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Prayers

Common of Several Martyrs

The following selections are provided from the Common of Saints:

1. To aid those who may wish to use different texts than those provided in the Office of the day
2. To assist those who may wish to celebrate a saint who is an optional memorial, or on a local calendar
3. To assist those praying in a community or group celebrating an Office different from that provided in the ibreviary.

For most saints, nearly the entire Office is taken from the Common with the exception of the Concluding Prayer, and (occasionally) the Antiphon to the Gospel Canticles. Thus it is possible to join in a different Office recited in community using the texts below.

OFFICE OF READINGS

Invitatory
Hymn
Second Reading
Te Deum
Closing Prayer
Conclusion

MORNING PRAYER (LAUDS)

Invitatory
Hymn
Short Reading and Responsory
Gospel Canticle
Intercessions
Closing Prayer.
Dismissal

EVENING PRAYER (VESPERS)

Introduction
Hymn
Short Reading and Responsory
Gospel Canticle
Intercessions
Closing Prayer.
Dismissal


OFFICE OF READINGS


INVITATORY

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

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

Ant. Come, let us worship Christ, the King of martyrs.

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 King of martyrs.

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 King of martyrs.

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 King of martyrs.

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 King of martyrs.

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 King of martyrs.

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 King of martyrs.

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, will be for ever. Amen. Alleluia.

HYMN

Faith of our fathers! faith and prayer
shall win all nations unto thee;
and through the truth that comes from God,
mankind shall then indeed be free.

Refrain:
Faith of our fathers, holy faith!
We will be true to thee till death.

Faith of our fathers! we will love
both friend and foe in all our strife:
and preach thee, too, as love knows how,
by kindly deeds and virtuous life.

Refrain:
Faith of our fathers, holy faith!
We will be true to thee till death.

Melody: St. Catherine L.M.
Music: Henri F. Hem 1818-1888 and J.G. Walton, 1821-1905
Text: F.W. Faber, 1814-1863

PSALMODY AND FIRST READING (from the weekday, on memorials)

If no Proper Second Reading is provided, the following Second Reading may be used:

SECOND READING

From a letter by Saint Cyprian, bishop and martyr
(Ep. 6,1-2: CSEL 3, 480-482)

I greet you, dearest brothers, and would like also to enjoy your company face to face, if only the conditions in which I find myself did not prevent my coming to see you. What could be more desirable or more joyful for me than to embrace you now, to be encircled by those pure and sinless hands that have kept the faith of the Lord and refused to offer sacrilegious worship?

What could be more pleasant, more sublime, than to kiss at this moment those lips of yours, which have given such glorious utterance in praise of the Lord; to be seen also by those eyes of yours, which have despised the world and proved themselves worthy of seeing God?

But, because there is no opportunity for my sharing this joy, I send this letter as my representative for your ears and eyes to hear and see. Through it I congratulate you, and at the same time urge you to persevere courageously and steadfastly in your witness to heavenly glory, and to continue with spiritual courage, now that you have entered on the way that the Lord has graciously opened up for you, until you receive the crown of victory. You have the Lord as your protector and guide, for he has said: Behold, I am with you always, even to the end of the world.

How blessed is the prison honored by your presence, how blessed the prison honored by your presence, how blessed the prison that sends men of god to heaven! Darkness brighter than the sun itself, more resplendent than this light of the world, for it is here that God’s temples are now established, and your limbs made holy by your praise of God.

Let nothing else be now in your hearts and minds except God’s commandments and the precepts of heaven: by their means the Holy Spirit has always inspired you to bear your sufferings. Let no one think of death, but only of immortality; let no one think of suffering that is for a time, but only of glory that is for eternity. It is written: Precious in the sight of God is the death of his holy ones. And again: A sacrifice to God is an afflicted spirit; a broken and humbled heart God does not despise.

