FRIDAY OF THE FOURTH WEEK OF LENT
The Station is in the Church of Saint Eusebius, Priest of Rome, who suffered for the faith, in the Arian persecution, under the Emperor Constantius.
Feria / Violet Vestments Missa ‘Meditatio cordis mei’
O God, who by thy ineffable mysteries givest new life to the world; grant, we beseech thee, that thy Church may advance in the observance of thy eternal precepts, and never be destitute of thy temporal assistance. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Deus, qui ineffabílibus mundum rénovas sacraméntis: præsta, quæsumus; ut Ecclésia tua et ætérnis profíciat institútis, et temporálibus non destituátur auxíliis. Per Dóminum nostrum Jesum Christum Fílium tuum, qui tecum vivit et regnat in unitáte Spíritus Sancti Deus, per ómnia sæcula sæculórum. Amen.
Lesson from the book of Kings
III Chapter 17: 17-24
In those days, the son of the woman, the mistress of the house, fell sick; and his sickness was so sore, that there was no breath left in him. And she said unto Elijah, What have I to do with thee, O thou man of God? Art thou come unto me to call my sin to remembrance, and to slay my son? And he said unto her, Give me thy son. And he took him out of her bosom, and carried him up into a loft, where he abode, and laid him upon his own bed. And he cried unto the Lord, and said, O Lord my God, hast thou also brought evil upon the widow with whom I sojourn, by slaying her son? And he stretched himself upon the child three times, and cried unto the Lord, and said, O Lord my God, I pray thee, let this child’s soul come into him again. And the Lord heard the voice of Elijah; and the soul of the child came into him again, and he revived. And Elijah took the child, and brought him down out of the chamber into the house, and delivered him unto his mother: and Elijah said, See, thy son liveth. And the woman said to Elijah, now by this I know that thou art a man of God, and that the word of the Lord in thy mouth is truth.
Léctio libri Regum
III Chapter 17: 17-24
In diébus illis: Ægrotávit fílius mulíeris matrisfamílias, et erat languor fortíssimus, ita ut non remanéret in eo hálitus.Dixit ergo ad Elíam: Quid mihi et tibi, vir Dei? Ingréssus es ad me, ut rememoraréntur iniquitátes meæ, et interfíceres fílium meum? Et ait ad eam Elías: Da mihi fílium tuum. Tulítque eum de sinu ejus, et portávit in cœnáculum ubi ipse manébat, et pósuit super léctulum suum, et clamávit ad Dóminum, et dixit: Dómine, Deus meus, étiam ne víduam, apud quam ego utcúmque susténtor, afflixísti, ut interfíceres fílium ejus? Et expándit se, atque mensus est super púerum tribus vícibus, et clamávit ad Dóminum, et ait: Dómine, Deus meus, revertátur, óbsecro, ánima púeri hujus in víscera ejus. Et exaudívit Dóminus vocem Elíæ: et revérsa est ánima púeri intra eum, et revíxit. Tulítque púerum, et depósuit eum de cœnáculo in inferiórem domum, et trádidit matri suæ, et ait illi: En vivit fílius tuus. Dixítque múlier ad Elíam: Nunc in isto cognóvi, quóniam vir Dei es tu, et verbum Dómini in ore tuo verum est.
