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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.

We pray, O holy Trinity,
One God, unchanging Unity,
That we from this our abstinence
May reap the fruits of penitence.

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 I love you Lord; you are my strength.

Psalm 18:2-30
Thanksgiving for salvation and victory


At that time there was a violent earthquake (Revelation 11:15).

I

I love you, Lord, my strength, *
my rock, my fortress, my savior.
My God is the rock where I take refuge; *
my shield, my mighty help, my stronghold.

The Lord is worthy of all praise: *
when I call I am saved from my foes.

The waves of death rose about me; *
the torrents of destruction assailed me;
the snares of the grave entangled me; *
the traps of death confronted me.

In my anguish I called to the Lord; *
I cried to God for help.
From his temple he heard my voice; *
my cry came to his ears.

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. I love you Lord; you are my strength.

Ant. 2 The Lord has saved me; he wanted me for his own.

II

Then the earth reeled and rocked; *
the mountains were shaken to their base:
they reeled at his terrible anger. *
Smoke came forth from his nostrils
and scorching fire from his mouth: *
coals were set ablaze by its heat.

He lowered the heavens and came down, *
a black cloud under his feet.
He came enthroned on the cherubim, *
he flew on the wings of the wind.

He made the darkness his covering, *
the dark waters of the clouds, his tent.
A brightness shone out before him *
with hailstones and flashes of fire.

The Lord thundered in the heavens; *
The Most High let his voice be heard.
He shot his arrows, scattered the foe, *
flashed his lightnings and put them to flight.

The bed of the ocean was revealed; *
the foundations of the world were laid bare
at the thunder of your threat, O Lord, *
at the blast of the breath of your anger.

From on high he reached down and seized me; *
he drew me forth from the mighty waters.
He snatched me from my powerful foe, *
from my enemies whose strength I could not match.

They assailed me in the day of my misfortune, *
but the Lord was my support.
He brought me forth into freedom, *
he saved me because he loved 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.

Ant. The Lord has saved me; he wanted me for his own.

Ant. 3 Lord, kindle a light for my guidance and scatter my darkness.

III

He rewarded me because I was just. *
repaid me, for my hands were clean,
for I have kept the way of the Lord *
and have not fallen away from my God.

For his judgments are all before me: *
I have never neglected his commands.
I have always been upright before him; *
I have kept myself from guilt.

He repaid me because I was just *
and my hands were clean in his eyes.
You are loving with those who love you: *
you show yourself perfect with the perfect.

With the sincere you show yourself sincere, *
but the cunning you outdo in cunning.
For you save a humble people *
but humble the eyes that are proud.

You, O Lord, are my lamp, *
my God who lightens my darkness.
With you I can break through any barrier, *
with my God I can scale any wall.

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

Lord God, our strength and salvation, put in us the flame of your love and make our love for you grow to a perfect love which reaches to our neighbor.

Ant. Lord, kindle a light for my guidance and scatter my darkness.

Turn back to the Lord and do penance.
Be renewed in heart and spirit.

READINGS

FIRST READING

From the book of Exodus
10:21-11:10

The plague of darkness and the warning of the plague to be visited upon the firstborn


Then the Lord said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand toward the sky, that over the land of Egypt there may be such intense darkness that one can feel it.” So Moses stretched out his hand toward the sky, and there was dense darkness throughout the land of Egypt for three days. Men could not see one another, nor could they move from where they were, for three days. But all the Israelites had light where they dwelt.

Pharaoh then summoned Moses and Aaron and said, “Go and worship the Lord. Your little ones, too, may go with you. But your flocks and herds must remain.” Moses replied, “You must also grant us sacrifices and holocausts to offer up to the Lord, our God. Hence, our livestock also must go with us. Not an animal must be left behind. Some of them we must sacrifice to the Lord, our God, but we ourselves shall not know which ones we must sacrifice to him until we arrive at the place itself.”

But the Lord made Pharaoh obstinate, and he would not let them go. “Leave my presence,” Pharaoh said to him, “and see to it that you do not appear before me again! The day you appear before me you shall die!” Moses replied, “Well said! I will never appear before you again.”

Then the Lord told Moses, “One more plague will I bring upon Pharaoh and upon Egypt. After that he will let you depart. In fact, he will not merely let you go; he will drive you away. Instruct your people that every man is to ask his neighbor, and every woman her neighbor, for silver and gold articles and for clothing.” The Lord indeed made the Egyptians well-disposed toward the people; Moses himself was very highly regarded by Pharaoh’s servants and the people in the land of Egypt.