Holy Scripture speaks also of the sufferings which consecrate God’s martyrs and sanctify them by the very testing of pain: Though in the eyes of men they suffered torments, their hope is full of immortality. They will judge nations, and rule over the peoples, and the Lord will reign over them forever.

When, therefore, you recall that you will be judges and rulers with Christ the Lord, you must rejoice, despising present suffering for you at what is to come. You know that from the beginning of the world it was so; justice is here oppressed in its conflict with the world, for at the very outset Abel the just is killed, and after him the just, and those sent as prophets and apostles.

The Lord himself is an example of all this in his own person. He teaches us that only those who have followed him along his way arrive at his kingdom: He who loves his life in this world, will lose it. And he who hates his life in this world, will save it for eternal life. And again he says: Do not fear those who kill the body, but cannot kill the soul; fear rather him who can kill both body and soul and send them to hell.

Paul too admonishes us, that as we desire to gain the Lord’s promises we must imitate the Lord in all things. We are God’s children, he tells us. If children, we area also heirs of God, and coheirs with Christ, if only we suffer with him, that we may also be glorified with him.

RESPONSORY          

We are warriors now, fighting on the battlefield of faith,
and God see all we do;
the angels watch and so does Christ.
What honor and glory and joy, to do battle in the presence of God,
and to have Christ approve our victory.

Let us arm ourselves in full strength
and prepare ourselves for the ultimate struggle
with blameless hearts, true faith and unyielding courage.
What honor and glory and joy, to do battle in the presence of God,
and to have Christ approve our victory.

On Solemnities and Feasts the Te Deum is said.

(Skip to the Closing Prayer)

TE DEUM

You are God: we praise you;
You are the Lord: we acclaim you;
You are the eternal Father:
All creation worships you.

To you all angels, all the powers of heaven,
Cherubim and Seraphim, sing in endless praise:
   Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might,
   heaven and earth are full of your glory.

The glorious company of apostles praise you.
The noble fellowship of prophets praise you.
The white-robed army of martyrs praise you.

Throughout the world the holy Church acclaims you:
   Father, of majesty unbounded,
   your true and only Son, worthy of all worship,
   and the Holy Spirit, advocate and guide.

You, Christ, are the king of glory,
the eternal Son of the Father.

When you became man to set us free
you did not shun the Virgin’s womb.

You overcame the sting of death,
and opened the kingdom of heaven to all believers.

You are seated at God’s right hand in glory.
We believe that you will come, and be our judge.

Come then, Lord, and help your people,
bought with the price of your own blood,
and bring us with your saints
to glory everlasting.

V. Save your people, Lord, and bless your inheritance.
R. Govern and uphold them now and always.
V. Day by day we bless you.
R. We praise your name for ever.
V. Keep us today, Lord, from all sin.
R. Have mercy on us, Lord, have mercy.
V. Lord, show us your love and mercy;
R. for we put our trust in you.
V. In you, Lord, is our hope:
R. and we shall never hope in vain.

The concluding part of the hymn may be omitted

PRAYER

Martyrs    Martyrs    Virgin Martyrs    Holy Women

Let us pray.

The Concluding Prayer is Proper.

When there is no proper prayer, one of the following is said:

All-powerful, ever-living God,
turn our weakness into strength.
As you gave your martyrs N. and N.
the courage to suffer death for Christ,
give us the courage to live in faithful witness to you.
Grant 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:

Lord,
hear the prayers of the martyrs N. and N.
and give us courage to bear witness to your truth.
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.

For virgin martyrs:

God our Father,
you give us joy each year
in honoring the memory of Saints N. and N.  
May their prayers be a source of help for us,
and may their example of courage and chastity be our inspiration.
Grant 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.

For holy women:

Father,
in our weakness your power reaches perfection.
You gave Saints N. and N. the strength
to defeat the power of sin and evil.
May we who celebrate their glory share in their triumph.
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.

CONCLUSION

Let us praise the Lord.
And give him thanks.


MORNING PRAYER


INVITATORY

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

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

Ant. Come, let us worship Christ, the King of martyrs.

