Wednesday, March 16, 2011


Novena to Saint Joseph

Glorious St. Joseph, foster-father and protector of Jesus Christ! To you I raise my heart and my hands to implore your powerful intercession. Please obtain for me from the kind Heart of Jesus the help and the graces necessary for my spiritual and temporal welfare. I ask particularly for the grace of a happy death and the special favor I now implore.

[Mention your request here.]

Guardian of the Word Incarnate, I feel animated with confidence that your prayers in my behalf will be graciously heard before the throne of God.

V. O glorious St. Joseph, through the love you bear to Jesus Christ, and for the glory of His Name.

R. Hear my prayers and obtain my petitions.



March 16, 2011
Wednesday of the First Week of Lent

Reading 1
Jon 3:1-10

The word of the LORD came to Jonah a second time:
“Set out for the great city of Nineveh,
and announce to it the message that I will tell you.”
So Jonah made ready and went to Nineveh,
according to the LORD’s bidding.
Now Nineveh was an enormously large city;
it took three days to go through it.
Jonah began his journey through the city,
and had gone but a single day’s walk announcing,
“Forty days more and Nineveh shall be destroyed,”
when the people of Nineveh believed God;
they proclaimed a fast
and all of them, great and small, put on sackcloth.

When the news reached the king of Nineveh,
he rose from his throne, laid aside his robe,
covered himself with sackcloth, and sat in the ashes.
Then he had this proclaimed throughout Nineveh,
by decree of the king and his nobles:
“Neither man nor beast, neither cattle nor sheep,
shall taste anything;
they shall not eat, nor shall they drink water.
Man and beast shall be covered with sackcloth and call loudly to God;
every man shall turn from his evil way
and from the violence he has in hand.
Who knows, God may relent and forgive, and withhold his blazing wrath,
so that we shall not perish.”
When God saw by their actions how they turned from their evil way,
he repented of the evil that he had threatened to do to them;
he did not carry it out.

Responsorial Psalm
Ps 51:3-4, 12-13, 18-19

R. A heart contrite and humbled, O God, you will not spurn.

Have mercy on me, O God, in your goodness;
in the greatness of your compassion wipe out my offense.
Thoroughly wash me from my guilt
and of my sin cleanse me.

R. A heart contrite and humbled, O God, you will not spurn.

A clean heart create for me, O God,
and a steadfast spirit renew within me.
Cast me not out from your presence,
and your Holy Spirit take not from me.

R. A heart contrite and humbled, O God, you will not spurn.

For you are not pleased with sacrifices;
should I offer a burnt offering, you would not accept it.
My sacrifice, O God, is a contrite spirit;
a heart contrite and humbled, O God, you will not spurn.

R. A heart contrite and humbled, O God, you will not spurn.

Lk 11:29-32

While still more people gathered in the crowd, Jesus said to them,

“This generation is an evil generation;
it seeks a sign, but no sign will be given it,
except the sign of Jonah.
Just as Jonah became a sign to the Ninevites,
so will the Son of Man be to this generation.
At the judgment
the queen of the south will rise with the men of this generation
and she will condemn them,
because she came from the ends of the earth
to hear the wisdom of Solomon,
and there is something greater than Solomon here.
At the judgment the men of Nineveh will arise with this generation
and condemn it,
because at the preaching of Jonah they repented,
and there is something greater than Jonah here.”


March 15

St. Clement Mary Hofbauer (1751-1820)

Clement might be called the second founder of the Redemptorists, as it was he who carried the congregation of St. Alphonsus Liguori to the people north of the Alps.

John, the name given him at Baptism, was born in Moravia into a poor family, the ninth of 12 children. Although he longed to be a priest there was no money for studies, and he was apprenticed to a baker. But God guided the young man's fortunes. He found work in the bakery of a monastery where he was allowed to attend classes in its Latin school. After the abbot there died, John tried the life of a hermit but when Emperor Joseph II abolished hermitages, John again returned to Vienna and to baking. One day after serving Mass at the cathedral of St. Stephen, he called a carriage for two ladies waiting there in the rain. In their conversation they learned that he could not pursue his priestly studies because of a lack of funds. They generously offered to support both him and his friend, Thaddeus, in their seminary studies. The two went to Rome, where they were drawn to St. Alphonsus' vision of religious life and to the Redemptorists. The two young men were ordained together in 1785.

Newly professed at age 34, Clement Mary, as he was now called, and Thaddeus were sent back to Vienna. But the religious difficulties there caused them to leave and continue north to Warsaw, Poland. There they encountered numerous German-speaking Catholics who had been left priestless by the suppression of the Jesuits. At first they had to live in great poverty and preached outdoor sermons. They were given the church of St. Benno, and for the next nine years they preached five sermons a day, two in German and three in Polish, converting many to the faith. They were active in social work among the poor, founding an orphanage and then a school for boys.

