God gives the very grace by which men seek Him throughout a fervent Lent, just as He called Moses to the mountain top of revelation for a stay of forty days and nights, and as He fed Elias for a walk of forty days and nights to the mount of God. The lenten Ember Days have a double purpose: to offer to God the spring season with its sowing and planting, and to pray and fast for those to be ordained this coming Saturday.
INTROIT (Ps. 24:6, 3, 22)
Remember, O Lord, Your compassion and Your mercy are from of old, that our enemies may never rule over us. Deliver us from all our distress, O God of Israel. Ps. 24:1-2) I have lifted up my soul to You, O Lord; in You, O my God, I place my trust. Let me not be put to shame.V. Glory be . . .
V. Let us pray. Let us kneel.
O Lord, mercifully hear our prayers and let Your right hand of power shield us against our enemies. Through Our Lord . . .
LESSON (Ex. 24:12-18)
In those days, the Lord said to Moses: "Come up to me into the mount, and be there; and I will give thee tables of stone, and the law, and the commandments which I have written; that thou mayest teach them."
Moses rose up, and his minister Josue: and Moses going up into the mount of God, Said to the ancients: "Wait ye here till we return to you. You have Aaron and Hur with you: if any question shall arise, you shall refer it to them."
And when Moses was gone up, a cloud covered the mount. And the glory of the Lord dwelt upon Sinai, covering it with a cloud six days: and the seventh day he called him out of the midst of the cloud. And the sight of the glory of the Lord, was like a burning fire upon the top of the mount, in the eyes of the children of Israel. And Moses entering into the midst of the cloud, went up into the mountain: And he was there forty days and forty nights.
GRADUAL (Ps. 24:17-18)
The cares of my heart are multiplied; deliver me from my distress, O Lord. V. See my wretchedness and my suffering, and forgive all my sins.
O Lord, look with favor upon the devotion of Your people. As we mortify our bodies through abstinence, may our souls be refreshed by this good work. Through our Lord . . .
At the age of 40, John of God (1495-1550) reformed his undisciplined life, obtained alms for the erection of two large hospitals at Granada, and staffed them with a new order, the Brothers Hospitallers. Successors of the first Brothers have continued to the present time their apostolic work of healing bodies and souls. The Prayer recalls how when a neighboring hospital was on fire, John of God passed miraculously through the flames until he had rescued all the poor sufferers.
LESSON (III Kings 19:3-8)
In those days, Elias came to Bersabee of Juda, and left his servant there, And he went forward, one day's journey into the desert. And when he was there, and sat under a juniper tree, he requested for his soul that he might die, and said: "It is enough for me, Lord; take away my soul: for I am no better than my fathers." And he cast himself down, and slept in the shadow of the juniper tree: and behold an angel of the Lord touched him, and said to him: "Arise and eat." He looked, and behold there was at his head a hearth cake, and a vessel of water: and he ate and drank, and he fell asleep again. And the angel of the Lord came again the second time, and touched him, and said to him: "Arise, eat: for thou hast yet a great way to go." And he arose, and ate and drank, and walked in the strength of that food forty days and forty nights, unto the mount of God, Horeb.
TRACT (Ps. 24:17, 18, 1-4)
Deliver me from my distress, O Lord. See my affliction and my suffering, and forgive all my sins. V. I have lifted up my soul to You, O Lord; in You, O my God, I place my trust. Let me not be put to shame, nor let my enemies exult over me. V. No one who waits for You shall be left in confusion; let all those be confounded who trust in vain things.
GOSPEL (Matt. 12:38-50)
At that time, certain of the scribes and Pharisees answered him, saying: "Master, we would see a sign from thee." Who answering said to them: "An evil and adulterous generation seeketh a sign: and a sign shall not be given it, but the sign of Jonas the prophet. For as Jonas was in the whale's belly three days and three nights: so shall the Son of man be in the heart of the earth three days and three nights. The men of Ninive shall rise in judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: because they did penance at the preaching of Jonas. And behold a greater than Jonas here. The queen of the south shall rise in judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: because she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon, and behold a greater than Solomon here. "And when an unclean spirit is gone out of a man he walketh through dry places seeking rest, and findeth none. Then he saith: 'I will return into my house from whence I came out.' And coming he findeth it empty, swept, and garnished. Then he goeth, and taketh with him seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter in and dwell there: and the last state of that man is made worse than the first. So shall it be also to this wicked generation."
As he was yet speaking to the multitudes, behold his mother and his brethren stood without, seeking to speak to him. And one said unto him: "Behold thy mother and thy brethren stand without, seeking thee." But he answering him that told him, said: "Who is my mother, and who are my brethren?" And stretching forth his hand towards his disciples, he said: "Behold my mother and my brethren. For whosoever shall do the will of my Father, that is in heaven, he is my brother, and sister, and mother."
OFFERTORY ANTIPHON (Ps. 118:47-48)
I will meditate on Your commandments, which I love dearly; and I will lift up my hands to Your commands, which I cherish.
We offer this sacrifice to You, O Lord, to atone for our sins. Mercifully absolve us from our wrong-doing and exert Your power over the inconstancy of our hearts. Through our Lord . . .
COMMUNION ANTIPHON (Ps. 5:2-4)
Hear my call for help and hearken to the voice of my prayer, O my King and my God; for to You I pray, O Lord.
O Lord, may the reception of Your Sacrament cleanse us from our hidden faults, and guard us against the deceptions of our enemies. Through our Lord . . .
Commemoration of SAINT JOHN OF GOD
Refreshed with Heavenly Food and Drink we humbly pray You, our God, that we may be strengthened by the prayers of Your Saint, in whose memory we have received this Sacrament. Through our Lord . . .
PRAYER OVER THE PEOPLE
O Lord, enlighten our minds with Your own clear light, that we may understand our duties and fulfill them with courage. Through Our Lord . . .