Universalis
Wednesday 3 September 2014    (other days)
Saint Gregory the Great, Pope, Doctor
Feast

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
O God, creation’s secret force,
yourself unmoved, all motion’s source,
who from the morn till evening ray
through all its changes guide the day:
Grant us, when this short life is past,
the glorious evening that shall last;
that, by a holy death attained,
eternal glory may be gained.
To God the Father, God the Son,
and God the Spirit, Three in One,
may every tongue and nation raise
an endless song of thankful praise!
St Ambrose of Milan

Psalm 20 (21)
Thanksgiving for victory
If anyone wishes to be first, he must make himself the last of all and servant of all.
Lord, the king will rejoice in your strength,
  he will triumph in your saving power.
You have granted him his heart’s desire,
  you have not denied the wish that he spoke.
For you showered him with blessings
  even before he asked for them.
  You have placed a crown of purest gold upon his head.
He asked you for life,
  and you granted it to him,
  length of days for ever and for ever.
Great is his glory through your help:
  you cover him with splendour and majesty.
You lay a blessing upon him that will last for ever,
  you make him rejoice in joy before you.
For the king hopes in the Lord,
  and through the kindness of the Most High he will not be shaken.
Stand high above us, Lord, in your power;
  and we will sing and celebrate your might.
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.
If anyone wishes to be first, he must make himself the last of all and servant of all.

Psalm 91 (92)
Praise of God, the Creator
When the chief shepherd appears, you will be given the crown of unfading glory.
It is good to praise the Lord,
  and to sing psalms to your name, O Most High,
to proclaim your mercy in the morning
  and your faithfulness by night;
on the ten-stringed lyre and the harp,
  with songs upon the lyre.
For you give me joy, Lord, in your creation:
  I rejoice in the work of your hands.
How great are your works, O Lord,
  how immeasurably deep your thoughts.
The fool does not hear,
  the slow-witted do not understand.
When the wicked sprout up like grass,
  and the doers of evil are in full bloom,
it will come to nothing, for they will perish for ever and ever;
  but you, Lord, are the Highest eternally.
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.
When the chief shepherd appears, you will be given the crown of unfading glory.

Psalm 91 (92)
Well done, good and faithful servant: come and join in your Master’s joy.
For behold, Lord, your enemies,
  how your enemies will perish,
  how wrongdoers will be scattered.
You will give me strength as the wild oxen have;
  I have been anointed with the purest oil.
I will look down upon my enemies,
  and hear the plans of those who plot evil against me.
The just will flourish like the palm tree,
  grow tall like the cedar of Lebanon.
They will be planted in the house of the Lord;
  in the courts of our God they will flourish.
They will bear fruit even when old,
  fresh and luxuriant through all their days.
They will proclaim how just is the Lord, my refuge,
  for in him there is no unrighteousness.
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.
Well done, good and faithful servant: come and join in your Master’s joy.

You will hear a word from me:
you will tell it to the people from me.

First Reading
Ecclesiasticus 39:1-14 ©
It is otherwise with the man who devotes his soul
  to reflecting on the Law of the Most High.
He researches into the wisdom of all the Ancients,
  he occupies his time with the prophecies.
He preserves the discourses of famous men,
  he is at home with the niceties of parables.
He researches into the hidden sense of proverbs,
  he ponders the obscurities of parables.
He enters the service of princes,
  he is seen in the presence of rulers.
He travels in foreign countries,
  he has experienced human good and human evil.
At dawn and with all his heart
  he resorts to the Lord who made him;
he pleads in the presence of the Most High,
  he opens his mouth in prayer
  and makes entreaty for his sins.
If it is the will of the great Lord,
  he will be filled with the spirit of understanding,
he will shower forth words of wisdom,
  and in prayer give thanks to the Lord.
He will grow upright in purpose and learning,
  he will ponder the Lord’s hidden mysteries.
He will display the instruction he has received,
  taking his pride in the Law of the Lord’s covenant.
Many will praise his understanding,
  and it will never be forgotten.
His memory will not disappear,
  generation after generation his name will live.
Nations will proclaim his wisdom,
  the assembly will celebrate his praises.
Responsory
The Lord found words for him when he spoke in the Church, and filled him with wisdom and understanding.
The Lord has crowned him with joy and exultation, and filled him with wisdom and understanding.

