Universalis
Friday 19 December 2014    (other days)
19 December

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 Advent of our God
  With eager prayers we greet
And singing haste up on the road
  His glorious gift to meet.
The everlasting Son
  Scorns not a Virgin’s womb;
That we from bondage may be won
  He bears a bondsman’s doom.
Daughter of Zion, rise
  To meet thy lowly King;
Let not thy stubborn heart despise
  The peace he deigns to bring.
In clouds of awful light,
  As Judge he comes again,
His scattered people to unite,
  With them in heaven to reign.
Let evil flee away
  Ere that dread hour shall dawn.
Let this old Adam day by day
  God’s image still put on.
Praise to the Incarnate Son,
  Who comes to set us free,
With God the Father, ever One,
  To all eternity.

Psalm 68 (69)
I am consumed with zeal for your house
I am wearied with all my crying as I await my God.
Save me, O God,
  for the waters have come up to my neck.
I am stuck in bottomless mud;
  I am adrift in deep waters
  and the flood is sweeping me away.
I am exhausted with crying out, my throat is parched,
  my eyes are failing as I look out for my God.
Those who hate me for no reason
  are more than the hairs of my head.
They are strong, my persecutors, my lying enemies:
  they make me give back things I never took.
God, you know my weakness:
  my crimes are not hidden from you.
Let my fate not put to shame those who trust in you,
  Lord, Lord of hosts.
Let them not be dismayed on my account,
  those who seek you, God of Israel.
For it is for your sake that I am taunted
  and covered in confusion:
I have become a stranger to my own brothers,
  a wanderer in the eyes of my mother’s children –
because zeal for your house is consuming me,
  and the taunts of those who hate you
  fall upon my head.
I have humbled my soul with fasting
  and they reproach me for it.
I have made sackcloth my clothing
  and they make me a byword.
The idlers at the gates speak against me;
  for drinkers of wine, I am the butt of their songs.
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.
I am wearied with all my crying as I await my God.

Psalm 68 (69)
For food they gave me poison, and in my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink.
But I turn my prayer to you, Lord,
  at the acceptable time, my God.
In your great kindness, hear me,
  and rescue me with your faithful help.
Tear me from the mire, before I become stuck;
  tear me from those who hate me;
  tear me from the depths of the waters.
Do not let the waves overwhelm me;
  do not let the deep waters swallow me;
  do not let the well’s mouth engulf me.
Hear me, Lord, for you are kind and good.
  In your abundant mercy, look upon me.
Do not turn your face from your servant:
  I am suffering, so hurry to answer me.
Come to my soul and deliver it,
  rescue me from my enemies’ attacks.
You know how I am taunted and ashamed;
  how I am thrown into confusion.
You can see all those who are troubling me.
  Reproach has shattered my heart – I am sick.
I looked for sympathy, but none came;
  I looked for a consoler but did not find one.
They gave me bitterness to eat;
  when I was thirsty, they gave me vinegar to drink.
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.
For food they gave me poison, and in my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink.

Psalm 68 (69)
Seek the Lord, and he will give life to your soul.
I am weak and I suffer,
  but your help, O God, will sustain me.
I will praise the name of God in song
  and proclaim his greatness with praises.
This will please the Lord more than oxen,
  than cattle with their horns and hooves.
Let the humble see and rejoice.
  Seek the Lord, and your heart shall live,
for the Lord has heard the needy
  and has not despised his captive people.
Let heaven and earth praise him,
  the seas and all that swims in them.
For the Lord will make Zion safe
  and build up the cities of Judah:
  there they will live, the land will be theirs.
The seed of his servants will inherit the land,
  and those who love his name will dwell there.
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.
Seek the Lord, and he will give life to your soul.

Show us your saving mercy, Lord,
and give us your saving help.

