Lent: March 28th
Tuesday of the Fifth Week of Lent
Other Commemorations: St. Gontran, King (RM) ; Other Titles: St. Contran or St. Guntramnus or Guntram
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Today we have another ancient beautiful Lenten lesson. The division between Jesus and His enemies becomes more critical, more sharp. There are references in both readings to “being lifted up.” This reminds us of the crucifixion on Calvary and of events coming ten days from now. —The Vatican II Weekday Missal
The Roman Martyrology today honors St. Gontran (d. 592), also known as Contran or Guntramnus. He was the son of King Clotaire and the grandson of Clovis I. He was raised pagan and became King of Orleans in 561.
Meditation—Necessity of Faith in Christ’s Divinity
During the mortal life of Jesus, His Divinity as hidden under the veil of His Humanity; even for those who lived with Him, His Divinity was an object of faith.
Doubtless, the Jews were aware of the sublimity of His doctrine. “Never did man speak like this man,” they repeated. They were the witnesses of works, which, as they acknowledged, God alone could do. But they saw too that Christ was man; it is said that even His near acquaintances who had only known Him in the workshop of Nazareth did not believe in Him in spite of His miracles.
Faith in the Divinity of Christ Jesus constitutes the first step towards the divine life for us as well as for the Jews of His time. To believe that Jesus is the Son of God, God Himself, is the first condition that is necessary in order to be numbered among His sheep and be pleasing to His Father. Hoc est opus Dei ut credatis in eum quem misit ille. “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him Whom He hath sent.” We are not truly God’s children unless our life is based on this faith.
—Dom Columba Marmion, Christ the Life of the Soul
St. Gontran or Guntramnus
St. Gontran was the son of King Clotaire and grandson of Clovis I and Saint Clotildis. When Clotaire died in 561, his domains were divided among his four sons. While Gontran's brother Caribert reigned at Paris, Sigebert in Metz, and Chilperic in Soissons, he was crowned king of Orleans and Burgundy in 561. He then made Chalons-sur-Saone his capital.
When compelled to take up arms against his ambitious brothers and the Lombards, he made no other use of his victories, gained under the conduct of a brave general called Mommol, than to give peace to his dominions. The crimes in which the barbarous habits of his nation involved him, he effaced by tears of repentance. The prosperity of his reign, both in peace and war, condemns those who suppose that human policy cannot be determined by the maxims of the Gospel, whereas the truth is just the contrary: no others can render a government so efficacious and prosperous.
Saint Gontran always treated the pastors of the Church with respect and veneration. He was the protector of the oppressed, and the tender parent of his subjects. He gave the greatest attention to the care of the sick. He fasted, prayed, wept, and offered himself to God night and day as a victim ready to be sacrificed on the altar of His justice, to avert His indignation, which Saint Gontran believed he himself provoked and drew down upon his innocent people. He was a severe punisher of crimes in his officers and others, and by many wholesome regulations he restrained the barbarous licentiousness of his troops, but no man was ever more ready to forgive offenses against his own person. With royal magnificence, he built and endowed many churches and monasteries.
This good king died on the 23rd of March in 593, in the sixty-eighth year of his age, having reigned thirty-one years.
—Excerpted from Little Pictorial Lives of the Saints, a compilation based on Butler's Lives of the Saints and other sources by John Gilmary Shea (Benziger Brothers: New York, 1894).
Patronage: Divorced people; guardians; repentent murderers
Symbols and Representation: king finding treasure and giving it to the poor; king with three treasure chests, one of which has a globe and cross
Highlights and Things to Do:
- Read more about St. Gontran:
- He was buried in the Church of Saint Marcellus, which he had founded in Chalon. Almost immediately, his subjects proclaimed Gontrand a saint and the Catholic Church celebrates his feast day on 28 March. The Huguenots scattered his ashes in the 16th century. Only his skull remains in the Church of St. Marcellus in a silver case.
- See the print from 1636 in the Met Museum of St. Gontran.
Tuesday of the Fifth Week of Lent
Station with Santa Maria in via Lata al Corso (Our Lady at Via Lata):
The Station in Rome was formerly the church of the martyr St. Cyriacus, and as such it is still given in the Roman missal; but this holy sanctuary having been destroyed, and the relics of the holy deacon translated to the church of St. Mary in Via lata, it is here that the Station is now held.
For more on Santa Maria in via Lata al Corso, see:
For further information on the Station Churches, see The Stational Church.