Universalis
Monday 23 April 2018    (other days)
Saint Adalbert of Prague, Bishop, Martyr 
 or Monday of the 4th week of Eastertide 
 or Saint George, Martyr 

Office of Readings

If this is the first Hour that you are reciting today, you should precede it with the Invitatory Psalm.


INTRODUCTION
O God, come to our aid.
  O Lord, make haste to help us.
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. Alleluia.

Hymn
The martyrs living now with Christ
In suffering were tried,
Their anguish overcome by love
When on his cross he 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 72 (73)
Why should the just suffer?
How good God is to Israel, to those who are pure of heart. Alleluia.
How good God is to the upright,
  to those who are pure of heart!
But as for me, my feet nearly stumbled,
  my steps were on the point of going astray,
as I envied the boasters and sinners,
  envied their comfort and peace.
For them there are no burdens,
  their bellies are full and sleek.
They do not labour, like ordinary men;
  they do not suffer, like mortals.
They wear their pride like a necklace,
  their violence covers them like a robe.
Wickedness oozes from their very being,
  the thoughts of their hearts break forth:
they deride, they utter abominations,
  and from their heights they proclaim injustice.
They have set their mouth in the heavens,
  and their tongue traverses the earth.
Thus they sit in their lofty positions,
  and the flood-waters cannot reach them.
They ask, “How can God know?
  Does the Most High have any understanding?”
Behold, then, the wicked, always prosperous:
  their riches growing 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.
How good God is to Israel, to those who are pure of heart. Alleluia.

Psalm 72 (73)
Their rejoicing will be turned to weeping, their joy to sorrow. Alleluia.
I said, “It was pointless to purify my heart,
  to wash my hands in innocence –
for still I suffered all through the day,
  still I was punished every morning.”
If I had said, “I will speak like them,”
  I would have betrayed the race of your children.
I pondered and tried to understand:
  my eyes laboured to see –
until I entered God’s holy place
  and heard how they would end.
For indeed you have put them on a slippery surface
  and have thrown them down in ruin.
How they are laid waste!
  How suddenly they fall and perish in terror!
You spurn the sight of them, Lord,
  as a dream is abandoned when the sleeper awakes.
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.
Their rejoicing will be turned to weeping, their joy to sorrow. Alleluia.

Psalm 72 (73)
All those who abandon you shall perish; but to be near God is my happiness. Alleluia.
My heart was sore, my being was troubled –
  I was a fool, I knew nothing;
  I was like a dumb beast before you.
But still I stay with you:
  you hold my right hand.
You lead me according to your counsel,
  until you raise me up in glory.
For who else is for me, in heaven?
  On earth, I want nothing when I am with you.
My flesh and heart are failing,
  but it is God that I love:
  God is my portion for ever.
Behold, those who abandon you will perish:
  you have condemned all who go whoring away from you.
But for myself, I take joy in clinging to God,
  in putting my trust in the Lord, my God,
to proclaim your works at the gates of the daughters of Zion.
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.
All those who abandon you shall perish; but to be near God is my happiness. Alleluia.

My heart and my flesh, alleluia,
shout joy to the living God, alleluia.

