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Office of Readings

INVITATORY

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

Go to the Hymn

Go to the Psalmody

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

Ant. Come, let us worship the Lord, the King who is to come.

The antiphon is repeated.

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 the Lord, the King who is to come.

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 the Lord, the King who is to come.

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 the Lord, the King who is to come.

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 the Lord, the King who is to come.

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 the Lord, the King who is to come.

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 the Lord, the King who is to come.

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 the Lord, the King who is to come.

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 the Lord, the King who is to come.

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 the Lord, the King who is to come.

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

Ant. Come, let us worship the Lord, the King who is to come.

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

Ant. Come, let us worship the Lord, the King who is to come.

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

Ant. Come, let us worship the Lord, the King who is to come.

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

Ant. Come, let us worship the Lord, the King who is to come.

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 the Lord, the King who is to come.

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 the Lord, the King who is to come.

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

Ant. Come, let us worship the Lord, the King who is to come.

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 the Lord, the King who is to come.

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

Ant. Come, let us worship the Lord, the King who is to come.

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 the Lord, the King who is to come.

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 the Lord, the King who is to come.

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 the Lord, the King who is to come.

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 the Lord, the King who is to come.

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 the Lord, the King who is to come.

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

Ant. Come, let us worship the Lord, the King who is to come.

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 the Lord, the King who is to come.

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. Alleluia.

HYMN

On Jordan’s bank, the Baptist’s cry
Announces that the Lord is nigh;
Awake and hearken for he brings
Glad tidings of the King of kings.

Then cleansed be ev’ry heart from sin,
Make straight the way of God within;
O let us each our hearts prepare
For Christ to come and enter there.

For you are our salvation, Lord,
Our refuge and our great reward;
Once more upon your people shine,
And fill the world with love divine.

To God the Son all glory be,
Whose advent set all nations free,
Whom with the Father we adore,
And Holy Spirit ever more.

Tune: Winchester New L.M.
Music: Musikaliches Handbuch, Hamburg, 1690
Text: Iordanis Ora Prævia, Charles Coffin, 1736
Translation: John Chandler, 1837, alt.


Go to the Psalmody

Or:

“Comfort, comfort, now my people;
Tell of peace,” so says our God.
Comfort those who sit in darkness
Mourning under sorrow’s load.
To God’s people now proclaim
That God’s pardon waits for them!
Tell them that their war is over;
God will reign in peace forever.

For the herald’s voice is crying
In the desert far and near,
Calling us to true repentance,
Since the Kingdom now is here.
Oh, that warning cry obey!
Now prepare for Christ a way!
Let the valleys rise to meet him,
And the hills bow down to greet him!

Straight shall be what long was crooked,
And the rougher places plain!
Let your hearts be true and humble,
As befits his holy reign!
For the glory of the Lord
Now on earth is shed abroad,
And all flesh shall see the token
That God’s word is never broken.

Tune: Geneva 42 87.87.77.88
Music: Genevan Psalter, 1553
Text: Tröstet, tröstet meine Lieben, Johann G. Olearus, 1611-1684
Translation: Catherine Winkworth, 1827-1878, alt.


Go to the Psalmody

Or:

O come, Divine Messiah,
The world in silence waits the day
When hope shall sing its triumph,
And sadness flee away.

Refrain:
Dear Savior, haste! Come, come to earth.
Dispel the night and show your face,
And bid us hail the dawn of grace.
O come, Divine Messiah,
The world in silence waits the day
When hope shall sing its triumph,
And sadness flee away.

O come, Desired of nations,
Whom priest and prophet long foretold,
Will break the captive fetters,
Redeem the long-lost fold.

Refrain:
Dear Savior, haste! Come, come to earth.
Dispel the night and show your face,
And bid us hail the dawn of grace.
O come, Divine Messiah,
The world in silence waits the day
When hope shall sing its triumph,
And sadness flee away.

O come, in peace and meekness,
For lowly will your cradle be:
Though clothed in human weakness
We shall your Godhead see.

Refrain:
Dear Savior, haste! Come, come to earth.
Dispel the night and show your face,
And bid us hail the dawn of grace.
O come, Divine Messiah,
The world in silence waits the day
When hope shall sing its triumph,
And sadness flee away.

Tune: Venez Divin Messie 78.76 with Refrain
Music: French Noël, sixteenth century
Text: Venez divin Messie, Abbé Simon-Joseph Pellegrin, 1663-1745
Translation: Sister Mary of Saint Philip, 1877

PSALMODY

Ant. 1 Bow down and hear me, Lord; come to my rescue.

Psalm 31:1-17, 20-25
A troubled person’s confident appeal to God


Father, into your hands, I commend my spirit (Luke 23:46).

I

In you, O Lord, I take refuge. *
Let me never be put to shame.
In your justice, set me free, *
hear me and speedily rescue me.

Be a rock of refuge for me, *
a mighty stronghold to save me,
for you are my rock, my stronghold. *
For your name’s sake, lead me and guide me.

