Friday, February 3, 2012


Novena to St. Blaise
(to be prayed for 9 consecutive days)

Preparatory Prayer

Almighty and Eternal God! With lively faith and reverently worshiping Thy Divine Majesty, I prostrate myself before Thee and invoke with filial trust Thy supreme bounty and mercy. Illumine the darkness of my intellect with a ray of Thy heavenly light and inflame my heart with the fire of Thy divine love, that I may contemplate the great virtues and merits of the saint in whose honor I make this novena, and following his example imitate, like him, the life of Thy divine Son.

Moreover, I beseech Thee to grant graciously, through the merits and intercession of this powerful Helper, the petition which through him I humbly place before Thee, devoutly saving, "Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven." Vouchsafe graciously to hear it, if it redounds to Thy greater glory and to the salvation of my soul.


Prayer in honor of St. Blaise

O God, deliver us through the intercession of Thy holy bishop and martyr Blase, from all evil of soul and body, especially from all ills of the throat; and grant us the grace to make a good confession in the confident hope of obtaining Thy pardon, and ever to praise with worthy lips Thy most holy name. Through Christ our Lord.


Invocation of St. Blaise

St. Blaise, gracious benefactor of mankind and faithful servant of God, who for the love of our Savior did suffer so many tortures with patience and resignation; I invoke thy powerful intercession. Preserve me from all evils of soul and body. Because of thy great merits God endowed thee with the special grace to help those that suffer from ills of the throat; relieve and preserve me from them, so that I may always be able to fulfill my duties, and with the aid of God's grace perform good works. I invoke thy help as special physician of souls, that I may confess my sins sincerely in the holy sacrament of Penance and obtain their forgiveness. I recommend to thy merciful intercession also those who unfortunately concealed a sin in confession. Obtain for them the grace to accuse themselves sincerely and contritely of the sin they concealed, of the sacrilegious confessions and communions they made, and of all the sins they committed since then, so that they may receive pardon, the grace of God, and the remission of the eternal punishment.


Concluding Prayer

My Lord and my God! I offer up to Thee my petition in union with the bitter passion and death of Jesus Christ, Thy Son, together with the merits of His immaculate and blessed Mother, Mary ever virgin, and of all the saints, particularly with those of the holy Helper in whose honor I make this novena.

Look down upon me, merciful Lord! Grant me Thy grace and Thy love, and graciously hear my prayer.



Friday of the Fourth Week in Ordinary Time

Sir 47:2-11

Like the choice fat of the sacred offerings,
so was David in Israel.
He made sport of lions as though they were kids,
and of bears, like lambs of the flock.
As a youth he slew the giant
and wiped out the people's disgrace,
When his hand let fly the slingstone
that crushed the pride of Goliath.
Since he called upon the Most High God,
who gave strength to his right arm
To defeat the skilled warrior
and raise up the might of his people,
Therefore the women sang his praises,
and ascribed to him tens of thousands
and praised him when they blessed the Lord.
When he assumed the royal crown, he battled
and subdued the enemy on every side.
He destroyed the hostile Philistines
and shattered their power till our own day.
With his every deed he offered thanks
to God Most High, in words of praise.
With his whole being he loved his Maker
and daily had his praises sung;
He set singers before the altar and by their voices
he made sweet melodies,
He added beauty to the feasts
and solemnized the seasons of each year
So that when the Holy Name was praised,
before daybreak the sanctuary would resound.
The LORD forgave him his sins
and exalted his strength forever;
He conferred on him the rights of royalty
and established his throne in Israel.

Responsorial Psalm
Ps 18:31, 47 And 50, 51

R. Blessed be God my salvation!

God's way is unerring,
the promise of the LORD is fire-tried;
he is a shield to all who take refuge in him.

R. Blessed be God my salvation!

The LORD live! And blessed be my Rock!
Extolled be God my savior.
Therefore will I proclaim you, O LORD, among the nations,
and I will sing praise to your name.

R. Blessed be God my salvation!

You who gave great victories to your king
and showed kindness to your anointed,
to David and his posterity forever.

R. Blessed be God my salvation!

Mk 6:14-29

King Herod heard about Jesus, for his fame had become widespread,
and people were saying,
"John the Baptist has been raised from the dead;
that is why mighty powers are at work in him."
Others were saying, "He is Elijah";
still others, "He is a prophet like any of the prophets."
But when Herod learned of it, he said,
"It is John whom I beheaded. He has been raised up."