Again, it is a mother, which comes, with tears in her eyes, praying for the resurrection of her child. This mother is the Widow of Sarephta, whom we have already had as the type of the Gentile Church. She was once a sinner, and an idolatress, and the remembrance of the past afflicts her soul; but the God that has cleansed her from her sins, and called her to be his Spouse, comforts her by restoring her child to life. The charity of Elias is a figure of that of the Son of God. Observe how this great Prophet stretches him- self upon the body of the boy, fitting himself to his littleness, as did also Eliseus. Here again, we recognize the divine mystery of the Incarnation. Elias thrice touches the corpse ; thrice, also, will our catechumens be immersed in the baptismal font, whilst the minister of God invokes the Three Persons of the adorable Trinity. On the solemn night of Easter, Jesus, too, will say to the Church, his Spouse: Behold, thy son liveth; and she, transported with joy, will acknowledge the truth of God’s promises. Nay, the very Pagans bore witness to this truth; for when they saw the virtuous lives of this new people, which came forth regenerated from the waters of Baptism, they acknowledged that God alone could produce such virtue in man. There suddenly arose from the midst of the Roman Empire, demoralised and corrupt beyond imagination, a race of men of angelic purity; and these very men had, but a short time before their Baptism, wallowed in all the abominations of paganism. Whence had they derived this sublime virtue? From the Christian teaching, and from the supernatural remedies it provides for man’s spiritual miseries. Then it was, that unbelievers sought for the true Faith, though they knew it was at the risk of martyrdom; they ran to the Church, asking her to become their mother, and saying to her: We know that thou art of God, and the word of the Lord in thy mouth is true.
The continuation of the Holy Gospel according to St. John.
John 11: 1- 45
At that time, a certain man was sick, named Lazarus, of Bethany, the town of Mary and her sister Martha. (It was that Mary which anointed the Lord with ointment, and wiped his feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick.) Therefore his sisters sent unto him, saying, Lord, behold, he whom thou lovest is sick. When Jesus heard that, he said, This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby. Now Jesus loved Martha, and her sister, and Lazarus. When he had heard therefore that he was sick, he abode two days still in the same place where he was. Then after that saith he to his disciples, Let us go into Judaea again. His disciples say unto him, Master, the Jews of late sought to stone thee; and goest thou thither again? Jesus answered, Are there not twelve hours in the day? If any man walk in the day, he stumbleth not, because he seeth the light of this world. But if a man walk in the night, he stumbleth, because there is no light in him. These things said he: and after that he saith unto them, Our friend Lazarus sleepeth; but I go, that I may awake him out of sleep. Then said his disciples, Lord, if he sleep, he shall do well. Howbeit Jesus spake of his death: but they thought that he had spoken of taking of rest in sleep. Then said Jesus unto them plainly, Lazarus is dead. And I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, to the intent ye may believe; nevertheless let us go unto him. Then said Thomas, which is called Didymus, unto his fellowdisciples, Let us also go, that we may die with him. Then when Jesus came, he found that he had lain in the grave four days already. Now Bethany was nigh unto Jerusalem, about fifteen furlongs off: And many of the Jews came to Martha and Mary, to comfort them concerning their brother. Then Martha, as soon as she heard that Jesus was coming, went and met him: but Mary sat still in the house. Then said Martha unto Jesus, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died. But I know, that even now, whatsoever thou wilt ask of God, God will give it thee. Jesus saith unto her, Thy brother shall rise again. Martha saith unto him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day. Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: and whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this? She saith unto him, Yea, Lord: I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world. And when she had so said, she went her way, and called Mary her sister secretly, saying, The Master is come, and calleth for thee. As soon as she heard that, she arose quickly, and came unto him. Now Jesus was not yet come into the town, but was in that place where Martha met him. The Jews then which were with her in the house, and comforted her, when they saw Mary, that she rose up hastily and went out, followed her, saying, She goeth unto the grave to weep there. Then when Mary was come where Jesus was, and saw him, she fell down at his feet, saying unto him, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died. When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews also weeping which came with her, he groaned in the spirit, and was troubled, and said, Where have ye laid him? They said unto him, Lord, come and see. Jesus wept. Then said the Jews, Behold how he loved him! And some of them said, Could not this man, which opened the eyes of the blind, have caused that even this man should not have died? Jesus therefore again groaning in himself cometh to the grave. It was a cave, and a stone lay upon it. Jesus said, Take ye away the stone. Martha, the sister of him that was dead, saith unto him, Lord, by this time he stinketh: for he hath been dead four days. Jesus saith unto her, Said I not unto thee, that, if thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God? Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead was laid. And Jesus lifted up his eyes, and said, Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me. And I knew that thou hearest me always: but because of the people which stand by I said it, that they may believe that thou hast sent me. And when he thus had spoken, he cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth. And he that was dead came forth, bound hand and foot with graveclothes: and his face was bound about with a napkin. Jesus saith unto them, Loose him, and let him go. Then many of the Jews which came to Mary, and had seen the things which Jesus did, believed on him.