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 King of martyrs.

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 King of martyrs.

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 King of martyrs.

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 King of martyrs.

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 King of martyrs.

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 King of martyrs.

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,
will be for ever. Amen. Alleluia.

HYMN

To Christ, in whose passion once was sown
All virtue of all saints to be,
From the white field of these thy own
We praise the seed and sower, thee.

Thine was the first and holiest grain
To die and quicken and increase;
And then came these, and died again,
That spring and harvest should not cease.

From thee the martyrs, we from those,
Each in thy grace's measure, spring;
Their strength upon our weakness flows
And guides us to the goal we sing.

These were thy great ones: we, thy least,
One in desire and faith with them,
Called by the Lord to keep one feast,
Journey to one Jerusalem.

Melody: Mein’ Seel’, O Gott, muss Loben Dich L.M.
Music: M. Praetorius, 1571-1621
Text: Walter Shewring

Or:

With souls alert for happiness
We sing the praises which are due
To honor every martyr’s crown
Eternal gift from Christ our Lord.

As shining lights before the world,
And leaders of the Church of God,
They head the ranks of those who fight
As soldiers in the cause of right.

They conquered fear of ev’ry kind
Despising anguish and all pain,
That through their constancy in death
Eternal light they would obtain.

Their dedicated blood was shed
By torture’s cruel, craven hand,
Their dauntless courage was upheld
By grace of life that has no end.

Devoted faith of all the saints,
Believers’ hope that never wanes,
The perfect charity of Christ
The prince of darkness soon defeat.

In then the Father’s glory shines,
In them the Holy Spirit’s will
Exsults with all the joy of Christ
That fills the courts of bliss above.

Redeemer of all men, we pray
Permit your lowly servants here
To share the martyrs’ fellowship
For ever in your realm of light. Amen.

Melody: Old Hundreth L.M.
Music: Louis Bourgeois, 1551
Text: Æterna Christi munera
Translation: © the Benedictines of Saint Cecilia’s Abbey, Ryde, UK. Used with permission.

PSALMODY (from the Psalms of the day)

READING
2 Corinthians 1:3-5

Praised be God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all consolation! He comforts us in our afflictions and thus enables us to comfort those who are in trouble, with the same consolation we have received from him. As we have shared much in the suffering of Christ, so through Christ do we share abundantly in his consolation.

RESPONSORY

The just are the friends of God.
They live with him forever.
The just are the friends of God.
They live with him forever.

God himself is their reward
They live with him forever.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.
The just are the friends of God.
They live with him forever.

CANTICLE OF ZECHARIAH

Ant. Blessed are those who suffer persecution for the sake of justice; the kingdom of heaven is theirs.

Luke 1:68-79
The Messiah and his forerunner

Blessed + be the Lord, the God of Israel; *
he has come to his people and set them free.

He has raised up for us a mighty savior, *
born of the house of his servant David.

Through his holy prophets he promised of old
  that he would save us from our enemies, *
  from the hands of all who hate us.

He promised to show mercy to our fathers *
and to remember his holy covenant.

This was the oath he swore to our father Abraham: *
to set us free from the hands of our enemies,
free to worship him without fear, *
holy and righteous in his sight
  all the days of our life.

You, my child, shall be called the prophet of the Most High; *
for you will go before the Lord to prepare his way,
to give his people knowledge of salvation *
by the forgiveness of their sins.

In the tender compassion of our God *
the dawn from on high shall break upon us,
to shine on those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death, *
and to guide our feet into the way of peace.

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. Blessed are those who suffer persecution for the sake of justice; the kingdom of heaven is theirs.

INTERCESSIONS

Our Savior’s faithfulness is mirrored in the fidelity of his witnesses who shed their blood for the Word of God. Let us praise him in remembrance of them:
You redeemed us by your blood.

