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Office of Readings

INVITATORY

The Invitatory is said when this is the first ‘hour’ of the day.

Go to the Psalmody

Go to the Hymn

Lord, + open my lips.
And my mouth will proclaim your praise.

Ant. Come, let us worship Christ the Lord, who for our sake endured temptation and suffering.
Or: Today if you hear the voice of the Lord, harden not your hearts.

The antiphon is repeated. In individual recitation, the antiphon may be said only at the beginning of the psalm; it need not be repeated after each strophe.

Go to Psalm 24

Go to Psalm 67

Go to Psalm 100

Psalm 95
A call to praise God


Encourage each other daily while it is still today (Hebrews 3:13).

Come, let us sing to the Lord *
  and shout with joy to the Rock who saves us.
Let us approach him with praise and thanksgiving *
  and sing joyful songs to the Lord.

Ant. Come, let us worship Christ the Lord, who for our sake endured temptation and suffering.
Or: Today if you hear the voice of the Lord, harden not your hearts.

The Lord is God, the mighty God, *
  the great king over all the gods.
He holds in his hands the depths of the earth *
  and the highest mountains as well.
He made the sea; it belongs to him, *
  the dry land, too, for it was formed by his hands.

Ant. Come, let us worship Christ the Lord, who for our sake endured temptation and suffering.
Or: Today if you hear the voice of the Lord, harden not your hearts.

Come, then, let us bow down and worship, *
  bending the knee before the Lord, our maker.
For he is our God and we are his people, *
  the flock he shepherds.

Ant. Come, let us worship Christ the Lord, who for our sake endured temptation and suffering.
Or: Today if you hear the voice of the Lord, harden not your hearts.

When this antiphon is used, this strophe begins with the words: as your fathers.

Today, listen to the voice of the Lord:
Do not grow stubborn, as your fathers did
  in the wilderness, *
when at Meriba and Massah
  they challenged me and provoked me, *
Although they had seen all of my works.

Ant. Come, let us worship Christ the Lord, who for our sake endured temptation and suffering.
Or: Today if you hear the voice of the Lord, harden not your hearts.

Forty years I endured that generation. *
I said, “They are a people whose hearts go astray
  and they do not know my ways.”
So I swore in my anger, *
  “They shall not enter into my rest.”

Ant. Come, let us worship Christ the Lord, who for our sake endured temptation and suffering.
Or: Today if you hear the voice of the Lord, harden not your hearts.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, *
and to the Holy Spirit:
as it was in the beginning, is now, *
and will be for ever. Amen.

Ant. Come, let us worship Christ the Lord, who for our sake endured temptation and suffering.
Or: Today if you hear the voice of the Lord, harden not your hearts.

Go to the Hymn

Psalm 24
The Lord’s entry into his temple


Christ opened heaven for us in the manhood he assumed (Saint Irenaeus).

The Lord’s is the earth and its fullness, *
the world and all its peoples.
It is he who set it on the seas; *
on the waters he made it firm.

Ant. Come, let us worship Christ the Lord, who for our sake endured temptation and suffering.
Or: Today if you hear the voice of the Lord, harden not your hearts.

Who shall climb the mountain of the Lord? *
Who shall stand in his holy place?
The man with clean hands and pure heart,
who desires not worthless things, *
who has not sworn so as to deceive his neighbor.

Ant. Come, let us worship Christ the Lord, who for our sake endured temptation and suffering.
Or: Today if you hear the voice of the Lord, harden not your hearts.

He shall receive blessings from the Lord *
and reward from the God who saves him.
Such are the men who seek him, *
seek the face of the God of Jacob.

Ant. Come, let us worship Christ the Lord, who for our sake endured temptation and suffering.
Or: Today if you hear the voice of the Lord, harden not your hearts.

O gates, lift high your heads;
grow higher, ancient doors. *
Let him enter, the king of glory!

Ant. Come, let us worship Christ the Lord, who for our sake endured temptation and suffering.
Or: Today if you hear the voice of the Lord, harden not your hearts.

Who is the king of glory?
The Lord, the mighty, the valiant, *
the Lord, the valiant in war.

Ant. Come, let us worship Christ the Lord, who for our sake endured temptation and suffering.
Or: Today if you hear the voice of the Lord, harden not your hearts.

O gates, lift high your heads;
grow higher, ancient doors. *
Let him enter, the king of glory!

Ant. Come, let us worship Christ the Lord, who for our sake endured temptation and suffering.
Or: Today if you hear the voice of the Lord, harden not your hearts.

Who is he, the king of glory?
He, the Lord of armies, *
he is the king of glory.

