ST. CUNEGUNDES was the daughter of Siegfried, the first Count of Luxemburg, and Hadeswige, his pious wife. They instilled into her from her cradle the most tender sentiments of piety, and married her to St. Henry, Duke of Bavaria, who, upon the death of the Emperor Otho III., was chosen king of the Romans, and crowned on the 6th of June, 1002. She was crowned at Paderborn on St. Laurence's day. In the year 1014 she went with her husband to Rome, and received the imperial crown with him from the hands of Pope Benedict VIII. She had, by St. Henry's consent, before her marriage made a vow of virginity. Calumniators afterwards made vile accusations against her, and the holy empress, to remove the scandal of such a slander, trusting in God to prove her innocence, walked over red-hot ploughshares without being hurt. The emperor condemned his too scrupulous fears and credulity, and from that time they lived in the strictest union of hearts, conspiring to promote in everything God's honor and the advancement of piety.
Going once to make a retreat in Hesse, she fell dangerously ill, and made a vow to found a monastery, if she recovered, at Kaffungen, near Cassel, in the diocese of Paderborn, which she executed in a stately manner, and gave it to nuns of the Order of St. Benedict. Before it was finished St. Henry died, in 1024. She earnestly recommended his soul to the prayers of others, especially to her blear nuns, and expressed her longing desire of joining them. She had already exhausted her treasures in founding bishoprics and monasteries, and in relieving the poor, and she had therefore little left now to give. But still thirsting to embrace perfect evangelical poverty, and to renounce all to serve God without obstacle, she assembled a great number of prelates to the dedication of her church of Kaffungen on the anniversary day of her husband's death, 1025; and after the gospel was sung at Mass she offered on the altar a piece of the true cross, and then, putting off her imperial robes, clothed herself with a poor habit; her hair was cut off, and the bishop put on her a veil, and a ring as a pledge of her fidelity to her heavenly Spouse. After she was consecrated to God in religion, she seemed entirely to forget that she had been empress, and behaved as the last in the house, being persuaded that she was 30 before God. She prayed and read much, worked with her hands, and took a singular pleasure in visiting and comforting the sick. Thus she passed the last fifteen years of her life. Her mortifications at length reduced her to a very weak condition, and brought on her last sickness. Perceiving that they were preparing a cloth fringed with gold to cover her corpse after her death, she changed color and ordered it to be taken away; nor could she be at rest till she was promised she should be buried as a poor religious in her habit. She died on the 3d of March, 1040. Her body was carried to Bamberg and buried near that of her husband. She was solemnly canonized by Innocent III. in 1200.
Reflection. —Detachment of the mind, at least, is needful to those who cannot venture on an effectual renunciation. "So likewise every one of you," saith Jesus Christ, "that doth not renounce all that he possesseth, cannot be My disciple." you!
Lives Of The Saints By Alban Butler, Benziger Bros. Edition www.globalgrey.co.uk
Prayers and Reading for Today’s MASS
Ferial Day in Lent – Saturday, Second Week of Lent
Introit • Ps. 18, 8
The law of the Lord is unspotted, converting souls; the testimony of the Lord is faithful, giving wisdom to little ones. Ps. 82, 2. The heavens show forth the glory of God: and the firmament declareth the work of His hands. Glory be …
Grant salutary effect to our fasts, we beseech Thee, O Lord, that the chastising of our bodies which we have undertaken may be transformed into the growth of our souls. Through our Lord.
Commemoration of St. Cyril of Jerusalem
Grant us, we beseech Thee, O almighty God, through the intercession of the blessed Bishop Cyril, so to know Thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, Whom Thou hast sent, that we may serve to be numbered forever among the sheep that hear His voice. Through the same.
Epistle • Gen. 27, 6-40
Lesson from the Book of Genesis.
[Jacob, by him mother's counsel, obtaineth his father's blessing instead of Esau. And by her is advised to fly to his uncle Laban.]
In those days Rebecca said to her son Jacob: I heard thy father talking with Esau thy brother, and saying to him: Bring me of thy hunting, and make me meats that I may eat, and bless thee in the sight of the Lord, before I die. Now, therefore, my son, follow my counsel: And go thy way to the flock, bring me two kids of the best, that I may make of them meat for thy father, such as he gladly eateth: Which when thou hast brought in, and he hath eaten, he may bless thee before he die.
And he answered her: Thou knowest that Esau my brother is a hairy man, and I am smooth. If my father shall feel me, and perceive it, I fear lest he will think I would have mocked him, and I shall bring upon me a curse instead of a blessing. And his mother said to him: Upon me be this curse, my son: only hear thou my voice, and go, fetch me the things which I have said. He went, and brought, and gave them to his mother. She dressed meats, such as she knew his father liked. And she put on him very good garments of Esau, which she had at home with her:
And the little skins of the kids she put about his hands, and covered the bare of his neck. And she gave him the savoury meat, and delivered him bread that she had baked. Which when he had carried in, he said: My father? But he answered: I hear. Who art thou, my son? And Jacob said: I am Esau thy firstborn: I have done as thou didst command me: arise, sit, and eat of my venison, that thy soul may bless me. And Isaac said to his son: How couldst thou find it so quickly, my son? He answered: It was the will of God, that what I sought came quickly in my way.
