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Tuesday in the Fourth Week of Lent


Martyrology - 21st of March

Upon the 21st day of March, were born to the better life:

At Monte Cassino, the holy Abbot Benedict, who restored Monasticism in the West, when it was almost fallen away, and wonderfully spread it, [in the year 543.] Blessed Pope Gregory hath written his life, which was rendered glorious by his graces and miracles.

At Alexandria, are commemorated those holy martyrs who were massacred when the Arians and Gentiles broke into the churches on Good Friday, under the Emperor Constantius and the Prefect Philagrius.

On the same day, [in the end of fourth century,] the holy martyrs Philemon and Domninus.

At Catanae holy Birillus, who was ordained Bishop of that see by the blessed Apostle Peter, and after he had converted many Gentiles to the faith fell asleep in peace in extreme old age.

At Alexandria, the blessed Hermit Serapion, Bishop of Thmuis, a man of great power, who was driven into exile by the rage of the Arians, and there passed away to be ever with the Lord.

In the country of Lyon, holy Lupicinus, Abbot [of Laucorme, in the Jura,] whose life was made illustrious by the fame of his holiness and miracles, [in the year 480.]

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

R. Thanks be to God

Hagiography - St Benedict

21 March: St Benedict

Benedict was born of a noble family at Norcia, about the year of our Lord 480, and studied letters at Rome. Desiring to give himself altogether to Christ Jesus, he betook himself to a very deep cave at the place now called Subiaco. In this place he lay hid for three years, unknown to all except the monk Romanus, by means of whom he received the necessaries of life. While he was in the cave at Subiaco, the devil one day assailed him with an extraordinary storm of impure temptation, and to get it under, he rolled himself in brambles till his whole body was lacerated, and the sting of pain drove out the sallies of lust. At last the fame of his holiness spread itself abroad from the desert, and some monks came to him for guidance, but the looseness of their lives was such that they could not bear his exhortations, and they plotted together to poison him in his drink. When they gave him the cup, he made the sign of the Cross over it, whereupon it immediately broke, and Benedict left that monastery, and retired to a desert place alone.

Neverthless his disciples followed him daily, and for them he built twelve monasteries, and set holy laws to govern them. Afterwards he went to Cassino, and brake the image of Apollo which was still worshipped there, overturned the altar, and burnt the groves. There, in the year 529, he built the Church of St Martin and the little chapel of St John; and instilled Christianity into the townspeople and inhabitants. He grew in the grace of God day by day, so that being endowed with the spirit of prophecy he foretold things to come. When Totila, King of the Goths, heard of it, and would see whether it really were so, he sent his Spatharius before him, with the kingly ensigns and attendance, and feigning himself to be Totila. But as soon as Benedict saw him he said: My son, put off that which thou wearest, for it is not thine. To Totila himself he foretold that he would go to Rome, would cross the sea, and would die after nine years.

Some months before he departed this life, Benedict forewarned his disciples on what day he was to die; and he ordered his grave to be opened six days before he was carried to it. On the sixth day, being the 21st of March, in the year 543, he would be carried into the Church, where he received the Eucharist, and then, in the arms of his disciples, with his eyes lifted up to heaven, and wrapt in prayer, he gave up the ghost. Two monks saw his soul rising to heaven, clothed in a most precious garment, and surrounded with lights, and One of a most glorious and awful aspect standing above, Whom they heard saying This is the way whereby Benedict, the beloved of the Lord, goeth up to heaven.


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 my 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 . I complete my meditation by saying:

Evening Prayer


Tuesday in the Fourth Week: A Firm Resolve

Summary of the Morrow’s Meditation

We will meditate tomorrow upon the firm resolution which forms the essential character of contrition; and we shall see: first, what is the nature and the absolute necessity of it; second, what are its characteristics. We will then make the resolution: first, to avoid carefully all occasions of sin; second, not to neglect any means of becoming better, whatever sacrifice it may cost us, or whatever violence we must do ourselves; and we will retain as our spiritual nosegay the words of the Psalmist: “I have sworn, and am determined, to keep the judgments of Thy justice” (Ps. cxviii:106).

