Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Prayer of the Day


O Blood and Water, which gushed forth from the Heart of Jesus as a fount of mercy for us, I trust in You.

(Diary of St. Faustina, 84)

Wednesday of the Second Week of Lent

Reading I
Jer 18:18-20

The people of Judah and the citizens of Jerusalem said,
“Come, let us contrive a plot against Jeremiah.
It will not mean the loss of instruction from the priests,
nor of counsel from the wise, nor of messages from the prophets.
And so, let us destroy him by his own tongue;
let us carefully note his every word.”

Heed me, O LORD,
and listen to what my adversaries say.
Must good be repaid with evil
that they should dig a pit to take my life?
Remember that I stood before you
to speak in their behalf,
to turn away your wrath from them.

Responsorial Psalm
31:5-6, 14, 15-16

R. Save me, O Lord, in your kindness.

You will free me from the snare they set for me,
for you are my refuge.
Into your hands I commend my spirit;
you will redeem me, O LORD, O faithful God.

R. Save me, O Lord, in your kindness.

I hear the whispers of the crowd, that frighten me from every side,
as they consult together against me, plotting to take my life.

R. Save me, O Lord, in your kindness.

But my trust is in you, O LORD;
I say, “You are my God.”
In your hands is my destiny; rescue me
from the clutches of my enemies and my persecutors.

R. Save me, O Lord, in your kindness.

Mt 20:17-28

Jesus said to the Pharisees:

“There was a rich man who dressed in purple garments and fine linen
and dined sumptuously each day.
And lying at his door was a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores,
who would gladly have eaten his fill of the scraps
that fell from the rich man’s table.
Dogs even used to come and lick his sores.
When the poor man died,
he was carried away by angels to the bosom of Abraham.
The rich man also died and was buried,
and from the netherworld, where he was in torment,
he raised his eyes and saw Abraham far off
and Lazarus at his side.
And he cried out, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me.
Send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue,
for I am suffering torment in these flames.’
Abraham replied, ‘My child,
remember that you received what was good during your lifetime
while Lazarus likewise received what was bad;
but now he is comforted here, whereas you are tormented.
Moreover, between us and you a great chasm is established
to prevent anyone from crossing
who might wish to go from our side to yours
or from your side to ours.’
He said, ‘Then I beg you, father, send him
to my father’s house,
for I have five brothers, so that he may warn them,
lest they too come to this place of torment.’
But Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the prophets.
Let them listen to them.’
He said, ‘Oh no, father Abraham,
but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’
Then Abraham said,
‘If they will not listen to Moses and the prophets,
neither will they be persuaded
if someone should rise from the dead.’“

Saint of the Day

March 3

St. Katharine Drexel (1858-1955)

If your father is an international banker and you ride in a private railroad car, you are not likely to be drawn into a life of voluntary poverty. But if your mother opens your home to the poor three days each week and your father spends half an hour each evening in prayer, it is not impossible that you will devote your life to the poor and give away millions of dollars. Katharine Drexel did that.

She was born in Philadelphia in 1858. She had an excellent education and traveled widely. As a rich girl, she had a grand debut into society. But when she nursed her stepmother through a three-year terminal illness, she saw that all the Drexel money could not buy safety from pain or death, and her life took a profound turn.

She had always been interested in the plight of the Indians, having been appalled by reading Helen Hunt Jackson’s A Century of Dishonor. While on a European tour, she met Pope Leo XIII and asked him to send more missionaries to Wyoming for her friend Bishop James O’Connor. The pope replied, “Why don’t you become a missionary?” His answer shocked her into considering new possibilities.

Back home, she visited the Dakotas, met the Sioux leader Red Cloud and began her systematic aid to Indian missions.

She could easily have married. But after much discussion with Bishop O’Connor, she wrote in 1889, “The feast of St. Joseph brought me the grace to give the remainder of my life to the Indians and the Colored.” Newspaper headlines screamed “Gives Up Seven Million!”

After three and a half years of training, she and her first band of nuns (Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament for Indians and Colored) opened a boarding school in Santa Fe. A string of foundations followed. By 1942 she had a system of black Catholic schools in 13 states, plus 40 mission centers and 23 rural schools. Segregationists harassed her work, even burning a school in Pennsylvania. In all, she established 50 missions for Indians in 16 states.

