The First Sunday of Lent
Introit He shall cry to me, and I will hear him: I will deliver him, and I will glorify him: I will ﬁll him with length of days. Psalm. He that dwells in the aid of the Most High: shall abide under the protection of the God of Heaven. ℣. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen. — He shall cry to me …
Collect O God, Who dost purify Thy Church by the yearly observance of Lent: grant to Thy household, that what we strive to obtain from Thee by abstinence, we may achieve by good works. Through our Lord Jesus Christ Your Son, who lives and reigns with You in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end.
Epistle Brethren: We exhort you that you receive not the grace of God in vain. For He said: In an accepted time have I heard thee, and in the day of salvation have I helped thee. Behold, now is the acceptable time, behold now is the day of salvation. Giving no offense to any man, that our ministry be not blamed: but in all things let us exhibit ourselves as the ministers of God, in much patience, in tribulation, in necessities, in distresses, in stripes, in prisons, in seditions, in labours, in watchings, in fastings, in chastity, in knowledge, in long-suffering, in sweetness, in the Holy Ghost, in charity unfeigned, in the word of truth, in the power of God: by the armour of justice on the right hand and on the left: by honour and dishonour, by evil report and good report: as deceivers and yet true, as known and yet unknown: as dying, and behold we live: as chastised and not killed: as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing: as needy, yet enriching many: as having nothing and possessing all things.
Gradual God has given His Angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways. In their hands they shall bear thee up, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone.
Tract He that dwells in the aid of the Most High, shall abide under the protection of the God of heaven. He shall say to the Lord: Thou art my protector and my refuge: my God, in Him will I trust. For He hath delivered me from the snare of the hunters, and from the sharp word. He will overshadow thee with His shoulders, and under His wings thou shalt trust. His truth shall compass thee with a shield: thou shalt not be afraid of the terror of the night. Of the arrow that ﬂies in the day, of the business that walks about in the dark, of invasion or of the noonday devil. A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand: but it shall not come nigh to thee. For He hath given His Angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways. In their hands they shall bear thee up, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone. Thou shalt walk upon the asp and the basilisk, and thou shalt trample underfoot the lion and the dragon. Because he hoped in Me I will deliver him: I will protect him, because he hath known My Name. He shall cry to Me, and I will hear him: I am with him in tribulation. I will deliver him, and I will glorify him: I will ﬁll him with length of days, and I will show him My salvation.
Gospel (Matthew 4:1-11) At that time Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert, to be tempted by the Devil. And when He had fasted forty days and forty nights, afterwards He was hungry. And the tempter coming said to Him: If Thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread. Who answered and said: It is written: Not in bread alone doth man live, but in every word that proceeds from the mouth of God. Then the Devil took Him up into the holy city and set Him upon the pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him: If Thou be the son of God, cast Thyself down. For it is written: That He hath given His Angels charge over Thee, and in their hands shall they bear Thee up, lest perhaps Thou dash Thy foot against a stone. Jesus said to him: It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God. Again the Devil took Him up into a very high mountain and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and the glory of them, and said to Him: All these will I give Thee, if falling down Thou wilt adore me. Then Jesus said to him: Begone, Satan! for it is written: The Lord Thy God shalt thou adore, and Him only shalt thou serve. Then the Devil left Him. And behold Angels came, and ministered to Him.
Offertory The Lord will overshadow thee with His shoulders, and under His wings thou shalt trust: His truth shall compass thee with a shield.
Secret We solemnly offer to Thee, O Lord, the Sacriﬁce of the beginning of Lent, beseeching Thee: that while we curtail our eating of meat, we may abstain also from harmful pleasures. Through our Lord …
Communion The Lord will overshadow thee with His shoulders, and under His wings thou shalt trust: His truth shall compass thee with a shield.
Postcommunion May the holy reception of Thy Sacrament, O Lord, so restore us that we may be puriﬁed from our former ways and join the company of the redeemed. Through our Lord Jesus Christ …
Good Sleep (Part One)
I am going to write about the importance of sleep precisely because of the greater importance of the search for holiness in our lives. In what follows, remember that it is always holiness which counts more than anything else: holiness in heart and in intention. But the fact is that we do need a certain amount of health in order to stay alive.
Yet, that is a minimum requirement. We need more health than the minimum in order to be able to do our best. Of course, between where we are now and the best we could be as Catholics, there is a huge range. “Better” has an almost infinite number of gradations. Again, I wish to keep this in perspective: there will come a day when we can no longer maintain life. We will die, and we will be judged. So physical health is not a virtue, and I do not wish to suggest that it is: otherwise there would have been a Beatitude, “Blessed are the weight lifters,” and athletes would get into heaven before martyrs. But neither is the case.
A significant part of becoming better Christians is achieving control over our mind, our feelings, and our bodily impulses. This control is a vital part of what we mean by “health.” And no control is possible for us, beyond a certain level, unless we sleep well. We should be careful to allow families, especially our children, but also ourselves, the sleep we all need. It is worth giving the matter careful thought. Next week I say something about why.
I repeat, obtaining control over our organisms depends upon health and upon sleeping well – at least sleeping to a certain minimum.