Wednesday, April 13, 2011


Prayer in Honor of Blessed Margaret of Castello:

Your care extends to every human person,
No matter what afflictions they suffer,
And you uphold the dignity of every human life,
Regardless of the false ways that the world may calculate its value.
You gave us Blessed Margaret of Castello as a sign and a challenge.
You permitted your glory to shine through her human weakness,
And called those around her to love her
Despite her physical limitations.
Forgive us when we fail to defend the least among us.
Through the intercession of Blessed Margaret,
Give us grace to speak up for the outcast
and to welcome those who are rejected.
When this brief life is over,
Grant that we who have welcomed all our brothers and sisters,
May be welcomed by you into the life that never ends.
We pray through Christ our Lord.



April 13, 2011
Wednesday of the Fifth Week of Lent

Reading 1
Dn 3:14-20, 91-92, 95

King Nebuchadnezzar said:
“Is it true, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego,
that you will not serve my god,
or worship the golden statue that I set up?
Be ready now to fall down and worship the statue I had made,
whenever you hear the sound of the trumpet,
flute, lyre, harp, psaltery, bagpipe,
and all the other musical instruments;
otherwise, you shall be instantly cast into the white-hot furnace;
and who is the God who can deliver you out of my hands?”
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered King Nebuchadnezzar,
“There is no need for us to defend ourselves before you
in this matter.
If our God, whom we serve,
can save us from the white-hot furnace
and from your hands, O king, may he save us!
But even if he will not, know, O king,
that we will not serve your god
or worship the golden statue that you set up.”

King Nebuchadnezzar’s face became livid with utter rage
against Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.
He ordered the furnace to be heated seven times more than usual
and had some of the strongest men in his army
bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego
and cast them into the white-hot furnace.

Nebuchadnezzar rose in haste and asked his nobles,
“Did we not cast three men bound into the fire?”
“Assuredly, O king,” they answered.
“But,” he replied, “I see four men unfettered and unhurt,
walking in the fire, and the fourth looks like a son of God.”
Nebuchadnezzar exclaimed,
“Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego,
who sent his angel to deliver the servants who trusted in him;
they disobeyed the royal command and yielded their bodies
rather than serve or worship any god
except their own God.”

Responsorial Psalm
Dn 3:52, 53, 54, 55, 56

R. Glory and praise for ever!

“Blessed are you, O Lord, the God of our fathers,
praiseworthy and exalted above all forever;
And blessed is your holy and glorious name,
praiseworthy and exalted above all for all ages.”

R. Glory and praise for ever!

“Blessed are you in the temple of your holy glory,
praiseworthy and exalted above all forever.

R. Glory and praise for ever!

“Blessed are you on the throne of your kingdom,
praiseworthy and exalted above all forever.”

R. Glory and praise for ever!

“Blessed are you who look into the depths
from your throne upon the cherubim;
praiseworthy and exalted above all forever.”

R. Glory and praise for ever!

“Blessed are you in the firmament of heaven,
praiseworthy and glorious forever.”

R. Glory and praise for ever!

Jn 8:31-42

Jesus said to those Jews who believed in him,

“If you remain in my word, you will truly be my disciples,
and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

They answered him, “We are descendants of Abraham
and have never been enslaved to anyone.
How can you say, ‘You will become free’?”
Jesus answered them,

“Amen, amen, I say to you,
everyone who commits sin is a slave of sin.
A slave does not remain in a household forever,
but a son always remains.
So if the Son frees you, then you will truly be free.
I know that you are descendants of Abraham.
But you are trying to kill me,
because my word has no room among you.
I tell you what I have seen in the Father’s presence;
then do what you have heard from the Father.”

They answered and said to him, “Our father is Abraham.”
Jesus said to them,

“If you were Abraham’s children,
you would be doing the works of Abraham.
But now you are trying to kill me,
a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God;
Abraham did not do this.
You are doing the works of your father!”

So they said to him, “We were not born of fornication.
We have one Father, God.”
Jesus said to them,

“If God were your Father, you would love me,
for I came from God and am here;
I did not come on my own, but he sent me.”


April 13

St. Martin I (d. 655)

When Martin I became pope in 649, Constantinople was the capital of the Byzantine empire and the patriarch of Constantinople was the most influential Church leader in the eastern Christian world. The struggles that existed within the Church at that time were magnified by the close cooperation of emperor and patriarch.

A teaching, strongly supported in the East, held that Christ had no human will. Twice emperors had officially favored this position, Heraclius by publishing a formula of faith and Constans II by silencing the issue of one or two wills in Christ.