Ant. Come, let us worship Christ the Lord, who for our sake endured temptation and suffering.
Or: Today if you hear the voice of the Lord, harden not your hearts.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, *
and to the Holy Spirit:
as it was in the beginning, is now, *
and will be for ever. Amen.

Ant. Come, let us worship Christ the Lord, who for our sake endured temptation and suffering.
Or: Today if you hear the voice of the Lord, harden not your hearts.

Go to the Hymn

Psalm 67
People of all nations will worship the Lord


You must know that God is offering his salvation to all the world (Acts 28:28).

O God, be gracious and bless us *
and let your face shed its light upon us.
So will your ways be known upon earth *
and all nations learn your saving help.

Ant. Come, let us worship Christ the Lord, who for our sake endured temptation and suffering.
Or: Today if you hear the voice of the Lord, harden not your hearts.

Let the peoples praise you, O God; *
let all the peoples praise you.

Ant. Come, let us worship Christ the Lord, who for our sake endured temptation and suffering.
Or: Today if you hear the voice of the Lord, harden not your hearts.

Let the nations be glad and exult *
for you rule the world with justice.
With fairness you rule the peoples, *
you guide the nations on earth.

Ant. Come, let us worship Christ the Lord, who for our sake endured temptation and suffering.
Or: Today if you hear the voice of the Lord, harden not your hearts.

Let the peoples praise you, O God; *
let all the peoples praise you.

Ant. Come, let us worship Christ the Lord, who for our sake endured temptation and suffering.
Or: Today if you hear the voice of the Lord, harden not your hearts.

The earth has yielded its fruit *
for God, our God, has blessed us.
May God still give us his blessing *
till the ends of the earth revere him.

Ant. Come, let us worship Christ the Lord, who for our sake endured temptation and suffering.
Or: Today if you hear the voice of the Lord, harden not your hearts.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, *
and to the Holy Spirit:
as it was in the beginning, is now, *
and will be for ever. Amen.

Ant. Come, let us worship Christ the Lord, who for our sake endured temptation and suffering.
Or: Today if you hear the voice of the Lord, harden not your hearts.

Go to the Hymn

Psalm 100
The joyful song of those entering God’s temple


The Lord calls his ransomed people to sing songs of victory (Saint Athanasius).

Cry out with joy to the Lord, all the earth.
Serve the Lord with gladness. *
Come before him, singing for joy.

Ant. Come, let us worship Christ the Lord, who for our sake endured temptation and suffering.
Or: Today if you hear the voice of the Lord, harden not your hearts.

Know that he, the Lord, is God.
He made us, we belong to him, *
we are his people, the sheep of his flock.

Ant. Come, let us worship Christ the Lord, who for our sake endured temptation and suffering.
Or: Today if you hear the voice of the Lord, harden not your hearts.

Go within his gates, giving thanks.
Enter his courts with songs of praise. *
Give thanks to him and bless his name.

Ant. Come, let us worship Christ the Lord, who for our sake endured temptation and suffering.
Or: Today if you hear the voice of the Lord, harden not your hearts.

Indeed, how good is the Lord,
eternal his merciful love. *
He is faithful from age to age.

Ant. Come, let us worship Christ the Lord, who for our sake endured temptation and suffering.
Or: Today if you hear the voice of the Lord, harden not your hearts.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, *
and to the Holy Spirit:
as it was in the beginning, is now, *
and will be for ever. Amen.

Ant. Come, let us worship Christ the Lord, who for our sake endured temptation and suffering.
Or: Today if you hear the voice of the Lord, harden not your hearts.

If the Invitatory is not said, then the following is used:

God, + come to my assistance.
Lord, make haste to help me.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit:
as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen.

HYMN

The fast, as taught by holy lore,
We keep in solemn course once more:
The fast to all men known, and bound
In forty days of yearly round.

The law and seers that were of old
In divers ways this Lent foretold,
Which Christ, all seasons’ King and guide,
In after ages sanctified.

More sparing therefore let us make
The words we speak, the food we take,
Our sleep and mirth, and closer barred
Be every sense in holy guard:

Avoid the evil thoughts that roll
Like waters o’er the heedless soul;
Nor let the foe occasion find
Our souls in slavery to bind.

Tune: Schütz’ Psalm 66 L.M.
Music: Heinrich Schütz, 1585-1672
Text: Ex more docti mystico, attributed to Saint Gregory the Great, 540-604
Translation: John Mason Neale, 1818-1866


Go to the Psalmody

Or:

Forty days and forty nights
You were fasting in the wild;
Forty days and forty nights
Tempted and yet undefiled.

Shall not we your sorrow share
And from worldly joys abstain,
Fasting with unceasing prayer,
Strong with you to suffer pain?