Sequéntia sancti Evangélii
Joann. 11: 1-45
In illo témpore: Erat quidam languens Lázarus a Bethánia, de castéllo Maríæ et Marthæ, soróris ejus. (María autem erat, quæ unxit Dóminum unguénto, et extérsit pedes ejus capíllis suis: cujus frater Lázarus infirmabátur.) Misérunt ergo soróres ejus ad eum, dicéntes: Dómine, ecce, quem amas infirmátur. Audiens autem Jesus, dixit eis: Infírmitas hæc non est ad mortem, sed pro glória Dei, ut glorificétur Fílius Dei per eam. Diligébat autem Jesus Martham et sorórem ejus, Maríam, et Lázarum. Ut ergo audívit, quia infirmabátur, tunc quidem mansit in eódem loco duóbus diébus. Déinde post hæc dixit discípulis suis: Eámus in Judǽam íterum. Dicunt ei discípuli: Rabbi, nunc quærébant te Judǽi lapidáre, et íterum vadis illuc? Respóndit Jesus: Nonne duódecim sunt horæ diéi? Si quis ambuláverit in die, non offéndit, quia lucem hujus mundi videt: si autem ambuláverit in nocte, offéndit, quia lux non est in eo. Hæc ait, et post hæc dixit eis: Lázarus, amícus noster, dormit: sed vado, ut a somno éxcitem eum. Dixérunt ergo discípuli ejus: Dómine, si dormit, salvus erit. Díxerat autem Jesus de morte ejus: illi autem putavérunt, quia de dormitióne somni díceret. Tunc ergo Jesus dixit eis maniféste: Lázarus mórtuus est: et gáudeo propter vos, ut credátis, quóniam non eram ibi: sed eámus ad eum. Dixit ergo Thomas, qui dícitur Dídymus, ad condiscípulos: Eámus et nos, ut moriámur cum eo. Venit itaque Jesus, et invénit eum quátuor dies jam in monuménto habéntem. (Erat autem Bethánia juxta Jerosólymam quasi stádiis quíndecim.) Multi autem ex Judǽis vénerant ad Martham et Maríam, ut consolaréntur eas de fratre suo. Martha ergo, ut audívit quia Jesus venit, occúrrit illi: María autem domi sedébat. Dixit ergo Martha ad Jesum: Dómine, si fuísses hic, frater meus non fuísset mórtuus: sed et nunc scio, quia, quæcúmque popósceris a Deo, dabit tibi Deus. Dicit illi Jesus: Resúrget frater tuus. Dicit ei Martha: Scio, quia resúrget in resurrectióne in novíssimo die. Dixit ei Jesus Ego sum resurréctio et vita: qui credit in me, etiam si mórtuusfúerit, vivet: et omnis, qui vivit et credit in me, non moriétur in ætérnum. Credis hoc? Ait illi: Utique, Dómine, ego crédidi, quia tu es Christus, Fílius Dei vivi, qui in hunc mundum venísti. Et cum hæc dixísset, ábiit et vocávit Maríam, sorórem suam, siléntio, dicens: Magíster adest, et vocat te. Illa ut audívit, surgit cito, et venit ad eum: nondum enim vénerat Jesus in castéllum; sed erat adhuc in illo loco, ubi occúrrerat ei Martha. Judǽi ergo, qui erant cum ea in domo et consolabántur eam, cum vidíssent Maríam, quia cito surréxit et éxiit, secúti sunt eam, dicéntes: Quia vadit ad monuméntum, ut ploret ibi. María ergo, cum venísset, ubi erat Jesus, videns eum, cécidit ad pedes ejus, et dicit ei: Dómine, si fuísses hic, non esset mórtuus frater meus. Jesus ergo, ut vidit eam plorántem, et Judǽos, qui vénerant cum ea, plorántes, infrémuit spíritu, et turbávit seípsum, et dixit: Ubi posuístis eum? Dicunt ei: Dómine, veni et vide. Et lacrimátus est Jesus. Dixérunt ergo Judǽi: Ecce, quómodo amábat eum. Quidam autem ex ipsis dixérunt: Non póterat hic, qui apéruit óculos cæci nati, facere, ut hic non morerétur? Jesus ergo rursum fremens in semetípso, venit, ad monuméntum. Erat autem spelúnca, et lapis superpósitus erat ei. Ait Jesus: Tóllite lápidem. Dicit ei Martha, soror ejus, qui mórtuus fuerat: Dómine, jam fetet, quatriduánus est enim. Dicit ei Jesus: Nonne dixi tibi, quóniam, si credíderis, vidébis glóriam Dei? Tulérunt ergo lápidem: Jesus autem, elevátis sursum óculis, dixit: Pater, grátias ago tibi, quóniam audísti me. Ego autem sciébam, quia semper me audis, sed propter pópulum, qui circúmstat, dixi: ut credant, quia tu me misísti. Hæc cum dixísset, voce magna clamávit: Lázare, veni foras. Et statim pródiit, qui fúerat mórtuus, ligátus pedes et manus ínstitis, et fácies illíus sudário erat ligáta. Dixit eis Jesus: Sólvite eum, et sínite abíre. Multi ergo ex Judǽis, qui vénerant ad Maríam et Martham, et víderant quæ fecit Jesus, credidérunt in eum.
