand. His brethren therefore said to Him, Leave here and go into Judea that Your disciples also may see the works that You do; for no one does a thing in secret if he wants to be publicly known. If You do these things, manifest yourself to the world. For not even His brethren believed in Him. Jesus therefore said to them, My time has not yet come, but your time is always at hand. The world cannot hate you, but it hates Me because I bear witness concerning it, that its works are evil. As for you, go up to the feast, but I do not go up to this feast, for My time is not yet fulfilled. When He had said these things He stayed on in Galilee. But as soon as His brethren had gone up to the feast, then He also went up, not publicly, but as it were privately. The Jews therefore were looking for Him at the feast, and were saying, Where is He? And there was much whispered comment among the crowd concerning Him. For some were saying, He is a good man. But others were saying, No, rather He seduces the crowd. Yet for fear of the Jews no one spoke openly of Him.
The facts here related refer to an earlier part of our Lord’s life; but the Church proposes them to our consideration today, on account of their connection with those given us in the Gospels read to us during the last few days. We learn from these words of St. John, that the Jews were plotting the death of Jesus, not only when this the last Pasch for the Synagogue was approaching, but even so far back as the Feast of Tabernacles, which, was kept in September. The Son of God was reduced to the necessity of going from place to place as it were in secret: if he would go to Jerusalem, he must take precautions! Let us adore these humiliations of the Man-God, who has deigned to sanctify every position of life, even that of the just man persecuted and obliged to hide himself from his enemies. It would have been an easy matter for him to confound his adversaries by working miracles, such as those which Herod’s curiosity sought for; he could have compelled them to treat him with the reverence that was due to him. But this is not God’s way; he does not force man to duty; he acts, and then leaves man to recognize his Creator’s claims. In order to do this, man must be attentive and humble, he must impose silence on his passions. The divine light shows itself to the soul that thus comports herself First, she sees the actions, the works, of God; then, she believes, and wishes to believe; her happiness, as well as her merit, lies in Faith, and faith will be recompensed in eternity with Light,—with the Vision.
Flesh and blood cannot understand this; they love show and noise. The Son of God, having come down upon this earth, could not subject himself to such an abasement as that of making a parade of his infinite power before men. He had to work miracles, in order to give a guarantee of his mission; but, as Man, everything he did was not to be a miracle. By far the longest period of his life was devoted to the humble duties of a creature; had it not been so, how should we have learned from him what we so much needed to know? His Brethren, (the Jews gave the name of Brothers to all who were collaterally related,) his Brethren wished Jesus to make a display of his miraculous power, for some of the glory would have accrued to them. This their ambition caused our Lord to address them in these strong words, upon which we should meditate during this holy season, for, later on, we shall stand in need of the teaching: “The world cannot hate you; but me it hateth.” Let us, therefore, for the time to come, not please the world; its friendship would separate us from Jesus Christ.
PRAYER OVER THE PEOPLE
Bow down your heads to God.
Grant us, O Lord, we beseech thee, perseverance in thy service; that in our days, thy faithful may increase both in number and goodness. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.