Friday, March 12, 2010

Prayer of the Day

For the Intercession of Saint Joseph

O Joseph, virgin-father of Jesus, most pure spouse of the Virgin Mary, pray every day for us to the same Jesus, the Son of God, that we, being defended by the power of His grace and striving dutifully in life, may be crowned by Him at the hour of death.

Friday of the Third Week of Lent

Reading I
Hos 14:2-10

Thus says the LORD:

Return, O Israel, to the LORD, your God;
you have collapsed through your guilt.
Take with you words,
and return to the LORD;
Say to him, “Forgive all iniquity,
and receive what is good, that we may render
as offerings the bullocks from our stalls.
Assyria will not save us,
nor shall we have horses to mount;
We shall say no more, ‘Our god,’
to the work of our hands;
for in you the orphan finds compassion.”

I will heal their defection, says the LORD,
I will love them freely;
for my wrath is turned away from them.
I will be like the dew for Israel:
he shall blossom like the lily;
He shall strike root like the Lebanon cedar,
and put forth his shoots.
His splendor shall be like the olive tree
and his fragrance like the Lebanon cedar.
Again they shall dwell in his shade
and raise grain;
They shall blossom like the vine,
and his fame shall be like the wine of Lebanon.

Ephraim! What more has he to do with idols?
I have humbled him, but I will prosper him.
“I am like a verdant cypress tree”–
Because of me you bear fruit!

Let him who is wise understand these things;
let him who is prudent know them.
Straight are the paths of the LORD,
in them the just walk,
but sinners stumble in them.


Responsorial Psalm
81:6c-8a, 8bc-9, 10-11ab, 14 and 17

R. I am the Lord your God: hear my voice.

An unfamiliar speech I hear:
“I relieved his shoulder of the burden;
his hands were freed from the basket.
In distress you called, and I rescued you.”

R. I am the Lord your God: hear my voice.

“Unseen, I answered you in thunder;
I tested you at the waters of Meribah.
Hear, my people, and I will admonish you;
O Israel, will you not hear me?”
R. I am the Lord your God: hear my voice.
“There shall be no strange god among you
nor shall you worship any alien god.
I, the LORD, am your God
who led you forth from the land of Egypt.”

R. I am the Lord your God: hear my voice.

“If only my people would hear me,
and Israel walk in my ways,
I would feed them with the best of wheat,
and with honey from the rock I would fill them.”

R. I am the Lord your God: hear my voice.


Gospel
Mk 12:28-34

One of the scribes came to Jesus and asked him,
“Which is the first of all the commandments?”
Jesus replied, “The first is this:
Hear, O Israel!
The Lord our God is Lord alone!
You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart,
with all your soul,
with all your mind,
and with all your strength.
The second is this:
You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
There is no other commandment greater than these.”
The scribe said to him, “Well said, teacher.
You are right in saying,
He is One and there is no other than he.
And to love him with all your heart,
with all your understanding,
with all your strength,
and to love your neighbor as yourself
is worth more than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.”
And when Jesus saw that he answered with understanding,
he said to him,
“You are not far from the Kingdom of God.”
And no one dared to ask him any more questions.

Saint of the Day

March 12

Blessed Angela Salawa (1881-1922)

Angela served Christ and Christ’s little ones with all her strength.

Born in Siepraw, near Kraków, Poland, she was the 11th child of Bartlomiej and Ewa Salawa. In 1897, she moved to Kraków where her older sister Therese lived. Angela immediately began to gather together and instruct young women domestic workers. During World War I, she helped prisoners of war without regard for their nationality or religion. The writings of Teresa of Avila and John of the Cross were a great comfort to her.

Angela gave great service in caring for soldiers wounded in World War I. After 1918 her health did not permit her to exercise her customary apostolate. Addressing herself to Christ, she wrote in her diary, "I want you to be adored as much as you were destroyed." In another place, she wrote, "Lord, I live by your will. I shall die when you desire; save me because you can."