And Isaac said: Come hither, that I may feel thee, my son, and may prove whether thou be my son Esau, or not. He came near to his father, and when he had felt him, Isaac said: The voice indeed is the voice of Jacob; but the hands are the hands of Esau. And he knew him not, because his hairy hands made him like to the elder. Then blessing him, He said: Art thou my son Esau? He answered: I am. Then he said: Bring me the meats of thy hunting, my son, that my soul may bless thee. And when they were brought, and he had eaten, he offered him wine also, which after he had drunk,
He said to him: Come near me, and give me a kiss, my son. He came near, and kissed him. And immediately as he smelled the fragrant smell of his garments, blessing him, he said: Behold the smell of my son is as the smell of a plentiful field, which the Lord hath blessed. God give thee the dew of heaven, and of the fatness of the earth, abundance of corn and wine. And let peoples serve thee, and tribes worship thee: be thou lord of thy brethren, and let thy mother' s children bow down before thee. Cursed be he that curseth thee: and let him that blesseth thee be filled with blessings. Isaac had scarce ended his words, when Jacob being now gone out abroad, Esau came,
And brought in to his father meats made of what he had taken in hunting, saying: Arise, my father, and eat of thy son' s venison; that thy soul may bless me. And Isaac said to him: Why! who art thou? He answered: I am thy firstborn son Esau. Isaac was struck with fear, and astonished exceedingly: and wondering beyond what can be believed, said Who is he then that even now brought me venison that he had taken, and I ate of all before thou camest? and I have blessed him, and he shall be blessed. Esau having heard his father' s words, roared out with a great cry: and being in a great consternation, said: Bless me also, my father. And he said: Thy brother came deceitfully and got thy blessing.
But he said again: Rightly is his name called Jacob; for he hath supplanted me lo this second time: my first birthright he took away before, and now this second time he hath stolen away my blessing. And again he said to his father: Hast thou not reserved me also a blessing? Isaac answered: I have appointed him thy lord, and have made all his brethren his servants: I have established him with corn and wine, and after this, what shall I do more for thee, my son? And Esau said to him: Hast thou only one blessing, father? I beseech thee bless me also. And when he wept with a loud cry, Isaac being moved, said to him: In the fat of the earth, and in the dew of heaven from above, Shall thy blessing be.
Gradual • Ps. 91, 2, 3
It is good to give praise to the Lord, and to sing to Thy name, O Most Hight. To show forth Thy mercy in the morning, and Thy truth in the night.
Gospel • Luke 15, 11-32
Continuation of the Holy Gospel According to St. Luke.
[The parables of the lost sheep and of the prodigal son.]
At that time, Jesus said to the Pharisees and scribes this parable A certain man had two sons: And the younger of them said to his father: Father, give me the portion of substance that falleth to me. And he divided unto them his substance. And not many days after, the younger son, gathering all together, went abroad into a far country: and there wasted his substance, living riotously. And after he had spent all, there came a mighty famine in that country; and he began to be in want. And he went and cleaved to one of the citizens of that country. And he sent him into his farm to feed swine.
And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks the swine did eat; and no man gave unto him. And returning to himself, he said: How many hired servants in my father' s house abound with bread, and I here perish with hunger? I will arise, and will go to my father, and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee: I am not worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants. And rising up he came to his father. And when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and was moved with compassion, and running to him fell upon his neck, and kissed him.
And the son said to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee, I am not now worthy to be called thy son. And the father said to his servants: Bring forth quickly the first robe, and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet: And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it, and let us eat and make merry: Because this my son was dead, and is come to life again: was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry. Now his elder son was in the field, and when he came and drew nigh to the house, he heard music and dancing:
And he called one of the servants, and asked what these things meant. And he said to him: Thy brother is come, and thy father hath killed the fatted calf, because he hath received him safe. And he was angry, and would not go in. His father therefore coming out began to entreat him. And he answering, said to his father: Behold, for so many years do I serve thee, and I have never transgressed thy commandment, and yet thou hast never given me a kid to make merry with my friends: But as soon as this thy son is come, who hath devoured his substance with harlots, thou hast killed for him the fatted calf.
But he said to him: Son, thou art always with me, and all I have is thine. But it was fit that we should make merry and be glad, for this thy brother was dead and is come to life again; he was lost, and is found.
Offertory • Ps. 12, 4, 5
Enlighten my eyes, that I never sleep in death: lest at any time my enemy say, I have prevailed against him.
Be appeased, O Lord with this sacrifice and grant that we, who pray to be pardoned our own sins, may not suffer for those of others. Through our Lord.
Commemoration of St. Cyril of Jerusalem
Look down with favor, O Lord, upon the immaculate victim which we offer to Thee, and grant that, by the merits of the blessed bishop and confessor, Cyril, we may earnestly endeavor to receive it with a pure heart. Through our Lord.
Communion • Luke 15, 32
Thou oughtest to rejoice, my son, because thy brother was dead, and is come to life again: he was lost, and is found.
May the divine outpouring of Thy sacrament, O Lord, flow unto the recesses of our hearts and make us sharers thereof in strength. Through our Lord.
Commemoration of St. Cyril of Jerusalem