Universalis
Thursday 23 September 2021    (other days)
Saint Pius of Pietrelcina (Padre Pio) 
 on Thursday of week 25 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
Eternal Father, through your Word
You gave new life to Adam’s race,
And call us now to live in light,
New creatures by your saving grace.
To you who stooped to all who sin
We render homage and give praise:
To Father, Son and Spirit blest
Whose loving gift is endless days.
Stanbrook Abbey Hymnal

Psalm 17 (18)
Thanksgiving

The word of the Lord is a shield for all who make him their refuge.
The Lord’s ways are pure;
  the words of the Lord are refined in the furnace;
  the Lord protects all who hope in him.
For what God is there, but our Lord?
  What help, but in the Lord our God?
God, who has wrapped me in his strength
  and set me on the perfect path,
who has made my feet like those of the deer,
  who has set me firm upon the heights,
who trains my hands for battle,
  teaches my arms to bend a bow of bronze.
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 word of the Lord is a shield for all who make him their refuge.

Psalm 17 (18)

Lord, your right hand upheld me.
You have given me the shield of your salvation;
  your right hand holds me up;
  by answering me, you give me greatness.
You have stretched the length of my stride,
  my feet do not weaken.
I pursue my enemies and surround them;
  I do not turn back until they are no more.
I smash them to pieces, they cannot stand,
  they fall beneath my feet.
You have wrapped me round with strength for war,
  and made my attackers fall under me.
You turned my enemies’ backs on me,
  you destroyed those who hated me.
They cried out, but there was no-one to save them;
  they cried to the Lord, but he did not hear.
I have ground them up until they are dust in the wind,
  trodden them down like the mud of the street.
You have delivered me from the murmurings of the people
  and placed me at the head of the nations.
A people I do not even know serves me –
  at a mere rumour of my orders, they obey.
The children of strangers beg for my favour;
  they hide away and tremble where they hide.
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.
Lord, your right hand upheld me.

Psalm 17 (18)

Long life to the Lord! Praised be the God who saves me.
The Lord lives, my blessed Helper.
  Let the God of my salvation be exalted.
God, you give me my revenge,
  you subject peoples to my rule,
  you free me from my enraged enemies.
You raise me up from those who attack me,
  you snatch me from the grasp of the violent.
And so I will proclaim you among the nations, Lord,
  and sing to your name.
Time and again you save your king,
  you show your loving kindness to your anointed,
  to David and his descendants 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.
Long life to the Lord! Praised be the God who saves me.

℣. You will hear the word from my mouth.
℟. You will speak to them in my name.

First Reading
Ezekiel 37:15-28 ©

The union of Israel and Judah prefigured

The word of the Lord was addressed to me as follows, ‘Son of man, take a stick and write on it, “Judah and those Israelites loyal to him.” Take another stick and write on it, “Joseph, the wood of Ephraim, and all the House of Israel loyal to him.”
  ‘Join one to the other to make a single piece of wood, a single stick in your hand. And when the members of your nation say, “Tell us what you mean,” say, “The Lord says this: I am taking the stick of Joseph, now in the hand of Ephraim, and those tribes of Israel loyal to him, and I am going to put the stick of Judah with them. I shall make one stick out of the two, and I shall hold them as one.”
  ‘Keep the pieces of wood you have written on in your hand where they can see, and say, “The Lord says this: I am going to take the sons of Israel from the nations where they have gone. I shall gather them together from everywhere and bring them home to their own soil. I shall make them into one nation in my own land and on the mountains of Israel, and one king is to be king of them all; they will no longer form two nations, nor be two separate kingdoms. They will no longer defile themselves with their idols and their filthy practices and all their sins. I shall rescue them from all the betrayals they have been guilty of; I shall cleanse them; they shall be my people and I will be their God. My servant David will reign over them, one shepherd for all; they will follow my observances, respect my laws and practise them. They will live in the land that I gave my servant Jacob, the land in which your ancestors lived. They will live in it, they, their children, their children’s children, for ever. David my servant is to be their prince for ever. I shall make a covenant of peace with them, an eternal covenant with them. I shall resettle them and increase them; I shall settle my sanctuary among them for ever. I shall make my home above them; I will be their God, they shall be my people. And the nations will learn that I am the Lord, the sanctifier of Israel, when my sanctuary is with them for ever.”’
Responsory
Ezk 37:21-22; Jn 10:16,11
℟. I am going to take the sons of Israel and gather them together from far and wide, and I shall make them into one nation.* Then shall there be one flock and one shepherd.
℣. The good shepherd lays down his life for his sheep.* Then shall there be one flock and one shepherd.

