Saturday, March 2, 2013



An Ancient Prayer to Saint Joseph

O St. Joseph,
whose protection is so great,
so strong, so prompt before the throne of God,
I place in thee all my interests and desires.

O St. Joseph,
assist me by thy powerful intercession and obtain for me all spiritual blessings through thy foster Son,
Jesus Christ Our Lord,
so that, having engaged here below thy heavenly power,
I may offer thee my thanksgiving and homage.

O St. Joseph,
I never weary contemplating thee and Jesus asleep in thine arms.
I dare not approach while He reposes near thy heart.
Press Him in my name and kiss His fine head for me,
and ask Him to return the kiss when I draw my dying breath.

St. Joseph,
patron of departing souls,
pray for me.


Saturday of the Second Week of Lent

MI 7:14-15, 18-20

Shepherd your people with your staff,
the flock of your inheritance,
That dwells apart in a woodland,
in the midst of Carmel.
Let them feed in Bashan and Gilead,
as in the days of old;
As in the days when you came from the land of Egypt,
show us wonderful signs.

Who is there like you, the God who removes guilt
and pardons sin for the remnant of his inheritance;
Who does not persist in anger forever,
but delights rather in clemency,
And will again have compassion on us,
treading underfoot our guilt?
You will cast into the depths of the sea all our sins;
You will show faithfulness to Jacob,
and grace to Abraham,
As you have sworn to our fathers
from days of old.

Responsorial Psalm
PS 103:1-2, 3-4, 9-10, 11-12

R. The Lord is kind and merciful.

Bless the LORD, O my soul;
and all my being, bless his holy name.
Bless the LORD, O my soul,
and forget not all his benefits.

R. The Lord is kind and merciful.

He pardons all your iniquities,
he heals all your ills.
He redeems your life from destruction,
he crowns you with kindness and compassion.

R. The Lord is kind and merciful.

He will not always chide,
nor does he keep his wrath forever.
Not according to our sins does he deal with us,
nor does he requite us according to our crimes.

R. The Lord is kind and merciful.

For as the heavens are high above the earth,
so surpassing is his kindness toward those who fear him.
As far as the east is from the west,
so far has he put our transgressions from us.

R. The Lord is kind and merciful.

LK 15:1-3, 11-32

Tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to listen to Jesus,
but the Pharisees and scribes began to complain, saying,
“This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.”

So to them Jesus addressed this parable.

“A man had two sons, and the younger son said to his father,
‘Father, give me the share of your estate that should come to me.’
So the father divided the property between them.
After a few days, the younger son collected all his belongings
and set off to a distant country
where he squandered his inheritance on a life of dissipation.
When he had freely spent everything,
a severe famine struck that country,
and he found himself in dire need.
So he hired himself out to one of the local citizens
who sent him to his farm to tend the swine.
And he longed to eat his fill of the pods on which the swine fed,
but nobody gave him any.
Coming to his senses he thought,
‘How many of my father’s hired workers
have more than enough food to eat,
but here am I, dying from hunger.
I shall get up and go to my father and I shall say to him,
“Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you.
I no longer deserve to be called your son;
treat me as you would treat one of your hired workers.”’
So he got up and went back to his father.
While he was still a long way off,
his father caught sight of him, and was filled with compassion.
He ran to his son, embraced him and kissed him.
His son said to him,
‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you;
I no longer deserve to be called your son.’
But his father ordered his servants,
‘Quickly, bring the finest robe and put it on him;
put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet.
Take the fattened calf and slaughter it.
Then let us celebrate with a feast,
because this son of mine was dead, and has come to life again;
he was lost, and has been found.’
Then the celebration began.
Now the older son had been out in the field
and, on his way back, as he neared the house,
he heard the sound of music and dancing.
He called one of the servants and asked what this might mean.
The servant said to him,
‘Your brother has returned
and your father has slaughtered the fattened calf
because he has him back safe and sound.’
He became angry,
and when he refused to enter the house,
his father came out and pleaded with him.
He said to his father in reply,
‘Look, all these years I served you
and not once did I disobey your orders;
yet you never gave me even a young goat to feast on with my friends.
But when your son returns
who swallowed up your property with prostitutes,
for him you slaughter the fattened calf.’
He said to him,
‘My son, you are here with me always;
everything I have is yours.
But now we must celebrate and rejoice,
because your brother was dead and has come to life again;
he was lost and has been found.’”