Drawing candidates to the congregation, they were able to send missionaries to Poland, Germany and Switzerland. All of these foundations had eventually to be abandoned because of the political and religious tensions of the times. After 20 years of difficult work Clement himself was imprisoned and expelled from the country. Only after another arrest was he able to reach Vienna, where he was to live and work the final 12 years of his life. He quickly became "the apostle of Vienna," hearing the confessions of the rich and poor, visiting the sick, acting as a counselor to the powerful, sharing his holiness with all in the city. His crowning work was the establishment of a Catholic college in his beloved city.

Persecution followed him, and there were those in authority who were able for a while to stop him from preaching. An attempt was made at the highest levels to have him banished. But his holiness and fame protected him and the growth of the Redemptorists. Due to his efforts, the congregation, upon his death in 1820, was firmly established north of the Alps.


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

Invitatory Psalm
Psalm 99 (100)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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

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.

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


The fast, as taught by holy lore,
We keep in solemn course once more:
The fast to all men known, and bound
In forty days of yearly round.
More sparing therefore let us make
The words we speak, the food we take,
Our sleep and pleasure. Closer barred
Be every sense in holy guard.
Avoid the evil thoughts that roll
Like waters o’er the heedless soul;
Nor let the foe occasion find
Our souls in slavery to bind.
Thy grace have we offended sore,
By sins, O God, which we deplore;
But pour upon us from on high,
O pardoning One, thy clemency.
Remember thou, though frail we be,
That yet thine handiwork are we;
Nor let the honor of thy name
Be by another put to shame.
Forgive the sin that we have wrought;
Increase the good that we have sought;
That we at length, our wanderings o’er,
May please thee here and evermore.
Blest Three in One, and One in Three,
Almighty God, we pray to thee,
That this our fast of forty days
May work our profit and thy praise.

Thanksgiving for salvation and victory
Psalm 17 (18)

I love you, Lord, my strength.

I will love you, Lord, my strength:
Lord, you are my foundation and my refuge,
you set me free.
My God is my help: I will put my hope in him,
my protector, my sign of salvation,
the one who raises me up.
I will call on the Lord – praise be to his name –
and I will be saved from my enemies.
The waves of death flooded round me,
the torrents of Belial tossed me about,
the cords of the underworld wound round me,
death’s traps opened before me.
In my distress I called on the Lord,
I cried out to my God:
from his temple he heard my voice,
my cry to him came to his ears.

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.

I love you, Lord, my strength.
Psalm 17 (18)

The Lord saved me because he loved me.

The earth moved and shook,
at the coming of his anger the roots of the mountains rocked
and were shaken.
Smoke rose from his nostrils,
consuming fire came from his mouth,
from it came forth flaming coals.
He bowed down the heavens and descended,
storm clouds were at his feet.
He rode on the cherubim and flew,
he travelled on the wings of the wind.
He made dark clouds his covering;
his dwelling-place, dark waters and clouds of the air.
The cloud-masses were split by his lightnings,
hail fell, hail and coals of fire.
The Lord thundered from the heavens,
the Most High let his voice be heard,
with hail and coals of fire.
He shot his arrows and scattered them,
hurled thunderbolts and threw them into confusion.
The depths of the oceans were laid bare,
the foundations of the globe were revealed,
at the sound of your anger, O Lord,
at the onset of the gale of your wrath.
He reached from on high and took me up,
he lifted me from the many waters.
He snatched me from my powerful enemies,
from those who hate me, for they were too strong for me.
They attacked me in my time of trouble,
but the Lord was my support.
He led me to the open spaces,
he was my deliverance, for he held me in favour.

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.

The Lord saved me because he loved me.
Psalm 17 (18)

You, O Lord, are my lamp, my God who lightens my darkness.

The Lord rewards me according to my uprightness,
he repays me according to the purity of my hands,
for I have kept to the paths of the Lord
and have not departed wickedly from my God.
For I keep all his decrees in my sight,
and I will not reject his judgements;
I am stainless before him,
I have kept myself away from evil.
And so the Lord has rewarded me according to my uprightness,
according to the purity of my hands in his sight.
You will be holy with the holy,
kind with the kind,
with the chosen you will be chosen,
but with the crooked you will show your cunning.
For you will bring salvation to a lowly people
but make the proud ashamed.
For you light my lamp, O Lord;
my God brings light to my darkness.
For with you I will attack the enemy’s squadrons;
with my God I will leap over their wall.

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.

You, O Lord, are my lamp, my God who lightens my darkness.
Repent and do penance.
– Make yourselves a new heart and a new spirit.

Exodus 10:21-11:10

The Lord said to Moses, ‘Stretch out your hand towards heaven, and let darkness, darkness so thick that it can be felt, cover the land of Egypt.’ So Moses stretched out his hand towards heaven, and for three days there was deep darkness over the whole land of Egypt. No one could see anyone else or move about for three days, but where the sons of Israel lived there was light for them.

