Thursday 7 March 2019    (other days)
Thursday after Ash Wednesday 
 (optional commemoration of Saints Perpetua and Felicity, Martyrs)

Christ the Lord was tempted and suffered for us. Come, let us adore him.
Or: O that today you would listen to his voice: harden not your hearts.

Year: C(I). Psalm week: 4. Liturgical Colour: Violet.

Saints Perpetua and Felicity (- 203)
They were martyred at Carthage in 203 during the persecution of Septimius Severus. With so many martyrs of the third and fourth centuries we have to say “they were martyred but nothing else is known about them.” That is not the case here. We have a detailed contemporary account of their arrest, trial, sufferings and martyrdom, written partly by the saints themselves and partly by an eye-witness. Devotion to them spread rapidly and they are mentioned in the Roman Canon of the Mass. See the articles in the Catholic Encyclopaedia and Wikipedia. The Wikipedia article contains links to the original account of their martyrdom.

About the author of the Second Reading in today's Office of Readings:

Second Reading: Pope St Leo the Great (- 461)
Leo was born in Etruria and became Pope in 440. He was a true shepherd and father of souls. He constantly strove to keep the faith whole and strenuously defended the unity of the Church. He repelled the invasions of the barbarians or alleviated their effects, famously persuading Attila the Hun not to march on Rome in 452, and preventing the invading Vandals from massacring the population in 455.
  Leo left many doctrinal and spiritual writings behind and a number of them are included in the Office of Readings to this day. He died in 461.

40 Days and 40 Ways: Thursday after Ash Wednesday
If you obey the commandments of the Lord your God that I enjoin on you today, if you love the Lord your God and follow his ways, if you keep his commandments, his laws, his customs, you will live and increase, and the Lord your God will bless you in the land which you are entering to make your own. (Dt 30:16)
  Dt 30:15-20
  The Book of Deuteronomy consists of three major discourses of Moses, of which this passage contains the final conclusion, setting before Israel the choice whether to obey or ignore the Laws which have been laid down. It is not so much a choice of obedience as a choice of love, for Deuteronomy is overall a Book laying down the love and the consequences of the love of God. Obedience to the divine Law is an expression of love of God.
  The days after Ash Wednesday are days of preparation, gearing the faithful up for Lent. The same choice lies before the faithful in Lent as before Israel in the desert, whether or not to take the season seriously enough to make the special effort to live in especially devoted loyalty to God’s commands. The forty years in the desert were looked back on in two ways: either they were a period of honeymoon in the desert, when Israel was alone with the Lord in the desert and the two were bonding together in love, like a honeymooning couple, expressing and intensifying their love for one another. Or they were looked at as a time when the murmuring and infidelities began, when Israel lusted to be back among “the leeks and garlic and onions” of Egypt, shying away from the challenges of life in the harsh and difficult desert.
  Each Lent we need to ask ourselves, “Is Lent going to be a time of intensifying the love of God, or a time when we blind ourselves to the coming Holy Week, a time of Crucifixion and Resurrection, to carry on with our own comfortable mediocrities?”
  The Gospel reading for the day is Lk 9:22-25.
  Who do you find most difficult to get on with? Do something to express your recognition that that person too was saved by Christ’s Passion.
Dom Henry Wansbrough

This passage is an extract from the booklet “40 Days and 40 Ways” by Dom Henry Wansbrough OSB, published by the Catholic Truth Society and used by permission. “40 Days and 40 Ways” has meditations for each day in Lent. To find out more about the booklet, or to buy it, please visit the CTS web site.

The Universalis Readings at Mass page shows the readings for today’s Mass.

Liturgical colour: violet
Violet is a dark colour, ‘the gloomy cast of the mortified, denoting affliction and melancholy’. Liturgically, it is the colour of Advent and Lent, the seasons of penance and preparation.

Mid-morning reading (Terce)Isaiah 55:6-7 ©
Seek the Lord while he is still to be found, call to him while he is still near. Let the wicked man abandon his way, the evil man his thoughts. Let him turn back to the Lord who will take pity on him, to our God who is rich in forgiving.

Noon reading (Sext)Deuteronomy 30:2-3 ©
If you return to the Lord your God, if you obey his voice with all your heart and soul in everything I enjoin on you today, you and your children, then the Lord your God will bring back your captives and will have pity on you.

Afternoon reading (None)Hebrews 10:35-36 ©
Continue to have confidence, since the reward is so great. You will need endurance to do God’s will and gain what he has promised.
Scripture readings taken from The Jerusalem Bible, published and copyright © 1966, 1967 and 1968 by Darton, Longman & Todd, Ltd and Doubleday, a division of Random House, Inc, and used by permission of the publishers. For on-line information about other Random House, Inc. books and authors, see the Internet web site at http://www.randomhouse.com.
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