At her 1991 beatification in Kraków, Pope John Paul II said: "It is in this city that she worked, that she suffered and that her holiness came to maturity. While connected to the spirituality of St. Francis, she showed an extraordinary responsiveness to the action of the Holy Spirit" (L'Osservatore Romano, volume 34, number 4, 1991).

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*)

Rejoice in the Lord, all the earth,
and serve him with joy.
Exult as you enter his presence.

(repeat antiphon*)

Know that the Lord is God.
He made us and we are his
– his people, the sheep of his flock.

(repeat antiphon*)

Cry out his praises as you enter his gates,
fill his courtyards with songs.
Proclaim him and bless his name;
for the Lord is our delight.
His mercy lasts for ever,
his faithfulness through all the ages.

(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.

Amen.

(repeat antiphon*)


I am consumed with zeal for your house
Psalm 68 (69)

I am exhausted with crying, but still I put my hope in my God.

Save me, O God,
for the waters have come up to my neck.
I am stuck in bottomless mud;
I am adrift in deep waters
and the flood is sweeping me away.
I am exhausted with crying out, my throat is parched,
my eyes are failing as I look out for my God.
Those who hate me for no reason
are more than the hairs of my head.
They are strong, my persecutors, my lying enemies:
they make me give back things I never took.
God, you know my weakness:
my crimes are not hidden from you.
Let my fate not put to shame those who trust in you,
Lord, Lord of hosts.
Let them not be dismayed on my account,
those who seek you, God of Israel.
For it is for your sake that I am taunted
and covered in confusion:
I have become a stranger to my own brothers,
a wanderer in the eyes of my mother’s children –
because zeal for your house is consuming me,
and the taunts of those who hate you
fall upon my head.
I have humbled my soul with fasting
and they reproach me for it.
I have made sackcloth my clothing
and they make me a byword.
The idlers at the gates speak against me;
for drinkers of wine, I am the butt of their songs.

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.

Amen.


I am exhausted with crying, but still I put my hope in my God.
Psalm 68 (69)

They gave me bitterness to eat; when I was thirsty they gave me vinegar to drink.

But I turn my prayer to you, Lord,
at the acceptable time, my God.
In your great kindness, hear me,
and rescue me with your faithful help.
Tear me from the mire, before I become stuck;
tear me from those who hate me;
tear me from the depths of the waters.
Do not let the waves overwhelm me;
do not let the deep waters swallow me;
do not let the well’s mouth engulf me.
Hear me, Lord, for you are kind and good.
In your abundant mercy, look upon me.
Do not turn your face from your servant:
I am suffering, so hurry to answer me.
Come to my soul and deliver it,
rescue me from my enemies’ attacks.
You know how I am taunted and ashamed;
how I am thrown into confusion.
You can see all those who are troubling me.
Reproach has shattered my heart – I am sick.
I looked for sympathy, but none came;
I looked for a consoler but did not find one.
They gave me bitterness to eat;
when I was thirsty, they gave me vinegar to drink.

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.

Amen.


They gave me bitterness to eat; when I was thirsty they gave me vinegar to drink.
Psalm 68 (69)

Seek the Lord, and your heart shall live.

I am weak and I suffer,
but your help, O God, will sustain me.
I will praise the name of God in song
and proclaim his greatness with praises.
This will please the Lord more than oxen,
than cattle with their horns and hooves.
Let the humble see and rejoice.
Seek the Lord, and your heart shall live,
for the Lord has heard the needy
and has not despised his captive people.
Let heaven and earth praise him,
the seas and all that swims in them.
For the Lord will make Zion safe
and build up the cities of Judah:
there they will live, the land will be theirs.
The seed of his servants will inherit the land,
and those who love his name will dwell there.

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.

Amen.


Seek the Lord, and your heart shall live.
Turn back to the Lord your God,
– because he is tenderness and compassion.


