St. Frances of Rome
FRANCES was born at Rome in 1384. Her parents were, of high rank. They overruled her desire to become a nun, and at twelve years of age married her to Rorenzo Ponziano, a Roman noble. During the forty years or their married life they never had a disagreement. While spending her days in retirement and prayer, she attended promptly to every household duty, saying, "A married woman must leave God at the altar to find Him in her domestic cares;" and she once found the verse of a psalm in which she had been four times thus interrupted completed for her in letters of gold. Her ordinary food was dry bread. Secretly she would exchange with beggars good food for their hard crusts; her drink was water, and her cup a human skull. During the invasion of Rome, in 1413, Ponziano was banished, his estates confiscated, his house destroyed, and his eldest son taken as a hostage. Frances saw in these losses only the finger of God, and blessed His holy name. When peace was restored Ponziano recovered his estate, and Frances founded the Oblates. After her husband's death, barefoot and with a cord about her neck she begged admission to the community, and was soon elected Superioress. She lived always in the presence of God, and amongst many visions was given constant sight of her angel guardian, who shed such brightness around him that the Saint could read her midnight Office by this light alone. He shielded her in the hour of temptation, and directed her in every good act. But when she was betrayed into some defect, he faded from her sight; and when some light words were spoken before her, he covered his face in shame. She died on the day she had foretold, March 9, 1440.
Reflection. —God has appointed an angel to guard each one of us, to whose warnings we are bound to attend. Let us listen to his voice here, and we shall see him hereafter when he leads us before the throne of God.
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 – Thursday, First Week of Lent
Introit • Ps. 95, 6
Praise and beauty are before Him: holiness and majesty in His sanctuary. Ps. 95, 1. Sing ye to the Lord a new canticle: sing to the Lord all the earth. Glory be …
Behold with kindness, we beseech Thee, O Lord, the devotion of Thy people, that they, who are now mortified in body by abstinence, may be refreshed in soul by the fruit of their good work. Through our Lord.
Commemoration of St Frances of Rome.
O God, Who among other gifts of thy grace didst honor blessed Frances, Thine hand-maid, with the familiar companionship of an angel, grant, we beseech Thee, that by the help of her intercession we may deserve to attain the company of angels.
Epistle • Ez. 18, 4-9
Lesson from Ezechiel the Prophet.
[One man shall not bear the sins of another, but every one his own; if a wicked man truly repent, he shall be saved; and if a just man leave his justice, he shall perish.]
In those days, the word of the Lord came to me, saying: What is the meaning? That you use among you this parable as a proverb in the land of Israel, saying: The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the teeth of the children are set on edge. As I live, saith the Lord God, this parable shall be no more to you a proverb in Israel. Behold all souls are mine: as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine: the soul that sinneth, the same shall die. And if a man be just, and do judgment and justice,
And hath not eaten upon the mountains, nor lifted up his eyes to the idols of the house of Israel: and hath not defiled his neighbour' s wife, nor come near to a menstruous woman: And hath not wronged any man: but hath restored the pledge to the debtor, hath taken nothing away by violence: hath given his bread to the hungry, and hath covered the naked with a garment: Hath not lent upon usury, nor taken any increase: hath withdrawn his hand from iniquity, and hath executed true judgment between man and man: Hath walked in my commandments, and kept my judgments, to do truth: he is just, he shall surely live, saith the Lord God.
Gradual • Ps. 16, 8, 2
Keep me, O Lord, as the apple of Thy eye; protect me under the shadow of Thy wings. Let my judgment come forth from Thy countenance; let Thy eyes behold the things that are equitable.
Gospel • Matt. 15, 21-28
Continuation of the Holy Gospel According to St. Matthew.
[Christ reproves the Scribes. He cures the daughter of the woman of Canaan: and many others: and feeds four thousand with seven loaves.]
At that time, Jesus went forth, and retired into the coasts of Tyre and Sidon. And behold a woman of Canaan who came out of those coasts, crying out, said to him: Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou son of David: my daughter is grieviously troubled by the devil. Who answered her not a word. And his disciples came and besought him, saying: Send her away, for she crieth after us: And he answering, said: I was not sent but to the sheep that are lost of the house of Israel. But she came and adored him, saying: Lord, help me.
Who answering, said: It is not good to take the bread of the children, and to cast it to the dogs. But she said: Yea, Lord; for the whelps also eat of the crumbs that fall from the table of their masters. Then Jesus answering, said to her: O woman, great is thy faith: be it done to thee as thou wilt: and her daughter was cured from that hour.
Offertory • Ps. 33, 8, 9
The angel of the Lord shall encamp round about them that fear Him, and shall deliver them: taste and see that the Lord is sweet.
Mercifully grant, we beseech Thee, O Lord, that these sacrifices, offered up with wholesome fasting, may insure our salvation. Through our Lord.
Communion • John 6, 52
The bread that I will give, is My flesh for the life of the world.
By the plenteous bestowal of thy gifts, O Lord, sustain us by temporal aids and renew us by those that are eternal. Through our Lord.