Friday, February 26, 2010


We have experienced a severe winter storm that caused power/computer outages for the last 20 hours. As a result, the daily posting were delayed. Sorry for any inconvenience.

Prayer of the Day


Behold, O kind and most sweet Jesus, I cast myself upon my knees in Your sight, and with the most fervent desire of my soul I pray and beseech You that You would impress upon my heart, lively sentiments of Faith, Hope and Charity, true repentance for my sins and a firm purpose of amendment, while with deep affection and grief of soul I ponder within myself and mentally contemplate Your five most precious wounds, having before my eyes that which David spoke in prophecy of You, O good Jesus: they have pierced my hands and feet, they have numbered all my bones.

Friday of the First Week of Lent

Reading I
Ez 18:21-28

Thus says the Lord GOD:

If the wicked man turns away from all the sins he committed,
if he keeps all my statutes and does what is right and just,
he shall surely live, he shall not die.
None of the crimes he committed shall be remembered against him;
he shall live because of the virtue he has practiced.
Do I indeed derive any pleasure from the death of the wicked?
says the Lord GOD.
Do I not rather rejoice when he turns from his evil way
that he may live?
And if the virtuous man turns from the path of virtue to do evil,
the same kind of abominable things that the wicked man does,
can he do this and still live?
None of his virtuous deeds shall be remembered,
because he has broken faith and committed sin;
because of this, he shall die.
You say, “The LORD’s way is not fair!”
Hear now, house of Israel:
Is it my way that is unfair, or rather, are not your ways unfair?
When someone virtuous turns away from virtue to commit iniquity, and dies,
it is because of the iniquity he committed that he must die.
But if the wicked, turning from the wickedness he has committed,
does what is right and just,
he shall preserve his life;
since he has turned away from all the sins that he committed,
he shall surely live, he shall not die.

Responsorial Psalm
130:1-2, 3-4, 5-7a, 7bc-8

R. If you, O Lord, mark iniquities, who can stand?

Out of the depths I cry to you, O LORD;
LORD, hear my voice!
Let your ears be attentive
to my voice in supplication.

R. If you, O Lord, mark iniquities, who can stand?

If you, O LORD, mark iniquities,
LORD, who can stand?
But with you is forgiveness,
that you may be revered.

R. If you, O Lord, mark iniquities, who can stand?

I trust in the LORD;
my soul trusts in his word.
My soul waits for the LORD
more than sentinels wait for the dawn.
Let Israel wait for the LORD.

R. If you, O Lord, mark iniquities, who can stand?

For with the LORD is kindness
and with him is plenteous redemption;
And he will redeem Israel
from all their iniquities.

R. If you, O Lord, mark iniquities, who can stand?

Mt 5:20-26

Jesus said to his disciples:

“I tell you,
unless your righteousness surpasses that
of the scribes and Pharisees,
you will not enter into the Kingdom of heaven.
“You have heard that it was said to your ancestors,
You shall not kill; and whoever kills will be liable to judgment.
But I say to you, whoever is angry with his brother
will be liable to judgment,
and whoever says to his brother, Raqa,
will be answerable to the Sanhedrin,
and whoever says, ‘You fool,’ will be liable to fiery Gehenna.
Therefore, if you bring your gift to the altar,
and there recall that your brother
has anything against you,
leave your gift there at the altar,
go first and be reconciled with your brother,
and then come and offer your gift.
Settle with your opponent quickly while on the way to court.
Otherwise your opponent will hand you over to the judge,
and the judge will hand you over to the guard,
and you will be thrown into prison.
Amen, I say to you,
you will not be released until you have paid the last penny.”

Saint of the Day

February 26

St. Porphyry of Gaza (353-421)

We go far back in history today to learn a bit about a saint whose name is not familiar to most of us in the West but who is celebrated by the Greek and other Eastern churches.

Born near Greece in the mid-fourth century, Porphry is most known for his generosity to the poor and for his ascetic lifestyle. Deserts and caves were his home for a time. At age 40, living in Jerusalem, Porphyry was ordained a priest.

