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Saturday after Ash Wednesday


Martyrology - 25th February

Upon the 25th day of February, were born into the better life:

In Egypt, [in the third century,] under the Emperor Numerian, the holy martyrs Victorinus, Victor, Nicephorus, Claudian, Dioscorus, Serapion, and Papias. Victorinus and Victor steadfastly bore grievous tortures on account of their confession of the faith, and were beheaded.

Nicephorus was laid upon a hot iron bed, and when he had overcome the fire was cut joint from joint. Claudian and Dioscorus were burnt. Serapion and Papias were slain with the sword.

In Africa, the holy martyrs Donatus, Justus, Herenas, and their Companions.

At Rome, [in the year 492,] the holy Pope Felix III, who was the great-grandfather of holy Gregory the Great, who saith of him that he appeared unto his holy niece Tharsilla, and called her unto the kingdom of heaven.

At Constantinople, [in the year 806,] holy Tharasius, Patriarch of that see, famous for his learning and godliness. There remaineth an epistle addressed unto him by Pope Adrian I in defence of holy images.

At Nazianzum, [in 369,] holy Caesarius, brother of blessed Gregory the Theologian, whom the aforementioned Gregory doth testify that he saw among the multitude of the blessed.

And elsewhere many other Holy Martyrs, Confessors and Holy virgins.

R. Thanks be to God


Morning Prayer

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.

Place Yourself in the Presence of God, and adore His holy Name.

Most holy and adorable Trinity, one God in three Persons, I believe that Thou art here present: I adore Thee with the deepest humility, and render to Thee, with my whole heart, the homage which is due to Thy sovereign majesty.

An Act of Faith

O my God, I firmly believe that Thou art one God in three divine Persons, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost; I believe that Thy divine Son became man, and died for our sins, and that He will come to judge the living and the dead. I believe these and all the truths which the holy Catholic Church teaches, because Thou hast revealed them, who canst neither deceive nor be deceived.

An Act of Hope

O my God, relying on Thy infinite goodness and promises, I hope to obtain pardon of my sins, the help of Thy grace, and life everlasting, through the merits of Jesus Christ, my Lord and Redeemer.

An Act of Love

O my God, I love Thee above all things, with my whole heart and soul, because Thou art all-good and worthy of all love. I love my neighbour as myself for the love of Thee. I forgive all who have injured me, and ask pardon of all whom I have injured.

Thank God for All Favours and Offer Yourself to Him.

O my God, I most humbly thank Thee for all the favours Thou hast bestowed upon me up to the present moment. I give Thee thanks from the bottom of my heart that Thou hast created me after Thine own image and likeness, that Thou hast redeemed me by the precious blood of Thy dear Son, and that Thou hast preserved me and brought me safe to the beginning of another day. I offer to Thee, O Lord, my whole being, and in particular all my thoughts, words, actions, and sufferings of this day. I consecrate them all to the glory of Thy name, beseeching Thee that through the infinite merits of Jesus Christ my Saviour they may all find acceptance in Thy sight. May Thy divine love animate them, and may they all tend to Thy greater glory.

Resolve to Avoid Sin and to Practice Virtue.

Adorable Jesus, my Saviour and Master, model of all perfection, I resolve and will endeavour this day to imitate Thy example, to be, like Thee, mild, humble, chaste, zealous, charitable, and resigned. I will redouble my efforts that I may not fall this day into any of those sins which I have heretofore committed (here name any besetting sin), and which I sincerely desire to forsake.

Ask God for the Necessary Graces.

O my God, Thou knowest my poverty and weakness, and that I am unable to do anything good without Thee; deny me not, O God, the help of Thy grace; proportion it to my necessities; give me strength to avoid anything evil which Thou forbiddest, and to practise the good which Thou hast commanded; and enable me to bear patiently all the trials which it may please Thee to send me.

The Lord’s Prayer...

The Hail Mary...

The Apostles’ Creed...

At this point, please go to the relevant text of Fr Hamon’s Meditation. Once I have read and meditated on the text, and its various points.

Ask the Prayers of the Blessed Virgin, your Guardian Angel, and your Patron Saint.

I complete my meditation by saying:

Holy Virgin, Mother of God, my Mother and Patroness, I place myself under thy protection, I throw myself with confidence into the arms of thy compassion. Be to me, O Mother of mercy, my refuge in distress, my consolation under suffering, my advocate with thy adorable Son, now and at the hour of my death.

