Saint Pius of Pietrelcina

“Then, at the time of the evening sacrifice, I rose in my wretchedness, and with cloak and mantle torn I fell on my knees, stretching out my hands to the LORD, my God.” (Ezra 9:5.)

Saint Bede the Venerable comments on this verse from today’s First Reading:

“Ezra had prepared himself through compunction of heart and through bodily affliction so that he might be made worthy to hear heavenly mercy, and only then did he begin to break forth in words of prayer. He bends his knees, spreads out his hands and pours forth prayers to the Lord at the time of the evening sacrifice, not doubting that this sacrifice that is offered with a humble spirit and contrite heart would be more pleasing to God than one offered with the flesh or blood of cattle. Typologically, however, in the fact that with his garment torn he falls on his knees, spreads out his hands to God and turns the mind of very many to repentance by pouring out prayers and tears, as is written in what follows, he represents the Lord Savior, who deigned to pray for our sins both before and at the very time of his passion and who allowed his hands to be stretched out on the cross and the garment of his own flesh to be torn with wounds and mortified at the appointed time on behalf of our restoration, so that, as the apostle says, he who “died on behalf of our sins” might rise “for our justification.” This was aptly done at the time of evening sacrifice either because the Lord at the end of the age offered the sacrifice of his own flesh and blood to the Father and ordered that it should be offered by us in bread and wine or because with legal sacrifice coming to an end, he freed us through his own passion and, separating us from the people of the lands, made us become heavenly and allowed those who are chaste in heart and body to adhere to him.” (On Ezra and Nehemiah, 2.)

Almighty ever-living God,
Who, by a singular grace,
gave the Priest Saint Pius
a share in the Cross of Your Son
and, by means of his ministry,
renewed the wonders of Your mercy,
grant that through his intercession
we may be united constantly
to the sufferings of Christ,
and so brought happily
to the glory of the resurrection.
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