Lent: February 12th
Tuesday of the First Week of Lent
Other Commemorations: St. Eulalia (RM); Our Lady of Argenteuil
"Those who are healthy do not need a physician, but the sick do. I have not come to call the righteous to repentance but sinners (Mt 9:13)." Just as the sick were brought to Christ that they might touch the hem of His garment and be healed so shall we be cleansed by the virtues of the Eucharistic Lord.Lent is a time when God draws nearer to us, ready to pardon our sins provided that we desire to turn away from evil. Answering His appeal and entering on His ways means abandoning our evil ways and enabling Him to carry out His purpose in us.Before the reform of the General Roman Calendar this was the feast of the Seven Founders of the Servite Order. Their feast has been transferred to February 17th.
At Rome, the Station is in the church of St. Anastasia, where, formerly, the Mass of the Aurora on Christmas Day was celebrated. The first church was built in the late 3rd or early 4th century, and was one of the first parish churches of ancient Rome. It was given by a woman called Anastasia and called titulus Anastasiae after her. Later, it was dedicated to a martyr of the same name.
The Value of Fasting
Is fasting really worthwhile? Whenever I consider the value of a religious practice, I always look into the earthly life of our Savior. He is our model. He dwelt with us in order to teach us how to form our lives inwardly and outwardly. Christ Himself fasted often and accorded it high praise in His teaching. Recall how He fasted forty days before entering upon His work of teaching. At the beginning of Lent the Church wishes to stamp this fact deep in our hearts: our fasting must be in union with and in imitation of Christ's.I call to mind the mystery-laden, pregnant words spoken by our Savior when the disciples, unable to cure a possessed boy, asked, "Why could we not cast him out?" and Jesus answered, "This kind can be driven out in no way except by prayer and fasting" (Mark 9:29). This reply has always made the deepest impression on me. Prayer and fasting are extraordinary means (we may call them violent means) when other simpler ways are of no avail against the powers of hell.Now another saying of Jesus comes to mind. When John's disciples began to reproach Him, "Why do Your disciples not fast?" He replied: "Can you make the wedding guests fast as long as the bridegroom is with them? As long as they have the bridegroom with them, they cannot fast. But the days will come when the bridegroom will be taken away from them; in those days they will fast" (Luke 5:35). There is a hidden depth of meaning in these words. The coming of Christ among men was a wedding feast. Fasting had no place. But it is most proper to fast when the divine Bridegroom is taken away. Fasting on Fridays and during Holy Week, then, is in accord with Christ's own wishes.I should like to cite one further passage from the Gospel, one which casts light on fasting from another direction. Once our Savior compared Himself with the Baptist in these words, "John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, 'He has a devil!' The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, 'Behold a glutton and a wine drinker.'" John was a man devoted to penance, an ascetic, who fasted throughout his life. Not so Christ. His way of living was not based exclusively upon self-denial and mortification, but upon an ordered enjoyment of life. So we learn from the Savior that fasting should be the exception, not the rule, in Christian morality.To complete the lesson let us consider for a moment the passage in the Sermon on the Mount where Jesus speaks of the three important pious exercises of fasting, prayer, and almsgiving. He highly recommends all three, but warns against practicing these virtues in a pharisaical manner.The main points in Jesus' doctrine on fasting, then, are:
- Fasting is an extremely important means of resisting the inroads of hell (hence Lent).
- Fasting should be practiced as a memorial of Christ's death (Friday, Holy Week).
- Fast days occur by way of exception in Christian life, they are not the normal practice.
- Fasting holds a place alongside prayer and almsgiving as a pious exercise.
St. Eulalia descended from one of the most prominent families in Spain in 290 AD. She was educated in the Christian religion and was taught the sentiments of perfect piety. From her infancy she distinguished herself by an admirable sweetness of temper, modesty and devotion.
Things to Do:
- See Saint Eulalia, Child Martyr.
- Also see Saint Eulalia, THE ICONOGRAPHY.
- Read more about St. Eulalia here
Our Lady of Argenteuil
Our Lady of Argenteuil, Paris, built by Clovis I containing a portion of the Seamless Garment. The Abbot Orsini wrote: “This priory preserves a portion of the seamless garment of Our Lord.”
Looking up to heaven, Clovis cried:
God was pleased to answer Clovis’ petition immediately, for no sooner had he prayed than his enemies fled the field. Clovis won the battle, and he was a man of his word. Hating his former error, Clovis converted to the True Faith.It is related in the Gospels that Christ’s executioners played dice over this tunic. According to legend, that tunic was found in the fourth century by Saint Helena, the mother of Emperor Constantine. It was then kept in Constantinople until the eighth century.In the year 800, the Empress Irene of Byzantium offered Charlemagne the Holy Tunic at his coronation as Emperor of the West. The emperor then gave the relic to the priory of Argenteuil when his daughter, Theodrade, became abbess.In the year 850, the Normans plundered the village of Argenteuil, including the Basilica of Saint Dennis, but the tunic was hidden in a wall before their arrival. When the abbey was rebuilt in 1003, the relic was restored. It is venerated until the 16th century when it was partially burned by Huguenots in 1567.During the French Revolution the Benedictine priory was destroyed, and the relic then given to a parish church for safekeeping. In 1793, a priest found it necessary to cut it into pieces and bury them in his garden to protect them from profanation. In 1795, after the priest's imprisonment had ended, the Holy Tunic appeared again and the different fragments were sewn back together.The Holy Tunic was displayed again in the nineteenth century, and pilgrimages resumed. On the 13 of December in 1983, the parish priest of Saint Dennis discovered the tunic had been stolen. On 2 February 1984, Father Guyard received a phone call from a stranger promising to return the treasure on the condition that their names would be kept secret. That same evening the tunic, with its case, was found in the Basilica of Saint Dennis.The last solemn exposition of the tunic took place during the Easter holiday in 1984. In six days, approximately 80,000 people came to see the tunic.The Holy Tunic measures nearly 5’ by 3’ in size. The fibers are wool and of a very regular size. It is a soft, lightweight fabric, and the weaving is uniform and regular with a twisted “Z,” made on a primitive loom. The tunic is remarkable for a tunic woven manually, as it is made without any seam, including the sleeves. The dark brown fabric is typical of the clothing in the early centuries of the Christian era. The fabric was dyed brown, using a method widely in practice at the time by people of modest means. The construction and dyeing show the tunic to date from the time of Christ. It is the garment worn by Christ after the Flagellation and along the road to Calvary as He carried His cross. Christ’s blood and sweat thus impregnate the fabric. In 1985 a test was done showing the blood was type AB. Pollen common to Palestine has also been found in the fabric.
“Jesus Christ, whom Clotilda declares to be the Son of the Living God, who it is said givest aid to the oppressed and victory to those who put their hope in Thee, I beseech the glory of Thy aid! If Thou shalt grant me victory over these enemies and I test that power which people consecrated to Thy name say they have proved concerning Thee, I will believe in Thee and be baptized in Thy name. For I have called upon my gods, but, as I have proved, they are far removed from my aid. So I believe that they have no power, for they do not succor those who serve them. Now I call upon Thee, and I long to believe in Thee—all the more that I may escape my enemies!”
Things to Do:
- Read The Exposition of the Holy Tunic of Argenteuil and Holy Tunic of Argenteuil, Seamless Garment, To Be Displayed in 2016 at Aleteia.
- If you are interested in Impressionist paintings see The Impressionists at Argenteuil at the National Gallery of Art.