First Reading
Apocalypse 13:1-18 ©
The Two Beasts
Then I saw a beast emerge from the sea: it had seven heads and ten horns, with a coronet on each of its ten horns, and its heads were marked with blasphemous titles. I saw that the beast was like a leopard, with paws like a bear and a mouth like a lion; the dragon had handed over to it his own power and his throne and his worldwide authority. I saw that one of its heads seemed to have had a fatal wound but that this deadly injury had healed and, after that, the whole world had marvelled and followed the beast. They prostrated themselves in front of the dragon because he had given the beast his authority; and they prostrated themselves in front of the beast, saying, ‘Who can compare with the beast? How could anybody defeat him?’ For forty-two months the beast was allowed to mouth its boasts and blasphemies and to do whatever it wanted; and it mouthed its blasphemies against God, against his name, his heavenly Tent and all those who are sheltered there. It was allowed to make war against the saints and conquer them, and given power over every race, people, language and nation; and all people of the world will worship it, that is, everybody whose name has not been written down since the foundation of the world in the book of life of the sacrificial Lamb. If anyone has ears to hear, let him listen: Captivity for those who are destined for captivity; the sword for those who are to die by the sword. This is why the saints must have constancy and faith.
  Then I saw a second beast; it emerged from the ground; it had two horns like a lamb, but made a noise like a dragon. This second beast was servant to the first beast, and extended its authority everywhere, making the world and all its people worship the first beast, which had had the fatal wound and had been healed. And it worked great miracles, even to calling down fire from heaven on to the earth while people watched. Through the miracles which it was allowed to do on behalf of the first beast, it was able to win over the people of the world and persuade them to put up a statue in honour of the beast that had been wounded by the sword and still lived. It was allowed to breathe life into this statue, so that the statue of the beast was able to speak, and to have anyone who refused to worship the statue of the beast put to death. He compelled everyone – small and great, rich and poor, slave and citizen – to be branded on the right hand or on the forehead, and made it illegal for anyone to buy or sell anything unless he had been branded with the name of the beast or with the number of its name.
  There is need for shrewdness here: if anyone is clever enough he may interpret the number of the beast: it is the number of a man, the number 666.
Responsory
Rv 3:5; Mt 10:22
℟. He who wins the victory will be clothed in white, and I will not remove his name from the book of the living.* In the presence of my Father and of his angels I will declare openly that he belongs to me, alleluia.
℣. The man who stands firm to the end will be saved.* In the presence of my Father and of his angels I will declare openly that he belongs to me, alleluia.

Second Reading
From his life, written by a contemporary
He embraced the Cross with his whole body
With angry cries and sharpened teeth the idle crowd gathered from all around in anticipation of what the village chief would do with the holy man Adalbert. The saint, for his part, questioned as to who he was, where he came from and why he had come there, by contrast replied with an affable voice: “I was born in Bohemia, my name is Adalbert and I am a monk by profession, consecrated bishop; my task now is to be your apostle. The reason for our journey is your salvation, that you turn away from those deaf and mute idols and recognise your Creator, the only God, apart from whom there is no other, so that believing in his name you may have life and may merit in reward to receive celestial joy in the eternal courts”. Thus spoke saint Adalbert. They, however, already infuriated, shouting blasphemous words against him, threatened him with death.
  Finally a pagan fury came upon them, and they swooped down on Adalbert and his companions with great violence and bound them all. Saint Adalbert, who was standing in front of Gaudentius and another of the bound brothers, said: “Brothers, do not be sad! You know that we suffer this for the name of the Lord, with power beyond all powers, beauty exceeding all fairness, of indescribable strength and singular piety. What is stronger, more beautiful, than to give a beloved life for the most beloved Jesus?”
  At this, a certain Siggo, full of passion, came out of the enraged crowd and, thrusting a large spear with all his might, pierced Adalbert’s heart. Purple blood flows from the wounds in all directions. He stands praying with eyes and hands raised towards heaven. They extract the spears leaving seven large wounds open; blood flows abundantly like a red river.
  Once untied, he extends his hands in the form of a cross and humbly pours out prayers to the Lord for his own salvation and that of his persecutors. Just as that saintly soul escapes from its prison, so his venerable body lies on the ground in the form of the Cross. Thus shedding much blood and with that his life, he forever enjoys a blessed dwelling with Christ whom he so much loved.
Responsory
℟. In our great longing for you, we desired nothing better than to offer you our own lives, as well as God’s gospel,* so greatly had we learned to love you, alleluia.
℣. My little children, I am in travail over you afresh, until I can see Christ’s image formed in you,* so greatly had we learned to love you, alleluia.

Let us pray.
God of power and mercy, you gave Saint N.
  the grace to overcome the sufferings of martyrdom.
Grant to us who celebrate his victory
  that the power of your protecting hand
  may keep us unshaken in the face of our ancient enemy
  and all his hidden snares.
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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