Let us meditate upon this admirable history ; and as we meditate, let us hope; for it not only shows us what Jesus does for the souls of others, but what he has done for ours. Let us, also, renew our prayers for the Penitents, who now, throughout the world are preparing for the great reconciliation. It is not a mother that is here represented as praying for the resurrection of her child ; it is two sisters asking this grace for a brother. The example must not be lost on us; — we must pray for one another. But let us take our Gospel in the order of its truths. First, Lazarus was sick; and then, he died. The sinner begins by being tepid and careless; and then he receives the mortal wound. Jesus could have cured Lazarus of his sickness ; but he permitted it to be fatal. He intends to work such a miracle, and that within sight of Jerusalem, that his enemies shall have no excuse for refusing to receive him as the Messias. He would also prove, that he is the sovereign Master of life, in order that he might hereby teach his Apostles and Disciples not to be scandalised at the death he himself was soon to suffer. In the moral sense, God, in his wisdom, sometimes leaves an ungrateful soul to itself, although he foresees that it will fall into sin. It will rise again ; and the confusion it will feel for having sinned, will lead it to that great preservative against a future fall, — humility. The two sisters, Martha and Mary, are full of grief, yet full of confidence in Jesus. Let us observe how their two distinct characters are shown on this occasion. Jesus tells Martha that he is the Resurrection and the Life, and that they who believe in him shall not die, that is, shall not die the death of sin. But when Mary came to him, and he saw her weeping, he groaned in the spirit, and troubled himself, because he knew the greatness of her love, His divine Heart was touched with compassion as he beheld these who were so dear to him smarting under that chastisement of death, which sin had brought into the world. Having reached the sepulchre where Lazarus was buried, he wept, for he loved Lazarus. Thus did our Redeemer by his own weeping, sanctify the tears which Christian affection sheds over the grave of a relative or friend. Lazarus has been in the sepulchre four days: it is the image of the sinner buried in his sin. To see him, now, is what even his sister shudders at: but Jesus rebukes her, and bids them take away the stone. Then, with that voice which commands all nature and makes hell tremble, he cries out Lazarus, come forth! He that had been dead rises up in the sepulchre; but his feet and hands are tied, his face is covered with a napkin; he lives, but he can neither walk nor see. Jesus orders him to be set free; and then by the hands of the men that are present, he recovers the use of his limbs and eyes. So is it with the sinner that receives pardon. There is no voice but that of Jesus which can call him to conversion, and touch his heart, and bring him to confess his sins ; but Jesus has put into the hands of Priests the power to loosen, enlighten, and give movement.
