Rorate Caeli

First Sunday in Lent - Patriarchal Basilica of the Most Holy Savior and of Saints John the Baptist and John the Evangelist in the Lateran

It is most fitting that the Station for the first Sunday in the most solemn season of the year is at the Mater et Caput omnium Ecclesiarum, the Cathedral of the Holy Roman Church, the Basilica of the Most Holy Savior in the Lateran, better known by the secondary patronage under Saints John the Baptist and John the Evangelist. In the primitive days of the Roman Church, before four ferias were added by Saint Gregory the Great (or some other Pontiff in the following decades) to complete 40 days of fasting, the Station at the Lateran, the old palatial basilica on the ancient estate of the Lateran family handed to Saint Sylvester, signaled the beginning of Lent (from the Secret of the Mass: "sacrificium quadragesimalis initii", of the beginning of the Lenten sacrifice).

"Behold, this is the acceptable time! Behold, this is the day of salvation!": these are the words of the Apostle in today's Epistle, pronounced from the Mother church of the City and of the World, words repeated by Saint Leo the Great in his sermon (Matins), pronounced so many centuries ago in this very Church. The glory of this Church does not come from this world, though, but from the mission of the Son of God, who refused the passing glories of this earth, as mentioned in this Sunday's Gospel (St. Matthew, iv, 1-11), on the Temptation of Christ (and the forty-day-long fast of the Divine Master):

...the devil took Him up into a very high mountain and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and the glory of them, and said to Him: All these will I give Thee, if falling down Thou wilt adore me. Then Jesus saith to him: Begone Satan! for it is written: The Lord thy God shalt thou adore, and Him only shalt thou serve.
The infallibility and indefectability of the Church do not come from the glory of the stones in the Lateran, but from the power of God Incarnate --who refused compromises with the world--, power which handed down to Simon Peter and his successors.

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