Place yourself at Toledo: in the cathedral’s Mozarabic Rite chapel the faithful, silent, stand; silently, at this penitential season, the priest and his ministers advance to God’s altar; still without speaking, the priest bows awhile in prayer, then ascends the altar steps, kisses it, and goes to stand at his seat, where at length he first opens his mouth and salutes the congregation. All attend to the readings that now begin. A lector reads out the first lessson at the lectern; after he finishes, another takes his place. The Old Testament lessons ended, the choir chants; a third lector reads the Epistle. Next the deacon, with cerifers and thurifer, proceeds to the lectern to read the Gospel, first saluting the people (who stand in reverence), then censing the sacred volume. The deacon having ended, then the priest having preached, again the choir sings God’s praises. Next would come the offering of the Sacrifice…
To-day, we are warned by the history of Samson, no less than by the words of Ecclesiasticus prefacing it, to avoid falling into reprobation by reason of lust.
But let us at the least unite ourselves to the Mass at Toledo by some participation in the Service of the Word, before in prayer making a spiritual communion as our devotion suggests.
Friday in the third week of Lent
Feria VI in tertia hebdomada Quadragesimæ
Sapiential Lesson: Sirach 9,1-3.8-13;8,11-12
Historical Lection: Judges 16,4-31
Threni: Lam 1,18; Isaiah 47,6; Lam 1,5;4,11;1,4;3,3-4.7-8
Apostle: 1 Peter 4,13-19
Gospel: John 8,2-11
Laudes: Psalm 103,33-34
The Lord be ever with you. R/. And with thy spirit.
A Lesson from the Book of Ecclesiasticus. R/. Thanks be to God.
Be not jealous over the wife of thy bosom, lest she shew in thy regard the malice of a wicked lesson. Give not the power of thy soul to a woman, lest she enter upon thy strength, and thou be confounded. Look not upon a woman that hath a mind for many: lest thou fall into her snares.
Turn away thy face from a woman dressed up, and gaze not about upon another's beauty. For many have perished by the beauty of a woman, and hereby lust is enkindled as a fire. Every woman that is a harlot, shall be trodden upon as dung in the way. Many by admiring the beauty of another man's wife, have become reprobate, for her conversation burneth as fire. Sit not at all with another man's wife, nor repose upon the bed with her: and strive not with her over wine, lest thy heart decline towards her, and by thy blood thou fall into destruction.
Let not the discourse of the ancients escape thee, for they have learned of their fathers: for of them thou shalt learn understanding, and to give an answer in time of need.
A Lesson from the Book of Judges. R/. Thanks be to God.
In those days:
After this he loved a woman, who dwelt in the valley of Sorec, and she was called Dalila. And the princes of the Philistines came to her, and said: Deceive him, and learn of him wherein his great strength lieth, and how we may be able to overcome him, to bind and afflict him: which if thou shalt do, we will give thee every one of us eleven hundred pieces of silver. And Dalila said to Samson: Tell me, I beseech thee, wherein thy greatest strength lieth, and what it is wherewith if thou wert bound thou couldst not break loose. And Samson answered her: If I shall be bound with seven cords made of sinews not yet dry, but still moist, I shall be weak like other men. And the princes of the Philistines brought unto her seven cords, such is he spoke of, with which she bound him; men lying privately in wait with her, and in the chamber expecting the event of the thing, and she cried out to him: The Philistines are upon thee, Samson. And he broke the bands, as a man would break a thread of tow twined with spittle, when it smelleth the fire: so it was not known wherein his strength lay. And Dalila said to him: Behold thou hast mocked me, and hast told me a false thing: but now at least tell me wherewith thou mayest be bound. And he answered her: If I shall be bound with new ropes, that were never in work, I shall be weak and like other men. Dalila bound him again with these, and cried out: The Philistines are upon thee, Samson, there being an ambush prepared for him in the chamber. But he broke the bands like threads of webs. And Dalila said to him again: How long dost thou deceive me, and tell me lies? shew me wherewith thou mayest be bound. And Samson answered her: If thou plattest the seven locks of my head with a lace, and tying them round about a nail fastenest it in the ground, I shall be weak. And when Dalila had done this, she said to him: The Philistines are upon thee, Samson. And awaking out of his sleep he drew out the nail with the hairs and the lace. And Dalila said to him: How dost thou say thou lovest me, when thy mind is not with me? Thou hast told me lies these three times, and wouldst not tell me wherein thy great strength lieth. And when she pressed him much, and continually hung upon him for many days, giving him no time to rest, his soul fainted away, and was wearied even until death. Then opening the truth of the thing, he said to her: The razor hath never come upon my head, for I am a Nazarite, that is to say, consecrated to God from my mother's womb: if my head be shaven, my strength shall depart