LEOVIGILD, King of the Visigoths, had two sons, Hermenegild and Recared, who reigned conjointly with him. All three were Arians, but Hermenegild married a. zealous Catholic, the daughter of Sigebert, Ring of France, and by her holy example was converted to the faith. His father, on hearing the news, denounced him as a traitor, and marched to seize his person. Hermenegild tried to rally the Catholics of Spain in his defence, but they were too weak to make any stand, and, after a two years fruitless struggle, he surrendered on the assurance of a free pardon. When safely in the royal camp, the king had him loaded with fetters and cast into a foul dungeon at Seville. Tortures and bribes were in turn employed to shake his faith, but Hermenegild wrote to his father that he held the crown as nothing, and preferred to lose sceptre and life rather than betray the truth of God. At length, on Easter night, an Arian bishop entered his cell, and promised him his father's pardon if he would but receive Communion at his hands. Hermenegild indignantly rejected the offer, and knelt with joy for his depth-stroke. The same night a light streaming from his cell told the Christians who were watching near that the martyr had won his crown, and was keeping his Easter with the Saints in glory.
Leovigild on his death-bed, though still an Arian, bade Recared seek out St. Leander, whom he had himself cruelly persecuted, and, following Hermenegild's example, be received by him into the Church. Recared did so, and on his father's death labored so earnestly for the extirpation of Arianism that he brought over the whole nation of the Visigoths to the Church. "Nor is it to be wondered," says St. Gregory, "that he came thus to be a preacher of the true faith, seeing that he was brother of a martyr, whose merits did help him to bring so many into the lap of God's Church."
Reflection. —St. Hermenegild teaches us that constancy and sacrifice are the hest arguments for the Faith, and the surest way to win souls to God.
Lives Of The Saints By Alban Butler, Benziger Bros. Edition www.globalgrey.co.uk
Prayers and Reading for Today’s MASS
The Mass of Mundy Thursday
Introit • Gal. 6, 14
But it behooves us to glory in the cross of Our Lord Jesus Christ: in Whom is our salvation, life, and resurrection; through Whom we are saved and delivered. Ps. 66, 2. May God have mercy on us, and bless us; may He cause the light of His countenance to shine upon us, and ay He have mercy on us. But it behooves.
O God, from Whom Judas received the punishment of his crime, and the thief the reward of his confession, grant us the effect Thy clemency, that, as Jesus Christ, our Lord, in His passion dealt according to their deserts with the one and the other, so, putting away from us the error of the past, He may bestow upon us the grace of His resurrection. Who with Thee liveth.
Epistle • 21 Cor. 11, 20-32
Lesson from the Epistle of blessed Paul the Apostle to the Corinthians.
[Women must have a covering over their heads. He blameth the abuses of their love feasts and upon that occasion treats of the Blessed Sacrament.]
Brethren, when you come therefore together into one place, it is not now to eat the Lord' s supper.
For every one taketh before his own supper to eat. And one indeed is hungry and another is drunk. What, have you not houses to eat and to drink in? Or despise ye the church of God; and put them to shame that have not? What shall I say to you? Do I praise you? In this I praise you not. For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, that the Lord Jesus, the same night in which he was betrayed, took bread. And giving thanks, broke, and said: Take ye, and eat: this is my body, which shall be delivered for you: this do for the commemoration of me. In like manner also the chalice, after he had supped, saying: This chalice is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as often as you shall drink, for the commemoration of me.
For as often as you shall eat this bread, and drink the chalice, you shall shew the death of the Lord, until he come. Therefore whosoever shall eat this bread, or drink the chalice of the Lord unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and of the blood of the Lord. But let a man prove himself: and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of the chalice. For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh judgment to himself, not discerning the body of the Lord. Therefore are there many infirm and weak among you, and many sleep. But if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged. But whilst we are judged, we are chastised by the Lord, that we be not condemned with this world.
Gradual • Phil. 2, 8, 9
Christ became obedient for us unto death, ever the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath exalted Him, and hath give Him a name which is above every name.
Gospel • John 13, 1-15
Continuation of the Holy Gospel According to St. John.
[Christ washes his disciples' feet. The treason of Judas. The new commandment of love.]
Before the festival day of the pasch, Jesus knowing that his hour was come, that he should pass out of this world to the Father: having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them unto the end. And when supper was done, (the devil having now put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon, to betray him,) Knowing that the Father had given him all things into his hands, and that he came from God, and goeth to God; He riseth from supper, and layeth aside his garments, and having taken a towel, girded himself. After that, he putteth water into a basin, and began to wash the feet of the disciples, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith he was girded.
He cometh therefore to Simon Peter. And Peter saith to him: Lord, dost thou wash my feet? Jesus answered, and said to him: What I do thou knowest not now; but thou shalt know hereafter. Peter saith to him: Thou shalt never wash my feet. Jesus answered him: If I wash thee not, thou shalt have no part with me. Simon Peter saith to him: Lord, not only my feet, but also my hands and my head. Jesus saith to him: He that is washed, needeth not but to wash his feet, but is clean wholly. And you are clean, but not all.
For he knew who he was that would betray him; therefore he said: You are not all clean. Then after he had washed their feet, and taken his garments, being set down again, he said to them: Know you what I have done to you? You call me Master, and Lord; and you say well, for so I am. If then I being your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; you also ought to wash one another' s feet. For I have given you an example, that as I have done to you, so you do also.
Offertory • Ps. 117. 16, 17
The right hand of the Lord hath wrought strength, the right hand of the Lord hath exalted me; I shall not die, but live, and shall declare the works of the Lord.
We beseech Thee, O holy Lord, almighty Father, eternal God, that He may render our sacrifice acceptable to Thee, Who, by giving it to His disciples on this day, taught them that it is done in commemoration of Him, Jesus Christ, Thy Son, our Lord, Who with Thee.
Communion • John 13, 12; 13, 15
The Lord Jesus, after he had supped with His disciples, washed their feet, and saith to them, Do you know what I, your Lord and Master, have done for you? I have given you an example, that so you do also.
Refreshed with life-giving nourishment, we beseech Thee, O Lord, our God, that what we perform in the time of our mortality, we may attain by the gift of Thine immortality. Through our Lord.