Then if Satan on us press,
Flesh or spirit to assail,
Victor in the wilderness,
Grant we may not faint nor fail!

So shall we have peace divine:
Holier gladness ours shall be;
Round us, too, shall angels shine,
Such as served you faithfully.

Keep, O keep us, Savior dear,
Ever constant by your side;
That with you we may appear
At the ’ternal Eastertide.

Tune: Heinlein 77.77
Music: Attributed to Martin Herbst, 1654-1681
Text: George H. Smyttan, 1822-1870, alt.

PSALMODY

Ant. 1 Lord, in your anger, do not punish me.

Psalm 38
A sinner in extreme danger prays earnestly to God


All his friends were standing at a distance (Luke 23:49).

I

O Lord, do not rebuke me in your anger; *
do not punish me, Lord, in your rage.
Your arrows have sunk deep in me; *
your hand has come down upon me.

Through your anger all my body is sick: *
through my sin, there is no health in my limbs.
My guilt towers higher than my head; *
it is a weight too heavy to bear.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, *
and to the Holy Spirit:
as it was in the beginning, is now, *
and will be for ever. Amen.

Ant. Lord, in your anger, do not punish me.

Ant. 2 Lord, you know all my longings.

II

My wounds are foul and festering, *
the result of my own folly.
I am bowed and brought to my knees. *
I go mourning all the day long.

All my frame burns with fever; *
all my body is sick.
Spent and utterly crushed, *
I cry aloud in anguish of heart.

O Lord, you know all my longing: *
my groans are not hidden from you.
My heart throbs, my strength is spent; *
the very light has gone from my eyes.

My friends avoid me like a leper; *
those closest to me stand afar off.
Those who plot against my life lay snares;
those who seek my ruin speak of harm, *
planning treachery all the day long.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, *
and to the Holy Spirit:
as it was in the beginning, is now, *
and will be for ever. Amen.

Ant. Lord, you know all my longings.

Ant. 3 I confess my guilt to you, Lord; do not abandon me, for you are my savior.

III

But I am like the deaf who cannot hear, *
like the dumb unable to speak.
I am like a man who hears nothing, *
in whose mouth is no defense.

I count on you, O Lord: *
it is you, Lord God, who will answer.
I pray: “Do not let them mock me, *
those who triumph if my foot should slip.”

For I am on the point of falling *
and my pain is always before me.
I confess that I am guilty *
and my sin fills me with dismay.

My wanton enemies are numberless *
and my lying foes are many.
They repay me evil for good *
and attack me for seeking what is right.

O Lord, do not forsake me! *
My God, do not stay afar off!
Make haste and come to my help, *
O Lord, my God, my savior!

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, *
and to the Holy Spirit:
as it was in the beginning, is now, *
and will be for ever. Amen.

Psalm Prayer

Do not abandon us, Lord our God; you did not forget the broken body of your Christ, nor the mockery his love received. We, your children, are weighed down with sin; give us the fullness of your mercy.

Ant. I confess my guilt to you, Lord; do not abandon me, for you are my savior.

Turn back to the Lord your God.
He is kind and merciful.

READINGS

FIRST READING

From the book of Exodus
19:1-19; 20:18-21

The promise of the covenant and the revelation of the Lord on Mount Sinai


In the third month after their departure from the land of Egypt, on its first day, the Israelites came to the desert of Sinai. After the journey from Rephidim to the desert of Sinai, they pitched camp.

While Israel was encamped here in front of the mountain, Moses went up the mountain to God. Then the Lord called to him and said, “Thus shall you say to the house of Jacob; tell the Israelites: You have seen for yourselves how I treated the Egyptians and how I bore you up on eagle wings and brought you here to myself. Therefore, if you hearken to my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my special possession, dearer to me than all other people, though all the earth is mine. You shall be to me a kingdom of priests, a holy nation. That is what you must tell the Israelites.”

So Moses went and summoned the elders of the people. When he set before them all that the Lord had ordered him to tell them, the people all answered together, “Everything the Lord has said, we will do.” Then Moses brought back to the Lord the response of the people.

The Lord also told him, “I am coming to you in a dense cloud, so that when the people hear me speaking with you, they may always have faith in you also.” When Moses, then, had reported to the Lord the response of the people, the Lord added, “Go to the people and have them sanctify themselves today and tomorrow. Make them wash their garments and be ready for the third day; for on the third day the Lord will come down on Mount Sinai before the eyes of all the people. Set limits for the people all around the mountain, and tell them: Take care not to go up the mountain, or even to touch its base. If anyone touches the mountain, he must be put to death. No hand shall touch him; he must be stoned to death or killed with arrows. Such a one, man or beast, must not be allowed to live. Only when the ram’s horn resounds may they go up to the mountain.”