Herod was the one who had John arrested and bound in prison
on account of Herodias,
the wife of his brother Philip, whom he had married.
John had said to Herod,
"It is not lawful for you to have your brother's wife."
Herodias harbored a grudge against him
and wanted to kill him but was unable to do so.
Herod feared John, knowing him to be a righteous and holy man,
and kept him in custody.
When he heard him speak he was very much perplexed,
yet he liked to listen to him.
Herodias had an opportunity one day when Herod, on his birthday,
gave a banquet for his courtiers, his military officers,
and the leading men of Galilee.
His own daughter came in and performed a dance
that delighted Herod and his guests.
The king said to the girl,
"Ask of me whatever you wish and I will grant it to you."
He even swore many things to her,
"I will grant you whatever you ask of me,
even to half of my kingdom."
She went out and said to her mother,
"What shall I ask for?"
Her mother replied, "The head of John the Baptist."
The girl hurried back to the king's presence and made her request,
"I want you to give me at once on a platter
the head of John the Baptist."
The king was deeply distressed,
but because of his oaths and the guests
he did not wish to break his word to her.
So he promptly dispatched an executioner
with orders to bring back his head.
He went off and beheaded him in the prison.
He brought in the head on a platter
and gave it to the girl.
The girl in turn gave it to her mother.
When his disciples heard about it,
they came and took his body and laid it in a tomb.


February 3

St. Ansgar (801-865)

The “apostle of the north” (Scandinavia) had enough frustrations to become a saint—and he did. He became a Benedictine at Corbie, France, where he had been educated. Three years later, when the king of Denmark became a convert, Ansgar went to that country for three years of missionary work, without noticeable success. Sweden asked for Christian missionaries, and he went there, suffering capture by pirates and other hardships on the way. Fewer than two years later, he was recalled, to become abbot of New Corbie (Corvey) and bishop of Hamburg. The pope made him legate for the Scandinavian missions. Funds for the northern apostolate stopped with Emperor Louis’s death. After 13 years’ work in Hamburg, Ansgar saw it burned to the ground by invading Northmen; Sweden and Denmark returned to paganism.

He directed new apostolic activities in the North, traveling to Denmark and being instrumental in the conversion of another king. By the strange device of casting lots, the king of Sweden allowed the Christian missionaries to return.

Ansgar’s biographers remark that he was an extraordinary preacher, a humble and ascetical priest. He was devoted to the poor and the sick, imitating the Lord in washing their feet and waiting on them at table. He died peacefully at Bremen, Germany, without achieving his wish to be a martyr.

Sweden became pagan again after his death, and remained so until the coming of missionaries two centuries later.


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

Invitatory Psalm
Psalm 23 (24)

The Lord is our delight: come, bless his name.

– The Lord is our delight: come, bless his name.

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.

– The Lord is our delight: come, bless his name.

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.

– The Lord is our delight: come, bless his name.

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.

– The Lord is our delight: come, bless his name.

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.

– The Lord is our delight: come, bless his name.

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 is our delight: come, bless his name.


O Three in One, and One in Three,
Who rulest all things mightily,
Bow down to hear the songs of praise
Which, freed from bonds of sleep, we raise.
While lingers yet the peace of night,
We rouse us from our slumbers light;
That might of instant prayer may win
The healing balm for wounds of sin.
If, by the wiles of Satan caught,
This night-time we have sinned in aught,
That sin thy glorious power today,
From heaven descending, cleanse away.
Let naught impure our bodies stain,
No laggard sloth our souls detain,
No taint of sin our spirits know,
To chill the fervour of their glow.
Wherefore, Redeemer, grant that we
Fulfilled with thine own light may be:
That, in our course, from day to day,
By no misdeed we fall away.
Grant this, O Father ever One
With Christ, thy sole-begotten Son,
And Holy Ghost, whom all adore,
Reigning and blest for evermore.

Psalm 54 (55)
Against a faithless friend

Do not reject my plea, O God, for wicked men assail me.

Open your ears, O God, to my prayer,
and do not hide when I call on you:
turn to me and answer me.
My thoughts are distracted and I am disturbed
by the voice of my enemy and the oppression of the wicked.
They let loose their wickedness on me,
they persecute me in their anger.
My heart is tied in a knot
and the terrors of death lie upon me;
fear and trembling cover me;
terror holds me tight.
I said, “Will no-one give me wings like a dove?
I shall fly away and rest.
I shall flee far away
and remain all alone.
I shall wait for him who will save me
from the stormy wind and the tempest.”

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.

Do not reject my plea, O God, for wicked men assail me.

Psalm 54 (55)

The Lord will free us from the hand of the enemies and from those who wish us harm.

Scatter them, Lord, and separate their tongues,
for I see violence and conflict in the city.
By day and by night they circle it
high on its battlements.
Within it are oppression and trouble;
scheming and fraud fill its squares.
For if my enemy had slandered me,
I think I could have borne it.
And if the one who hated me had trampled me,
perhaps I could have hidden.
But you – a man just like me,
my companion and my friend!
We had happy times together,
we walked together in the house of God.

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 will free us from the hand of the enemies and from those who wish us harm.

Psalm 54 (55)

Entrust your cares to the Lord and he will support you.

