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Lent: March 14th

Friday of the Fifth Week of Lent


March 14, 2008 (Readings on USCCB website)


Lord, grant us your forgiveness, and set us free from our enslavement to sin. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.


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Old Calendar: St. Matilda (Hist)

In Hebrews 9:11-15, St. Paul points out the infinite superiority of the Sacrifice of Calvary over the Old Testament sacrifices which could not make men internally holy but conferred only a cleanliness in the eyes of the Jewish law. Since Christ was not only true Man but also true God, His Blood has an infinite value and power; it cleanses the soul of its sins, and makes us live the life of divine grace. His Sacrifice not only blotted out "the transgressions which were under the former testament," but is an expiation for the sins of the whole world.

The Station, at Rome, is in the church of St. Stephen on Monte Celio. This church of the great proto-martyr was chosen as the place where the faithful were to assemble on the Friday of Passion week.

Meditation - God's Appeal to All the World
Pilate's "Ecce, Homo!" his appeal to the scornful multitude now on the point of breaking out into mob violence, was even more truly the mighty appeal of God's marvelous mercy to his chosen people and to all the human race.

"Behold the Man!" Behold the Lamb of God, the Son of the living God, in all these unsightly wounds, the most beautiful of men here disfigured beyond recognition, as one stricken by leprosy and all the other filthy diseases of mankind; yes, behold Him here, the most frightful symbol and demonstration of the monstrous evil of mortal sin ever to be given to the world; but even more, behold Him here, the clearest and the mightiest appeal of Heaven to all the world of souls to be converted and to rise from spiritual death to life, true and even divine.

"Behold the Man." O my soul, behold Christ Jesus there as the Lamb of God loaded with your own personal sins and bearing the ghastly wounds your sins inflicted on Him. Pray that you may recognize here, in this reed and purple and crown, God's very own caricature of your senseless pride, of the folly of your imaginary greatness. In that purple rag of a cloak see the sham honor and dignity in which your self-conceit and self-complacency clothe you! In that reed recognize the might of your strength in which you have been trusting. In that crown acknowledge the depth of humiliation you deserve for all your vanity and your open and secret envious ambition for recognition and authority and for honors and offices. O my soul, be honest enough to see and to acknowledge what a spectacle you are to all heaven in the light of the revelation in God's word: "Behold the Man!"

Yet again, "Behold the Man!" Look on Him that you may be filled with hope and courage. Let the crushing truth you have just been making your very own, serve to crush your nauseating and contaminating pride in all its open and especially its hitherto hidden forms. Behold the Man, the Lamb of God laden with your sins, but only to wash them away and to cast them into the deep sea of oblivion; yes, and even to take away your stony heart and give you a heart of flesh, to put His own spirit in your midst, and to cause you to walk in His commandments and to keep His judgments and to do them (Ezech. 36:26-30); in a word, to make a way in your wilderness, that shall be called "The Holy Way." (Isa. 35:6-8.)

Our Way to the Father by Rev. Leo M. Krenz, S.J.

St. Matilda
This princess was daughter of Theodoric, a powerful Saxon count. Her parents placed her very young in the monastery of Erford, of which her grandmother Maud was then abbess. Our Saint remained in that house, an accomplished model of all virtues, till her parents married her to Henry, son of Otho, Duke of Saxony, in 913, who was afterwards chosen king of Germany. He was s pious and victorious prince, and very tender of his subjects.

Whilst by his arms he checked the insolence of the Hungarians and Danes, and enlarged his dominions by adding to them Bavaria, Maud gained domestic victories over her spiritual enemies more worthy of a Christian and far greater in the eyes of Heaven. She nourished the precious seeds of devotion and humility in her heart by assiduous prayer and meditation. It was her delight to visit, comfort, and exhort the sick and the afflicted; to serve and instruct the poor, and to afford her charitable succor to prisoners. Her husband, edified by her example, concurred with her in every pious undertaking which she projected.

After twenty-three years' marriage God was pleased to call the king to himself, in 936. Maud, during his sickness, went to the church to pour forth her soul in prayer for him at the foot of the altar. As soon as she understood, by the tears and cries of the people, that he had expired, she called for a priest that was fasting to offer the holy sacrifice for his soul.

She had three sons: Otho, afterwards emperor; Henry, Duke of Bavaria; and St. Brunn, Archbishop of Cologne. Otho was crowned king of Germany in 937, and emperor at Rome in 962, after his victories over the Bohemians and Lombards.

The two oldest sons conspired to strip Maud of her dowry, on the unjust pretence that she had squandered the revenues of the state on the poor. The unnatural princes at length repented of their injustice, and restored to her all that had been taken from her.

She then became more liberal in her alms than ever, and founded many churches, with five monasteries.

In her last sickness she made her confession to her grandson William, the Archbishop of Mentz, who yet died twelve days before her, on his road home. She again made a public confession before the priests and monks of the place, received a second time the last sacraments, and, lying on a sack-cloth, with ashes on her head, died on the 14th of March in 968.

Excerpted from Lives of the Saints, by Alban Butler, Benziger Bros. ed. [1894]

Things to Do:

  • Learn more about St. Matilda here.

The Station today is at St. Paul without-the-walls. On this day the catechumens were subjected to a new examination and, if approved, were registered for Baptism. The beginning of the four Gospels was read to them, and the Creed and the Our Father was "given," or explained to them. Today's Mass has a decided Baptismal character. The joys of this day were anticipated on Laetare Sunday.