March 2

St. Agnes of Bohemia (1205-1282)

Agnes had no children of her own but was certainly life-giving for all who knew her.

Agnes was the daughter of Queen Constance and King Ottokar I of Bohemia.
At the age of three, she was betrothed to the Duke of Silesia, who died three years later.
As she grew up, she decided she wanted to enter the religious life.

After declining marriages to King Henry VII of Germany and Henry III of England, Agnes was faced with a proposal from Frederick II,
the Holy Roman Emperor. She appealed to Pope Gregory IX for help. The pope was persuasive;
Frederick magnanimously said that he could not be offended if Agnes preferred the King of Heaven to him.

After Agnes built a hospital for the poor and a residence for the friars, she financed the construction of a Poor Clare monastery in Prague.
In 1236, she and seven other noblewomen entered this monastery.
St. Clare sent five sisters from San Damiano to join them,
and wrote Agnes four letters advising her on the beauty of her vocation and her duties as abbess.

Agnes became known for prayer, obedience and mortification.
Papal pressure forced her to accept her election as abbess;
nevertheless, the title she preferred was "senior sister."
Her position did not prevent her from cooking for the other sisters and mending the clothes of lepers.
The sisters found her kind but very strict regarding the observance of poverty;
she declined her royal brother’s offer to set up an endowment for the monastery.

Devotion to Agnes arose soon after her death on March 6, 1282.
She was canonized in 1989.


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

Invitatory Psalm
Psalm 66 (67)

Christ the Lord was tempted and suffered for us.
Come, let us adore him.

O God, take pity on us and bless us,
and let your face shine upon us,
so that your ways may be known across the world,
and all nations learn of your salvation.

Christ the Lord was tempted and suffered for us.
Come, let us adore him.

Let the peoples praise you, O God,
let all the peoples praise you.
Let the nations be glad and rejoice,
for you judge the peoples with fairness
and you guide the nations of the earth.

Christ the Lord was tempted and suffered for us.
Come, let us adore him.

Let the peoples praise you, O God,
let all the peoples praise you.
The earth has produced its harvest:
may God, our God, bless us.
May God bless us,
may the whole world revere him.

Christ the Lord was tempted and suffered for us.
Come, let us adore him.

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.

Christ the Lord was tempted and suffered for us.
Come, let us adore him.


Lord, who throughout these forty days
for us didst fast and pray,
teach us with thee to mourn our sins,
and close by thee to stay.
As thou with Satan didst contend
and didst the victory win,
O give us strength in thee to fight,
in thee to conquer sin.
As thou didst hunger bear, and thirst,
so teach us, gracious Lord,
to die to self, and chiefly live
by thy most holy word.
And through these days of penitence,
and through thy Passiontide,
yea, evermore in life and death,
Jesus, with us abide.
Abide with us, that so, this life
of suffering overpast,
an Easter of unending joy
we may attain at last.

