WITHIN THE OCTAVE
SAINT RITA OF CASCIA
DOUBLE / WHITE
For centuries St. Rita of Cascia (1381-1457) has been one of the most popular saints in the Catholic Church. She is known as the "Saint of the Impossible" because of the amazing answers to prayer, as well as the remarkable events of her own life.
St. Rita wanted to become a nun, but in obedience to her aged parents, she married. Her husband caused her much suffering, but she repaid his cruelty with prayer and kindness. In time he was converted, becoming considerate and God-fearing. But St. Rita was to undergo another great sorrow when her husband was murdered.
St. Rita then found that her two sons were entertaining thoughts of avenging their father's murder; she feared they would put their desires into effect in accord with the evil custom of the Vendetta. With heroic love for their souls, she begged God to take them from this life rather than allow them to commit this great sin. Not long afterward they both died, after preparing themselves to meet God.
Bereft of spouse and children, St. Rita devoted herself to prayer, penance and works of charity. After a time she applied for admittance to the Augustinian Convent in Cascia. She was refused, but after praying to her three special patron saints-St. John the Baptist, St. Augustine and St. Nicholas of Tolentino-she miraculously entered the convent and was allowed to remain. This took place around the year of 1411.
In the convent, St. Rita's life was marked by great charity and severe penances. Her prayers obtained for others remarkable cures, deliverance from the devil and other special favors from God.
So that she might share in the pain of His Crown of Thorns, Our Lord gave St. Rita a thorn wound in her forehead. It was very painful and gave off a disagreeable odor, yet she considered it a very great grace. She prayed, "O loving Jesus, increase my patience accordingly as my sufferings increase." The wound lasted the rest of her life.
St. Rita died on May 22, 1457 at the age of 76. People flocked to the convent to pay their last respects. Innumerable miracles took place through her intercession, and devotion to her spread far and wide.
St. Rita's body was preserved perfectly incorrupt for several centuries, and at times it gave off a sweet fragrance. At the beatification ceremony, the body of the Saint raised itself up and opened its eyes.
God has heard St. Rita's prayers for others on countless occasions, and certainly she will gladly intercede once again, on behalf of those who pray to her now-thus continuing to prove the truth of her great name: The Saint of the Impossible!
INTROIT Ps. 117:19-22
Open ye to me the gates of justice: I will go into them, and give praise to the Lord: the stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner.
Ps. 117:1. Give praise to the Lord, for He is good: for His mercy endureth forever.
V. Glory be . . .
O God, Who didst vouchsafe to confer on St. Rita so great grace that she loved her enemies and bore in her heart and on her brow the stigmata of Thy love and Passion, grant us, we beseech Thee, by her intercession and merits, so to spare our enemies and to meditate on the pains of Thy Passion that we may obtain the rewards promised to the meek and to them that mourn. Through Our Lord . . .
LESSON Canticle of Canticles 2:1-13
I am the flower of the field, and the lily of the valleys.
As the lily among thorns, so is my love among the daughters.
As the apple tree among the trees of the woods, so is my beloved among the sons. I sat down under his shadow, whom I desired: and his fruit was sweet to my palate.
He brought me into the cellar of wine, he set in order charity in me.
Stay me up with flowers, compass me about with apples: because I languish with love.
His left hand is under my head, and his right hand shall embrace me.
I adjure you, O ye daughters of Jerusalem, by the roes, and the harts of the field, that you stir not up, nor make the beloved to awake, till she please.
The voice of my beloved, behold he cometh leaping upon the mountains, skipping over the hills.
My beloved is like a roe, or a young hart. Behold he standeth behind our wall, looking through the windows, looking through the lattices.
Behold my beloved speaketh to me: Arise, make haste, my love, my dove, my beautiful one, and come.
For winter is now past, the rain is over and gone.
The flowers have appeared in our land, the time of pruning is come: the voice of the turtle is heard in our land:
The fig tree hath put forth her green figs: the vines in flower yield their sweet smell. Arise, my love, my beautiful one, and come:
ALLELUIA, ALLELUIA Ecclus. 24:18
I was exalted like a palm-tree in Cades, and as a rose-plant in Jericho. Alleluia
Ecclus. 24:20. I gave a sweet smell like cinnamon and aromatical balm. I yielded sweet odor like the best myrrh. Alleluia
GOSPEL Matt. 13:44-52
At that time, Jesus spoke to His disciples this parable: "The kingdom of heaven is like unto a treasure hidden in a field. Which a man having found, hid it, and for joy thereof goeth, and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field. Again the kingdom of heaven is like to a merchant seeking good pearls. Who when he had found one pearl of great price, went his way, and sold all that he had, and bought it. Again the kingdom of heaven is like to a net cast into the sea, and gathering together of all kinds of fishes. Which, when it was filled, they drew out, and sitting by the shore, they chose out the good into vessels, but the bad they cast forth. So shall it be at the end of the world. The angels shall go out, and shall separate the wicked from among the just. And shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Have ye understood all these things?" They say to him: "Yes." He said unto them: "Therefore every scribe instructed in the kingdom of heaven, is like to a man that is a householder, who bringeth forth out of his treasure new things and old."
OFFERTORY ANTIPHON Gen. 40:9, 10
I saw before me a vine, on which were three branches which by little and little sent out buds, and after the blossoms brought forth ripe grapes. Alleluia!
Pierce our hearts, we beseech Thee, O Lord, by the merits of St. Rita, with the thorn of that sorrow which is from heaven that, being delivered by Thy grace from all sins, we may be able to offer to Thee the sacrifice of praise with pure hearts. Through our Lord . . .
COMMUNION ANTIPHON Ps. 20:4
Thou hast prevented her, O Lord, with blessings of sweetness: Thou hast set on her head a crown of precious stones. Alleluia!
Regaled with heavenly delights, O Lord, we humbly entreat Thee that, by the intercession of St. Rita, we may bear in our souls the marks of Thy love and Thy Passion and constantly enjoy the fruit of perpetual peace. Through our Lord . . .