Reading Exodus 35:30-36:1,37:1-9
The building of the sanctuary and the ark of the Covenant

Moses said to the sons of Israel, ‘See, the Lord has singled out Bezalel son of Uri, son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah. He has filled him with the spirit of God and endowed him with skill and perception and knowledge for every kind of craft: for the art of designing and working in gold and silver and bronze, for cutting stones to be set, for carving in wood, for every kind of craft. And on him and Oholiab son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan, he has bestowed the gift of teaching. He has filled them with skill to carry out all the crafts of engraver, damask weaver, embroiderer in purple stuffs, of violet shade and red, in crimson stuffs and fine linen, or of the common weaver; they are able to do work of all kinds, and to do it with originality.’

Bezalel and Oholiab and all the skilled craftsmen whom the Lord had endowed with the skill and perception to carry out all that was required for the building of the sanctuary, did their work exactly as the Lord had directed.

Bezalel made the ark of acacia wood, two and a half cubits long, one and a half cubits wide, one and a half cubits high. He plated it, inside and out, with pure gold, and decorated it all round with a gold moulding. He cast four gold rings for the ark, attaching them to its four feet: two rings on one side and two rings on the other. He also made shafts of acacia wood plating them with gold; and he passed the shafts through the rings on the sides of the ark, for carrying it. Also he made of pure gold a throne of mercy, two and a half cubits long, and one and a half cubits wide. For the two ends of this throne of mercy he made two golden cherubs; he made them of beaten gold, the first cherub for one end and the second for the other, and fastened them to the two ends of the throne of mercy so that they made one piece with it. The cherubs had their wings spread upwards so that they overshadowed the throne of mercy. They faced one another, their faces towards the throne of mercy.


Reading The Moral Reflections on Job by Pope St Gregory the Great
The mystery of our new life in Christ

Holy Job is a type of the Church. At one time he speaks for the body, at another for the head. As he speaks of its members he is suddenly caught up to speak in the name of their head. So it is here, where he says: I have suffered this without sin on my hands, for my prayer to God was pure.

Christ suffered without sin on his hands, for he committed no sin and deceit was not found on his lips. Yet he suffered the pain of the cross for our redemption. His prayer to God was pure, his alone out of all mankind, for in the midst of his suffering he prayed for his persecutors: Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.

Is it possible to offer, or even to imagine, a purer kind of prayer than that which shows mercy to one’s torturers by making intercession for them? It was thanks to this kind of prayer that the frenzied persecutors who shed the blood of our Redeemer drank it afterward in faith and proclaimed him to be the Son of God.

The text goes on fittingly to speak of Christ’s blood: Earth, do not cover over my blood, do not let my cry find a hiding place in you. When man sinned, God had said: Earth you are, and to earth you will return. Earth does not cover over the blood of our Redeemer, for every sinner, as he drinks the blood that is the price of his redemption, offers praise and thanksgiving, and to the best of his power makes that blood known to all around him.

Earth has not hidden away his blood, for holy Church has preached in every corner of the world the mystery of its redemption.

Notice what follows: Do not let my cry find a hiding place in you. The blood that is drunk, the blood of redemption, is itself the cry of our Redeemer. Paul speaks of the sprinkled blood that calls out more eloquently than Abel’s. Of Abel’s blood Scripture had written: The voice of your brother’s blood cries out to me from the earth. The blood of Jesus calls out more eloquently than Abel’s, for the blood of Abel asked for the death of Cain, the fratricide, while the blood of the Lord has asked for, and obtained, life for his persecutors.

If the sacrament of the Lord’s passion is to work its effect in us, we must imitate what we receive and proclaim to mankind what we revere. The cry of the Lord finds a hiding place in us if our lips fail to speak of this, though our hearts believe in it. So that his cry may not lie concealed in us it remains for us all, each in his own measure, to make known to those around us the mystery of our new life in Christ.


Concluding Prayer

In your goodness, Lord, fill us with your grace.
Make us draw back from our human excesses
and hold fast to the heavenly wisdom that is your gift.
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.

Amen.