Moses then said, “Thus says the Lord: At midnight I will go forth through Egypt. Every first-born in this land shall die, from the first-born of Pharaoh on the throne to the first-born of the slave-girl at the handmill, as well as all the first-born of the animals. Then there shall be loud wailing throughout the land of Egypt, such as has never been, nor will ever be again. But among the Israelites and their animals not even a dog shall growl, so that you may know how the Lord distinguishes between the Egyptians and the Israelites. All these servants of yours shall then come down to me, and prostrate before me, they shall beg me, ‘Leave us, you and all your followers!’ Only then will I depart.” With that he left Pharaoh’s presence in hot anger.

The Lord said to Moses, “Pharaoh refuses to listen to you that my wonders may be multiplied in the land of Egypt.” Thus, although Moses and Aaron performed these various wonders in Pharaoh’s presence, the Lord made Pharaoh obstinate, and he would not let the Israelites leave his land.

RESPONSORY
Wisdom 18:4; 17:20; 18:1


How well those who enslaved your children
deserved to be deprived of light,
for through your children
the imperishable light of the law
was to be given to the world.

On Egypt the deep gloom of night descended,
but a radiant light shone for your holy ones.
For through your children
the imperishable light of the law
was to be given to the world.

SECOND READING

From a demonstration by Aphraates, bishop
(Dem. 11, De circumcisione, 11-12: PS 1, 498-503)

Circumcision of the heart


Law and covenant have been entirely changed. God changed the first pact with Adam, and gave a new one to Noah. He gave another to Abraham, and changed this to give a new one to Moses. When the covenant with Moses was no longer observed, he gave another pact in this last age, a pact never again to be changed.

He established a new law for Adam, that he could not eat of the tree of life. He gave to Noah the sign of the rainbow in the clouds. He then gave Abraham, chosen for his faith, the mark and seal of circumcision for his descendants. Moses was given the Passover lamb, the propitiation for the people.

All these covenants were different from each other. Moreover, the circumcision that is approved by the giver of those covenants is the kind spoken of by Jeremiah: Circumcise your hearts. If God’s pact with Abraham was firm, so also is this covenant firm and trustworthy, nor can any other law be laid down, whether it originates outside the law or among those subject to the law.

God gave Moses a law together with his prescriptions and precepts, and when it was no longer kept, he made the law and its precepts of no avail. He promised a new covenant, different from the first, though the giver of both is one and the same. This is the covenant that he promised: All shall know me from the least to the greatest. In this covenant there is no longer any circumcision of the flesh, any seal upon the people.

We know, dearly beloved, that God established different laws in different generations which were in force as long as it pleased him. Afterward they were made obsolete. In the words of the apostle: In former times the kingdom of God existed in each generation under different signs.

Moreover, our God is truthful and his commandments are most trustworthy. Every covenant was proved firm and trustworthy in its own time, and those who have been circumcised in heart are brought to life and receive a second circumcision beside the true Jordan, the waters of baptism that bring forgiveness of sins.

Jesus, son of Nun, renewed the people’s circumcision with a knife of stone when he had crossed the Jordan with the Israelites. Jesus, our Savior, renews the circumcision of the heart for the nations who have believed in him and are washed by baptism: circumcision by the sword of his word, sharper than any two-edged sword.

Jesus, son of Nun, led the people across the Jordan into the promised land. Jesus, our Savior, has promised the land of the living to all who have crossed the true Jordan, and have believed and are circumcised in heart.

Blessed, then, are those who are circumcised in heart, and have been reborn in water through the second circumcision. They will receive their inheritance with Abraham, the faithful leader and father of all nations, for his faith was credited to him for righteousness.

RESPONSORY
Hebrews 8:8, 10; 2 Corinthians 3:3


I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel.
I will put my laws in their minds
and inscribe them on their hearts,
not with ink but with the spirit of the living God.

I will not write my law upon tablets of stone,
but upon the tablets of human hearts.
And inscribe them on their hearts,
not with ink but with the spirit of the living God.

CONCLUDING PRAYER

Let us pray.

Lord,
look upon us and hear our prayer.
By the good works you inspire,
help us to discipline our bodies
and to be renewed in spirit.
Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.
Amen.

Or:

Look kindly, Lord, we pray,
on the devotion of your people,
that those who by self-denial are restrained in body
may by the fruit of good works be renewed in mind.
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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