Universalis
Thursday 18 December 2014    (other days)
18 December

Office of Readings

If you have already recited the Invitatory Psalm today, you should use the alternative opening.


Lord, open our lips.
  And we shall praise your name.
Invitatory PsalmPsalm 94 (95)
The Lord is at hand: come, let us adore him.
(repeat antiphon*)
Come, let us rejoice in the Lord,
  let us acclaim God our salvation.
Let us come before him proclaiming our thanks,
  let us acclaim him with songs.
(repeat antiphon*)
For the Lord is a great God,
  a king above all gods.
For he holds the depths of the earth in his hands,
  and the peaks of the mountains are his.
For the sea is his: he made it;
  and his hands formed the dry land.
(repeat antiphon*)
Come, let us worship and bow down,
  bend the knee before the Lord who made us;
for he himself is our God and we are his flock,
  the sheep that follow his hand.
(repeat antiphon*)
If only, today, you would listen to his voice:
  “Do not harden your hearts
  as you did at Meribah,
on the day of Massah in the desert,
  when your fathers tested me –
they put me to the test,
  although they had seen my works.”
(repeat antiphon*)
“For forty years they wearied me,
  that generation.
I said: their hearts are wandering,
  they do not know my paths.
I swore in my anger:
  they will never enter my place of rest.”
(repeat antiphon*)
Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit,
  as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be,
  world without end.
Amen.
The Lord is at hand: come, let us adore him.*

* If you are reciting this on your own, you can choose to say the antiphon once only at the start of the psalm and not repeat it.


Hymn
The Advent of our God
  With eager prayers we greet
And singing haste up on the road
  His glorious gift to meet.
The everlasting Son
  Scorns not a Virgin’s womb;
That we from bondage may be won
  He bears a bondsman’s doom.
Daughter of Zion, rise
  To meet thy lowly King;
Let not thy stubborn heart despise
  The peace he deigns to bring.
In clouds of awful light,
  As Judge he comes again,
His scattered people to unite,
  With them in heaven to reign.
Let evil flee away
  Ere that dread hour shall dawn.
Let this old Adam day by day
  God’s image still put on.
Praise to the Incarnate Son,
  Who comes to set us free,
With God the Father, ever One,
  To all eternity.

Psalm 88 (89)
A lament at the ruin of the house of David
Pay heed, Lord, and see how we are taunted.
But you have spurned and rejected him;
  you are enraged against your anointed.
You have repudiated the covenant of your servant,
  you have trampled his crown in the dust.
You have demolished his walls
  and laid his fortifications in ruins.
Anyone who passes can despoil him;
  he is a mockery among his neighbours.
You have strengthened the arm of those who oppress him,
  you have gladdened the hearts of his enemies.
You have turned back the sharp edge of his sword;
  you have deprived him of your help in battle.
You have put an end to his splendour,
  and cast his throne to the ground.
You have cut short the days of his youth;
  you have covered him from head to foot in shame.
Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit,
  as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be,
  world without end.
Amen.
Pay heed, Lord, and see how we are taunted.

Psalm 88 (89)
I am the root and stock of David; I am the splendid morning star.
How long, O Lord, will you hide yourself? For ever?
  Will your anger always burn like fire?
Remember how short is my time.
  Was it truly so pointless, your creation of man?
Who is the man who can live and not die,
  who can save his life from the grasp of the underworld?
Where are the kindnesses you showed us of old?
  Where is the truth of your oath to David?
Remember, Lord, how your servants are taunted,
  the taunts I bear in my bosom, the taunts of the nations –
  the insults of your enemies, Lord,
  the insults that follow the steps of your anointed!
Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit,
  as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be,
  world without end.
Amen.
I am the root and stock of David; I am the splendid morning star.

Psalm 89 (90)
Let the Lord's glory shine upon us
Our years pass like grass; but you, God, are without beginning or end.
Lord, you have been our refuge
  from generation to generation.
Before the mountains were born,
  before earth and heaven were conceived,
  from all time to all time, you are God.
You turn men into dust,
  you say to them “go back, children of men.”
A thousand years in your sight
  are like yesterday, that has passed;
  like a short watch in the night.
When you take them away, they will be nothing but a dream;
  like the grass that sprouts in the morning:
in the morning it grows and flowers,
  in the evening it withers and dries.
For we are made weak by your anger,
  thrown into confusion by your wrath.
You have gazed upon our transgressions;
  the light of your face illuminates our secrets.
All our days vanish in your anger,
  we use up our years in a single breath.
Seventy years are what we have,
  or eighty for the stronger ones;
and most of that is labour and sadness –
  quickly they pass, and we are gone.
Who can comprehend the power of your wrath?
  Who can behold the violence of your anger?
Teach us to reckon our days like this,
  so that our hearts may be led at last to wisdom.
Turn to us, Lord, how long must we wait?
  Let your servants call on you and be answered.
Fill us with your kindness in the morning,
  and we shall rejoice and be glad all the days of our life.
Give us joy for as long as you afflicted us,
  for all the years when we suffered.
Let your servants see your great works,
  and let their children see your glory.
Let the glory of the Lord God be upon us:
  make firm the work of your hands.
  Make firm the work of your hands.
Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit,
  as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be,
  world without end.
Amen.
Our years pass like grass; but you, God, are without beginning or end.

