Universalis
Tuesday 21 January 2020    (other days)
Saint Agnes, Virgin, Martyr 
 on Tuesday of week 2 in Ordinary Time

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 martyrs living now with Christ
In suffering were tried,
Their anguish overcome by love
When on his cross they died.
Across the centuries they come,
In constancy unmoved,
Their loving hearts make no complaint,
In silence they are proved.
No man has ever measured love,
Or weighed it in his hand,
But God who knows the inmost heart
Gives them the promised land.
Praise Father, Son and Spirit blest,
Who guides us through the night
In ways that reach beyond the stars
To everlasting light.
Francis E. Mostyn (1860-1939)

Psalm 36 (37)
The fate of the evil and the righteous

Commit your life to the Lord, and he will act on your behalf.
Do not envy the wicked;
  do not be jealous of those that do evil.
They will dry up as quickly as hay;
  they will wither like the grass.
Put your trust in the Lord and do good,
  and your land and habitation will be secure.
Take your delight in the Lord,
  and he will give you what your heart desires.
Entrust your journey to the Lord, and hope in him:
  and he will act.
He will make your uprightness shine like the light,
  your judgement like the sun at noon.
Take your rest in the Lord, and hope in him:
  do not envy the one who thrives in his own way,
  the man who weaves plots.
Abstain from wrath, abandon anger:
  do not envy him who turns to evil,
for those who do evil will be destroyed,
  but those on the side of the Lord
  will inherit the earth.
A moment yet – and the sinner will be gone:
  you will look where he was and find nothing.
But the meek will inherit the land
  and delight in abundant peace.
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.
Commit your life to the Lord, and he will act on your behalf.

Psalm 36 (37)

Turn away from evil and do good: the Lord will support the just.
The wicked will plot against the righteous
  and gnash his teeth at him;
but the Lord will deride him in his turn,
  for the Lord has seen what awaits him.
The wicked have pulled out their swords,
  the wicked have drawn their bows,
to throw down the poor and the destitute,
  to murder whoever follows the straight path.
But their swords will enter their own hearts,
  and their bows will splinter.
For the righteous, the little they have is better
  than the abundant wealth of the wicked.
The limbs of the wicked will be broken
  while the Lord gives his strength to the just.
The Lord knows when the day of the perfect will come;
  and their inheritance will be eternal.
They will not be troubled in evil times,
  and in times of famine they will have more than enough.
For the wicked will perish:
  the enemies of the Lord will be like the flowers of the fields,
  and like smoke they will vanish away.
The wicked man borrows and does not return;
  but the righteous takes pity and gives.
The blessed ones of the Lord will inherit the earth,
  but those whom he curses will be cut off.
It is the Lord who strengthens the steps of man
  and chooses his path.
Even if he trips he will not fall flat,
  for the Lord is holding his hand.
I was young and I have grown old,
  but I have not seen the righteous man abandoned
  nor his children seeking for bread.
All day long he takes pity and lends,
  and his seed will be blessed.
Shun evil and do good,
  and you will live for ever.
For the Lord loves right judgement,
  and will not abandon his chosen ones.
The unjust will be destroyed for ever,
  and the seed of the wicked will be cut off,
but the righteous will inherit the earth
  and live there from age to age.
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.
Turn away from evil and do good: the Lord will support the just.

Psalm 36 (37)

Wait for the Lord, keep to his way.
The mouth of the righteous will speak wisdom,
  and his tongue will utter right judgement.
The law of his God is in his heart
  and his steps will not stumble.
The wicked man watches the just
  and seeks to kill him;
but the Lord will rescue the just man from his hands
  and not condemn the just in the time of judgement.
Put your hope in the Lord and follow his paths,
  and he will raise you up and make the land your inheritance,
  let you watch as the wicked are cut off.
I have seen the sinner triumph,
  flourish like a green cedar,
but he is gone, he is there no longer:
  I have looked for him but have not found him.
Preserve innocence, follow uprightness:
  for the future belongs to the man of peace.
The unrighteous will be destroyed altogether,
  their posterity will be cut off.
The salvation of the righteous is from the Lord,
  and their protection in time of trouble.
The Lord will come to their help and free them,
  rescue them from the wicked and save them,
  because they have put their trust in him.
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.
Wait for the Lord, keep to his way.

℣. Teach me goodness and discernment and knowledge.
℟. I trust in your commands.

