Ember Saturday after Pentecost
Station at St. Peter's
"The Gift of Holy Fear, or the Fear of God, is actually the foundation of all other gifts. It drives sin from the heart, because it fills us with reverence either for the Justice of God or for the divine Majesty." (Rev. M. Meschler S.J., Ibid., p. 271.)
After swelling the ranks of her children during the night of Pentecost, the Holy Ghost to-day is about to supply the Church with the priests who are to be her ministers of grace all over the world, for He will pour out His Spirit upon her servants as Joel prophesied He would upon the apostles (First Lesson.) Very appropriately, therefore, the church appointed for the Station this day is the basilica of St. Peter, the pastor of the fold, and the Gospel tells of a cure worked by Jesus in the house of Simon.
The priest, as the minister of Christ, devotes himself to the healing of souls consumed by the fever of sinful passions.
As it has already been pointed out, the Mass on the Saturday in Ember Weeks has five Lessons with Collect and Tract between the Introit and the Epistle. The fifth Lesson never varies: it is the record of the miraculous preservation of the three young Hebrew men in the furnace, followed by an extract from their canticle of praise and thanksgiving. The Collect of the Mass is based upon this Lesson, and beseeches the divine goodness that we may not be consumed by the flame of vice.
In the Sacrament of Holy Orders the priest receives a large outpouring of the divine Spirit (Epistle) that will enable him to preach the kingdom of God (Gospel).
The Second, Third and Fourth Lessons refer to the harvest, and to the offerings of the first-fruits of the earth, for Ember Weeks were instituted with the object of obtaining the divine blessing on each of the several seasons as they came in.
Having entered the promised land, the Israelites offered its first-fruits to God.
Let us, having entered the Church by baptism, offer to almighty God the first-fruits of all that we do, through the supernatural influx of the Holy Ghost into our souls. Let us pray to God that He may increase our faith in Christ (Epistle and Gospel), and fill our hearts with His holy love (Epistle).
Caritas Dei diffusa est in cordibus nostris, alleluia: per inhabitantem Spiritum ejus in nobis, alleluia, alleluia. * Benedic, anima mea, Domino: et omnia quae intra me sunt, nomini sancto ejus.
The charity of God is poured forth in our hearts, alleluia : by His Spirit dwelling in us, alleluia, alleluia. * Bless the Lord, O my soul: and let all that is within me bless His holy name.
(Romans 5:5 and Psalm 102:1 from the Introit of Mass)
Mentibus nostris, quaesumus, Domine, Spiritum Sanctum benignus infunde: cujus et sapientia conditi sumus, et providentia gubernamur.
We beseech Thee, O Lord, mercifully pour into our souls Thy Holy Spirit, by whose wisdom we were created and by whose providence we are governed.