Psalm 105 (106)
The Lord's goodness and his people's infidelity

O Lord, remember us: come to us with your help

Give praise to the Lord, for he is good,
for his kindness is for ever.
Who shall tell of his powerful deeds?
Who shall proclaim the praises of the Lord?
Blessed are they who keep his decrees,
who do right at all times.
Remember us, Lord, in your love for your people,
and bring us your salvation,
so that we may see the good things you have kept for your chosen ones,
that we may rejoice in the joys of your people,
that we may glory with those whom you have made your heirs.
Like our fathers, we too have sinned:
we have done wrong, we have transgressed.
Our fathers, in Egypt, did not understand your miracles;
they did not remember the abundance of your mercies,
but rebelled as they approached the Red Sea.
Still he saved them, for his own name’s sake,
and to make known his mighty power.
He rebuked the Red Sea, and it dried up.
He led them through its depths as if through a desert.
He saved them from the hands of those who hated them,
he set them free from slavery at the hands of their enemies.
The water covered their oppressors:
not one was left alive.
Then they believed his word,
and they sang his praises.
But soon they forgot what he had done,
and refused to submit to his direction.
They embraced desire in the desert
and put God to the test in the waterless places.
He gave them all they requested,
he filled their hearts with his abundance.
But in the camp, they grew jealous of Moses
and Aaron, consecrated to the Lord.
The earth opened and swallowed Dathan,
covered the party of Abiram.
Fire broke out against them,
flames burnt up the sinners.

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.

O Lord, remember us: come to us with your help

Psalm 105 (106)

Take care you do not forget the covenant 
the Lord your God has made with you.

At Horeb they made a calf
and worshipped a statue.
They exchanged the glory of their people
for the likeness of a bull, that eats grass.
They forgot their God, who had saved them,
who had done great miracles for them in Egypt,
wonders in the land of Ham,
terrors at the Red Sea.
Then he said that he would destroy them,
but Moses, his chosen one, was there:
he stood in the breach before him
to turn aside his wrath,
to prevent the destruction.
To them, the Promised Land meant nothing,
they did not believe the Lord’s word.
They stayed muttering in their tents,
they were deaf to the voice of the Lord.
So he raised his hand against them
to crush them in the desert,
to scatter their seed among the nations,
to disperse them in foreign lands.
They made themselves followers of Baal-Peor,
they ate the sacrifices of the dead.
They angered the Lord by their actions,
and a plague broke out among them.
Then Phinehas stood up and gave judgement,
and the plague was stopped.
For this, he is revered as one of the just,
from generation to generation,
for all eternity.
At the waters of Meribah they so angered the Lord
that Moses suffered on their account:
they so embittered his spirit
that his lips spoke rash words.

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.

Take care you do not forget the covenant 
the Lord your God has made with you.

Psalm 105 (106)

O Lord, save us; gather us from among the nations.

They did not destroy the peoples
as the Lord had told them they must.
They mingled themselves with the peoples,
and learned to do as they did.
They served the same idols
until it became their undoing.
They sacrificed their own sons
and their daughters to demons.
They poured out innocent blood.
The blood of their own sons and daughters
was sacrificed to the idols of Canaan.
Their blood polluted the land,
and their actions defiled them.
They devoted themselves to whoring.
The Lord blazed out in anger against his own people,
he detested his own chosen race.
He gave them into the hands of foreigners,
they were conquered by those who hated them.
Their enemies persecuted them
and humbled them beneath their hands.
Many times he freed them,
but they turned him against themselves
by falling back into wickedness.
Still he looked upon their distress
when he heard their cries.
He remembered his covenant,
and in his infinite kindness he repented.
He made them an object of pity
and kindness to all their captors.
Save us, O Lord, our God,
and gather us from among the nations,
so that we may proclaim your holy name,
and rejoice as we praise you.
Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel,
from the beginning and for all time.
And all the people shall cry, “Amen!”

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.

O Lord, save us; gather us from among the nations.

He who lives by the truth comes to the light
– and whatever he does is seen by all.