Release me from the snares they have hidden *
for you are my refuge, Lord.
Into your hands I commend my spirit. *
It is you who will redeem me, Lord.

O God of truth, you detest *
those who worship false and empty gods.
As for me, I trust in the Lord: *
let me be glad and rejoice in your love.

You have seen my affliction *
and taken heed of my soul’s distress,
have not handed me over to the enemy, *
but set my feet at large.

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. Bow down and hear me, Lord; come to my rescue.

Ant. 2 Lord, let the light of your countenance shine on your servant.

II

Have mercy on me, O Lord, *
for I am in distress.
Tears have wasted my eyes, *
my throat and my heart.

For my life is spent with sorrow *
and my years with sighs.
Affliction has broken down my strength *
and my bones waste away.

In the face of all my foes *
I am a reproach,
an object of scorn to my neighbors *
and of fear to my friends.

Those who see me in the street *
run far away from me.
I am like a dead man, forgotten, *
like a thing thrown away.

I have heard the slander of the crowd, *
fear is all around me,
as they plot together against me, *
as they plan to take my life.

But as for me, I trust in you, Lord, *
I say: “You are my God.
My life is in your hands, deliver me *
from the hands of those who hate me.

Let your face shine on your servant. *
Save me in your love.”

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, let the light of your countenance shine on your servant.

Ant. 3 Blessed be the Lord, for he has poured out his mercy upon me.

III

How great is the goodness, Lord, *
that you keep for those who fear you,
that you show to those who trust you *
in the sight of men.

You hide them in the shelter of your presence *
from the plotting of men:
you keep them safe within your tent *
from disputing tongues.

Blessed be the Lord who has shown me
the wonders of his love *
in a fortified city.

“I am far removed from your sight,” *
I said in my alarm.

Yet you heard the voice of my plea *
when I cried for help.

Love the Lord, all you saints. *
He guards his faithful
but the Lord will repay to the full *
those who act with pride.

Be strong, let your heart take courage, *
all who hope in the Lord.

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

God of kindness and truth, you saved your Chosen One, Jesus Christ, and you gave your martyrs strength. Watch over your people who come to you here and strengthen the hearts of those who hope in you, that they may proclaim your saving acts of kindness in the eternal city.

Ant. Blessed be the Lord, for he has poured out his mercy upon me.

Lord, show us your mercy and love.
And grant us your salvation.

READINGS

FIRST READING

From the book of the prophet Isaiah
24:1-18

The coming of the Lord on that day


Lo, the Lord empties the land and lays it waste;
   he turns it upside down,
   scattering its inhabitants:
Layman and priest alike,
   servant and master,
The maid as her mistress,
   the buyer as the seller,
The lender as the borrower,
   the creditor as the debtor.
The earth is utterly laid waste, utterly stripped,
   for the Lord has decreed this thing.

The earth mourns and fades,
   the world languishes and fades;
   both heaven and earth languish.
The earth is polluted because of its inhabitants,
   who have transgressed laws, violated statutes,
   broken the ancient covenant.
Therefore a curse devours the earth,
   and its inhabitants pay for their guilt;
Therefore they who dwell on earth turn pale,
   and few men are left.

The wine mourns, the vine languishes,
   all the merry-hearted groan.
Stilled are the cheerful timbrels,
   ended the shouts of the jubilant,
   stilled is the cheerful harp.
They cannot sing and drink wine;
   strong drink is bitter to those who partake of it.

Broken down is the city of chaos,
   shut against entry, every house.
In the streets they cry out for lack of wine;
   all joy has disappeared
   and cheer has left the land.
In the city nothing remains but ruin;
   its gates are battered and desolate.
Thus it is within the land,
   and among the peoples,
As with an olive tree after it is beaten,
   as with a gleaning when the vintage is done.

These lift up their voice in acclaim;
   from the sea they proclaim the majesty of the Lord:
“For this, in the coastlands,
   give glory to the Lord!
In the coastlands of the sea,
   to the name of the Lord, the God of Israel!”
From the end of the earth we hear songs:
   “Splendor to the Just One!”

But I said, “I am wasted, wasted away.
   Woe is me! The traitors betray:
   with treachery have the traitors betrayed!
Terror, pit, and trap
   are upon you, inhabitant of the earth;
He who flees at the sound of terror
   will fall into the pit;
He who climbs out of the pit
   will be caught in the trap.
For the windows on high will be opened
   and the foundations of the earth will shake.

RESPONSORY
Isaiah 24:14, 15; Psalm 96:1


Singing in praise, they lift their voices:,
Let the Lord be glorified in your teachings.

Sing to the Lord a new song.
Let all the earth sing to the Lord.

SECOND READING

From a treatise on The Ascent of Mount Carmel, by Saint John of the Cross, priest
(Lib. 2, cap. 22)

In Christ, God has spoken to us


Under the ancient law prophets and priests sought from God revelations and visions which indeed they needed, for faith had as yet no firm foundation and the gospel law had not yet been established. Their seeking and God’s responses were necessary. He spoke to them at one time through words and visions and revelations, at another in signs and symbols. But however he responded and what he said and revealed were mysteries of our holy faith, either partial glimpses of the whole or sure movements toward it.