If the accounts we have are correct, he was elected bishop of Gaza—without his knowledge and against his will. He was, in effect, kidnapped (with the help of a neighboring bishop, by the way) and forcibly consecrated bishop by the members of the small Christian community there. No sooner had Porphyry been consecrated bishop then he was accused by the local pagans of causing a drought. When rains came shortly afterward, the pagans gave credit to Porphyry and the Christian population and tensions subsided for a time.

For the next 13 years, Porphyry worked tirelessly for his people, instructed them and made many converts, though pagan opposition continued throughout his life. He died in the year 421.

Office of Readings

O Lord, open my lips.
– And my mouth will proclaim your praise.

Antiphon: Come, today, and listen to his voice: do not harden your hearts.

(repeat antiphon*)

O God, take pity on us and bless us,
and let your face shine upon us,
so that your ways may be known across the world,
and all nations learn of your salvation.

(repeat antiphon*)

Let the peoples praise you, O God,
let all the peoples praise you.
Let the nations be glad and rejoice,
for you judge the peoples with fairness
and you guide the nations of the earth.

(repeat antiphon*)

Let the peoples praise you, O God,
let all the peoples praise you.
The earth has produced its harvest:
may God, our God, bless us.
May God bless us,
may the whole world revere him.

(repeat antiphon*)

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be,
world without end.


(repeat antiphon*)

The Lord, a saviour in time of persecution
Psalm 34 (35)

Lord, rise up and defend me.

Judge, Lord, those who are judging me:
attack those who are attacking me.
Take up your shield and come out to defend me.
Brandish your spear and hold back my pursuers.
Say to my soul, “I am your deliverance.”
Let them be thrown into confusion,
those who are after my life.
Let them be weakened and put to flight,
those who plan harm to me.
Let them be like chaff blowing in the wind,
when the angel of the Lord scatters them.
Let their paths be dark and slippery,
when the angel of the Lord harries them.
For it was without cause that they spread out their nets to ensnare me,
without cause that they dug a pit to take my life.
Let death come upon them suddenly,
may they be entangled in their own nets.
But my soul will exult in the Lord
and rejoice in his aid.
My bones themselves will say
“Lord, who is your equal?”
You snatch the poor man
from the hand of the strong,
the needy and weak
from those who would destroy them.

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be,
world without end.


Lord, rise up and defend me.
Psalm 34 (35)

Judge my case, Lord: defend me, for you are strong.

Lying witnesses rose up against me;
they asked me questions I could not answer.
They paid me back evil for the good I did,
my soul is desolation.
Yet I – when they were ill, I put on sackcloth,
I mortified my soul with fasting,
I prayed for them from the depths of my heart.
I walked in sadness as for a close friend, for a brother;
I was bowed down with grief as if mourning my own mother.
But they – when I was unsteady, they rejoiced and gathered together.
They gathered and beat me: I did not know why.
They were tearing me to pieces, there was no end to it:
they teased me, heaped derision on me, they ground their teeth at me.

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be,
world without end.


Judge my case, Lord: defend me, for you are strong.
Psalm 34 (35)

All day my tongue will ponder your justice and utter your praise.

Lord, how long will you wait?
Rescue my life from their attacks,
my only life from the lions.
I will proclaim you in the great assembly,
in the throng of people I will praise you.
Let not my lying enemies triumph over me,
those who hate me for no reason,
who conspire against me by secret signs,
who do not speak of peace,
who plan crimes against the innocent,
who cry out slanders against me,
saying “Yes! Yes! We saw it ourselves!”
You see them, Lord, do not stay silent:
Lord, do not leave me.
Rise up and keep watch at my trial:
my God and my Lord, watch over my case.
Judge me according to your justice,
Lord: my God, let them not rejoice over me!
Let them not think to themselves,
“Yes! We have what we wanted!”
Let them not say,
“We have swallowed him up.”
But let those who support my cause rejoice,
let them say always “How great is the Lord,
who takes care of his servant’s welfare.”
And my tongue too will ponder your justice,
and praise you all day long.

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be,
world without end.


All day my tongue will ponder your justice and utter your praise.
Turn back to the Lord your God,
– because he is tenderness and compassion.

