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The Adoration of the Golden Calf – Nicolas Poussin, 1633–1637Wikimedia Commons

(LifeSiteNews) — The station is in the church of Saint Laurence in Damaso; so called, because it was built, in the fourth century, in honor of the glorious archdeacon of Rome, by Pope St. Damasus, whose body rests here.


We beseech thee, O Lord, that the holy fast we observe, may be to our improvement in holy conversation, and draw down upon us the constant succors of thy mercy. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.


Lesson from the Book of Exodus 32:7-14

In those days, the Lord spoke to Moses, saying: Go, get thee down from the mountain: thy people, which thou hast brought out of the land of Egypt, hath sinned. They have quickly strayed from the way which thou didst shew them; and they have made to themselves a molten calf, and have adored it, and sacrificing victims to it, have said: These are thy gods, O Israel, that have brought thee out of the land of Egypt. And again the Lord said to Moses: I see that this people is stiff-necked; let me alone, that my wrath may be kindled against them, and that I may destroy them, and I will make of thee a great nation. But Moses besought the Lord his God, saying: Why, O Lord, is thy indignation enkindled against thy people, whom thou hast brought out of the land of Egypt, with great power, and with a mighty hand? Let not the Egyptians say, I beseech thee: He craftily brought them out, that he might kill them in the mountains, and destroy them from the earth; let thy anger cease, and be appeased upon the wickedness of thy people. Remember Abraham, Isaac and Israel thy servants, to whom thou sworest by thy own self, saying: I will multiply your seed as the stars of heaven; and this whole land that I have spoken of, I will give to your seed, and you shall possess it forever. And the Lord was appeased from doing the evil which he had spoken against his people.

When the world first received the preaching of the Gospel, idolatry was the prevailing crime. For many centuries after, all the catechumens, who were instructed in the true Faith, were tainted with it.

It was in order to inspire them with a horror of their past lives, that the Church read to them, on this day, the terrible words of God, who, had not Moses interceded, was about to exterminate His people, because they had relapsed into idolatry; and this, after He had worked in their favor the most unheard-of miracles, and had come in person to give them His law.

The worship of false gods is no longer to be found among us; but it exists in all those countries, where the Gospel has been preached and rejected. Strange as it may sound, yet it is most true: Europe, with all is civilization, would return to idolatry, were it to lose the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Not much more than a century ago, and an idol was erected to reason; it had its altar, its decorations and its incense; and they who paid homage to it were Europeans! Individuals or peoples, once slaves to Satan, are at their own masters to say, “We will go thus far in sin and no farther.”

The descendants of Noah, notwithstanding the terrible lesson given to them by the deluge, fell into idolatry; nay, Abraham was called by God from the rest of men, lest he should be led away by the almost universal corruption. Let us be grateful to the Church, who, by her teachings of faith and morals, preserves us from this degrading abomination; and let us resist our passions, which, if the light of faith were taken from us, would lead us to idolatry.


Sequel of the holy Gospel according to John 7:14-31

At that time: About the midst of the feast, Jesus went up into the temple and taught. And the Jews wondered, saying: How doth this man know letters, having never learned? Jesus answered them, and said: My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me. If any man will do the will of him, he shall know of the doctrine whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself. He that speaketh of himself, seeketh his own glory; but he that seeketh the glory of him that sent him, he is true, and there is no injustice in him. Did not Moses give you the law? And yet none of you keepeth the law. Why seek you to kill me? The multitude answered and said: Thou hast a devil: who seeketh to kill thee? Jesus answered, and said to them: One work I have done, and you all wonder. Therefore Moses gave you circumcision (not because it is of Moses, but of the fathers), and on the Sabbath-day you circumcise a man. If a man receive circumcision on the Sabbath-day, that the law of Moses may not be broken, are you angry at me, because I have healed the whole man on the Sabbath-day? Judge not according to the appearance, but judge just judgment. Some therefore of Jerusalem said: Is not this he whom they seek to kill? And behold he speaketh openly, and they say nothing to him. Have the rulers known for a truth that this is the Christ? But we know this man whence he is. But when the Christ cometh, no man knoweth whence he is. Jesus therefore cried out in the temple, teaching and saying: You both know me, and you know whence I am; and I am not come of myself, but he that sent me is true, whom you know not; I know him, because I am from him, and he hath sent me. They sought therefore to apprehend him; and no man laid hands on him, because his hour was not yet come. But of the people many believed in him.