Bow your heads no longer, but look:
your redemption is close at hand.

First ReadingIsaiah 46:1-13 ©
Bel is crouching. Nebo cringing.
Their idols are being loaded on animals, on beasts of burden,
carried off like bundles on weary beasts.
They are cringing and crouching together,
powerless to save the ones who carry them,
as they themselves go off into captivity.
‘Listen to me, House of Jacob,
all you who remain of the House of Israel,
you who have been carried since birth,
whom I have carried since the time you were born.
‘In your old age I shall be still the same,
when your hair is grey I shall still support you.
I have already done so, I have carried you,
I shall still support and deliver you.’
To whom can you compare me, equate me,
to whom claim I am similar, or comparable?
These prodigals weigh out gold from their purses
and silver on the scales.
They engage a goldsmith to make a god
then worship and prostrate themselves before it.
They lift it on their shoulders and carry it,
and put it where it is meant to stand.
It never moves from the spot.
You may invoke it, it never replies,
It never saves anyone in trouble.
Remember this and be dismayed,
stir your memories again, you sinners,
remember things long past.
I am God unrivalled
God who has no like.
From the beginning I foretold the future,
and predicted beforehand what is to be.
I say: My purpose shall last;
I will do whatever I choose.
I call a bird of prey from the east,
my man of destiny from a far country.
No sooner is it said than done,
no sooner planned than performed.
Listen to me, faint hearts,
who feel far from victory.
I bring my victory near, already it is close,
my salvation will not be late.
I will give salvation to Zion,
my glory shall be for Israel.
Responsory
Listen to me, faint hearts, who feel far from victory. I will give salvation to Zion, Israel shall have sight of my glory.
I will bring my victory near, already it is close, my salvation will not be late. I will give salvation to Zion, Israel shall have sight of my glory.

Second Reading
A letter to Diognetus
God showed his love through his Son
No man has ever seen God or known him, but God has revealed himself to us through faith, by which alone it is possible to see him. God, the Lord and maker of all things, who created the world and set it in order, not only loved man but was also patient with him. So he has always been, and is, and will be: kind, good, free from anger, truthful; indeed, he and he alone is good.
  He devised a plan, a great and wonderful plan, and shared it only with his Son. As long as he preserved this secrecy and kept his own wise counsel he seemed to be neglecting us, to have no concern for us. But when through his beloved Son he revealed and made public what he had prepared from the very beginning, he gave us all at once gifts such as we could never have dreamt of, even sight and knowledge of himself.
  When God had made all his plans in consultation with his Son, he waited until a later time, allowing us to follow our own whim, to be swept along by unruly passions, to be led astray by pleasure and desire. Not that he was pleased by our sins: he only tolerated them. Not that he approved of that time of sin: he was planning this era of holiness. When we had been shown to be undeserving of life, his goodness was to make us worthy of it. When we had made it clear that we could not enter God’s kingdom by our own power, we were to be enabled to do so by the power of God.
  When our wickedness had reached its culmination, it became clear that retribution was at hand in the shape of suffering and death. The time came then for God to make known his kindness and power (how immeasurable is God’s generosity and love!). He did not show hatred for us or reject us or take vengeance; instead, he was patient with us, bore with us, and in compassion took our sins upon himself; he gave his own Son as the price of our redemption, the holy one to redeem the wicked, the sinless one to redeem sinners, the just one to redeem the unjust, the incorruptible one to redeem the corruptible, the immortal one to redeem mortals. For what else could have covered our sins but his sinlessness? Where else could we, wicked and sinful as we were, have found the means of holiness except in the Son of God alone?
  How wonderful a transformation, how mysterious a design, how inconceivable a blessing! The wickedness of the many is covered up in the holy One, and the holiness of One sanctifies many sinners.
Responsory
There is salvation in no-one else, for there is no other name under heaven granted to men by which we may receive salvation.
His name will be called Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace, for there is no other name under heaven granted to men by which we may receive salvation.

Let us pray.
By the long-awaited coming of your new-born Son
  deliver us, Lord,
  from the age-old bondage of sin.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
  who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
  one God, for ever and ever.
Amen.

Let us praise the Lord.
– Thanks be to God.

The psalms and canticles here are our own translation. The Grail translation of the psalms, which is used liturgically in most of the English-speaking world, cannot be displayed on the Web for copyright reasons. The Universalis downloads do contain the Grail translation of the psalms.

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