Second Reading
A sermon of St Gregory the Great
For the love of Christ I do not spare myself in preaching him
‘Son of man, I have appointed you as watchman to the house of Israel.’ Note that Ezekiel, whom the Lord sent to preach his word, is described as a watchman. Now a watchman always takes up his position on the heights so that he can see from a distance whatever approaches. Likewise whoever is appointed watchman to a people should live a life on the heights so that he can help them by taking a wide survey.
  These words are hard to utter, for when I speak it is myself that I am reproaching. I do not preach as I should nor does my life follow the principles I preach so inadequately.
  I do not deny that I am guilty, for I see my torpor and my negligence. Perhaps my very recognition of failure will win me pardon from a sympathetic judge. When I lived in a monastic community I was able to keep my tongue from idle topics and to devote my mind almost continually to the discipline of prayer. Since taking on my shoulders the burden of pastoral care, I have been unable to keep steadily recollected because my mind is distracted by many responsibilities.
  I am forced to consider questions affecting churches and monasteries and often I must judge the lives and actions of individuals; at one moment I am forced to take part in certain civil affairs, next I must worry over the incursions of barbarians and fear the wolves who menace the flock entrusted to my care; now I must accept political responsibility in order to give support to those who preserve the rule of law; now I must bear patiently the villainies of brigands, and then I must confront them, yet in all charity.
  My mind is sundered and torn to pieces by the many and serious things I have to think about. When I try to concentrate and gather all my intellectual resources for preaching, how can I do justice to the sacred ministry of the word? I am often compelled by the nature of my position to associate with men of the world and sometimes I relax the discipline of my speech. If I preserved the rigorously inflexible mode of utterance that my conscience dictates, I know that the weaker sort of men would recoil from me and that I could never attract them to the goal I desire for them. So I must frequently listen patiently to their aimless chatter. Because I am weak myself I am drawn gradually into idle talk and I find myself saying the kind of thing that I didn’t even care to listen to before. I enjoy lying back where I once was loath to stumble.
  Who am I — what kind of watchman am I? I do not stand on the pinnacle of achievement, I languish rather in the depths of my weakness. And yet the creator and redeemer of mankind can give me, unworthy though I be, the grace to see life whole and power to speak effectively of it. It is for love of him that I do not spare myself in preaching him.
Responsory
Gregory’s teaching on morals and on the mystical life sprang from the source of holy scripture; through him the living water of the gospel flowed out to all nations, and he who now is dead still speaks to us.
As an eagle’s glance encompasses the earth beneath it, Gregory’s boundless charity encompasses all men, both great and small, and he who now is dead still speaks to us.

CanticleTe Deum
God, we praise you; Lord, we proclaim you!
You, the Father, the eternal –
all the earth venerates you.
All the angels, all the heavens, every power –
The cherubim, the seraphim –
unceasingly, they cry:
“Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God of Hosts:
heaven and earth are full of the majesty of your glory!”
The glorious choir of Apostles –
The noble ranks of prophets –
The shining army of martyrs –
all praise you.
Throughout the world your holy Church proclaims you.
– Father of immeasurable majesty,
– True Son, only-begotten, worthy of worship,
– Holy Spirit, our Advocate.
You, Christ:
– You are the king of glory.
– You are the Father’s eternal Son.
– You, to free mankind, did not disdain a Virgin’s womb.
– You defeated the sharp spear of Death, and opened the kingdom of heaven to those who believe in you.
– You sit at God’s right hand, in the glory of the Father.
– You will come, so we believe, as our Judge.
And so we ask of you: give help to your servants, whom you set free at the price of your precious blood.
Number them among your chosen ones in eternal glory.
The final part of the hymn may be omitted:
Bring your people to safety, Lord, and bless those who are your inheritance.
Rule them and lift them high for ever.
Day by day we bless you, Lord: we praise you for ever and for ever.
Of your goodness, Lord, keep us without sin for today.
Have mercy on us, Lord, have mercy on us.
Let your pity, Lord, be upon us, as much as we trust in you.
In you, Lord, I trust: let me never be put to shame.

Let us pray.
God our Father, your rule is a rule of love,
  your providence is full of mercy for your people.
Through the intercession of Saint Gregory
  grant the spirit of wisdom to those you have placed in authority,
  so that the spiritual growth of the people may bring eternal joy to the pastors.
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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