First Reading
Isaiah 47:1,3-15 ©
Down with you! Sit in the dust,
virgin, daughter of Babylon.
Sit on the ground, dethroned,
daughter of the Chaldaeans.
Never again will you be called
tender and delicate.
Our redeemer, the Lord of Hosts his name,
the Holy One of Israel, says:
Sit in silence and creep into shadows,
daughter of the Chaldaeans,
for you will no longer be called
sovereign lady of the kingdoms.
I was angry with my people,
I had profaned my heritage.
I had surrendered it into your hands,
but you showed them no mercy.
On the aged you laid
your crushing yoke.
You said, ‘For ever
I shall be sovereign lady.’
You never took these things to heart
or pondered on their outcome.
So listen now, voluptuous woman,
lolling at ease
and saying to yourself,
‘I, and none besides me.
I shall never be widowed,
never know loss of children.’
Yet both these things shall happen to you
both suddenly and on the same day.
Loss of children, widowhood, at once
will come to you;
in spite of all your witchcraft
and the power of all your spells.
You were bold in your wickedness and said,
‘There is no one to see me.’
That wisdom and knowledge of yours
led you astray.
You said to yourself,
‘I, and none besides me.’
A calamity shall fall on you
which you will not be able to charm away,
a disaster shall overtake you
which you will not be able to avert,
unforeseen ruin
will suddenly descend on you.
Keep to your spells then,
and all your sorceries,
for which you have worn yourself out since your youth.
Do you think they will help you?
Do you think they will make anyone nervous?
You have spent weary hours with your many advisers.
Let them come forward now
and save you, these who analyse the heavens,
who study the stars
and announce month by month
what will happen to you next.
Oh, they will be like wisps of straw
and the fire will burn them.
They will not save their lives
from the power of the flame.
No embers these, for baking,
no fireside to sit by.
This is what your wizards will be for you,
those men for whom you have worn yourself out since your youth.
They will all go off, each his own way,
powerless to save you.
Responsory
Shout for joy, you heavens; exult, you earth! You mountains, break into happy cries! For the Lord will take pity on those who are afflicted.
Our redeemer, the Lord of hosts is his name, the Holy One of Israel, For the Lord will take pity on those who are afflicted.

Second Reading
The treatise of St Irenaeus "Against Heresies"
The operation of the redeeming Incarnation
God is man’s glory. Man is the vessel which receives God’s action and all his wisdom and power.
  Just as a doctor is judged in his care for the sick, so God is revealed in his conduct with men. That is Paul’s reason for saying: God has made the whole world prisoner of unbelief that he may have mercy on all. He was speaking of man, who was disobedient to God, and cast off from immortality, and then found mercy, receiving through the Son of God the adoption he brings.
  If man, without being puffed up or boastful, has a right belief regarding created things and their divine Creator, who, having given them being, holds them all in his power, and if man perseveres in God’s love, and in obedience and gratitude to him, he will receive greater glory from him. It will be a glory which will grow ever brighter until he takes on the likeness of the one who died for him.
  He it was who took on the likeness of sinful flesh, to condemn sin and rid the flesh of sin, as now condemned. He wanted to invite man to take on his likeness, appointing man an imitator of God, establishing man in a way of life in obedience to the Father that would lead to the vision of God, and endowing man with power to receive the Father. He is the Word of God who dwelt with man and became the Son of Man to open the way for man to receive God, for God to dwell with man, according to the will of the Father.
  For this reason the Lord himself gave as the sign of our salvation, the one who was born of the Virgin, Emmanuel. It was the Lord himself who saved them, for of themselves they had no power to be saved. For this reason Paul speaks of the weakness of man, and says: I know that no good dwells in my flesh, meaning that the blessing of our salvation comes not from us but from God. Again, he says: I am a wretched man; who will free me from this body doomed to die? Then he speaks of a liberator, thanks to Jesus Christ our Lord.
  Isaiah says the same: Hands that are feeble, grow strong! Knees that are weak, take courage! Hearts that are faint, grow strong! Fear not; see, our God is judgement and he will repay. He himself will come and save us. He means that we could not be saved of ourselves but only with God’s help.
Responsory
All nations, hear the word of the Lord, declare it to the ends of the earth, say to the farthest parts: ‘Our Saviour is coming.’
Say this, proclaim it, cry it aloud, say to the farthest parts: ‘Our Saviour is coming.’

Let us pray.
Deepen our faith, Lord God,
  as we celebrate the great mystery of the incarnation
  by which you revealed to the world the splendour of your glory
  through the Virgin Mary
  when she gave birth to your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
  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 downloads do contain the Grail translation of the psalms.

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