First Reading
Exodus 20:1-17

God spoke all these words. 
He said, ‘I am the Lord your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.
‘You shall have no gods except me.
‘You shall not make yourself a carved image or any likeness of anything in heaven or on earth 
beneath or in the waters under the earth;
you shall not bow down to them or serve them. 
For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God and I punish the father’s fault in the sons,
the grandsons, 
and the great-grandsons of those who hate me; but I show kindness to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments.
‘You shall not utter the name of the Lord your God to misuse it, 
for the Lord will not leave unpunished the man who utters his name to misuse it.
‘Remember the sabbath day and keep it holy. 
For six days you shall labour and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath for the Lord your God.
You shall do no work that day, neither you nor your son nor your daughter nor your servants, 
men or women, nor your animals nor the stranger who lives with you.
For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth and the sea and all that these hold, 
but on the seventh day he rested;
that is why the Lord has blessed the sabbath day and made it sacred.
‘Honor your father and your mother 
so that you may have a long life in the land that the Lord your God has given to you.
‘You shall not kill.
‘You shall not commit adultery.
‘You shall not steal.
‘You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
‘You shall not covet your neighbour’s house. 
You shall not covet your neighbour’s wife, or his servant, man or woman, or his ox,
or his donkey, or anything that is his.’


The law of the Lord is perfect, it revives the soul.
The rule of the Lord is to be trusted,
it gives wisdom to the simple.
The command of the Lord is clear,
it gives light to the eyes.

He who loves his neighbour has satisfied every claim of the law:
the whole law is summed up in love.
The command of the Lord is clear,
it gives light to the eyes.

Second Reading
From the treatise on Flight from the World
by Saint Ambrose, bishop

Hold fast to God, the one true good

Where a man’s heart is, there is his treasure also. 
God is not accustomed to refusing a good gift to those who ask for one.
Since he is good, and especially to those who are faithful to him, 
let us hold fast to him with all our soul, our heart, our strength,
and so enjoy his light and see his glory and possess the grace of supernatural joy. 
Let us reach out with our hearts to possess that good,
let us exist in it and live in it, let us hold fast to it, 
that good which is beyond all we can know or see and is marked by perpetual peace and tranquillity,
a peace which is beyond all we can know or understand.
This is the good that permeates creation. 
In it we all live, on it we all depend. 
It has nothing above it; it is divine. 
No one is good but God alone.
What is good is therefore divine, what is divine is therefore good. Scripture says: 
When you open your hand all things will be filled with goodness.
It is through God’s goodness that all that is truly good is given us, 
and in it there is no admixture of evil.
These good things are promised by Scripture to those who are faithful: 
The good things of the land will be your food.
We have died with Christ. 
We carry about in our bodies the sign of his death, 
so that the living Christ may also be revealed in us.
The life we live is not now our ordinary life but the life of Christ: 
a life of sinlessness, of chastity, of simplicity and every other virtue.
We have risen with Christ. Let us live in Christ, 
let us ascend in Christ, so that the serpent may not have the power here below to wound us in the heel.
Let us take refuge from this world. 
You can do this in spirit, even if you are kept here in the body. 
You can at the same time be here and present to the Lord.
Your soul must hold fast to him, you must follow after him in your thoughts, 
you must tread his ways by faith, not in outward show. 
You must take refuge in him.
He is your refuge and your strength. 
David addresses him in these words: 
I fled to you for refuge, and I was not disappointed.
Since God is our refuge, 
God who is in heaven and above the heavens, 
we must take refuge from this world in that place where there is peace,
where there is rest from toil, 
where we can celebrate the great sabbath, 
as Moses said: 
The sabbaths of the land will provide you with food.
To rest in the Lord and to see his joy is like a banquet, and full of gladness and tranquillity.
Let us take refuge like deer beside the fountain of waters. 
Let our soul thirst, as David thirsted, for the fountain. What is that fountain?
Listen to David: With you is the fountain of life. 
Let my soul say to this fountain: 
When shall I come and see you face to face? 
For the fountain is God himself.


You must love the Lord your God with all your heart,
with all your soul,
and with all your mind:
this is the greatest and first commandment.

What does the Lord ask of you?
Only this:
to fear the Lord your God,
to love him, and to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and all your soul:
this is the greatest and first commandment.

Let us pray.

Almighty God, whose healing grace even here on earth
brings us the gifts of heaven,
guide us in this present life
and lead us to that light in which you have your dwelling.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

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