Then Moses came down from the mountain to the people and had them sanctify themselves and wash their garments. He warned them, “Be ready for the third day. Have no intercourse with any woman.”

On the morning of the third day there were peals of thunder and lightning, and a heavy cloud over the mountain, and a very loud trumpet blast, so that all the people in the camp trembled. But Moses led the people out of the camp to meet God, and they stationed themselves at the foot of the mountain. Mount Sinai was all wrapped in smoke, for the Lord came down upon it in fire. The smoke rose from it as though from a furnace, and the whole mountain trembled violently. The trumpet blast grew louder and louder, while Moses was speaking and God answering him with thunder.

When the people witnessed the thunder and lightning, the trumpet blast and the mountain smoking, they all feared and trembled. So they took up a position much farther away and said to Moses, “You speak to us, and we will listen; but let not God speak to us, or we shall die.” Moses answered the people, “Do not be afraid, for God has come to you only to test you and put his fear upon you, lest you should sin.” Still the people remained at a distance, while Moses approached the cloud where God was.

RESPONSORY
Exodus 19:5, 6; 1 Peter 2:9


If you do what I tell you and keep my covenant,
out of all the nations you will be my own possession,
dearer to me than any other people.
You shall be to me a kingdom of priests, a consecrated nation.

You are a chosen race, a royal priesthood,
a consecrated nation, a people God has claimed as his own.
You shall be to me a kingdom of priests, a consecrated nation.

SECOND READING

From the treatise Against Heresies by Saint Irenaeus, bishop and martyr
(Lib. 4, 16, 2-5: SC 100, 564-572)

The covenant of the Lord


In the book of Deuteronomy Moses says to the people: The Lord your God made a covenant on Horeb; he made this covenant, not with your fathers but with you. Why did God not make this covenant with their fathers? Because the law is not aimed at the righteous. Their fathers were righteous: they had the power of the Decalogue implanted in their hearts and in their souls. That is, they loved the God who made them and did nothing unjust against their neighbor. For this reason they did not need to be admonished by written rebukes: they had the righteousness of the law in their hearts.

When this righteousness and love for God had passed into oblivion and had been extinguished in Egypt, God had necessarily to reveal himself through his own voice, out of his great love for men. He led the people out of Egypt in power, so that man might once again become God’s disciple and follower. He made them afraid as they listened, to warn them not to hold their Creator in contempt.

He fed them with manna, that they might receive spiritual food. In the book of Deuteronomy Moses says: He fed you with manna, which your fathers did not know, that you might understand that man will not live by bread alone but by every word of God coming from the mouth of God.

He commanded them to love himself and trained them to practice righteousness toward their neighbor, so that man might not be unrighteous or unworthy of God. Through the Decalogue he prepared man for friendship with himself and for harmony with his neighbor. This was to man’s advantage, though God needed nothing from man.

This raised man to glory, for it gave him what he did not have, friendship with God. But it brought no advantage to God, for God did not need man’s love. Man did not possess the glory of God, nor could he attain it by any other means than through obedience to God. This is why Moses said to the people: Choose life, that you may live and your descendants too; love the Lord your God, hear his voice and hold fast to him, for this is life for you and length of days.

This was the life that the Lord was preparing man to receive when he spoke in person and gave the words of the Decalogue for all alike to hear. These words remain with us as well; they were extended and amplified through his coming in the flesh, but not annulled.

God gave to the people separately through Moses the commandments that enslave: these were precepts suited to their instruction or their condemnation. As Moses said: The Lord commanded me at that time to teach you precepts of righteousness and of judgment. The precepts that were given them to enslave and to serve as a warning have been canceled by the new covenant of freedom.

The precepts that belong to man’s nature and to freedom and to all alike have been enlarged and broadened. Through the adoption of sons God had enabled man so generously and bountifully to know him as Father, to love him with his whole heart, and to follow his Word unfailingly.

RESPONSORY

Moses, the servant of the Lord, fasted for forty days and forty nights
to prepare himself to receive the law of the Lord.

Moses went up Mount Sinai to the Lord,
and stayed there forty days and forty nights.
To prepare himself to receive the law of the Lord.

CONCLUDING PRAYER

Let us pray.

Merciful Father,
may our acts of penance bring us your forgiveness,
open our hearts to your love,
and prepare us for the coming feast of the resurrection.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.
Amen.

Or:

Grant, we pray, almighty God,
that, purifying us by the sacred practice of penance,
you may lead us in sincerity of heart
to attain the holy things to come.
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.

ACCLAMATION

Let us praise the Lord.
And give him thanks.

******

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