Angel of God, my guardian dear, To whom His love commits me here, Ever this day be at my side, To light and guard, to rule and guide. Amen.

O great Saint whose name I bear, protect me, pray for me, that like thee I may serve God faithfully on earth, and glorify Him eternally with thee in heaven. Amen.

Litany of the Most Holy Name of Jesus

Lord, have mercy.

Christ, have mercy.

Lord, have mercy.

Jesus, hear us.

Jesus, graciously hear us.

God the Father of heaven, have mercy on us.

God the Son, Redeemer of the world, have mercy on us.

God the Holy Ghost, have mercy on us.

Holy Trinity, one God, ... Jesus, Son of the living God, ... Jesus, splendour of the Father, ... Jesus, brightness of eternal light, ... Jesus, king of glory, ... Jesus, sun of justice, ... Jesus, son of the Virgin Mary, ... Jesus, most amiable, ... Jesus, most admirable, ... Jesus, mighty God, ... Jesus, father of the world to come, ... Jesus, angel of great council, ... Jesus, most powerful, ... Jesus, most patient, ... Jesus, most obedient, ... Jesus, meek and humble of heart, ... Jesus, lover of chastity ... Jesus, lover of us, ... Jesus, God of peace, ... Jesus, author of life, ... Jesus, model of virtues, ... Jesus, zealous for souls, ... Jesus, our God, ... Jesus, our refuge, ... Jesus, father of the poor, ... Jesus, treasure of the faithful, ... Jesus, good shepherd, ... Jesus, true light, ... Jesus, eternal wisdom, ... Jesus, infinite goodness, ... Jesus, our way and our life, ... Jesus, joy of angels, ... Jesus, king of patriarchs, ... Jesus, master of apostles, ... Jesus, teacher of evangelists, ... Jesus, strength of martyrs, ... Jesus, light of confessors, ... Jesus, purity of virgins, ... Jesus, crown of all saints, ...

Be merciful, Spare us, O Jesus. Be merciful, graciously hear us, O Jesus.

From all evil, Jesus, deliver us. From all sin, Jesus, deliver us. From Thy wrath, ... From the snares of the devil, ... From the spirit of fornication, ... From everlasting death, ... From the neglect of Thy inspirations, ... Through the mystery of Thy holy incarnation, ... Through Thy nativity, ... Through Thine infancy, ... Through Thy most divine life, ... Through Thy labours, ... Through Thine agony and passion, ... Through Thy cross and dereliction, ...Through Thy faintness and weariness, ... Through Thy death and burial, ... Through Thy resurrection, ... Through Thine ascension, ... Through Thy joys, ... Through Thy glory, ...

Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world, Spare us, O Jesus.

Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world, Graciously hear us, O Jesus.

Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world, Have mercy on us, O Jesus.

Jesus, hear us. Jesus, graciously hear us.

Let us pray.

O Lord Jesus Christ, who hast said: Ask, and ye shall receive; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you; grant, we beseech Thee, unto us who ask, the gift of Thy most divine love, that we may ever love Thee with all our hearts, and in all our words and actions, and never cease from showing forth Thy praise. Make us, O Lord, to have a perpetual fear and love of Thy holy Name; for Thou never failest to govern those whom Thou dost solidly establish in Thy love. Who livest and reignest, world without end. Amen.

The Angelus

℣ The angel of the Lord declared unto Mary.

℟ And she conceived of the Holy Ghost.

Hail, Mary...

℣ Behold the handmaid of the Lord.

℟ Be it done unto me according to thy word.

Hail, Mary...

℣ And the Word was made flesh.

℟ And dwelt among us.

Hail, Mary...

℣ Pray for us, O Holy Mother of God.

℟ That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Let us pray.

Pour forth, we beseech Thee, O Lord! Thy grace into our hearts, that we, to whom the incarnation of Christ, Thy Son, was made known by the message of an angel, may, by His passion and Cross, be brought to the glory of His resurrection. Through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.

Evening Prayer


Saturday after Ash Wednesday: Holiness of the Season of Lent

Summary of the Morrow’s Meditation

We will meditate tomorrow: first, on the holiness of the season of Lent; second, on the means for sanctifying the season. We will then make the resolution: first, to guard our heart and our senses more carefully against sin and dissipation; second, to attach ourselves during this season to the reformation of the defect which it is the most important for us to correct. Our spiritual nosegay shall be the words of St Paul: “Behold now is the acceptable time, behold now is the day of salvation” (II Cor. vi:2).