Meditation for the Morning

Let us adore the Spirit of God inspiring the saints of the Old and the New Testament with a firm resolution, as energetic as it was constant, to lead a perfect life. David exclaims: I have sworn to hate sin; I hold it in abomination. I have said it; I am resolved. The right hand of the Most High has worked this change in me (Ps. cxviii:163; Ps. lxxvi:11). St Peter allows two inexhaustible fountains of tears to flow from his eyes, and makes amends for his faults by a life devoted to God; Magdalene changes her profane fires into a furnace of love; the martyrs take with them to the scaffold a firm resolution not to betray their faith; St Ignatius and St Francis Xavier renounce the world and its glory in order to give themselves wholly to the care of their own salvation. Let us praise the Holy Spirit who caused these great souls to make such sublime resolutions, and let us, with this object in view, render Him all our homage.

The nature and necessity of a firm resolution

A firm resolution, very different from those feeble wishes of which hell is full, of those sterile desires which leave us always in the same state, is an energetic determination, a decided resolution to change our life, at no matter what cost; to be henceforth solidly virtuous, however disagreeable it may be to us; to do ourselves great violence, and to immolate many of our repugnances. The soul, after having made this firm resolution, does not say, I should be very glad never again to fall, but it says energetically, I will not; it is my decision; and if I could begin again, I would rather lose all and suffer all things than to commit the fault of which I have been guilty. It is, lastly, a determination like that which a worldly man makes, not to do such or such a thing which would compromise his fortune, his honour, his liberty, his life. A firm resolution, understood in this manner, is inherent to contrition, and is part of it, because regret for the past necessarily makes the will determine to act in an opposite manner. The motives of the one are essentially the motives of the other; so that without a firm resolution there cannot be true contrition, and consequently neither sacrament nor justification. God will not remit sin excepting in proportion as we are resolved not to fall into it again, and it would be committing a fresh offence against Him to say, I accuse myself and I repent, when in the bottom of our hearts we have an inclination to renew our fault if the occasion should present itself, says Lactantius. Let us here examine ourselves as to how many confessions we have made during our lives without any serious resolution, without any fixed determination to correct ourselves, or else should we be still what we are?

Characteristics and signs of a firm resolution

A firm resolution ought, like contrition, to be: first, universal; that is to say, to extend to all sins, at least to mortal ones, without exception. With God it is all or nothing (James ii:10); but it ought to apply, above all, to habitual faults; that is to say, to the faults for which the heart has an affection, which makes it fall easily and without great resistance, which even leads it to seek occasions for it. Therein lies the true peril of the soul; the weak side of the place we have to defend against the devil. There, consequently, ought we principally to bring our firm resolution to bear.

Second, a firm resolution ought to be supreme; that is to say, it ought to be superior to all attachments to the extent of breaking them off, to all difficulties up to the point of conquering them, if the service of God requires us to do so. God ought to take the first place; it is His right.

Third, a firm resolution ought to be practical; that is to say, it ought to descend from a general resolution to the means of attaining the end we propose to ourselves. The first means is prayer, that channel of grace without which we can do nothing; the second is vigilance over what we say or do, or what we hear or see, over our thoughts, our intentions, our most frequent faults, above all, our ruling passion; and this vigilance ought to have in view, as its principal object, the separating ourselves from all occasions of sin and of punishing ourselves after each fall. The third means is mortification, which alone can bring back our evil nature beneath the rule of order, enable it to maintain recollection, and make passion die by refusing it that which flatters it.

Fourth, a firm resolution ought to be persevering. It amounts to nothing to will to do what is right during a certain time; we must will to do it always. He who refuses to God a single moment of his life cannot please Him (St Prosper), unless he return to Him. Let us examine whether our firm resolution

has these four characteristics.

Resolutions and spiritual nosegay as above.


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