Most of it vanished toward 0600, and it is a blustery morning with the prospect of lots of sunlight later on. I'm running late and so must get to Prime at last. Today is the Friday Ember Day in Lent, and Holy Mass will be streamed at 1000. Dr Gregory DiPippo posted this article on the Lenten Ember Days today at New Liturgical Movement.
A Lector de Pallacine is already mentioned in an inscription of the year 348, for the church built by Pope Mark (337-40) is reckoned among the first erected in Rome. It is possible that the dedication to the Evangelist of Alexandria is of later date; the titulus Marci would, in time, have become the Basilica of St Mark, just as the titular churches of Sabina, Balbina, etc., became sacred to the martyrs bearing those names. The two celebrated deacons of Sixtus II (260-6), Felicissimus and Agapitus, represented in the mosaic of the apse dating from the time of Gregory IV (827-44), were specially venerated in the basilica ad balneas pallacinas; also the two Persian martyrs, Abdon and Sennen, whose bodies lie under the altar of the confessio. [The collecta is at Saint Mark's, the station at the Basilica of the Holy Apostles, in case Blessed Ildefonso hasn't made this clear.] On this day, in the ancient Roman Liturgy, the second scrutiny of the candidates for the priesthood and diaconate took place; it was therefore proper that after the station of the Wednesday at the Basilica of our Lady on the Esquiline, the Church should invoke the protection of the whole Apostolic College for those who continue their great mission upon earth. In the venerable Basilica of the Holy Apostles-- built by Pelagius I (555-60), and dedicated by John III (560-73) as a votive offering for the deliverance of Rome from the Goths by Narses-- are preserved under the altar the relics of St Philip and St James. In the Middle Ages, many bodies of saints were brought hither from the Apronian Cemetery on the Via Latina, amongst them that of the martyr Eugenia, in whose honour the station of the Fourth Sunday in Advent was celebrated in this church.The Introit is taken from Psalm XXIV: 'Deliver me from my necessities, O Lord; see my abjection and my labour, and forgive me all my sins'. The Collect is the following: 'Be merciful, O Lord, to thy people; and as thou makest them devout to thee, in thy mercy cherish them by thy kind help'. Among the early Christians, especially when, as in the time of Tertullian, Christiani non nascuntur sed fiunt, and when baptism was administered to adults, it was expected that the sacrament should effect in the catechumen a complete change of heart. For this reason the Lenten Liturgy, especially during these first days, insists on the necessity of a reformation of life. The Lesson for to-day is the continuation of that of yesterday (Ezech XVIII 20-28). Works and responsibilities are strictly personal matters, nor does God consider the claims of one’s ancestry, and in this we see a foreshadowing of the catholicity of the New Covenant, in distinction to the nationalism of the Old. Yet the man who, by misuse of his free-will, has separated himself from God and broken his holy law, may still retrace his steps and return to the Lord, through penitence and contrition. The Gradual is from Psalm LXXXV: 'Save thy servant, O my God, that trusteth in thee. With thy ears, O Lord, receive my prayer'. The Pool of Bethsaida, of which the Gospel (John V 1-15) speaks, symbolizes the baptismal font of the catechumens, and is, to all the faithful, a figure of the adorable Heart of Jesus, through whose wounded side they pass into an ocean of love and compassion. The Fathers saw in the five porches of the Probatica a type of the five wounds of the Crucified, of which St Augustine said: Vulnera tua, merita mea. The infirm man who had been for thirty-eight years in that sad condition, without having found any kindly disposed person to assist him into the water, when the angel came to disturb it, teaches us that we must not lean exclusively on human friendship, which often cannot or will not help us, and that we are to regard the piscina probatica as a symbol of grace, which exceeds the power and requirements of man, and alone can be bestowed on us by him who is called in the Scriptures Vir oriens, Vir, Filius hominis-- the perfect man.The Offertory is derived from Psalm CII 44 'Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits; and thy youth shall be renewed like the eagle’s'. The Secret is the following: 'Receive, we beseech thee, O Lord, the offerings made by our service, and mercifully sanctify thy gifts'. The Roman conception of the prayer over the oblations (the Secret) is made known to us by Pope Innocent, who writes thus to Decentius of Gubbio: Oblationes sunt commendandae; not that the eucharistic transubstantiation needs any other intercessory prayers by the priest, for the sacraments derive their value from their divine institution, but in order that the minister and the faithful who offer the Sacrifice may also find favour in the sight of God, and that it may profit them to their common salvation.The Communion is taken from Psalm VI 44 'Let all my enemies be ashamed and be very much troubled, let them be turned back and be ashamed very speedily'. The curses and chastisements so often invoked by the Psalmist in Holy Scripture may be considered as directed against the impenitent enemies of Christ at the last judgement, or merely as threats to hasten their conversion. The Post-Communion is that of the Sunday within the Octave of the Nativity. The Oratio super populum before their dismissal asks God to enlighten the darkness of our hearts and our souls, that we may learn to know ourselves and him-- Noverim me, noverim te, as St Augustine prayed. How blind are those who set their hopes on creatures! After years of anxious waiting we have at last to admit that we have found none who can or will succour us-- hominem non habeo. When shall we, too, break the enchantment which binds us to earthly things? When shall we be convinced, like the celebrated Chancellor Gerson, that omnis copia quae Deus tuus non est, tibi inopiae est, all gifts and prosperity not of God is dross.
It is also the feast of Saint Faustinianus (4rd century), of Saint Andrea (9th century), and of Blessed Robert (17th century).
R. Deo grátias.