Lent: March 4th
Wednesday of the First Week of Lent; Optional Memorial of St. Casimir of Poland
Old Calendar: St. Casimir; St. Lucius I, pope & martyr
Today is the Optional Memorial of St. Casimir who 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. It is also the feast of St. Lucius I, pope in the 3rd century reputed to be a martyr.Today is the Ember Wednesday of the traditionally observed Lenten or Spring Ember Days. There are two principal objects for the Ember Days of this period of the year: the first is to publicly offer thanks to God the season of Spring, and secondly to ask God to bless the fruits of the earth and human labor. A third traditional focus of the Ember Days is to ask Him to enrich with His choicest graces the priests and sacred ministers particularly those who might be ordained on this day. See Lenten Ember Days for more information.Stational Church
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 Mulieris Dignitatem (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.
Wednesday of the First Week of Lent, Station with Santa Maria Maggiore (St. Mary Major):
The spring Ember Week consecrated the new season to God and by prayer and fasting sought to obtain abundant graces for those who on Saturday were to receive Holy Orders. The Station was fittingly held in the church, which witnessed the first scrutinies for the coming ordinations, and which was dedicated to the mother of the great High Priest.