Meditation for the Morning

Let us transport ourselves in spirit to the desert where Jesus spent forty days and forty nights. Let us contemplate Him, prostrate in presence of the majesty of God, His Father, kneeling down often with His face to the earth; pouring forth His soul, sometimes in adoration, praise, thanksgiving, sometimes in supplications to obtain from His Father mercy in favour of poor sinners; and joining with His prayers, uttered with tears in His eyes, an incomparable mortification, since during these forty days He neither eats nor drinks, nor has any other bed than the rocks and the bare ground; no other shelter than the vault of heaven. Let us render to Him, in this state, our homage of adoration, of admiration, of gratitude, and of love.

Holiness of the season of Lent

First of all, Our Lord teaches it to us by His example. Although His life was always eminently holy, He gives to it, during these forty days, a special exterior character of holiness. First, He passes these forty days in retreat, in order to show us that we ought on our side to pass them in a holy recollection, that being the necessary condition to listen to God in the bottom of our heart, to study Him and to know Him, to love Him and to enjoy Him; and at the same time in a spirit of reflection, which is a no less necessary condition whereby to know and reform ourselves. Second, He spends it in prayer, to show us that we ought to be more faithful during this season to our exercises of piety, to pray more and with greater fervour. Third, He subjects Himself during this time to the most severe mortification, in order to show us that we must, during Lent, grant less to sensuality, to tastes, to pleasures, to accept the privation imposed by the Church and to perform true penance. It is thus that Our Saviour, by His example, teaches us the holiness of the season of Lent; and this teaching of the Saviour is confirmed by that of the Church. For why these more frequent sermons, this multiplication of religious exercises; why the privations which are imposed upon us, if it be not to tell us that this season must be sanctified by penance? Oh, blessed be the Church for this teaching! In the course of our lives we so frequently forget penance; we are in such great need that we should be reminded of it every year; for penance is indispensable to us, whether it be for the expiation of our past faults or to prevent the backslidings which our weaknesses would infallibly cause us.

To all these lessons on the obligation of passing the holy season of Lent in a holy manner is to be added a powerful reason, drawn from the great mysteries of the Passion and of the resurrection of Our Lord, for which Lent serves as a preparation. For the fruit of these mysteries ought to be death to ourselves, and a new life all in God and all for God; now these mysteries produce fruit in us only in proportion to our having passed Lent in a really holy manner. We shall receive the plenitude of graces attached to their celebration if we reach the end of Lent in good dispositions; but the contrary will take place if we incur the misfortune of passing such holy days in dissipation and want of reflection, in pusillanimity and tepidity. Let us rightly understand therefore the holiness of this season and the necessity of passing it in a better manner than the ordinary seasons of the year.

Means for sanctifying Lent

First, we must apply ourselves to the performing of our ordinary actions in a perfect manner, for therein lies all their holiness; that is to say, we must during this holy season pray and perform our spiritual exercises better, employ our time better, watch better over our words, give to each of our actions a higher degree of perfection and offer them to God in union with the penance of Jesus in the desert, in expiation for our sins and the sins of the whole world.

Second, we must be faithful to the fasting and abstinence prescribed by the Church, and if we cannot do it, or if we are dispensed from it, we must supply for it by interior mortification. Making our will fast by a spirit of obedience and condescension, our temper by always preserving meekness, our tongue by silence or discretion in our words, our mouth by the privation of certain indulgences which are not really necessary, our eyes by not letting them wander, our whole body by the modesty of its deportment and manners, lastly, our whole interior by retrenching useless thoughts, vain imaginations and the infinite desires which the heart allows itself to indulge in if we do not take care; these mortifications do no harm either to the head or to the breast, and they do great good to the soul.

Third, we must cheerfully accept the crosses that God sends us, such as infirmities, bearing with the tempers of others, their defects, and their wills which are contrary to ours. Fourth, lastly, we must fix upon a special defect, of which we must pursue the reformation during the whole of Lent. That, says St Chrysostom, is the best of all fasts, because its effects are durable, not only during the whole year but throughout eternity. Are we resolved to embrace these different kinds of mortification? Let us have courage to do so.

Resolutions and spiritual nosegay as above.


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