Universalis
Saturday 23 February 2019    (other days)
Saint Polycarp, Bishop, Martyr 
 (Saturday of week 6 in Ordinary Time)

Office of Readings

If you have already recited the Invitatory Psalm today, you should use the alternative opening.


Lord, open our lips.
  And we shall praise your name.
Invitatory PsalmPsalm 23 (24)
The Lord is the king of martyrs: come, let us adore him.
(repeat antiphon*)
The Lord’s is the earth and its fullness,
  the world and all who live in it.
He himself founded it upon the seas
  and set it firm over the waters.
  (repeat antiphon*)
Who will climb the mountain of the Lord?
  Who will stand in his holy place?
The one who is innocent of wrongdoing and pure of heart,
  who has not given himself to vanities or sworn falsely.
He will receive the blessing of the Lord
  and be justified by God his saviour.
This is the way of those who seek him,
  seek the face of the God of Jacob.
  (repeat antiphon*)
Gates, raise your heads. Stand up, eternal doors,
  and let the king of glory enter.
Who is the king of glory?
The Lord of might and power.
  The Lord, strong in battle.
  (repeat antiphon*)
Gates, raise your heads. Stand up, eternal doors,
  and let the king of glory enter.
Who is the king of glory?
The Lord of hosts
 – he is the king of glory.
  (repeat antiphon*)
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.
(repeat antiphon*)

* If you are reciting this on your own, you can choose to say the antiphon once only at the start of the psalm and not repeat it.


Hymn
The martyrs living now with Christ
In suffering were tried,
Their anguish overcome by love
When on his cross they died.
Across the centuries they come,
In constancy unmoved,
Their loving hearts make no complaint,
In silence they are proved.
No man has ever measured love,
Or weighed it in his hand,
But God who knows the inmost heart
Gives them the promised land.
Praise Father, Son and Spirit blest,
Who guides us through the night
In ways that reach beyond the stars
To everlasting light.
Francis E. Mostyn (1860-1939)

Psalm 135 (136)
A paschal hymn
The Lord alone has wrought marvellous works, for his love endures for ever.
Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good,
  for his love is for ever.
Give thanks to the God of gods,
  for his love is for ever.
Give thanks to the Lord of lords,
  for his love is for ever.
He alone works wonders,
  for his love is for ever.
In his wisdom he made the heavens,
  for his love is for ever.
He set the Earth upon the waters,
  for his love is for ever.
He created the great lights,
  for his love is for ever.
The sun, to rule over the day,
  for his love is for ever.
The moon and stars, to rule over the night,
  for his love is 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.
The Lord alone has wrought marvellous works, for his love endures for ever.

Psalm 135 (136)
He brought Israel out from Egypt, with arm outstretched, with power in his hand.
He struck down the first-born of Egypt,
  for his love is for ever.
He led Israel out from their midst,
  for his love is for ever.
With a strong hand and an outstretched arm,
  for his love is for ever.
He divided the Red Sea in two,
  for his love is for ever.
He led Israel out through the sea,
  for his love is for ever.
He overthrew Pharaoh and his army,
  for his love is 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.
He brought Israel out from Egypt, with arm outstretched, with power in his hand.

Psalm 135 (136)
To the Lord of heaven give thanks: he set us free from our foes.
He led his people through the wilderness,
  for his love is for ever.
He struck down great kings,
  for his love is for ever.
Sihon, king of the Amorites,
  for his love is for ever.
And Og, the king of Bashan,
  for his love is for ever.
He gave their land to his people,
  for his love is for ever.
A heritage for Israel his servant,
  for his love is for ever.
He remembered us in our affliction,
  for his love is for ever.
He rescued us from our enemies,
  for his love is for ever.
He gives food to all creatures that live,
  for his love is for ever.
Give thanks to the God of heaven,
  for his love is 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.
To the Lord of heaven give thanks: he set us free from our foes.

℣. Lord, let me know your ways.
℟. Teach me your paths.