This miracle, which was wrought by our Savior at this very season of the year, filled up the measure of his enemies’ rage, and set them thinking how they could soonest put him to death. The few days he has still to live, are all to be spent at Bethania, where the miracle has taken place, and which is but a short distance from Jerusalem. In nine days from this, he will make his triumphant entry into the faithless city, after which he will return to Bethania, and after three or four days, will once more enter Jerusalem, there to consummate the Sacrifice, whose infinite merits are to purchase resurrection for sinners. The early Christians loved to see this history of our Lord’s raising Lazarus to life painted on the walls of the Catacombs. We also find it carved on the Sarcophagi of the fourth and fifth centuries ; and later on, it was not unfrequently chosen as a subject for the painted windows of our Cathedrals. This symbol of spiritual resurrection was formerly honoured by a most solemn ceremony, in the great Monastery of Holy Trinity, at Vendome, in France. Every year, on this day, a criminal who had been sentenced to death was led to the Church of the Monastery. He had a rope round his neck, and held in his hand a torch weighing thirty-three pounds, in memory of the years spent on earth by our Saviour. The Monks made a procession, in which the criminal joined; after which, a sermon was preached, at which he also assisted. He was then taken to the foot of the Altar, where the Abbot, after exhorting him to repentance, imposed on him, as a penance, the pilgrimage to Saint Martin’s Church, at Tours. The Abbot loosened the rope from his neck, and declared him to be free. The origin of this ceremony was, that when Louis of Bourbon, Count of Vendome, was prisoner in England, in the year 1426, he made a vow, that if God restored him to liberty, he would establish this custom in the Church of Holy Trinity, as a return of gratitude, and as a homage to Christ, who raised up Lazarus from the tomb. God accepted the vow, and the Prince soon recovered his freedom.
PRAYER OVER THE PEOPLE
Bow down your heads to God. Grant, we beseech thee, O Almighty God,that we, who are sensible of our own weakness, and confide in thy power, may always rejoice in the effects of thy goodness. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
O God, the most loving Creator, and most merciful Redeemer, of mankind, who, when man, through the devil’s malice, forfeited eternal life, didst redeem him by the Blood of thine Only Son; restore to life these thy servants, whom thou willest not should be dead to thee. Thou abandonest not them that go astray; receive these that have returned to the right path. We beseech thee, O Lord, let thy mercy be moved by the tears and sighs of these thy servants ; heal their wounds; stretch forth thy saving hand, and raise them up: lest thy Church be robbed of a part of her body; lest thy flock should suffer loss ; lest the enemy should rejoice in the perdition of them that are of thy family; lest the second death should seize them that were regenerated in the waters of salvation. To thee, therefore, O Lord, do we thy suppliants pour forth our prayers, to thee the weeping of our heart. Spare them that trust in thee, and, in thy mercy, suffer them not to fall under the sentence of thy judgment to come, whereby they would be condemned to punishment. Let not the horrors of darkness, or the scorching of flames come nigh to them. They have returned from the way of error to the Each of justice; let them note again wounded. What thy grace hath conferred, and thy mercy hath reformed, let it remain in them whole and for ever. Through the same Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Reflections from The Liturgical Year – Ven. Dom Gueranger, O.S.B.