Tag Archives: 40 holy martyrs

Friday, Second Week of Lent/Forty Holy Martyrs

I thought I’d get out ahead of the curve tonight (Thursday) and write a post about Friday. For the record, my Thursday was taken up with one of the true joys of my life. It was opening night for a production of Into the Woods that my teenage daughter was starring in at a local playhouse. I must mention that it was one of those usually dreadful “Jr.” versions of the show. This production, however, was quite well done. My daughter inherited her old man’s love of music, of singing, and of drama. Unfortunately, the theater world is thoroughly infested with sodomites. So when I (through St. Rita) found a theater group that was actually sane, I asked her if she wanted to audition. She’s actually the seasoned theater veteran already at 13, having appeared in shows for a while – a regular Helen Hayes. I told you I could be dramatic. For a month, my wife and I have taken turns driving her in rush hour traffic to three-hour rehearsals. We’ve heard the score countless times sung throughout the house. But tonight? Tonight was well worth it. I love to see my kids use the talents God gave them. And it brings a bit of a tear watching my baby using that talent and knowing that God used me to transmit that to her. But enough about that. There are four more performances so we’re not out of the woods yet. Also, I hear they’re staging Hair Jr. next. We might sit that one out.

The Passion of Our Lord, Stained Glass,
Our Lady of Good Counsel Catholic Church, Newark, NJ

Friday of the Second Week of Lent

The orations for today are replete with the reminder to fast. Sidenote: I’ve been accused by some family members over the past few weeks of “doing more than what the Church wants us to do.” This is because they discovered I’ve been dramatically reducing my intake of food – you know, fasting. “That’s not what the Church asks of us, you know,” I have heard. True. I suppose what the Church literally asks is that you make sure to eat three meals on two days of the year. And there’s your NuFast. Look, I haven’t advertised what I’m doing. I haven’t told others that they need to do the same thing as me. I am reaping benefits (spiritual and physical) that I have never before known. Perhaps others might want to consider taking a similar path. It can be scary to give up food. I get it. But if one were to go back to the past, say, before 1965, one might see that fasting was a way of life for Catholics. Not convinced? Let’s look at the prayers, shall we?

The Collect for the Lenten Feria:

Grant, we beseech You, almighty God, that with the sacred fast to purify us, we may with sincere hearts reach the coming feast.

Fasting purifies us. It cannot be simpler.

Commemoration of the Forty Holy Martyrs of Sebaste

This is also the feast of the Forty Holy Martyrs. These forty men were Roman soldiers in Sebaste. In the year 320, they were sentenced to death for refusing to renounce the faith. They were sentenced to exposure. The forty men were ordered onto a frozen pond, naked, while a warm bath tempted them on the shore. These guys were not afraid. In fact, they welcomed the opportunity that by one wretched night they would gain eternal life. They stripped themselves naked and ran onto the ice. At one point, one in their company gave in and went for the bath. A guard who had been keeping watch was moved to take his place and joined the remaining thirty-nine others in an icy, naked death. The original beast mode. Or as we the kids would say, badass.

My thoughts? I have a hard time stepping into the shower when the water is still only tepid and not hot. Terrible times produce great saints. And boy are the times terrible now…

The Collect for the Commemoration:

“Grant, we beseech You, almighty God, that we who know how courageously Your holy Martyrs have confessed the faith, may experience their goodness as they intercede for us with You.”

So there you have it as we approach the midpoint of Lent. Fasting is salutary. Armenian martyrs are hardcore.

Don’t forget to make the Stations part of your Lenten devotions.

Lord Jesus Crucified, have mercy on us!