Lent: March 16th
Thursday of the Third Week of Lent
Other Commemorations: St. Heribert, Archbishop (RM); St. Jean Brebeuf, Priest and Martyr (RM)
Today, the mid-point of Lent, was celebrated with somewhat joyful spirit in ancient times. This day was a breathing space in the center of Lent’s austerities. Today’s ancient Entrance Antiphon and Opening Prayer express this encouraging spirit. Modern Lent is less austere, less in need of any breathing space. Today’s lesson: be faithful to God, and do not ever fall away. It is a lesson to strengthen us for the remainder of Lent. —The Vatican II Weekday Missal
According to the Roman Martyrology, today commemorates St. Heribert (970-1021), who was Archbishop of Cologne and Chancellor of Holy Roman Emperor Otto III, and was canonized in 1074. St. Jean Brebeuf (1593-1649) is also commemorated today, but in the United States is celebrated on October 19.
Meditation on the Liturgy
The Gospel shows us Jesus at grips with Satan; He overcomes him and drives him from the body of one possessed. From the beginning of His ministry Jesus was pitted against Satan; at the time of His passion He entered on the final combat but victory was assured to Him: "For the prince of this world cometh, and in Me he hath not anything." Our Lord Himself summed up His whole work as the definitive victory over Satan: "Now shall the prince of this world be cast out. And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all things to Myself."
Thus our Lord's whole mission is set before us as a struggle with, and a victory over, Satan. During Lent the Church could not fail to emphasize this. At the outset, on the 1st Sunday, she appointed for the Gospel the account of the temptation in the desert and we have already seen its real significance. Today, cast out from the body of one possessed, Satan finds that he has lost all the kingdom that he had seized. As the passion and the baptisms of Easter draw nearer it is made clear to us that after the exorcisms pronounced over the catechumens will come the taking possession by Christ of the human souls whom He has redeemed.
The struggle against Satan goes on in our lives as baptized members of the Church. Humanity, so long as it knew not Christ, was deaf and dumb and the devil's prey; but once open to the light of our Savior it can fix its gaze on Him, and strong in His grace, begins on new ways, far from the darkness of sin.
—St. Andrew Daily Missal
Heribert was born in Worms and he was the son of Hugo, count of Worms. He was educated in the school of Worms Cathedral and at the Benedictine Gorze Abbey in Lorraine, France. He returned to Worms Cathedral to be provost and was ordained a priest in 994.
In the same year, Otto III appointed him chancellor for Italy and four years later also for Germany, a position which he held until Otto's death on 23 January 1002. Heribert was made an archbishop of Cologne on 998. Then, he also served Emperor St. Henry.
Heribert built the monastery of Deutz, on the Rhine and performed miracles, including ending a drought. He is thus invoked for rains.
He died in Cologne on March 16, 1021 and was buried at Deutz.
He was already honored as a saint during his lifetime and was canonized by Pope St. Gregory VII about 1074.
Patronage: against drought; for rain; Deutz, Germany
Symbols and Representation: archbishop calling down rain by his prayers; man kneeling before Saint Henry II; episcopal attire
Highlights and Things to Do:
- Read more about St. Heribert:
- Watch this short video from gloria.tv on St. Heribert of Cologne.
- His relics were relocated from Old St. Heribert to the Neu-St.Heribert church in Köln-Deutz.
Thursday of the Third Week of Lent
Station with Santi Cosma e Damiano (Sts. Cosmas and Damian):
The Station is at the church of Sts. Cosmas and Damian, physicians. These martyrs were twin brothers originating from Arabia. They practiced medicine in Aegea, Cilicia, but accepted no money from the poor. Their beautiful Christian lives edified the pagans and converted many to the Faith. They were arrested in the persecution of Diocletian, subjected to torture, and finally beheaded.
For more on Santi Cosma e Damiano, see:
For further information on the Station Churches, see The Stational Church.