Lent: March 4th
Optional Memorial of St. Casimir of Poland, confessor
Old Calendar: St. Casimir; St. Lucius I, pope & martyr
St. Casimir was born in 1458 and was the son of the King of Poland. At an early age he saw through the superficiality and corruption of court life. Throughout his short life—he died of consumption at the age of 26—he dedicated himself wholly to the service of God and of his fellow-men. His love for the poor was immense. He was also renowned for his devotion to the Eucharist and to the Blessed Virgin. — Excepted from The Saints In Season by Austin Flannery, O.P.
St. Casimir, to whom the Poles gave the title of "The Peace-maker," was the third of the thirteen children of Casimir IV, King of Poland, and of Elizabeth of Austria, daughter of the Emperor Albert II. ...Devout from his infancy, the boy gave himself up to devotion and penance, and had a horror of anything approaching softness or self-indulgence. His bed was often the ground, and he was wont to spend a great part of the night in prayer and meditation, chiefly on the passion of our Saviour. His clothes were plain, and under them he wore a hairshirt. Living always in the presence of God, he was invariably serene and cheerful, and pleasant to all. The saint's love of God showed itself in his love of the poor who are Christ's members, and for the relief of these the young prince gave all he possessed, using in their behalf the influence he had with his father and with his brother Ladislaus when he became king of Bohemia. In honour of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Casimir frequently recited the long Latin hymn "Omni die dic Mariae," a copy of which was by his desire buried with him. This hymn, part of which is familiar to us through Bittleston's version, "Daily, daily sing to Mary," is not uncommonly called the Hymn of St Casimir, but it was certainly not composed by him; it is three centuries older than his time.
- St. Casimir died at age 26 due to tuberculosis. Teach the young people in your family about this saint who was so ready to die at such a young age, that they may realize that sanctity is fully attainable regardless of their state in life.
- The story of Esther interceding on behalf of her people in today's reading is a real example of how morally influential a woman can be by virtue of her femininity. Not through leaving her femininity behind and seeking power did Esther impact her world for the good, but it was directly through her beautiful, pure womanhood that Esther swayed the King, her husband, to save her people. Tell this story to your daughters, if you have been blessed with any — they will love hearing it! Read Pope John Paul II's encyclical On the Dignity of Woman, and his message Women: Teachers of Peace to learn more about the mission of women in society today.
- Don't be a Catholic who doesn't know Scripture! In the Gospel today there is a good Scripture verse to memorize that will deepen your trust in your Heavenly Father: "If you, with all your sins, know how to give your children what is good, how much more will your heavenly Father give good things to anyone who asks him!" — Matt 7:11
St. Lucius I
St. Lucius, according to the "Liber Pontificalis," was a Roman, the son of Porphyrius. When he succeeded St. Comelius, the persecution of Trebonianus Gallus was still raging, and the new Pope was exiled. Soon, however, the persecution died away and Lucius was able to return to Rome. There is extant a letter from St. Cyprian congratulating the Pope on his return from exile and praising him for his confession of Christ.
The station for today is at the church dedicated to St. Augustine of Hippo. Michalangelo was one of the artists commissioned for the decoration of the church. The Renaissance façade, one of the first in this style, is built of travertine marble said to be from the ruins of the Colosseum.