First Reading
Proverbs 31:10-31 ©
Praise of the steadfast wife
A perfect wife – who can find her?
  She is far beyond the price of pearls.
Her husband’s heart has confidence in her,
  from her he will derive no little profit.
Advantage and not hurt she brings him
  all the days of her life.
She is always busy with wool and with flax,
  she does her work with eager hands.
She is like a merchant vessel
  bringing her food from far away.
She gets up while it is still dark
  giving her household their food,
  giving orders to her serving girls.
She sets her mind on a field, then she buys it;
  with what her hands have earned she plants a vineyard.
She puts her back into her work
  and shows how strong her arms can be.
She finds her labour well worth while;
  her lamp does not go out at night.
She sets her hands to the distaff,
  her fingers grasp the spindle.
She holds out her hand to the poor,
  she opens her arms to the needy.
Snow may come, she has no fears for her household,
  with all her servants warmly clothed.
She makes her own quilts,
  she is dressed in fine linen and purple.
Her husband is respected at the city gates,
  taking his seat among the elders of the land.
She weaves linen sheets and sells them,
  she supplies the merchant with sashes.
She is clothed in strength and dignity,
  she can laugh at the days to come.
When she opens her mouth, she does so wisely;
  on her tongue is kindly instruction.
She keeps good watch on the conduct of her household,
  no bread of idleness for her.
Her sons stand up and proclaim her blessed,
  her husband, too, sings her praises:
‘Many women have done admirable things,
  but you surpass them all!’
Charm is deceitful, and beauty empty;
  the woman who is wise is the one to praise.
Give her a share in what her hands have worked for,
  and let her works tell her praises at the city gates.
Responsory
Pr 31:17-18; Ps 46:5
℟. She girds her loins with strength and makes her arms strong,* and so her lamp will never be extinguished.
℣. God will help her at the dawning of the day; God is with her, she cannot be shaken,* and so her lamp will never be extinguished.

Second Reading
From a letter on the martyrdom of Saint Polycarp by the Church of Smyrna
A rich and pleasing sacrifice
When the pyre was ready, Polycarp took off all his clothes and loosened his under-garment. He made an effort also to remove his shoes, though he had been unaccustomed to this, for the faithful always vied with each other in their haste to touch his body. Even before his martyrdom he had received every mark of honour in tribute to his holiness of life.
  There and then he was surrounded by the material for the pyre. When they tried to fasten him also with nails, he said: “Leave me as I am. The one who gives me strength to endure the fire will also give me strength to stay quite still on the pyre, even without the precaution of your nails.” So they did not fix him to the pyre with nails but only fastened him instead. Bound as he was, with hands behind his back, he stood like a mighty ram, chosen out for sacrifice from a great flock, a worthy victim made ready to be offered to God.
  Looking up to heaven, he said: “Lord, almighty God, Father of your beloved and blessed Son Jesus Christ, through whom we have come to the knowledge of yourself, God of angels, of powers, of all creation, of all the race of saints who live in your sight, I bless you for judging me worthy of this day, this hour, so that in the company of the martyrs I may share the cup of Christ, your anointed one, and so rise again to eternal life in soul and body, immortal through the power of the Holy Spirit. May I be received among the martyrs in your presence today as a rich and pleasing sacrifice. God of truth, stranger to falsehood, you have prepared this and revealed it to me and now you have fulfilled your promise.
  “I praise you for all things, I bless you, I glorify you through the eternal priest of heaven, Jesus Christ, your beloved Son. Through him be glory to you, together with him and the Holy Spirit, now and for ever. Amen.”
  When he had said “Amen” and finished the prayer, the officials at the pyre lit it. But, when a great flame burst out, those of us privileged to see it witnessed a strange and wonderful thing. Indeed, we have been spared in order to tell the story to others. Like a ship’s sail swelling in the wind, the flame became as it were a dome encircling the martyr’s body. Surrounded by the fire, his body was like bread that is baked, or gold and silver white-hot in a furnace, not like flesh that has been burnt. So sweet a fragrance came to us that it was like that of burning incense or some other costly and sweet-smelling gum.
Responsory
℟. To the angel of the church at Smyrna, write, These are the words of the First and the Last, who was dead and came to life again: I know how hard-pressed you are, and poor – and yet you are rich;* only be faithful till death, and I will give you the crown of life.
℣. Do not be afraid of the suffering to come. The devil will throw some of you into prison, to put you to the test;* only be faithful till death, and I will give you the crown of life.

Let us pray.
Lord of all creation, you gave Saint Polycarp
  a place in the company of the martyrs.
Grant that, through his intercession,
  we may, like him, drink from that cup which Christ drank,
  and so rise to eternal life.
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.

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

The psalms and canticles here are our own translation. 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, programs and downloads do contain the Grail translation of the psalms.

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