Thursday of the Third Week in Lent
Station at the Holy Martyrs Cosmas and Damiani
It is in a church, made of two pagan temples (of the Holy City and of Romulus), where rest the bodies of the holy martyrs Cosmas and Damian, who were put to death during the Diocletian persecution, that this Station is made. The sick came in crowds to visit the tomb of these two brothers,doctors by profession, imploring them to restore their health. It was thus fitting to say this Gospel relating the cure of the mother-in- law of Simon and of the sick of Capharnaum. It is also a Mass of dedication as the words of the Epistle show: Templum Domini est.
The Jews, who possessed the magnificent Temple of Jerusalem, began to believe that respect for the house of God sufficed to sanctify them, and they considered themselyes dispensed from observing the spirit of the law. Wherefore the Church warns us that ourLent should not only consist of prayers and fasts, but should be accompanied by exercises of charity and justice towards our neighbour.
We must imitate the example of Jesus, and during the whole of Lent follow Him with the holy liturgy in His ministry of redemption, preaching the Kingdom of God, healing the sick, and casting out devils (Gospel). Let us love to listen to the word of God: it will cure our souls and banish from them the devil who seeks to reign therein.
The catechumens who were preparing for baptism listened specially at this season of the year to the word of God. They al.o received the imposition of hands so as to be delivered from evil spirits and to obtain the cure of their souls.
Through the intercession of the holy doctors Cosmas and Damian in whose church to-day's solemnities are celebrated, let us ask the Divine Physician that the severe abstinence of the Lenten fast may cool the fever of our passions and assure our salvation (Collect, Epistle, Postcommunion).
Salus populi ego sum, dicit Dominus: de quacumque tribulatione; clamaverint ad me, exaudiam eos: et ero illorum Dominus in perpetuum. * Attendite, popule meus, legem meam: inclinate aurem vestram in verba oris mei.
I am the salvation of the people, saith the Lord: from whatever tribulation they shall cry to me, I will hear them: and I will be their Lord for ever. * Attend, O My people, to My law: incline your ears to the words of my mouth.
(Psalm 77:1 from the introit of mass)
Magnificet te, Domine, sanctorum tuorum Cosmae et Damiani beata solemnitas: qua et illis gloriam sempiternam, et opem nobis ineffabili providentia contulisti.
May the blessed solemnity of Thy saints Cosmas and Damian magnify Thee, O Lord: by which Thou hast both granted eternal glory to them, and assistance to us by Thy ineffable providence.
This Thursday take the name of Mid-Lent Thursday, because it is the twentieth day in the middle of the holy forty days. The Church brings to the following Sunday the sentiments of joy which she wishes to fill our hearts. The feast of Easter approaches, and we must courageously continue the Lenten fast already half completed.