Tuesday of the Fourth Week in Lent
The Station is at the church built in the fourth century by Pope St. Damasus in honour of the celebrated deacon, the martyr St. Laurence. This sanctuary in the fifth century was one of the twenty-five parish churches of Rome. The palace adjoining contained the archives of the Church, in St. Damasus' time; it is now the Pontifical Cancellaria. The Epistle carries us to Sinai. God had seen with indignation His people prostrated at the foot of the golden calf : He announced to Moses His intention of destroying this ungrateful race. Moses prayed and his prayer appeased the Divine anger. He descended from the mountain, chastised the idolaters and brought the Israelites to repentance. Let us do penance and God will hear our prayers, since we are henceforth part of the people of God.
The Gospel introduces us into the Temple where Jesus is accused by His perfidious enemies. He confounds them by appealing to the authority of Moses, but fails to change their hearts. Rejected by Jerusalem, He will found a new people, the Church, which spreads over the whole world and will soon have the joy of seeing increased numbers of her children in the Paschal festivities. Let us rejoice that we are members of this Church.
The prayer of Moses upon the idolatry of his people (Epistle) has been Interpreted as an allusion to the schism that occurred in Rome on the election of Pope Damasus. This act of rebellion was like that which was evoked by the opposition that our Lord encountered on the feast of Tabernacles (Gospel).
Exaudi, Deus, orationem meam et ne despexeris deprecationem meam: intende in me, et exaudi me. * Contristatus sum in exercitatione mea: et conturbatus sum a voce inimici, et a tribulatione peccatoris.
Hear, O God, my prayer, and despise not my supplication: be attentive to me, and hear me. * I am grieved in my exercise; and am troubled at the voice of the enemy, and at the tribulation of the sinner.
(Psalm 54:2-4 from the Introit of Mass)
Sacrae nobis, quaesumus, Domine, observations jejunia: et piae conversations augmenturn, et tuae propitiationis continuum praestent auxilium.
We beseech Thee, O Lord, that the fasts of this holy observance may procure for us an increase of piety and the continual help of Thy mercy.