Second Reading
From the letters of St Pius of Pietrelcina

Stones of the eternal dwelling

With unceasing blows of healing chisel and careful stripping away, the divine Artificer seeks to prepare stones to build an eternal dwelling – as our mother, the holy Catholic Church, full of tenderness, sings in the hymn of the office for the dedication of a church. And that is true.
  Every soul destined for eternal glory can be considered most aptly as a stone for building an eternal edifice. The builder who seeks to put up a dwelling in the best way should first polish the stones that will be used in the construction. He does this with blows of hammer and chisel. In the same way, our heavenly Father works on chosen souls who, from all eternity, by his supreme wisdom and providence, have been destined for building up the eternal dwelling.
  The soul, if it wants to reign with Christ in eternal glory, must be polished with hammer and chisel strokes, which the divine Artificer uses to prepare the stones, that is, the chosen souls. What are these hammer and chisel strokes? Darkness, my sister, fears, temptations, sadness of spirit and spiritual fears, which reek like a sickness, and bodily discomfort.
  Give thanks to the infinite piety of the eternal Father who, in this way, leads your soul to salvation. Why not glory in these benevolent conditions from the best of all fathers? Open your heart to the celestial doctor of souls and, full of confidence, surrender yourselves into his most holy arms: as a chosen one, he leads you to follow Jesus closely on Mount Calvary. With joy and emotion in my soul I ponder how grace is working in you.
  Do not forget that the Lord has arranged everything your souls experience. Do not fear causing God harm or injury. It’s enough that you know that in your whole life you have never offended the Lord who, on the contrary, has been honoured more and more.
  If this benevolent Spouse of your soul hides from you, he does so not, as you think, because he wants to take revenge on your wickedness, but because it tests your fidelity and constancy even more, and, besides, heals you of some diseases not considered as such by carnal eyes, that is to say, those diseases and faults to which not even the just person is immune. Indeed, Scripture says in the book of Proverbs: “Seven times a righteous man falls”.
  Believe me, if I did not see you so afflicted, I would not be as happy, because I would think that the Lord wanted to give you fewer gems. Get rid of, as temptations, the doubts that assail you. Also expel the doubts with regards to the purpose of your life: to do that is not to listen to the divine summons, and to resist the sweet invitations of the Bridegroom. All these things do not come from a good spirit but from a bad one. These are diabolical ploys that try to separate you from perfection or, at least, hinder the journey towards it. Do not lose heart!
  Whenever Jesus shows himself, give him thanks. If he hides, give him thanks: all are touches of his love. I wish you to give up your spirit with Jesus on the cross, when he says: “It is accomplished”.
ResponsoryEph 2, 21-22
℟. In Christ Jesus the whole building is bonded together and grows* into a holy temple in the Lord.
℣. In him, you are also being built into a house where God lives, in the Spirit,* into a holy temple in the Lord.

Let us pray.
Almighty and eternal God,
  who, by a singular grace, allowed the priest Saint Pio to participate in the cross of your Son,
  and by means of his ministry renewed the wonders of your mercy,
grant, through his intercession,
  that, constantly united to the passion of Christ,
  we may happily arrive at the glory of the resurrection.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God, for ever and ever.
Amen.

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

The psalms and canticles here are our own translation from the Latin. 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.

You can also view this page in Latin and English.

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