But now that faith is rooted in Christ, and the law of the gospel has been proclaimed in this time of grace, there is no need to seek him in the former manner, nor for him so to respond. By giving us, as he did, his Son, his only Word, he has in that one Word said everything. There is no need for any further revelation.

This is the true meaning of Paul’s words to the Hebrews when he urged them to abandon their earlier ways of conversing with God, as laid down in the law of Moses, and set their eyes on Christ alone: In the past God spoke to our fathers through the prophets in various ways and manners; but now in our times, the last days, he has spoken to us in his Son. In effect, Paul is saying that God has spoken so completely through his own Word that he chooses to add nothing. Although he had spoken but partially through the prophets he has now said everything in Christ. He has given us everything, his own Son.

Therefore, anyone who wished to question God or to seek some new vision or revelation from him would commit an offense, for instead of focusing his eyes entirely on Christ he would be desiring something other than Christ, or beyond him.

God could then answer: This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased; hear him. In my Word I have already said everything. Fix your eyes on him alone for in him I have revealed all and in him you will find more than you could ever ask for or desire.

I, with my Holy Spirit, came down upon him on Mount Tabor and declared: This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased; hear him. You do not need new teachings or ways of learning from me, for when I spoke before it was of Christ who was to come, and when they sought anything of me they were but seeking and hoping for Christ in whom is every good, as the whole teaching of the evangelists and apostles clearly testifies.

RESPONSORY
Micah 4:2; John 4:25


Many nations will come and say:
Let us go up to the mountain of the Lord,
to the home of the God of Jacob.
He will teach us his ways
and we will walk in his paths.

The Messiah, who is called the Christ, is coming.
When he comes, he will teach us everything.
He will teach us his ways
and we will walk in his paths.

CONCLUDING PRAYER

Let us pray.

Lord,
free us from our sins and make us whole.
Hear our prayer,
and prepare us to celebrate the incarnation of your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.
Amen.

Or:

May our prayer of petition
rise before you, we pray, O Lord,
that, with purity unblemished,
we, your servants, may come, as we desire,
to celebrate the great mystery
of the Incarnation of your Only Begotten Son.
Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.
Amen.

Go to the Acclamation


For the Memorial of Saint Damasus I:

SECOND READING


From a treatise against Faustus by Saint Augustine, bishop
(Lib, 20, 21: CSEL 25, 562-563)

We celebrate the martyrs with love and fellowship


We, the Christian community, assemble to celebrate the memory of the martyrs with ritual solemnity because we want to be inspired to follow their example, share in their merits, and be helped by their prayers. Yet we erect no altars to any of the martyrs, even in the martyrs’ burial chapels themselves.

No bishop, when celebrating at an altar where these holy bodies rest, has ever said, “Peter, we make this offering to you,” or “Paul, to you,” or “Cyprian, to you.” No, what is offered is offered always to God, who crowned the martyrs. We offer in the chapels where the bodies of those he crowned rest, so the memories that cling to those places will stir our emotions and encourage us to greater love both for the martyrs whom we can imitate and for God whose grace enables us to do so.

So we venerate the martyrs with the same veneration of love and fellowship that we give to the holy men of God still with us. We sense that the hearts of these latter are just as ready to suffer death for the sake of the Gospel, and yet we feel more devotion toward those who have already emerged victorious from the struggle. We honour those who are fighting on the battlefield of this life here below, but we honor more confidently those who have already achieved the victor’s crown and live in heaven.

But the veneration strictly called “worship,” or latria, that is, the special homage belonging only to the divinity, is something we give and teach others to give to God alone. The offering of a sacrifice belongs to worship in this sense (that is why those who sacrifice to idols are called idol-worshipers), and we neither make nor tell others to make any such offering to any martyr, any holy soul, or any angel. If anyone among us falls into this error, he is corrected with words of sound doctrine and must then either mend his ways or else be shunned.

The saints themselves forbid anyone to offer them the worship they know is reserved for God, as is clear from the case of Paul and Barnabas. When the Lycaonians were so amazed by their miracles that they wanted to sacrifice to them as gods, the apostles tore their garments, declared that they were not gods, urged the people to believe them, and forbade them to worship them.

Yet the truths we teach are one thing, the abuses thrust upon us are another. There are commandments that we are bound to give; there are breaches of them that we are commanded to correct, but until we correct them we must of necessity put up with them.

RESPONSORY
Psalm 116:15; 34:21; see Judith 10:3


Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his faithful ones;
their very bones are dear to him,
not one of them shall be broken.

The Lord clothes them with gladness.
Their very bones are dear to him,
not one of them shall be broken.

CONCLUDING PRAYER

Let us pray.

Father,
as Saint Damasus loved and honored your martyrs,
so may we continue to celebrate their witness for Christ,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.
Amen.

Or:

Grant, we pray, O Lord,
that we may constantly exalt the merits of your Martyrs,
whom Pope Saint Damasus so venerated and loved.
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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