Wenceslaus was the son of a Christian Duke of Bohemia, but his mother was a hard and cruel pagan. Through the care of his holy grandmother, Ludmilla, herself a martyr, Wenceslaus was educated in the true faith, and imbibed a special devotion to the Blessed Sacrament. On the death of his father, his mother, Drahomira, usurped the government and passed a series of persecuting laws. In the interests of the Faith Wencesluas claimed and obtained, through the support of the people, a large portion of the country as his own kingdom. His mother secured the apostasy and alliance of her second son, Boleslas, who became henceforth her ally against the Christians.
Wenceslaus meanwhile ruled as a brave and pious king, provided for all the needs of his people, and when his kingdom was attacked, overcame in single combat, by the sign of the cross, the leader of an invading army. In the service of God he was most constant, and planted with his own hands the wheat and grapes for the Holy Mass, at which he never failed daily to assist. His piety was the occasion of his death. Once, after a banquet at his brother’s palace, to which he had been treacherously invited, he went, as was his wont at night, to pray before the tabernacle. There, at midnight on the feast of the Angels, A.D. 938, he received his crown of martyrdom, his brother dealing him the death-blow.
St. Wenceslaus teaches us that the safest place to meet the trials of life, or to prepare for the stroke of death, is before Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament.
DUKE AND MARTYR
Missa ‘In virtute’
INTROITUS – Psalm 20: 2-3
In virtúte tua, Dómine, lætábitur justus: et super salutáre tuum exsultábit veheménter: desidérium ánimæ ejus tribuísti ei. Ps. Quóniam prævenísti eum in benedictiónibus dulcédinis: posuísti in cápite ejus corónam de lápide pretióso. Gloria Patri.
In Thy strength, O Lord, the just man shall joy: and in Thy salvation he shall rejoice exceedingly: Thou hast given him his heart’s desire. Ps. For Thou hast prevented him with blessings of sweetness; Thou hast set on his head a crown of precious stones. Glory be to the Father.
O God, Who, through the palm of martyrdom, didst transfer blessed Wenceslaus from an earthly principality to Heavenly glory: keep us, by his prayers, from all adversity, and grant us to rejoice in his fellowship. Through our Lord.
EPISTLE – Wisdom 10: 10-14
The Lord conducted the just through the right ways, and showed him the kingdom of God, and gave him the knowledge of the holy things; made him honourable in his labours, and accomplished his labours. In the deceit of them that overreached him, He stood by him, and made him honourable. He kept him safe from his enemies, and defended him from seducers, and gave him a strong conflict, that he might overcome, and know that wisdom is mightier than all. She forsook not the just when he was sold, but delivered him from sinners: she went down with him into the pit, and in bands she left him not, till she brought him the sceptre of the kingdom and power against those that oppressed him; and showed them to be liars that had accused him: and the Lord our God gave him everlasting glory.
GRADUAL – Psalm 111: 1-2
Blessed is the man that feareth the Lord; he delighteth exceedingly in His commandments. His seed shall be mighty upon earth: the generation of the righteous shall be blessed.
ALLELUIA – Psalm 20: 4
Alleluia, alleluia. O Lord, Thou hast set on his head a crown of precious stones. Alleluia.
GOSPEL – Matthew 10: 34-42
At that time, Jesus said to His disciples: Do not think that I came to send peace upon earth: I came not to send peace, but the sword. For I came to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law: and a man’s enemies shall be they of his own household. He that loveth father or mother more than Me, is not worthy of Me; and he that loveth son or daughter more than Me, is not worthy of Me; and he that taketh not up his cross, and followeth Me, is not worthy of Me. He that findeth his life, shall lose it: and he that shall lose his life for Me, shall find it. He that receiveth you, receiveth Me; and he that receiveth Me, receiveth Him that sent Me. He that receiveth a prophet in the name of a prophet, shall receive the reward of a prophet; and he that receiveth a just man in the name of a just man, shall receive the reward of a just man. And whosoever shall give to drink to one of these little ones a cup of cold water in the name of a disciple, amen I say to you, he shall not lose his reward.
OFFERTORY – Psalm 8: 6-7
Thou hast crowned him with glory, and honor; and hast set him over the works of Thy hands, O Lord.
Accept, we beseech Thee, O Lord, our offerings and prayers; both cleanse us by these Heavenly mysteries and graciously hear us. Through our Lord.
It is truly meet and just, right and for our salvation that we should at all times and in all places, give thanks unto Thee, O holy Lord, Father almighty, eternal God: through Christ our Lord. through Whom the Angels praise Thy Majesty, Dominations worship, Powers stand in awe. The Heavens and the Heavenly hosts together with the blessed Seraphim in triumphant chorus unite to celebrate it. Together with them we entreat Thee, that Thou mayest bid our voices also to be admitted, while we say in lowly praise:
COMMUNION – Matthew 16: 24
If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.
Grant, we beseech Thee, O Lord, our God, that we, who in this life joyfully assist in the commemoration of Thy Saints, may hereafter rejoice in beholding them forever in Heaven. Through our Lord.