Lent: April 1st
Wednesday of the Fifth Week of Lent
Other Commemorations: St. Hugh of Grenoble, Bishop (RM)
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"One of the scribes came to Jesus and asked him, “Which is the first of all the commandments?” Jesus replied, “The first is this: Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is Lord alone! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. (Mk 12:28)."
Historically today is the feast of St. Hugh of Grenoble, who was elected bishop at the age of twenty-eight to purge the diocese of its disorders, and he occupied the see until his death fifty-two years later.
Meditation - The Tree of Knowledge and the Cross
The sin that was wrought through the tree was undone by the obedience of the tree, obedience to God whereby the Son of man was nailed to the tree, destroying the knowledge of evil, and bringing in and conferring the knowledge of good; and evil is disobedience to God, as obedience to God is good. And therefore the Word says through Isaiah the prophet, foretelling what was to come to pass in the future—for it was because they told the future that they were "prophets"—the Word says through him as follows: I refuse not, and do not gainsay, my back have I delivered to blows and my cheeks to buffets, and I have not turned away my face from the contumely of them that spat. [Is. 50, 6] So by obedience, whereby He obeyed unto death, hanging on the tree, He undid the old disobedience wrought in the tree. And because He is Himself the Word of God Almighty, who in His invisible form pervades us universally in the whole world, and encompasses both its length and breadth and height and depth—for by God's Word everything is disposed and administered—the Son of God was also crucified in these, imprinted in the form of a cross on the universe; for He had necessarily, in becoming visible, to bring to light the universality of His cross, in order to show openly through His visible form that activity of His: that it is He who makes bright the height, that is, what is in heaven, and holds the deep, which is in the bowels of the earth, and stretches forth and extends the length from East to West, navigating also the Northern parts and the breadth of the South, and calling in all the dispersed from all sides to the knowledge of the Father. — St. Irenaeus
Things to Do:
- The fasting desired by the Lord is not so much denying oneself food (although this is important) but rather, consists in "Sharing your bread with the hungry, sheltering the oppressed and the homeless; / Clothing the naked when you see them, and not turning your back on your own." Many families take these words to heart by having an inexpensive, penitential dinner on Fridays in Lent (such as beans and rice) and then giving the extra money to the poor.
- Many families give each child one pretzel during Friday dinners in Lent. Remind your children of the spiritual significance of the pretzel.
- Pray the Stations of the Cross today with your family. An excellent version with beautiful meditations composed by our Holy Father is his Stations of the Cross at the Colosseum. Some other recommended versions are: Eucharistic Stations of the Cross, and the more traditional Stations of the Cross written by Saint Alphonsus Liguori can be found in most Catholic bookstores. Here are some guidelines for praying the Stations of the Cross in your home.
- Any of the linked activities (Fun Pretzel Project, Lenten Scrapbook, Candelabrum for Stations of the Cross) are a perfect way for your children to spend their Friday afternoons throughout this season of Lent.
St. Hugh of Grenoble
It was the good fortune of Saint Hugh to receive, from his cradle, strong impressions of piety through the example and solicitude of his illustrious and holy parents. He was born at Chateauneuf in Dauphiné, France, in 1053. His father, Odilo, who served his country in an honorable post in the army, labored by all means in his power to make his soldiers faithful servants of their Creator, and by severe punishments, to restrain vice. By the advice of his son, Saint Hugh, in his later years he became a Carthusian monk, and died at the age of one hundred, having received Extreme Unction and Viaticum from the hands of his son. Under his direction, his mother had served God in her own house for many years by prayer, fasting, and abundant almsgiving; and Saint Hugh also assisted her in her last hours.
Hugh, from the cradle, appeared to be a child of benediction; in his youth he was recognized as such through his exceptional success in his studies. Having chosen to serve God in the ecclesiastical state, he accepted a canonry in the cathedral of Valence. His great sanctity and learning rendered him an ornament of that church, and at the age of twenty-seven he was chosen Bishop of Grenoble. Pope Gregory VII consecrated him in Rome, and inspired in him an ardent zeal for the Church’s liberty and the sanctification of the clergy. He at once undertook to reprove vice and reform abuses, at that time rampant in his diocese but found his efforts without fruit. He resolved, therefore, after two years, to resign his charge, and retired to the austere abbey of Casa Dei, or Chaise-Dieu, in Auvergne.
There Saint Hugh lived for a year, a perfect model of all virtues in a monastery filled with saints, until Pope Gregory commanded him, in the name of holy obedience, to resume his pastoral charge, saying: “Go to your flock; they need you.” This time his sanctity effected great good in souls. His forceful preaching moved crowds and touched hearts; in the confessional he wept with his penitents, and aroused in them a deeper contrition. After a few years the face of his diocese had changed. His charity for the poor led him to sell even his episcopal ring and his chalice to assist them. During his episcopate the young Saint Bruno came to him for counsel, and it was Saint Hugh who assisted him in the foundation of the Carthusian Monastery in the mountains of the diocese of Grenoble, whose renown after a thousand years has not diminished.
Always filled with a profound sense of his own unworthiness, he earnestly solicited three Popes for leave to resign his bishopric, that he might die in solitude, but was never able to obtain his request. God was pleased to purify his soul by a lingering illness before He called him to Himself. He closed his penitential course on the 1st of April in 1132, two months before completing his eightieth year. Miracles attested the sanctity of his death, and he was canonized only two years afterward, by Pope Innocent II.
—Excerpted from Little Pictorial Lives of the Saints
Patronage: against headaches; Grenoble, France
Symbols and Representation: carrying a lantern; one of a group of seven stars, representing the founders of the Carthusians; pictured with Saint Bruno; pictured with three flowers in his hand
Highlights and Things to Do:
- Try making Mock Turtle Soup. St. Hugh for a time lived in a Carthusian monastery as a simple monk. Legend has it that once, on arriving, he found the monks assembled in the refectory but with nothing to eat. He was told that some benefactor had indeed given them fowl but their rule forbade the eating of meat. When Saint Hugh saw their predicament, he promptly made the sign of the cross and changed the fowl into turtles.
- Read more about St. Hugh:
- Watch this YouTube video on St. Hugh of Grenoble and this video on Le monastère de la Grande Chartreuse (Isère - France) which St. Bruno and St. Hugh founded together.
- Learn more about the Carthusian Order here.
- The entire name of the Carthusians is "Order of the Chartreuse." The liqueur Chartreuse originates from the Carthusians. Find out the history and toast a glass of Chartreuse to St. Hugh today.
- Other toasting ideas is drinking wine from the Châteauneuf region. Most Châteauneuf-du-Pape bear the traditional logo which resembles the coat of arms of Vatican City: an insignia showing the papal three-crowned tiara (a.k.a. triregnum) above the keys of St. Peters with the words “Châteauneuf-du-Pape”.
- There is a titular church in Rome Sant'Ugo Vescovo located in the northern suburbs of Rome, dedicated to Saint Hugh of Châteauneuf.
- St. Hugh was interred in Saint Mary’s Cathedral, Grenoble, France, but later his relics were burned by the Huguenots in the 15th century.
Palm Sunday of the Lord's Passion
Station with San Giovanni in Laterano (St. John Lateran):
The Station in Rome is in the church of St. John Lateran which represents the Holy City Jerusalem which Christ and we, His disciples, have just entered. It is the first cathedral of Rome, where Emperor Constantine allowed the Pope to set up the episcopal chair after 312.
For more on San Giovanni in Laterano, see:
For further information on the Station Churches, see The Stational Church.