Shortly after assuming the office of the papacy (which he did without first being confirmed by the emperor), Martin held a council at the Lateran in which the imperial documents were censured, and in which the patriarch of Constantinople and two of his predecessors were condemned. Constans II, in response, tried first to turn bishops and people against the pope.

Failing in this and in an attempt to kill the pope, the emperor sent troops to Rome to seize Martin and to bring him back to Constantinople. Martin, already in poor health, offered no resistance, returned with the exarch Calliopas and was then submitted to various imprisonments, tortures and hardships. Although condemned to death and with some of the torture imposed already carried out, Martin was saved from execution by the pleas of a repentant Paul, patriarch of Constantinople, who was himself gravely ill.

Martin died shortly thereafter, tortures and cruel treatment having taken their toll. He is the last of the early popes to be venerated as a martyr.


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.

Hebrews 6:9-20

You, my dear people – in spite of what we have just said, we are sure you are in a better state and on the way to salvation. God would not be so unjust as to forget all you have done, the love that you have for his name or the services you have done, and are still doing, for the saints. Our one desire is that every one of you should go on showing the same earnestness to the end, to the perfect fulfilment of our hopes, never growing careless, but imitating those who have the faith and the perseverance to inherit the promises.

When God made the promise to Abraham, he swore by his own self, since it was impossible for him to swear by anyone greater: I will shower blessings on you and give you many descendants. Because of that, Abraham persevered and saw the promise fulfilled. Men, of course, swear an oath by something greater than themselves, and between men, confirmation by an oath puts an end to all dispute. In the same way, when God wanted to make the heirs to the promise thoroughly realise that his purpose was unalterable, he conveyed this by an oath; so that there would be two unalterable things in which it was impossible for God to be lying, and so that we, now we have found safety, should have a strong encouragement to take a firm grip on the hope that is held out to us. Here we have an anchor for our soul, as sure as it is firm, and reaching right through beyond the veil where Jesus has entered before us and on our behalf, to become a high priest of the order of Melchizedek, and for ever.


Jesus has entered through the veil before us and on our behalf, to become a high priest of the order of Melchizedek, and for ever. He is living for ever to intercede for us.

He can never lose his priesthood. It follows, then, that his power to save those who come to God through him is utterly certain. He is living for ever to intercede for us.

From a commentary on the psalms by Saint Augustine, bishop

Jesus Christ prays for us and in us and is the object of our prayers

God could give no greater gift to men than to make his Word, through whom he created all things, their head and to join them to him as his members, so that the Word might be both Son of God and son of man, one God with the Father, and one man with all men. The result is that when we speak with God in prayer we do not separate the Son from him, and when the body of the Son prays it does not separate its head from itself: it is the one Saviour of his body, our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who prays for us and in us and is himself the object of our prayers.

He prays for us as our priest, he prays in us as our head, he is the object of our prayers as our God.

Let us then recognise both our voice in his, and his voice in ours. When something is said, especially in prophecy, about the Lord Jesus Christ that seems to belong to a condition of lowliness unworthy of God, we must not hesitate to ascribe this condition to one who did not hesitate to unite himself with us. Every creature is his servant, for it was through him that every creature came to be.

We contemplate his glory and divinity when we listen to these words: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him nothing was made. Here we gaze on the divinity of the Son of God, something supremely great and surpassing all the greatness of his creatures. Yet in other parts of Scripture we hear him as one sighing, praying, giving praise and thanks.

We hesitate to attribute these words to him because our minds are slow to come down to his humble level when we have just been contemplating him in his divinity. It is as though we were doing him an injustice in acknowledging in a man the words of one with whom we spoke when we prayed to God. We are usually at a loss and try to change the meaning. Yet our minds find nothing in Scripture that does not go back to him, nothing that will allow us to stray from him.

Our thoughts must then be awakened to keep their vigil of faith. We must realise that the one whom we were contemplating a short time before in his nature as God took to himself the nature of a servant; he was made in the likeness of men and found to be a man like others; he humbled himself by being obedient even to accepting death; as he hung on the cross he made the psalmist’s words his own: My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?

We pray to him as God, he prays for us as a servant. In the first case he is the Creator, in the second a creature. Himself unchanged, he took to himself our created nature in order to change it, and made us one man with himself, head and body. We pray then to him, through him, in him, and we speak along with him and he along with us.


So far you have asked nothing in my name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be complete.

I tell you the truth: my Father will give you anything you ask of him in my name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be complete.

Let us pray.

God of mercy,
shed your light on hearts that have been purified by penance,
and in your goodness give us a favourable hearing
when you move us to pray.

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.