St. John of God
NOTHING in John's early life foreshadowed his future sanctity. He ran away as a boy from his home in Portugal, tended sheep and cattle in Spain, and served as a soldier against the French, and afterwards against the Turks. When about forty years of age, feeling remorse for his wild life, he resolved to devote himself to the ransom of the Christian slaves in Africa, and went thither with the family of an exiled noble, which he maintained by his labor. On his return to Spain he sought to do good by selling holy pictures and books at low prices. At length the hour of grace struck. At Granada a sermon by the celebrated John of Avila shook his soul to its depths, and his expressions of self-abhorrence were so extraordinary that he was taken to the asylum as one mad. There he employed himself in ministering to the sick. On leaving he began to collect homeless poor, and to support them by his work and by begging. One night St. John found in the streets a poor man who seemed near death, and, as was his wont, he carried him to the hospital, laid him on a bed, and went to fetch water to wash his feet. When he had washed them, he knelt to kiss them, and started with awe: the feet were pierced, and the print of the nails bright with an unearthly radiance. He raised his eyes to look, and heard the words, "John, to Me thou doest all that thou doest to the poor in My name: I reach forth My hand for the alms thou givest; Me dost thou clothe, Mine are the feet thou dost wash." And then the gracious vision disappeared, leaving St. John filled at once with confusion and consolation. The bishop became the Saint's patron, and gave him the name of John of God. When his hospital was on fire, John was seen rushing about uninjured amidst the flames until he had rescued all his poor. After ten years spent in the service of the suffering, the Saint's life was fitly closed. He plunged into the river Xenil to save a drowning boy, and died, 1550, of an illness brought on by the attempt, at the age of fifty-five.
Reflection. —God often rewards men for works that are pleasing in His sight by giving them grace and opportunity to do other works higher still. St. John of God used to attribute his conversion, and the graces which enabled him to do such great works, to his self-denying charity in Africa.
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 – Wednesday, First Week of Lent
Introit • Ps. 24, 6, 3, 22
Remember, O Lord, Thy bowels of compassion, and Thy mercies that are from the beginning of the world; lest at any time our enemies rule over us: deliver us, O God of Israel, from all our tribulations. Ps. 24, 1, 2. To Thee, O Lord, have I lifted up my soul: in Thee, O my God, I put my trust; Let me not be ashamed. Glory be …
Epistle • Ex. 24, 12-18
Lesson from the Book of Exodus.
[Moses writeth his law; and after offering sacrifices, sprinkleth the blood of the testament upon the people: then goeth up the mountain which God covereth with a fiery cloud.]
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 mayst 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
The troubles of my heart are multiplied: deliver me from my necessities, O Lord. See my abjection and my labor, and forgive me all my sins.
Behold with kindness, we beseech Thee, O Lord, the devotion of Thy people, that they, who now are mortified in body by abstinence, may be refreshed in soul by the fruit of their good works. Through our Lord.
Epistle • 3 Kings 19, 3-8
Lesson from the Book of Kings.
[Elias, fleeing from Jezabel, is fed by an angel in the desert; and by the strength of that food walketh forty days, till he cometh to Horeb, where he hath a vision of God.]
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, 2, 3, 4
Deliver me from my necessities, O Lord: see my abjection and my labor, and forgive me all my sins. To Thee, O Lord, have I lifted up my soul: in Thee, O my God , I put my trust, let me not be ashamed: neither let my enemies laugh at me. For none of them that wait on Thee shall be confounded: let all them be confounded that do vain things.
Gospel • Matt. 12, 38-50
Continuation of the Holy Gospel According to St. Matthew.
[Christ reproves the blindness of the Pharisees, and confutes their attributing his miracles to Satan.]
At that time, some 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 • Ps. 118, 47, 48
I will meditate on Thy commandments, which I have loved exceedingly: and I will lift up my hands to Thy commandments, which I have loved.
We offer Thee, O Lord, the sacrifice of reconciliation, both that Thou mayest take pity and pardon our sins and that Thou mayest direct our wavering hearts. Through our Lord.
Communion • Matt. 5, 2, 4
Understand my cry: harken the voice of my prayer, my King, and my God: for to Thee will I pray, O Lord.
By the reception of Thy sacrament, O Lord, may we both be cleansed of our secret sins and delivered from the snares of the enemy. Through our Lord.