First Reading
Deuteronomy 6:4-25 ©

The law of love

These are the words that Moses spoke beyond Jordan to the whole of Israel:
  Listen, Israel: the Lord our God is the one Lord. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength. Let these words I urge on you today be written on your heart. You shall repeat them to your children and say them over to them whether at rest in your house or walking abroad, at your lying down or at your rising; you shall fasten them on your hand as a sign and on your forehead as a circlet; you shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.
  When the Lord has brought you into the land which he swore to your fathers Abraham, Isaac and Jacob that he would give you, with great and prosperous cities not of your building, houses full of good things not furnished by you, wells you did not dig, vineyards and olives you did not plant, when you have eaten these and had your fill, then take care you do not forget the Lord who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. You must fear the Lord your God, you must serve him, by his name you must swear.
  Do not follow other gods, gods of the peoples round you, for the Lord your God who dwells among you is a jealous God; his anger could blaze out against you and wipe you from the face of the earth. Do not put the Lord your God to the test as you tested him at Massah. Keep the commandments of the Lord your God and his decrees and laws that he has laid down for you, and do what is right and good in the eyes of the Lord so that you may prosper and take possession of the rich land which the Lord swore to give to your fathers, driving out your enemies before you; this was the promise of the Lord.
  In times to come, when your son asks you, “What is the meaning of the decrees and laws and customs that the Lord our God has laid down for you?” you shall tell your son, “Once we were Pharaoh’s slaves in Egypt, and the Lord brought us out of Egypt by his mighty hand. Before our eyes the Lord worked great and terrible signs and wonders against Egypt, against Pharaoh and all his House. And he brought us out from there to lead us into the land he swore to our fathers he would give to us. And the Lord commanded us to observe all these laws and to fear the Lord our God, so as to be happy for ever and to live, as he has granted us to do until now. For us right living will mean this: to keep and observe all these commandments before the Lord our God as he has directed us.”
ResponsoryDt 6:3,5, 7:9
℟. The law of the Lord is perfect: it revives the soul. The rule of the Lord is to be trusted, it gives wisdom to the simple.* The command of the Lord is clear, it gives light to the eyes.
℣. He who loves his neighbour has satisfied every claim of the law: the whole law is summed up in love.* The command of the Lord is clear, it gives light to the eyes.

Second Reading
From a treatise On Virgins by Saint Ambrose, bishop

Too young to be punished, yet old enough for a martyr's crown

Today is the birthday of a virgin; let us imitate her purity. It is the birthday of a martyr; let us offer ourselves in sacrifice. It is the birthday of Saint Agnes, who is said to have suffered martyrdom at the age of twelve. The cruelty that did not spare her youth shows all the more clearly the power of faith in finding one so young to bear it witness.
  There was little or no room in that small body for a wound. Though she could scarcely receive the blow, she could rise superior to it. Girls of her age cannot bear even their parents’ frowns and, pricked by a needle, weep as for a serious wound. Yet she shows no fear of the blood-stained hands of her executioners. She stands undaunted by heavy, clanking chains. She offers her whole body to be put to the sword by fierce soldiers. She is too young to know of death, yet is ready to face it. Dragged against her will to the altars, she stretches out her hands to the Lord in the midst of the flames, making the triumphant sign of Christ the victor on the altars of sacrilege. She puts her neck and hands in iron chains, but no chain can hold fast her tiny limbs.
  A new kind of martyrdom! Too young to be punished, yet old enough for a martyr’s crown; unfitted for the contest, yet effortless in victory, she shows herself a master in valour despite the handicap of youth. As a bride she would not be hastening to join her husband with the same joy she shows as a virgin on her way to punishment, crowned not with flowers but with holiness of life, adorned not with braided hair but with Christ himself.
  In the midst of tears, she sheds no tears herself. The crowds marvel at her recklessness in throwing away her life untasted, as if she had already lived life to the full. All are amazed that one not yet of legal age can give her testimony to God. So she succeeds in convincing others of her testimony about God, though her testimony in human affairs could not yet be accepted. What is beyond the power of nature, they argue, must come from its creator.
  What menaces there were from the executioner, to frighten her; what promises made, to win her over; what influential people desired her in marriage! She answered: “To hope that any other will please me does wrong to my Spouse. I will be his who first chose me for himself. Executioner, why do you delay? If eyes that I do not want can desire this body, then let it perish.” She stood still, she prayed, she offered her neck.
  You could see fear in the eyes of the executioner, as if he were the one condemned; his right hand trembled, his face grew pale as he saw the girl’s peril, while she had no fear for herself. One victim, but a twin martyrdom, to modesty and to religion; Agnes preserved her virginity, and gained a martyr’s crown.
Responsory
℟. Let us keep the feast of blessed Agnes, and recall the kind of suffering she endured:* in the full flower of her youth she died, and found life.
℣. She chose to love the Author of life alone;* in the full flower of her youth she died, and found life.

Let us pray.
Almighty, ever-living God,
  you choose what is weak in the world to shame what is strong.
Grant that, as we celebrate the martyrdom of Saint Agnes,
  we may follow her example of steadfastness in faith.
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.

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 apps and programs do contain the Grail translation of the psalms.

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