Universalis
Monday 22 December 2014    (other days)
22 December

Office of Readings

If this is the first Hour that you are reciting today, you should precede it with the Invitatory Psalm.


INTRODUCTION
O God, come to our aid.
  O Lord, make haste to help us.
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. Alleluia.

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 72 (73)
Why should the just suffer?
How good God is to Israel, to those who are pure of heart.
How good God is to the upright,
  to those who are pure of heart!
But as for me, my feet nearly stumbled,
  my steps were on the point of going astray,
as I envied the boasters and sinners,
  envied their comfort and peace.
For them there are no burdens,
  their bellies are full and sleek.
They do not labour, like ordinary men;
  they do not suffer, like mortals.
They wear their pride like a necklace,
  their violence covers them like a robe.
Wickedness oozes from their very being,
  the thoughts of their hearts break forth:
they deride, they utter abominations,
  and from their heights they proclaim injustice.
They have set their mouth in the heavens,
  and their tongue traverses the earth.
Thus they sit in their lofty positions,
  and the flood-waters cannot reach them.
They ask, “How can God know?
  Does the Most High have any understanding?”
Behold, then, the wicked, always prosperous:
  their riches growing for ever.
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.
How good God is to Israel, to those who are pure of heart.

Psalm 72 (73)
Their rejoicing will be turned to weeping, their joy to sorrow.
I said, “It was pointless to purify my heart,
  to wash my hands in innocence –
for still I suffered all through the day,
  still I was punished every morning.”
If I had said, “I will speak like them,”
  I would have betrayed the race of your children.
I pondered and tried to understand:
  my eyes laboured to see –
until I entered God’s holy place
  and heard how they would end.
For indeed you have put them on a slippery surface
  and have thrown them down in ruin.
How they are laid waste!
  How suddenly they fall and perish in terror!
You spurn the sight of them, Lord,
  as a dream is abandoned when the sleeper awakes.
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.
Their rejoicing will be turned to weeping, their joy to sorrow.

Psalm 72 (73)
All those who abandon you shall perish; but to be near God is my happiness.
My heart was sore, my being was troubled –
  I was a fool, I knew nothing;
  I was like a dumb beast before you.
But still I stay with you:
  you hold my right hand.
You lead me according to your counsel,
  until you raise me up in glory.
For who else is for me, in heaven?
  On earth, I want nothing when I am with you.
My flesh and heart are failing,
  but it is God that I love:
  God is my portion for ever.
Behold, those who abandon you will perish:
  you have condemned all who go whoring away from you.
But for myself, I take joy in clinging to God,
  in putting my trust in the Lord, my God,
to proclaim your works at the gates of the daughters of Zion.
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.
All those who abandon you shall perish; but to be near God is my happiness.

Listen, nations, to the word of the Lord.
Take the news to the ends of the earth.

First Reading
Isaiah 49:14-50:1 ©
For Zion was saying, ‘The Lord has abandoned me,
the Lord has forgotten me.’
Does a woman forget her baby at the breast,
or fail to cherish the son of her womb?
Yet even if these forget,
I will never forget you.
See, I have branded you on the palms of my hands,
Your ramparts are always under my eye.
Your rebuilders make haste,
and your destroyers and despoilers depart.
Look round about you, look,
all are assembling, coming to you.
By my life – it is the Lord who speaks –
you will wear these as your jewels,
they will adorn you as brides are adorned;
for your desolate places and your ruins
and your devastated country
will now be too small for all your inhabitants,
now that your devourers are far away.
Once more they will speak in your hearing,
those sons you thought were lost,
‘This place is too small for me,
give me more space to live in.’
You will then say in your heart,
‘Who has borne me these?
I was childless and barren,
who has brought these up?
I was left all alone,
and now, where do these come from?’
Thus speaks the Lord:
I beckon to the nations
and hoist my signal for the peoples.
They will bring back your sons in the cloak,
they will take your daughters on their shoulders.
Kings will be your foster-fathers,
their queens your nursing mothers.
They will fall prostrate before you, faces to the ground,
and lick the dust at your feet.
You shall then know that I am the Lord;
and that those who hope in me will not be put to shame.
Can spoil be snatched from heroes,
or captives escape from a soldier?
Yes, thus says the Lord:
The hero’s captive will be snatched away,
the soldier’s spoil escape.
I myself will fight with those who fight you,
and I myself will save your children.
I will make your oppressors eat their own flesh,
they shall get as drunk on their own blood as on new wine.
Then all mankind shall know
that I, the Lord, am your saviour
and that your redeemer is the Mighty One of Jacob.
Thus says the Lord:
Where is your mother’s writ of divorce
by which I dismissed her?
Or to which of my creditors
have I sold you?
You were sold for your own crimes,
for your own faults your mother was dismissed.
Responsory
Does a woman forget her baby at the breast, or fail to cherish the son of her womb? Yet even if a mother forget, I will never forget you, says the Lord.
Father and mother have forsaken me, but you, Lord, care for me still. Yet even if a mother forget, I will never forget you, says the Lord.

Second Reading
A commentary on Luke by the Venerable Bede
The Magnificat
And Mary said: My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord, my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour.
  The Lord has exalted me by a gift so great, so unheard of, that language is useless to describe it; and the depths of love in my heart can scarcely grasp it. I offer then all the powers of my soul in praise and thanksgiving. As I contemplate his greatness, which knows no limits, I joyfully surrender my whole life, my senses, my judgement, for my spirit rejoices in the eternal Godhead of that Jesus, that Saviour, whom I have conceived in this world of time.
  The Almighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name.
  Mary looks back to the beginning of her song, where she said: My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord. Only that soul for whom the Lord in his love does great things can proclaim his greatness with fitting praise and encourage those who share her desire and purpose, saying: Join with me in proclaiming the greatness of the Lord; let us extol his name together.
  Those who know the Lord, yet refuse to proclaim his greatness and sanctify his name to the limit of their power, will be considered the least in the kingdom of heaven. His name is called holy because in the sublimity of his unique power he surpasses every creature and is far removed from all that he has made.
  He has come to the help of his servant Israel for he has remembered his promise of mercy.
  In a beautiful phrase Mary calls Israel the servant of the Lord. The Lord came to his aid to save him. Israel is an obedient and humble servant, in the words of Hosea: Israel was a servant, and I loved him.
  Those who refuse to be humble cannot be saved. They cannot say with the prophet: See, God comes to my aid; the Lord is the helper of my soul. But anyone who makes himself humble like a little child is greater in the kingdom of heaven.
  The promise he made to our fathers, to Abraham and his children for ever.
  This does not refer to the physical descendants of Abraham, but to his spiritual children. These are his descendants, sprung not from the flesh only, but who, whether circumcised or not, have followed him in faith. Circumcised as he was, Abraham believed, and this was credited to him as an act of righteousness.
  The coming of the Saviour was promised to Abraham and to his descendants for ever. These are the children of promise, to whom it is said: If you belong to Christ, then you are descendants of Abraham, heirs in accordance with the promise.
  But it is right that before the birth of the Lord or of John, their mothers should utter prophecies; for just as sin began with a woman, so too does redemption. Through the deceit of one woman, grace perished; the prophecies of two women announce its return to life.
Responsory
All generations will call me blessed, for the Almighty has done great things for me. Holy is his name.
His mercy reaches from age to age for those who fear him. Holy is his name.

Let us pray.
God and Father,
  you looked in pity on fallen man
  and redeemed us by the coming of your Son.
Grant that we who profess our firm and humble faith in the incarnation of our Redeemer
  may have some share in his divine life.
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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