Your martyrs freely embraced death in bearing witness for the faith,
give us the true freedom of the Spirit, O Lord.
You redeemed us by your blood.

Your martyrs professed their faith by shedding their blood,
give us a faith, O Lord, that is constant and pure.
You redeemed us by your blood.

Your martyrs followed in your footsteps by carrying the cross,
help us to endure courageously the misfortunes of life.
You redeemed us by your blood.

Your martyrs washed their garments in the blood of the Lamb,
help us to avoid the weaknesses of the flesh and worldly allurements.
You redeemed us by your blood.

THE LORD’S PRAYER
 
(Gathering our prayer and praises into one, let us offer the prayer Christ himself taught us:)

Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come;
thy will be done on earth
as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread;
and forgive us our trespasses
as we forgive those who trespass against us;
and lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.

CONCLUDING PRAYER

The Concluding Prayer is Proper.

When there is no proper prayer, one of the following is said:

Martyrs    Martyrs    Virgin Martyrs    Holy Women

All-powerful, ever-living God,
turn our weakness into strength.
As you gave your martyrs N. and N.
the courage to suffer death for Christ,
give us the courage to live in faithful witness to you.
Grant 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:

Lord,
hear the prayers of the martyrs N. and N.
and give us courage to bear witness to your truth.
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.

For virgin martyrs:

God our Father,
you give us joy each year
in honoring the memory of Saints N. and N.  
May their prayers be a source of help for us,
and may their example of courage and chastity be our inspiration.
Grant 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.

For holy women:

Father,
in our weakness your power reaches perfection.
You gave Saints N. and N. the strength
to defeat the power of sin and evil.
May we who celebrate their glory share in their triumph.
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.

DISMISSAL

May the Lord bless + us,
protect us from all evil
and bring us to everlasting life.
Amen.


EVENING PRAYER


INTRODUCTION

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, will be for ever. Amen. Alleluia.

HYMN

For all the saints, who from their labors rest,
Who Thee by faith before the world confessed,
Thy Name, O Jesus, be forever blessed.
Alleluia, Alleluia!

Thou wast their Rock, their Fortress and their Might;
Thou, Lord, their Captain in the well fought fight;
Thou, in the darkness drear, their one true Light.
Alleluia, Alleluia!

For martyrs, who with rapture kindled eye,
Saw the bright crown descending from the sky,
And seeing, grasped it, Thee we glorify.
Alleluia, Alleluia!

O blest communion, fellowship divine!
We feebly struggle, they in glory shine;
All are one in Thee, for all are Thine.
Alleluia, Alleluia!

O may Thy soldiers, faithful, true and bold,
Fight as the saints who nobly fought of old,
And win with them the victor’s crown of gold.
Alleluia, Alleluia!

But lo! there breaks a yet more glorious day;
The saints triumphant rise in bright array;
The King of glory passes on His way.
Alleluia, Alleluia!

From earth’s wide bounds, from ocean’s farthest coast,
Through gates of pearl streams in the countless host,
And singing to Father, Son and Holy Ghost:
Alleluia, Alleluia!

Melody: Sine Nomine 10.10.10 with alleluias.
Music: R. Vaughan Williams, 1872-1958
Text: William W. How, 1823-1897

Or:

Come, let us celebrate ever more joyfully
How through the centuries martyrs so glorious
Laid down their lives for you, Jesus, our King and Lord,
Enduring all courageously.

The world enticing them to its apostasy,
They braved its mockery, setting its threats at nought;
Their love upholding them, nothing could hinder them
From imitating their Leader.

Brave men and women too, suffered for love of you;
No sound or murmuring broke from their tortured lips,
Their souls tranquility, gay in its fortitude.
Could bear such anguish patiently.

What voice or tongue e’er can tell of the happiness
You have in readiness for those who die for you;
Their robes are beautiful, dyed in their sacrifice,
Their crowns are rich beyond measure.

Most holy Trinity, humbly we beg of you,
Forgive our sinfulness, danger avert from us.
Grant us serenity till in the world to come
We may delight in your glory. Amen.