from me, and I shall become weak, and shall be like other men. Then seeing that be had discovered to her all his mind, she sent to the princes of the Philistines, saying: Come up this once more, for now he hath opened his heart to me. And they went up taking with them the money which they had promised. But she made him sleep upon her knees, and lay his head in her bosom. And she called a barber, and shaved his seven locks, and began to drive him away, and thrust him from her: for immediately his strength departed from him. And she said: The Philistines are upon thee, Samson. And awaking from sleep, he said in his mind: I will go out as I did before, and shake myself, not knowing that the Lord was departed from him. Then the Philistines seized upon him, and forthwith pulled out his eyes, and led him bound in chains to Gaza, and shutting him up in prison made him grind. And now his hair began to grow again. And the princes of the Philistines assembled together, to offer great sacrifices to Dagon their god, and to make merry, saying: Our god hath delivered our enemy Samson into our hands. And the people also seeing this, praised their god, and said the same: Our god hath delivered our adversary into our bands, him that destroyed our country and killed very many. And rejoicing in their feasts, when they had now taken their good cheer, they commanded that Samson should be called, and should play before them. And being brought out of prison he played before them, and they made him stand between two pillars. And he said to the lad that guided his steps: Suffer me to touch the pillars which support the whole house, and let me lean upon them, and rest a little. Now the house was full of men and women, and all the princes of the Philistines were there. Moreover about three thousand persons of both sexes from the roof and the higher part of the house, were beholding Samson's play. But he called upon the Lord, saying: O Lord God, remember me, and restore to me now my former strength, O my God, that I may revenge myself on my enemies, and for the loss of my two eyes I may take one revenge. And laying hold on both the pillars on which the house rested, and holding the one with his right hand, and the other with his left, he said: Let me die with the Philistines. And when he had strongly shook the pillars, the house fell upon all the princes, and the rest of the multitude that was there: and he killed many more at his death, than he had killed before in his life. And his brethren and all his kindred, going down took his body, and buried it between Saraa and Esthaol in the buryingplace of his father Manue: and he judged Israel twenty years.
Hear me, I pray, all of you: and behold my sorrow, for God is angry over me on account of the multitude of my iniquity.
V/. He hath completed his fury on me and poured forth his indignation: and hath oppressed me with bitterness.
V/. But when I have cried to him, he excluded my prayer.
The First Epistle of the Apostle Peter. R/. Thanks be to God.
if you partake of the sufferings of Christ, rejoice that when his glory shall be revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy. If you be reproached for the name of Christ, you shall be blessed: for that which is of the honour, glory, and power of God, and that which is his Spirit, resteth upon you. But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or a thief, or a railer, or a coveter of other men's things. But if as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name. For the time is, that judgment should begin at the house of God. And if first at us, what shall be the end of them that believe not the gospel of God? And if the just man shall scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear? Wherefore let them also that suffer according to the will of God, commend their souls in good deeds to the faithful Creator.
The Lord be ever with you. R/. And with thy spirit.
A Lesson from the Holy Gospel according to John. R/. Glory to Thee, O Lord.
At that time:
early in the morning Jesus came again into the temple, and all the people came to him, and sitting down he taught them. And the scribes and the Pharisees bring unto him a woman taken in adultery: and they set her in the midst, and said to him: Master, this woman was even now taken in adultery. Now Moses in the law commanded us to stone such a one. But what sayest thou? And this they said tempting him, that they might accuse him. But Jesus bowing himself down, wrote with his finger on the ground. When therefore they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said to them: He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her. And again stooping down, he wrote on the ground. But they hearing this, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest. And Jesus alone remained, and the woman standing in the midst. Then Jesus lifting up himself, said to her: Woman, where are they that accused thee? Hath no man condemned thee? Who said: No man, Lord. And Jesus said: Neither will I condemn thee. Go, and now sin no more.
I will sing to the Lord as long as I live: * I will sing praise to my God while I have my being.
V/. Let my speech be acceptable to him: but I will take delight in the Lord. * I will sing praise to my God while I have my being.