Reading Exodus 12:21-36

Moses summoned all the elders of Israel and said to them, ‘Go and choose animals from the flock on behalf of your families, and kill the Passover victim. Then take a spray of hyssop, dip it in the blood that is in the basin, and with the blood from the basin touch the lintel and the two doorposts. Let none of you venture out of the house till morning. Then, when the Lord goes through Egypt to strike it, and sees the blood on the lintel and on the two doorposts, he will pass over the door and not allow the destroyer to enter your homes and strike. You must keep these rules as an ordinance for all time for you and your children. When you enter the land that the Lord is giving you, as he promised, you must keep to this ritual. And when your children ask you, “What does this ritual mean?” you will tell them, “It is the sacrifice of the Passover in honour of the Lord who passed over the houses of the sons of Israel in Egypt, and struck Egypt but spared our houses.”’ And the people bowed down and worshipped. The sons of Israel then departed, and they obeyed. They carried out the orders the Lord had given to Moses and Aaron.

And at midnight the Lord struck down all the first-born in the land of Egypt: the first-born of Pharaoh, heir to his throne, the first-born of the prisoner in his dungeon, and the first-born of all the cattle. Pharaoh and all his courtiers and all the Egyptians got up in the night, and there was a great cry in Egypt, for there was not a house without its dead. And it was night when Pharaoh summoned Moses and Aaron. ‘Get up,’ he said ‘you and the sons of Israel, and get away from my people. Go and offer worship to the Lord as you have asked and, as you have asked, take your flocks and herds, and go. And also ask a blessing on me.’ The Egyptians urged the people to hurry up and leave the land because, they said, ‘Otherwise we shall all be dead.’ So the people carried off their dough, still unleavened, on their shoulders, their kneading bowls wrapped in their cloaks.

The sons of Israel did as Moses had told them and asked the Egyptians for silver ornaments and gold, and for clothing. The Lord gave the people such prestige in the eyes of the Egyptians, that they gave them what they asked. So they plundered the Egyptians.

Reading From the Mirror of Love by Saint Aelred, abbot
Christ, the model of brotherly love

The perfection of brotherly love lies in the love of one’s enemies. We can find no greater inspiration for this than grateful remembrance of the wonderful patience of Christ. He who is more fair than all the sons of men offered his fair face to be spat upon by sinful men; he allowed those eyes that rule the universe to be blindfolded by wicked men; he bared his back to the scourges; he submitted that head which strikes terror in principalities and powers to the sharpness of the thorns; he gave himself up to be mocked and reviled, and at the end endured the cross, the nails, the lance, the gall, the vinegar, remaining always gentle, meek and full of peace.

In short, he was led like a sheep to the slaughter, and like a lamb before the shearers he kept silent, and did not open his mouth.

Who could listen to that wonderful prayer, so full of warmth, of love, of unshakeable serenity – Father, forgive them – and hesitate to embrace his enemies with overflowing love? Father, he says, forgive them. Is any gentleness, any love, lacking in this prayer?

Yet he put into it something more. It was not enough to pray for them: he wanted also to make excuses for them. Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing. They are great sinners, yes, but they have little judgement; therefore, Father, forgive them. They are nailing me to the cross, but they do not know who it is that they are nailing to the cross: if they had known, they would never have crucified the Lord of glory; therefore, Father, forgive them. They think it is a lawbreaker, an impostor claiming to be God, a seducer of the people. I have hidden my face from them, and they do not recognise my glory; therefore, Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.

If someone wishes to love himself he must not allow himself to be corrupted by indulging his sinful nature. If he wishes to resist the promptings of his sinful nature he must enlarge the whole horizon of his love to contemplate the loving gentleness of the humanity of the Lord. Further, if he wishes to savour the joy of brotherly love with greater perfection and delight, he must extend even to his enemies the embrace of true love.

But if he wishes to prevent this fire of divine love from growing cold because of injuries received, let him keep the eyes of his soul always fixed on the serene patience of his beloved Lord and Saviour.

Concluding Prayer

Lord, make your faithful servants ready to celebrate the paschal festival:
may the bodily denial we have solemnly undertaken
bear good fruit for our souls.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God for ever and ever.