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As the time of the Passion drew near, Mary’s realization
of the approaching sufferings of her Son became
more vivid. The sword of Simeon pierced her
heart as it had never done before. How could she
endure to see her Son and her God outraged and illtreated,
insulted and put to death? “Weeping, she
wept in the night: there were none to comfort her
among all those that were dear to her” (Lament. i.


I grieve for thee, O Mary most sorrowful, in the
affliction of thy tender heart at the prophecy of the
holy and aged Simeon. Dear Mother, by thy heart
so afflicted, obtain for me the virtue of humility and
the gift of the holy fear of God.


Ask the blessed Mother of God to help you to become
holy and to die a happy death. Adore God
only, and love Him perfectly; look upon life as a
preparation for death. Cultivate a childlike confidence
in Mary. And for her sake help those who


It is necessary that we be wholly clean

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Meditations for Each Day of Lent
by St. Thomas Aquinas

Monday in Holy Week

It is necessary that we be wholly clean

1. If I wash thee not, thou shaft have no part with me (John xiii. 8). No one can be made a sharer in the inheritance of eternity, a co-heir with Christ, unless he is spiritually cleansed, for in the Apocalypse it is so stated. There shall not enter into it anything defiled (Apoc. xxi. 27), and in the Psalms we read, Lord who shall dwell in Thy tabernacle? (Ps. xiv.) Who shall ascend into the mountain of the Lord; or who shall stand in His holy place? The innocent in hands, and clean of heart (Ps. xxiii. 3, 4).

It is therefore as though Our Lord said, If I wash thee not, thou shalt not be cleansed, and if thou art not cleansed, thou shalt have no part with me.

2. Simon Peter saith to him: Lord, not only my feet but also my hands and my head (John xiii. 9). Peter, utterly stricken, offers his whole self to be washed, so confounded is he with love and with fear. We read, in fact, in the book called The journeying of Clement, that Peter used to be so overcome by the bodily presence of Our Lord, which he had most fervently loved, that whenever, after Our Lord’s Ascension, the memory of that dearest presence and most holy company came to him, he used so to melt into tears, that his cheeks seemed all worn out with them.

We can consider three parts in man’s body, the head, which is the highest, the feet, which are the lowest part, and the hands which lie in between. In the interior man, that is to say, in the soul, there are likewise three parts. Corresponding to the head there is the higher reason, the power by means of which the soul clings to God. For the hands there is the lower reason by which the soul operates in good works. For the feet there are the senses and the feelings and desires arising from them. Now Our Lord knew the disciples to be clean as far as the head was concerned, for He knew they were joined to God by faith and by charity. He knew their hands also were clean, for He knew their good works. But as to their feet, He knew that the disciples were still somewhat entangled in those inclinations to earthly things that derive out of the life of the senses.

Peter, alarmed by Our Lord s warning (v. 8), not only consented that his feet should be washed, but begged that his hands and his head should be washed too.

Lord, he said, not only my feet, but also my hands and my head. As though to say, “I know not whether hands and head need to be washed. For I am not conscious to myself of anything, yet am I not hereby justified (i Cor. iv. 4). Therefore I am ready not only for my feet to be washed, that is, those inclinations that arise out of the life of my senses, but also my hands, that is, my works, and my head, too, that is, my higher reason.”

3. Jesus saith to him: He that is washed needeth not but to wash his feet, but is clean wholly. And you are clean (John xiii. 10). Origen, commenting on this text, says that the Apostles were clean, but needed to be yet cleaner. For reason should ever desire gifts that are better still, should ever set itself to achieve the very heights of virtue, should aspire to shine with the brightness of justice itself. He that is holy, let him be sanctified still (Apoc. xxii. 11).

Santa Prassede

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Lenten Station Churches of Rome

Monday in Holy Week: Santa Prassede

Traditionally held to be the sister of St. Pudenziana, St. Praxedes joined her in collecting the mortal remains of the martyrs after their sufferings. It is believed that both her and her sister faced martyrdom as well, although details are scant. A titulis named after her is recorded in the late fifth century, although this likely existed even earlier. The titulis was first based in an apartment block in a nearby location. In the early ninth century, Pope St. Paschal I replaced this with the current church, in order to provide a more fitting place for worship. Continuing the devotion to the martyrs shown by the patroness of this church, the same pope brought the relics of 2,300 martyrs from the catacombs to be laid to rest here. In about the year 1080, an altar was built in the crypt. In a side chapel here is kept a column, said to have been brought here in 1223 from Constantinople during the Latin occupation of that city. It is traditionally believed to be the column on which the flagellation of Christ took place. Around the turn of the fourteenth century, structural problems in the church necessitated the construction of three large arches across the nave as means of strengthening the building. The church was restored under Pope Nicholas IV in the mid-fifteenth century,

St. Charles Borromeo, the cardinal titular here in the late sixteenth century, undertook a great deal of work here. The great archbishop of Milan not only took care to improve the physical structure of the church, but also to minister to the people of the area, going so far as to invite the poor to eat at his table. His works to the church structure included blocking off the transept and creating a new area for the choir in its place. The baroque renovations continued under the next titular, Alessandro Medici, later Pope Leo XI, who also commissioned the frescoes in the nave. In 1730, a new ciborium and high altar were installed, and the crypt was renovated. Since then there have been no major changes to the structure, although the façade of the church was restored to its medieval appearance in 1937.

Saint Michael de los Santos

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Saint Michael de los Santos

Trinitarian Priest

Saint Michael was born in Spain in 1591 of parents notable both for their piety and their probity. Their son from his early childhood made a vow of perpetual chastity; his father, when he heard of it, one day with a smile proposed to him, to test him, a fine marriage. The child began to weep and hurried to an altar of the Blessed Virgin to renew his vow. At the age of six he fled to a cave to meditate on the Passion of Our Lord. When his father sent out a search party, he was obliged to return, but continued to live only for heaven, keeping himself constantly in the presence of God. He chose Saint Francis of Assisi for his model and practiced extreme mortifications to imitate Jesus crucified.

At the age of twelve he presented himself at the novitiate of the Trinitarians of Barcelona, who admitted him. He made his perpetual vows in 1607, and assisted in the reform of the Order, in progress at that time. He never ceased to practice the primitive rule of the Institute. Saint Michael never had more than one tunic; beneath it he wore rude hair shirts. He practiced a perpetual fast and imposed constant disciplines on his flesh.

He was ordained a priest, and then it was at the altar that he received the most signal favors from heaven and inspired in those in attendance a most remarkable devotion. Twice Saint Michael was named Superior of the houses where he resided, yet he never became inflated with pride; on the contrary he believed himself worse than the demons. It seemed that heaven envied the earth in the possession of this Saint; he died at the age of thirty-three. Miracles followed at his tomb, and he was canonized in 1862 by Pope Pius IX.

Les Petits Bollandistes: Vies des Saints, by Msgr. Paul Guérin (Bloud et Barral: Paris, 1882), Vol. 8