This Gospel carries our thoughts to the sacrifice of the Divine Lamb, which is to be offered up in Jerusalem. The hour is not yet come, but it is fast approaching. His enemies are already seeking how they may put Him to death. So blinded are they by their passions, that they accuse Him of being a violator of the Sabbath, because He healed the sick, by the simple act of His will, on the Lord’s Day!

In vain does Jesus refute their prejudices, by reminding them that they themselves have no scruple in fulfilling the law of circumcision on this day, or, (as He laid to them, on another occasion,) in drawing out of the pit an ass or an ox that may have fallen in. (Luke 14:5) They are deaf to all He says; they are men of one idea, and it is that their victim shall not escape death.

His Miracles are incontestable, and all are wrought out of a motive of mercy and love. The only time He refuses to work one is when His enemies ask Him to satisfy their curiosity and pride by letting them see a sign. This exercise of His power of working miracles, far from exciting them to admiration and gratitude, only incites them to envy, and in their envy, they declare not only that He acts by Beelzebub, (Luke 11:15) but that He has a devil within him.

We shudder at such a blasphemy. Yet such is the pride of these Jewish doctors, that they care neither for common sense nor for religion, and their hearts thirst more and more for the Blood of Jesus. While some of the people allow themselves to be seduced by their leaders into the same feelings against Jesus, others, who affect to be indifferent, reason about Him, and then declare it to be their opinion, that this Jesus does not realize in Himself the character of the promised Messias! They argue that when the Christ cometh, no one will know whence He is. But have not the prophets declared that he is to be one of the family of David?

Now every Jew knows well enough that Jesus is of that royal race. Besides, they own that there is to be something mysterious about the Messias, and that He is to come from God. Had they listened with docile attention to the teachings of Jesus – teachings which he had confirmed by numerous miracles – they would have been enlightened both as to His temporal birth, and to His being the Son of God.

But indifference and the perversity of the human heart kept them in culpable ignorance; and perhaps on the day of His death, they will join in the cry: “Let His blood be upon us and upon our children.” (Matthew 27:25)

Bow down your heads to God.

Take compassion, O Lord, on thy people, and mercifully refresh them laboring under continual tribulations. Throng Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Greek Liturgy supplies us with the following humble act of contrition. We take it from the hymn composed by St. Andrew of Crete.

(Triodion. Feria V. Hebdomadæ V. Jejuniorum.)

We have sinned, we have done wickedly, we have acted; unjustly against thee, neither have we served thee, nor have done what thou hast commanded: but abandon us not forever, O thou the God of our fathers!

I have sinned, I have done wickedly, I have broken thy commandment; for I was born in sins, and have added wound to wound: but thou art merciful, and the God of our fathers; have mercy on me!

To thee, O my Judge, have I made known the hidden things of my heart: see me now humbled before thee; see, too, my affliction, and be attentive to my judgment. O thou that art merciful, and the God of our fathers, have mercy on me!

I have disfigured thine image, and have broken thy commandment: all my beauty is obscured, O my Savior, and my lamp is put out, by my sins. But have mercy on me, and restore joy unto me, as David sings.

Be converted, my soul! Do penance; reveal thy hidden sins; say to thy God, who knoweth all things: thou, my only Savior, knowest all things; do thou, as David sings, have mercy on me according to thy great mercy.

My days have vanished as the dream of one that wakeneth; wherefore, like Ezechias, I weep on my couch and beseech thee to add to the years my life. But who, O my soul, can be thine Isaias and help thee, but he that is the God of all?

This text is taken from The Liturgical Year, authored by Dom Prosper Gueranger (1841-1875). LifeSiteNews is grateful to The Ecu-Men website for making this classic work easily available online.