Friday after Ash Wednesday
Station at the Church of the Holy Martyrs John and Paul.
The Station at Rome was on Mount Coelius, in the residence that the Christian senator Pammachius in the fifth century transformed into a parish church, which bears the title of SS. John and Paul. Six frescoes of that period represent the captivity and death of these two Romans, "who in the same faith and the same martyrdom were truly united as brethren".
Near this church is a hospice for pilgrims (Xenodochium Valerii). Pammachius in other directions spent his whole fortune upon the poor. The Gospel and the Postcommurnon also speak of charity.
The Epistle and Gospel declare that the external works of penance such as prayer, fasting and almsgiving, which should be practised during Lent, have no value in the sight of God unless they are accompanied by
the spirit of internal sacrifice. This spirit shows itself in works of mercy done out of consideration for our neighbour, without distinction of friend or enemy and with the sole intention of pleasing God. Let us ask for the spint of sacrifice and mercy.
Audivit Dominus, et misertus est mihi, Dominus factus est adjutor meus. * Exaltabo te, Domine, quoniam suscepisti me: nec delectasti inimicos meos super me.
The Lord hath heard, and hath had mercy on me: the Lord became my helper. * I will extol Thee, O Lord, for Thou hast upheld me: and hast not made my enemies to rejoice over me.
(Psalm 29:11,2 from the Introit of Mass)
Inchoata jejunia, quaesumus, Domine, benigno favore prosequere: ut observantiam, quam corpociliter exhibemus, mentibus etiam sinceris exercere valeamus.
Regard with Thy loving care, we beseech Thee, O Lord, the fast which we have begun; that the abstinence which we keep with our body may be exercised with sincerity of mind.
A cunctis nos, quaesumus, Domine, mentis et corporis defende periculis: et intercedente beata et gloriosa semper Virgine Dei Genitrice Maria, cum beato Joseph, beatis Apostolis Tuis Petro et Paulo, atque beato N., et omnibus Sanctis, salutem nobis tribue benignus et pacem, ut destructis adversitatibus et erroribus universis, Ecclesia Tua secura Tibi serviat libertate.
Defend us, we beseech Thee, O Lord, from all dangers of mind and body; that through the intercession of the blessed and glorious ever Virgin Mary, Mother of God, together with blessed Joseph, Thy blessed apostles Peter and Paul, and blessed N., and all the saints, mercifully grant us safety and peace; that all adversities and errors being overcome, Thy Church may serve Thee in security and freedom.
(For the intercession of the Saints)
Omnipotens sempiterna Deus, qui vivorum dominaris simul et mortuorum, omniumque misereris quos tuos fide et opera futuros esse praenoscis: te supplices exoramus; ut, pro quibus effundere preces decrevimus, quosque vel praesens saeculum adhuc in carne retinet, vel futurum jam exutos corpore suscepit, intercedentibus omnibus Sanctis tuis, pietatis tuae clementia omnium delictorum suorum veniam consequantur.
O almighty and eternal God, who hast dominion over both the living and the dead, and hast mercy on all whom Thou foreknowest shall be Thine by faith and good works: we humbly beseech Thee that all for whom we have resolved to make supplication whether the present world still holds them in the flesh or the world to come has already received them out of the body, may, through the intercession of all Thy saints, obtain of Thy goodness and clemency pardon for all their sins.
(For the Living and the Dead)
On the Basilicas of SS John and Paul: http://www.cptryon.org/compassion/sum01/visual.html