Pharaoh summoned Moses. ‘Go and offer worship to the Lord,’ he said ‘but your flocks and herds must remain here. Your children may go with you too.’ Moses replied, ‘But you must let us have means of offering sacrifices and holocausts to the Lord our God. Our livestock, too, must go with us; not one head of cattle must be left behind: it must be from our livestock that we provide for the worship of the Lord our God; until we reach the place, we do not know ourselves what worship we shall have to offer the Lord.’

But the Lord made Pharaoh’s heart stubborn, and he refused to let them go. Pharaoh said to Moses, ‘Out of my sight! Take care! Never appear before me again, for on the day you do, you die!’ Moses replied, ‘You yourself have said it: never again shall I appear before you.’

Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘One disaster more I shall bring on Pharaoh and on Egypt, just one. After this he will let you go from here... Indeed, he will drive you out! Instruct the people that every man is to ask his neighbour, every woman hers, for silver ornaments and gold.’ And the Lord gave the people prestige in the eyes of the Egyptians, while Moses himself was a man of great importance in the land of Egypt, and of high prestige with Pharaoh’s courtiers and with the people.

Moses said, ‘This is the Lord’s message, “Towards midnight I shall pass through Egypt. All the first-born in the land of Egypt shall die: from the firstborn of Pharaoh, heir to his throne, to the first-born of the maidservant at the mill, and all the first-born of the cattle. And throughout the land of Egypt there shall be such a wailing as never was heard before, nor will be again. But against the sons of Israel, against man or beast, never a dog shall bark, so that you may know that the Lord discriminates between Egypt and Israel. Then all these courtiers of yours will come down to me and bow low before me and say: Go away, you and all the people who follow you! After this, I shall go.”’ And, hot with anger, Moses left Pharaoh’s presence.

Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘Pharaoh will not listen to you; so that my wonders may be multiplied in the land of Egypt.’ All these wonders Moses and Aaron worked in the presence of Pharaoh. But the Lord made Pharaoh’s heart stubborn, and he did not let the sons of Israel leave his country.


A fitting punishment it was for those who had kept your own sons in prison, that they should be imprisoned in darkness, for through your sons that law which is light unfailing was to be given to the world.

Over the Egyptians alone this heavy curtain of night was spread, brightest of all the light that shone on your chosen sons; for through your sons that law which is light unfailing was to be given to the world.

From a demonstration by Aphraates, bishop

Circumcision of the heart

Law and covenant have been entirely changed. God changed the first pact with Adam, and gave a new one to Noah. He gave another to Abraham, and changed this to give a new one to Moses. When the covenant with Moses was no longer observed, he gave another pact in this last age, a pact never again to be changed.

He established a new law for Adam, that he could not eat of the tree of life. He gave to Noah the sign of the rainbow in the clouds. He then gave Abraham, chosen for his faith, the mark and seal of circumcision for his descendants. Moses was given the Passover lamb, the propitiation for the people.

All these covenants were different from each other. Moreover, the circumcision that is approved by the giver of those covenants is of the kind spoken of by Jeremiah: Circumcise your hearts. If God’s pact with Abraham was firm, so also is this covenant firm and trustworthy, nor can any other law be laid down, whether it originates outside the law or among those subject to the law.

God gave Moses a law together with his prescriptions and precepts, and when it was no longer kept, he made the law and its precepts of no avail. He promised a new covenant, different from the first, though the giver of both is one and the same. This is the covenant that he promised: All shall know me from the least to the greatest. In this covenant there is no longer any circumcision of the flesh, any seal upon the people.

We know, dearly beloved, that God established different laws in different generations which were in force as long as it pleased him. Afterward they were made obsolete. In the words of the apostle: In former times the kingdom of God existed in each generation under different signs.

Moreover, our God is truthful and his commandments are most trustworthy. Every covenant was proved firm and trustworthy in its own time, and those who have been circumcised in heart are brought to life and receive a second circumcision beside the true Jordan, the waters of baptism that bring forgiveness of sins.

Jesus, son of Nun, renewed the people’s circumcision with a knife of stone when he had crossed the Jordan with the Israelites. Jesus, our Saviour, renews the circumcision of the heart for the nations who have believed in him and are washed by baptism: circumcision by the sword of his word, sharper than any two-edged sword.

Jesus, son of Nun, led the people across the Jordan into the promised land. Jesus, our Saviour, has promised the land of the living to all who have crossed the true Jordan, and have believed and are circumcised in heart.

Blessed, then, are those who are circumcised in heart, and have been reborn in water through the second circumcision. They will receive their inheritance with Abraham, the faithful leader and father of all nations, for his faith was credited to him for righteousness.


I will establish a new covenant with the House Of Israel. I will put my law into their minds. I will write it on their hearts, not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God.

I will write my law not on stone tablets but on the pages of the human heart. I will write it on their hearts, not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God.

Let us pray.

Look with favour on our Lenten observance, Lord,
and while we subdue our bodies by self-denial,
renew our spirit with the grace that prompts us to good works.

We make our prayer 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.