Two saints met when she was advised by Mother Cabrini about the “politics” of getting her Order’s Rule approved in Rome. Her crowning achievement was the founding of Xavier University in New Orleans, the first Catholic university in the United States for African Americans.

At 77, she suffered a heart attack and was forced to retire. Apparently her life was over. But now came almost 20 years of quiet, intense prayer from a small room overlooking the sanctuary. Small notebooks and slips of paper record her various prayers, ceaseless aspirations and meditation. She died at 96 and was canonized in 2000

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*)

The Lord’s is the earth and its fullness,
the world and all who live in it.
He himself founded it upon the seas
and set it firm over the waters.

(repeat antiphon*)

Who will climb the mountain of the Lord?
Who will stand in his holy place?
The one who is innocent of wrongdoing and pure of heart,
who has not given himself to vanities or sworn falsely.
He will receive the blessing of the Lord
and be justified by God his saviour.
This is the way of those who seek him,
seek the face of the God of Jacob.

(repeat antiphon*)

Gates, raise your heads. Stand up, eternal doors,
and let the king of glory enter.
Who is the king of glory?
The Lord of might and power.
The Lord, strong in battle.

(repeat antiphon*)

Gates, raise your heads. Stand up, eternal doors,
and let the king of glory enter.
Who is the king of glory?
The Lord of hosts
– he is the king of glory.

(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*)

A prayer in sickness
Psalm 38 (39)

We groan inwardly as we wait for our bodies to be set free.

I said, “I will watch my ways,
I will try not to sin in my speech.
I will set a guard on my mouth,
for as long as my enemies are standing against me.”
I stayed quiet and dumb, spoke neither evil nor good,
but my pain was renewed.
My heart grew hot within me,
and fire blazed in my thoughts.
Then I spoke out loud:
“Lord, make me know my end.
Let me know the number of my days,
so that I know how short my life is to be.”
All the length of my days is a handsbreadth or two,
the expanse of my life is as nothing before you.
For in your sight all men are nothingness:
man passes away, like a shadow.
Nothingness, although he is busy:
he builds up treasure, but who will collect it?

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.


We groan inwardly as we wait for our bodies to be set free.
Psalm 38 (39)

Listen, Lord, to my prayer: see my tears.

What, now, can I look forward to, Lord?
My hope is in you.
Rescue me from all my sins,
do not make me a thing for fools to laugh at.
I have sworn to be dumb, I will not open my mouth:
for it is at your hands that I am suffering.
Aim your blows away from me,
for I am crushed by the weight of your hand.
You rebuke and chastise us for our sins.
Like the moth you consume all we desire
– for all men are nothingness.
Listen, Lord, to my prayer:
turn your ear to my cries.
Do not be deaf to my weeping,
for I come as a stranger before you,
a wanderer like my fathers before me.
Turn away from me, give me respite,
before I leave this world,
before I am no more.

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.


Listen, Lord, to my prayer: see my tears.
Psalm 51 (52)

Against calumny

But I hope in the kindness of God forever.
Why do you take pride in your malice,
you expert in evil-doing?
All day long you plan your traps,
your tongue is sharp as a razor –
you master of deceit!
You have chosen malice over kindness;
you speak lies rather than the truth;
your tongue is in love with every deceit.
For all this, in the end God will destroy you.
He will tear you out and expel you from your dwelling,
uproot you from the land of the living.
The upright will see and be struck with awe:
they will deride the evil-doer.
“Here is the man who did not make God his refuge,
but put his hope in the abundance of his riches
and in the power of his stratagems.”
But I flourish like an olive in the palace of God.
I hope in the kindness of God,
for ever, and through all ages.
I shall praise you for all time for what you have done.
I shall put my hope in your name and in its goodness
in the sight of your chosen ones.

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.


But I hope in the kindness of God forever.
Repent and do penance.
– Make yourselves a new heart and a new spirit.