Let death break in upon them!
Let them go down alive to the underworld,
for wickedness shares their home.
As for me, I will call upon God,
and the Lord will rescue me.
Evening, morning, noon – I shall watch and groan,
and he will hear my voice.
He will redeem my soul
and give it peace from those who attack me –
for very many are my enemies.
God will hear and will bring them low,
God, the eternal.
They will never reform:
they do not fear God.
That man – he stretched out his hand against his allies:
he corrupted his own covenant.
His face was smoother than butter,
but his heart was at war;
his words were softer than oil,
but they were sharp as drawn swords.
Throw all your cares on the Lord
and he will give you sustenance.
He will not let the just be buffeted for ever.
No – but you, Lord, will lead the wicked
to the gaping mouth of destruction.
The men of blood and guile
will not live half their days.
But I, Lord, will put my trust in you.

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.

Entrust your cares to the Lord and he will support you.

My son, attend to my wisdom,
– and turn your ears to my words of prudence.

2 Thessalonians 2:1-17

To turn now, brothers, to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and how we shall all be gathered round him: please do not get excited too soon or alarmed by any prediction or rumour or any letter claiming to come from us, implying that the Day of the Lord has already arrived. Never let anyone deceive you in this way.

It cannot happen until the Great Revolt has taken place and the Rebel, the Lost One, has appeared. This is the Enemy, the one who claims to be so much greater than all that men call ‘god’, so much greater than anything that is worshipped, that he enthrones himself in God’s sanctuary and claims that he is God. Surely you remember me telling you about this when I was with you? And you know, too, what is still holding him back from appearing before his appointed time. Rebellion is at its work already, but in secret, and the one who is holding it back has first to be removed before the Rebel appears openly. The Lord will kill him with the breath of his mouth and will annihilate him with his glorious appearance at his coming.

But when the Rebel comes, Satan will set to work: there will be all kinds of miracles and a deceptive show of signs and portents, and everything evil that can deceive those who are bound for destruction because they would not grasp the love of the truth which could have saved them. The reason why God is sending a power to delude them and make them believe what is untrue is to condemn all who refused to believe in the truth and chose wickedness instead.

But we feel that we must be continually thanking God for you, brothers whom the Lord loves, because God chose you from the beginning to be saved by the sanctifying Spirit and by faith in the truth. Through the Good News that we brought he called you to this so that you should share the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. Stand firm, then, brothers, and keep the traditions that we taught you, whether by word of mouth or by letter. May our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God our Father who has given us his love and, through his grace, such inexhaustible comfort and such sure hope, comfort you and strengthen you in everything good that you do or say.


The sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and all the peoples of the earth will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.

Then the Rebel will appear openly and the Lord Jesus will kill him with the breath of his mouth, and all the peoples of the earth will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.

From a homily by a spiritual writer of the fourth century

May you be filled to the complete fullness of Christ

Those who have been found worthy to become children of God and also to be born again through the Holy Spirit, those who carry Christ within them, shining within them and renewing them – these people are guided by the Spirit in various ways and led forward by grace working invisibly in the inner peace of their hearts.

Sometimes they are, as it were, in mourning and lamentation for the whole human race. They utter prayers for all mankind and fall back in tears and lamentation. They are on fire with spiritual love for all humanity.

Sometimes they burn, through the Spirit, with such love and exultation that they would embrace all mankind if they could, without discrimination, good and bad alike.

Sometimes they are cast down by humility, down below the least of men, as they consider themselves to be in the lowest, the most abject of conditions.

Sometimes the Spirit keeps them in a state of inextinguishable and unspeakable gladness.

Sometimes they are like some champion who puts on a full suit of royal armour and plunges into battle, combats his enemies fiercely and at length vanquishes them. For in the same way the spiritual champion, wearing the heavenly armour of the Spirit, attacks his enemies and, winning the battle, treads them underfoot.

Sometimes their soul is in the deepest silence, stillness and peace, experiencing nothing but spiritual delight and ineffable power: the best of all possible states.

Sometimes their soul is in a state of understanding and boundless wisdom and attention to the inscrutable Spirit, taught by grace things that neither tongue nor lips can describe.

And sometimes their soul is in a state just like anyone else’s.

Thus grace is poured into them in different ways, and by different paths it leads the soul, renewing it according to God’s will. It guides it by various paths until it is made whole, sinless and stainless before the heavenly Father.

Therefore let us pray to God, pray with great love and hope, that he may give us the heavenly grace of the Spirit. Let us pray that the Spirit may guide us and lead us, following God’s will in every way, and may re-make us in stillness and in quiet. Thanks to his guidance and spiritual strengthening, may we be found worthy to attain the perfection and fullness of Christ. As St Paul says: that you may be filled to the complete fullness of Christ.


You have been anointed by the Holy One, and you have not lost the anointing that he gave you, and you do not need anyone to teach you: the anointing he gave teaches you everything.

Be glad and rejoice in the Lord your God, for he has given you a teacher of justice; and you do not need anyone to teach you: the anointing he gave teaches you everything.

Let us pray.

Lord our God,
make us love you above all things,
and all our fellow-men
with a love that is worthy of you.
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.

Let us bless the Lord.
– Thanks be to God.