Wednesday Before Laetare Sunday
Joshua, Chapter 2, Verse 24
They assured Joshua, “The LORD has given all this land into our power; indeed, all the inhabitants of the land tremble with fear because of us.”
Secularist and pagans still tremble with fear because of God. Why? People fear what they do not understand or have to compete with. Every person is born with the spirit of God within them; it is the spirit of truth which they have lost or suppressed. Christ referred to this when he told the parable of the sower. The seed is the spirit of truth (spirit of God) that the sower sows. Christ tells us, “A sower went out to sow. and as he sowed, some seed fell on the path, and birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky ground, where it had little soil. It sprang up at once because the soil was not deep, and when the sun rose it was scorched, and it withered for lack of roots. Some seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it. But some seed fell on rich soil, and produced fruit, a hundred or sixty or thirtyfold. Whoever has ears ought to hear.” (Mt. 13:3-9)
What do you think would have happened to the pagan inhabitants of Jericho if it had responded to the truth of God and had opened the gates to Israel before the fall? I would think it would have been spared like the city of Nineveh when it listened to the spirit of truth.
Jonah then left the city for a place to the east of it, where he built himself a hut and waited under it in the shade, to see what would happen to the city. And when the LORD God provided a gourd plant that grew up over Jonah’s head, giving shade that relieved him of any discomfort, Jonah was very happy over the plant. But the next morning at dawn God sent a worm that attacked the plant, so that it withered. And when the sun arose, God sent a burning east wind; and the sun beat upon Jonah’s head till he became faint. Then Jonah asked for death, saying, “I would be better off dead than alive.” But God said to Jonah, “Have you reason to be angry over the plant?” “I have reason to be angry,” Jonah answered, “angry enough to die.” Then the LORD said, “You are concerned over the plant which cost you no labor and which you did not raise; it came up in one night and in one night it perished. And should I not be concerned over Nineveh, the great city, in which there are more than a hundred and twenty thousand persons who cannot distinguish their right hand from their left, not to mention the many cattle?” (Jon 4:5-11)
Let us remember that we are sowers of the Lord’s truth and not be angered but take on the spirit of Christ at the crucifixion when he said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” (Lk: 23:34)
Wednesday before Laetare Sunday
Prayer. GRANT us, we beseech Thee, O Lord, that, instructed by wholesome fasting, and abstaining from dangerous vices, we may more easily obtain Thy favor.
EPISTLE. Exodus xx. 12-24.
Thus, saith the Lord God: Honor thy father and thy mother, that thou mayest be long-lived upon the land which the Lord thy God will give thee. Thou shalt not kill. Thou shalt not commit adultery. Thou shalt not steal. Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s house: neither shalt thou desire his wife, nor his servant, nor his handmaid, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor anything that is his. And all the people saw the voices and the flames, and the sound of the trumpet, and the mount smoking: and being terrified and struck with fear, they stood afar off, saying to Moses: Speak thou to us, and we will hear: let not the Lord speak to us, lest we die. And Moses said to the people: Fear not: for God has come to prove you, and that the dread of Him might be in you, and you should not sin. And the people stood afar off. But Moses went to the dark cloud wherein God was. And the Lord said to Moses: Thus, shalt thou say to the children of Israel: You have seen that I have spoken to you from heaven. You shall not make gods of silver, nor shall you make to yourselves gods of gold. You shall make an altar of earth unto Me, and you shall offer upon it your holocausts and peace-offerings, your sheep and oxen, in every place where the memory of My name shall be.
GOSPEL. Matt. xv. 1-20.
At that time there came to Jesus from Jerusalem scribes and Pharisees, saying: Why do Thy disciples transgress the traditions of the ancients? For they wash not their hands when they eat bread. But He answering, said to them: Why do you also transgress the commandment of God for your tradition? For God said: Honor thy father and mother; and: He that shall curse father or mother, let him die the death. But you say: Whosoever shall say to father or mother, the gift whatso ever proceedeth from me, shall profit thee; and he shall not honor his father or his mother: and you have made void the commandment of God for jour tradition. Hypocrites, well hath Isaias prophesied of you, saying: This people honoreth Me with their lips: but their heart is far from Me. And in vain do they worship Me, teaching doctrines and commandments of men. And having called together the multitudes unto Him, He said to them: Hear ye and understand. Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man: but what cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man. Then came His disciples, and said to Him: Dost Thou know that the Pharisees, when they heard this word, were scandalized?
But He answering, said: Every plant which My heavenly Father hath not planted shall be rooted up. Let them alone: they are blind, and leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both fall into the pit. And Peter answering, said to Him: Expound to us this parable. But He said: Are you also yet without understanding? Do you not understand, that whatsoever entereth into the mouth goeth into the belly, and is cast out into the privy? But the things which proceed out of the mouth, come forth from the heart, and those things defile a man. For from the heart come forth evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false testimonies, blasphemies. These are the things that defile a man. But to eat with unwashed hands doth not defile a man.
Mid-Lent, the week from the Wednesday before to the Wednesday after Laetare Sunday, is a note of joy within the context of sorrow. The perfect symbol of this complex emotion is the rose vestments worn on Laetare Sunday instead of penitential purple or exultant white. Rose stands somewhere in between, as a sort of joyous variation of purple. The last day of Mid-Lent is when catechumens would learn the Apostles' Creed for the first time; the days leading up to that great revelation were thus for them a cause for gladness. This spirit eventually permeated to the rest of the community as "a measure of consoling relaxation... so that the faithful might not break down under the severe strains of the Lenten fast but may continue to bear the restrictions with a refreshed and easier heart" (Pope Innocent III (d. 1216)).
Mid-Lent customs predominantly involve pre-Christian celebrations concerning the "burial" of winter, where flower decorations and the like betoken the joyous end of the cold and dark. There are also customs involving either matchmaking or announcing the engagements of young couples. In either case, a joyous meal is celebrated during this time.
In England Laetare Sunday came to be known as "Mothering" Sunday because it was the day that apprentices and students were released from their duties to visit their mother church, i.e., the church in which they had been baptized and brought up. This custom tied into the theme of Mother Jerusalem.
The Way Scruples
"Read these counsels slowly. Pause to meditate on these thoughts. They are things that I whisper in your ear-confiding them-as a friend, as a brother, as a father. And they are being heard by God. I won't tell you anything new. I will only stir your memory, so that some thought will arise and strike you; and so you will better your life and set out along ways of prayer and of Love. And in the end you will be a more worthy soul."
Stop thinking of your fall. That thought, besides overwhelming and crushing you under its weight, may easily be an occasion of further temptations. Christ has forgiven you: forget the 'old self'.
 Goffine’s Devout Instructions, 1896