— Saint Charles Lwanga and Companions —
Ordinary Time: Wednesday of the Ninth Week

“Then sad at heart, I groaned and wept aloud. With sobs I began to pray...” (Tobit 3:1)

Origen of Alexandria (part 2 of Pope Benedict’s reflections on Origen) comments on this verse from the First Reading proclaimed at Mass today:

“Regarding the second kind of prayer, see Daniel: “And Azarias standing up prayed in this manner and opening his mouth in the midst of the fire he said ...” And Tobias: “And I began to pray with tears, saying, You are just, O Lord, and all your works are just and all your ways mercy and truth. And your judgments are true and just forever.” And since the passage in Daniel has been obelized on the ground that it is not found in the Hebrew text, and those of the circumcision reject the book of Tobias as not being canonical, I shall quote the words of Anna from the first book of Kings: “And she prayed the Lord, shedding many tears. And she made a vow, saying, O Lord of hosts, if you will look down on the affliction of your servant,” and so on. And in Habakkuk: “A prayer of Habakkuk the prophet with song. O Lord, I have heard your voice and was afraid. O Lord, I reflected on your works and was astonished. In the midst of two animals you will be known; in the approach of the years you will be recognized.” The example just given illustrates very well the definition of prayer inasmuch as he who offers it unites it with praise of God. And again, in the book of Jonah: “Jonah prayed to the Lord his God out of the belly of the fish. And he said, I cried out of my affliction to the Lord my God, and he heard me. Out of the belly of hell you heard the screams of my voice. And you have thrown me into the deep in the heart of the sea, and a flood has surrounded me.” (On Prayer, 14)

O God,
Who have made the blood of Martyrs
the seed of Christians,
mercifully grant
that the field which is Your Church,
watered by the blood
shed by Saints Charles Lwanga and his companions,
may be fertile and
always yield You an abundant harvest.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son,
Who lives and reigns with You
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Glory to the Father
and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit:
as it was in the beginning,
is now, and will be forever. Amen