Melody:
Music:
Text: Sanctorum Meritis
Translation: © the Benedictines of Saint Cecilia’s Abbey, Ryde, UK. Used with permission.

PSALMODY (from the week)

READING
1 Peter 4:13-14

Dearly beloved: Rejoice in the measure that you share Christ’s sufferings. When his glory is revealed, you will rejoice exultantly. Happy are you when you are insulted for the sake of Christ, for then God’s Spirit in its glory has come to rest on you.

RESPONSORY

Let the just rejoice and sing for joy in the Lord
Let the just rejoice and sing for joy in the Lord.

Delight in his love, you pure of heart,
and sing for joy in the Lord.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.
Let the just rejoice and sing for joy in the Lord

CANTICLE OF MARY

Ant: Renouncing all this world could offer, these martyrs are now in God’s kingdom; with their robes washed clean in the blood of the Lamb, they share his joy for ever.
Or: The holy friends of Christ rejoice in heaven; they followed in his footsteps to the end. They have shed their blood for love of him and will reign with him for ever.

Luke 1:46-55
The soul rejoices in the Lord

My + soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord,
my spirit rejoices in God my Savior *
for he has looked with favor on his lowly servant.

From this day all generations will call me blessed:
the Almighty has done great things for me, *
and holy is his Name.

He has mercy on those who fear him *
in every generation.

He has shown the strength of his arm, *
he has scattered the proud in their conceit.

He has cast down the mighty from their thrones, *
and has lifted up the lowly.

He has filled the hungry with good things, *
and the rich he has sent away empty.

He has come to the help of his servant Israel *
for he has remembered his promise of mercy,
the promise he made to our fathers, *
to Abraham and his children for ever.

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: Renouncing all this world could offer, these martyrs are now in God’s kingdom; with their robes washed clean in the blood of the Lamb, they share his joy for ever.
Or: The holy friends of Christ rejoice in heaven; they followed in his footsteps to the end. They have shed their blood for love of him and will reign with him for ever.

INTERCESSIONS

This is the hour when the King of martyrs offered his life in the upper room and laid it down on the cross. Let us thank him and say:
We praise you, O Lord.

We praise you, O Lord, our Savior, inspiration and example for every martyr, for loving us to the end:
We praise you, O Lord.

For calling all repentant sinners to the rewards of life:
We praise you, O Lord.

For entrusting to your Church the blood of the new and everlasting covenant poured out for the remission of sin:
We praise you, O Lord.

For our perseverance in your grace today:
We praise you, O Lord.

For incorporating our dead brothers and sisters into your own death today:
We praise you, O Lord.

THE LORD’S PRAYER
 
(Gathering our prayer and praises into one, let us offer the prayer Christ himself taught us:)

Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come;
thy will be done on earth
as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread;
and forgive us our trespasses
as we forgive those who trespass against us;
and lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.

CONCLUDING PRAYER

The Concluding Prayer is Proper.

When there is no proper prayer, one of the following is said:

Martyrs    Martyrs    Virgin Martyrs    Holy Women

All-powerful, ever-living God,
turn our weakness into strength.
As you gave your martyrs N. and N.
the courage to suffer death for Christ,
give us the courage to live in faithful witness to you.
Grant 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:

Lord,
hear the prayers of the martyrs N. and N.
and give us courage to bear witness to your truth.
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.

For virgin martyrs:

God our Father,
you give us joy each year
in honoring the memory of Saints N. and N.  
May their prayers be a source of help for us,
and may their example of courage and chastity be our inspiration.
Grant 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.


For holy women:

Father,
in our weakness your power reaches perfection.
You gave Saints N. and N. the strength
to defeat the power of sin and evil.
May we who celebrate their glory share in their triumph.
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.

DISMISSAL

May the Lord bless + us,
protect us from all evil
and bring us to everlasting life.
Amen.

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