Reading Exodus 17:1-16

The whole community of the sons of Israel moved from their camp in the desert of Zin at the Lord’s command, to travel the further stages; and they pitched camp at Rephidim where there was no water for the people to drink. So they grumbled against Moses. ‘Give us water to drink’ they said. Moses answered them. ‘Why do you grumble against me? Why do you put the Lord to the test?’ But tormented by thirst, the people complained against Moses. ‘Why did you bring us out of Egypt?’ they said. ‘Was it so that I should die of thirst, my children too, and my cattle?’ Moses appealed to the Lord.

‘How am I to deal with this people?” he said. ‘A little more and they will stone me!’ the Lord said to Moses, ‘Take with you some of the elders of Israel and move on to the forefront of the people; take in your hand the staff with which you struck the river, and go. I shall be standing before you there on the rock, at Horeb. You must strike the rock, and water will flow from it for the people to drink.’ This is what Moses did, in the sight of the elders of Israel. The place was named Massah and Meribah because of the grumbling of the sons of Israel and because they put the Lord to the test by saying, ‘Is the Lord with us, or not?’

The Amalekites came and attacked Israel at Rephidim. Moses said to Joshua, ‘Pick out men for yourself, and tomorrow morning march out to engage Amalek. I, meanwhile, will stand on the hilltop, the staff of God in my hand.’ Joshua did as Moses told him and marched out to engage Amalek, while Moses and Aaron and Hur went up to the top of the hill. As long as Moses kept his arms raised, Israel had the advantage; when he let his arms fall, the advantage went to Amalek. But Moses’ arms grew heavy, so they took a stone and put it under him and on this he sat, Aaron and Hur supporting his arms, one on one side, one on the other; and his arms remained firm till sunset. With the edge of the sword Joshua cut down Amalek and his people. Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘Write this action down in a book to keep the memory of it, and say in Joshua’s hearing that I shall wipe out the memory of Amalek from under heaven.’ Moses then built an altar and named it Yahweh-nissi, the-Lord-my-banner, because he said, ‘Lay hold of the banner of the Lord! The Lord is at war with Amalek from age to age!’

Reading From the treatise Against Heresies by Saint Irenaeus, bishop
Israel was learning reverence for God and perseverance in his service

From the beginning God created man out of his own generosity. He chose the patriarchs to give them salvation. He took his people in hand, teaching them, unteachable as they were, to follow him. He gave them prophets, accustoming man to bear his Spirit and to have communion with God on earth. He who stands in need of no one gave communion with himself to those who need him. Like an architect he outlined the plan of salvation to those who sought to please him. By his own hand he gave food in Egypt to those who did not see him. To those who were restless in the desert he gave a law perfectly suited to them. To those who entered the land of prosperity he gave a worthy inheritance. He killed the fatted calf for those who turned to him as Father, and clothed them with the finest garment. In so many ways he was training the human race to take part in the harmonious song of salvation.

For this reason John in the book of Revelation says: His voice was as the voice of many waters. The Spirit of God is indeed a multitude of waters, for the Father is rich and great. As the Word passed among all these people he provided help in generous measure for those who were obedient to him, by drawing up a law that was suitable and fitting for every circumstance.
He established a law for the people governing the construction of the tabernacle and the building of the temple, the choice of Levites, the sacrifices, the offerings, the rites of purification and the rest of what belonged to worship.

He himself needs none of these things. He is always filled with all that is good. Even before Moses existed he had within himself every fragrance of all that is pleasing. Yet he sought to teach his people, always ready though they were to return to their idols. Through many acts of indulgence he tried to prepare them for perseverance in his service. He kept calling them to what was primary by means of what was secondary, that is, through foreshadowings to the reality, through things of time to the things of eternity, through things of the flesh to the things of the spirit, through earthly things to the heavenly things. As he said to Moses: You will fashion all things according to the pattern that you saw on the mountain.

For forty days Moses was engaged in remembering the words of God, the heavenly patterns, the spiritual images, the foreshadowings of what was to come. Saint Paul says: They drank from the rock that followed them, and the rock was Christ. After speaking of the things that are in the law he continues: All these things happened to them as symbols: they were written to instruct us, on whom the end of the ages has come.

Through foreshadowings of the future they were learning reverence for God and perseverance in his service. The law was therefore a school of instruction for them, and a prophecy of what was to come.

Concluding Prayer

Lord, preserve your family and train it in the habit of good works.
Give us in this present life your comfort and aid
and lead us at last to the joys of heaven.
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.