Carissimi; Today’s Mass: St Agatha of Sicily

Archbishop Jerome Lloyd OSJVPosted by

St Agatha, Virgin Martyr: Missa “Gaudeámus omnes”

Saint Agatha was born in Sicily of rich and noble parents, a child of benediction from the first, for she was promised to her parents before her birth, and consecrated from her earliest infancy to God. In the midst of dangers and temptations she served Christ in purity of body and soul, and she died for love of chastity. Quintanus, who governed Sicily under the Emperor Decius, had heard the rumor of her beauty and wealth, and he made the laws against the Christians a pretext for summoning her from Palermo to Catania, where he was at the time. O Jesus Christ! she cried, as she set out on this dreaded journey, all that I am is Thine; preserve me against the tyrant.

And Our Lord did indeed preserve one who had given herself so utterly to Him. He kept her pure and undefiled while she was imprisoned for a whole month under charge of an evil woman. He gave her strength to reply to the offer of her life and safety, if she would but consent to sacrifice to the gods, Christ alone is my salvation! When Quintanus turned from passion to cruelty, and cut off her breasts, Our Lord sent the Prince of the Apostles to heal her. She told the elderly gentleman who appeared to her that she was Christian and desired no treatment, for her Lord could cure her by a single word. He smiled, identified himself as Saint Peter, and said: It is in His name that you will be healed. And when he disappeared, she saw that her wounds were healed and her flesh made whole. But when she was rolled naked upon potsherds, she asked that her torments might be ended. Her Lord heard her prayer and took her to Himself.

Saint Agatha gave herself without reserve to Jesus Christ; she followed Him in virginal purity, and then depended upon Him for protection. And to this day Christ has shown His tender regard for the very body of Saint Agatha. Again and again, during the eruptions of Mount Etna, the people of Catania have exposed her veil for public veneration, and found safety by this means. In modern times, on opening the tomb in which her body lies waiting for the resurrection, they beheld the skin still entire, and experienced the sweet fragrance which issued from this temple of the Holy Ghost.

Reflection. Purity is a gift of God: we can gain it and preserve it only by care and diligence in avoiding all that may prove an incentive to sin.

Les Petits Bollandistes: Vies des Saints, by Msgr. Paul Guérin (Bloud et Barral: Paris, 1882), Vol. 2; Little Pictorial Lives of the Saints, a compilation based on Butler’s Lives of the Saints and other sources by John Gilmary Shea (Benziger Brothers: New York, 1894).

INTROIT Psalm 118. 95, 96

Let us all rejoice in the Lord, celebrating the feast in honor of blessed Agatha, Virgin and Martyr, for whose passion the angels rejoice and praise with one accord the Son of God. Ps 44:2 My heart overflows with a goodly theme; as I sing my ode to the King. V.: 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. Let us all rejoice in the Lord…

COLLECT

O God, Who among other wonders of Your power have given the victory of martyrdom even to the gentler sex, graciously grant that we who commemorate the anniversary of the death of blessed Agatha, Your Virgin and Martyr, may come to You by following her example. Through Jesus Christ, thy Son our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. R. Amen.

Collect for the Saints
Defend us, we beseech Thee, O Lord, from all dangers of mind and body: and through the intercession of the blessed and glorious Mary, ever Virgin, mother of God, of St Joseph, of Thy holy apostles, Peter and Paul, and of all the saints, in Thy loving-kindness grant us safety and peace; that, all adversities and errors being overcome, Thy Church may serve Thee in security and freedom.

for the Church
Mercifully hear the prayers of thy Church, we beseech thee, O Lord, that all adversities and errors being overcome, she may serve thee in security and feedom. Through Jesus Christ, thy Son our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. R. Amen.

EPISTLE 1 Cor. 1:26-31

Lesson from the first letter of St Paul the Apostle to the Corinthians: Brethren: Consider your own call, that there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble. But the foolish things of the world has God chosen to put to shame the wise, and the weak things of the world has God chosen to put to shame the strong, and the base things of the world and the despised has God chosen, and the things that are not, to bring to naught the things that are; lest any flesh should pride itself before Him. From Him you are in Christ Jesus, Who has become for us God-given wisdom, and justice, and sanctification, and redemption; so that, just as it is written, Let him who takes pride, take pride in the Lord.

GRADUAL/ALLELUIA Psalm 45:6, 5.

God will help her with His countenance. God is in her midst; she shall not be disturbed. V. There is a stream whose runlets gladden the city of God; the Most High has sanctified His dwelling. Alleluia, alleluia. Ps 118:46 V. I will speak of Your decrees before kings without being ashamed. Alleluia.

GOSPEL Matthew 19:3-12

At that time, there came to Jesus some Pharisees, testing Him, and saying, Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for any cause? But He answered and said to them, Have you not read that the Creator, from the beginning, made them male and female, and said, ‘For this cause a man shall leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? Therefore now they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man put asunder. They said to Him, Why then did Moses command to give a written notice of dismissal, and to put her away? He said to them, Because Moses, by reason of the hardness of your heart, permitted you to put away your wives; but it was not so from the beginning. And I say to you, that whoever puts away his wife, except for immorality, and marries another, commits adultery; and he who marries a woman who has been put away commits adultery. His disciples said to Him, If the case of a man with his wife is so, it is not expedient to marry. And He said, ‘Not all can accept this teaching; but those to whom it has been given. For there are eunuchs who were born so from their mother’s womb; and there are eunuchs who were made so by men; and there are eunuchs who have made themselves so for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. Let him accept it who can.

OFFERTORY ANTIPHON Ps. 44:15

Behind her the virgins of her train are brought to the King. They are borne in to You.

SECRET

Accept, O Lord, the gifts we bring on the feast of blessed Agatha, Your Virgin and Martyr, under whose patronage we hope to find salvation. Through Jesus Christ, thy Son our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. R. Amen.

Secret for the Saints
Graciously hear us, O God our Saviour, and, by virtue of this Sacrament, defend us from all enemies of soul and body, bestowing upon us Thy grace here and Thy glory hereafter.

for the Church
Protect us, O Lord, who celebrate thy mysteries, that holding fast to divine things, we may serve thee with body and soul. Through Jesus Christ, thy Son our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end.
R. Amen.

PREFACE of the Common

It is truly meet and just, right and for our salvation, that we should at all times, and in all places, give thanks unto Thee, O holy Lord, Father almighty, everlasting God, through Christ our Lord. Through whom the Angels praise Thy Majesty, the Dominations worship it, the Powers stand in awe. The heavens and the heavenly hosts together with the blessed Seraphim in triumphant chorus unite to celebrate it. Together with them, we entreat Thee, that Thou mayest bid our voices also to be admitted, while we say in lowly praise:

COMMUNION ANTIPHON

I invoke Him, the living God, Who deigned to cure me of every wound, and to restore my breast to my body.

POSTCOMMUNION

May the sacrament we have received help us, O Lord, and by the intercession of blessed Agatha, Your Virgin and Martyr, may it support us through Your everlasting protection. Through Jesus Christ, thy Son our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end.
R. Amen.

Postcommunion for the Saints
May the gift of this Divine Sacrament which we have offered, cleanse us and defend us, we beseech Thee, O Lord; and through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, mother of God, of St. Joseph, of Thy holy apostles Peter and Paul, and of all the saints, free us from all iniquity and deliver us from all adversity.

for the Church
We beseech thee, O Lord, our God, that thou permit not those, to whom thou hast given a participation of divine things to be subjected to human dangers. Through Jesus Christ, thy Son our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. R. Amen.

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