Universalis
Friday 25 May 2018    (other days)
Saint Bede the Venerable, Priest, Doctor 
 (Friday of week 7 in Ordinary Time)

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
In ancient times God spoke to us
Through prophets, and in varied ways,
But now he speaks through Christ his Son,
His radiance through eternal days.
To God the Father of the world,
His Son through whom he made all things,
And Holy Spirit, bond of love,
All glad creation glory sings.
Stanbrook Abbey Hymnal

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.

The Lord will teach us his ways
and we shall walk in his paths.

First Reading
Ecclesiastes 8:5-9:10 ©
A wise man’s consolation
He who obeys the command will come to no harm,
and the wise man knows there will be a time of judgement.
For there is a time of judgement for everything; and man runs grave risks, since he does not know what is going to happen; and who can tell him when it will happen? No man can master the wind so as to hold it back, nor control the day of death. There is no discharge in time of war; no more can wickedness set its author free. All this I observe as I consider all that is done under the sun, whenever man tyrannises over man to his hurt.
  And then I see the wicked brought to burial and people come from the Temple to honour them in the city for having been the men they were. This, too, is vanity. Since the sentence on wrong-doing is not carried out at once, men’s inmost hearts are intent on doing wrong. The sinner who does wrong a hundred times survives even so. I know very well that happiness is reserved for those who fear God, because they fear him; that there will be no happiness for the wicked man and that he will only eke out his days like a shadow, because he does not fear God. But there is a vanity found on earth; the good, I mean, receive the treatment the wicked deserve; and the wicked the treatment the good deserve. This, too, I say, is vanity.
  Joy, then, is the object of my praise, since under the sun there is no happiness for man except in eating, drinking and pleasure. This is his standby in his toil through the days of life God has given him under the sun.
  Wisdom having been my careful study, I came to observe the business that goes on here on earth. And certainly the eyes of man never rest, day and night. And I look at all the work of God: plainly no one can discover what the work is that goes on under the sun or explain why man should toil to seek yet never discover. Not even a sage can discover it, though he may claim to know. For I have reflected on all this and come to understand that the virtuous and the wise with all they do are in the hand of God.
  Man does not know what love is, or hate, and both of these in his eyes are vanity.
  Just as one fate comes to all, to virtuous as to wicked, to clean and unclean, to him who sacrifices and him who does not sacrifice, so it is with the good man and the sinner, with him who takes an oath and him who shrinks from it. This is the evil that inheres in all that is done under the sun: that one fate comes to all; further, that the hearts of men should be full of malice; that they should practise such extravagances towards the living in their lifetime and the dead thereafter. For anyone who is linked with all that live still has some hope, a live dog being better than a dead lion. The living know at least that they will die, the dead know nothing; no more reward for them, their memory has passed out of mind. Their loves, their hates, their jealousies, these all have perished, nor will they ever again take part in whatever is done under the sun.
Go, eat your bread with joy
and drink your wine with a glad heart;
for what you do God has approved beforehand.
Wear white all the time,
do not stint your head of oil.
Spend your life with the woman you love, through all the fleeting days of the life that God has given you under the sun; for this is the lot assigned to you in life and in the efforts you exert under the sun. Whatever work you propose to do, do it while you can, for there is neither achievement, nor planning, nor knowledge, nor wisdom in Sheol where you are going.
Responsory
1 Co 2:9-10; Qo 8:17
℟. The things that no eye has seen and no ear has heard, things beyond the mind of man, all that God has prepared for those who love him:* these are the very things that God has revealed to us through the Spirit, for the Spirit searches the depths of everything, even the depths of God.
℣. I understood that God’s dealings with man are past all accounting for:* these are the very things that God has revealed to us through the Spirit, for the Spirit searches the depths of everything, even the depths of God.

Second Reading
Cuthbert's narration of the death of Bede
"I desire to see Christ"
On the Tuesday before Ascension, Bede began to suffer greater difficulties in breathing and his feet began to swell slightly. Nevertheless, he continued to teach us and dictate all day, and made jokes about his illness: “Learn quickly,” he would say, “because I don’t know how long I’ll last: my Creator may take me very soon.” But it seemed to us that he was perfectly conscious of his approaching end.
  He spent all night in giving thanks to God. As dawn broke on the Wednesday, he ordered us to finish writing what we had started, and we did this until the third hour [mid-morning]. Afterwards we carried the relics of the saints in solemn procession, as it was the custom to do on that day. One of us stayed with him, and asked him: “Dear master, the book is almost complete, there is one chapter left to go – would it be difficult for you if I asked you to do more dictation?.” “No,” Bede replied, “it is easy. Take your pen and ink, and write quickly” – which he did.
  At the ninth hour [mid-afternoon] he said to me “I have a few precious things in my cell: some pepper, some napkins, and some incense. Run quickly and call the priests of the monastery to me, so that I can give to them the few little gifts that God gave me.” When they came he spoke to them in turn, giving advice to each one and begging him to say a Mass and pray for him; which they all willingly promised to do.
  They were grief-stricken and wept, especially because he had said that he thought they would not see his face much more in this world. But at the same time it made them glad when he said “It is time – if it is my Maker’s will – to return to him who made me, who shaped me out of nothing and gave me existence. I have lived a long time, and the righteous judge has provided well for me all my life: now the time of my departure is at hand, for I long to dissolve and be with Christ; indeed, my soul longs to see Christ its king in all his beauty.” This is just one saying of his: he said many other things too, to our great benefit – and thus he spent his last day in gladness until the evening.
  Then Wilbert (the boy who asked him for dictation) asked him again: “Dear master, there is still one sentence left to write.” “Write it quickly,” he answered. A little later the boy said “now it is completed” and Bede replied “you have spoken truly, it is finished. Hold up my head, because I love to sit facing my holy place, the place where I used to pray, and as I sit I can call upon my Father.”
  And so, on the floor of his cell, he sat and sang “Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit”; and as he named the Spirit, the Breath of God, he breathed the last breath from his own body. With all the labour that he had given to the praise of God, there can be no doubt that he went into the joys of heaven that he had always longed for.
Responsory
℟. I spent the whole of my life within the monastery and gave my full attention to the study of scripture, always observing the regular discipline and daily choral duties.* It was a joy to me to be ever studying, teaching or writing.
℣. Whoever keeps my commandments and teaches others to do the same will be great in the kingdom of heaven.* It was a joy to me to be ever studying, teaching or writing.

Let us pray.
Lord God, you enrich your Church
  with the grace of Saint Bede’s learning.
In your love, grant to us who serve you
  that his wisdom may always enlighten us,
  and his prayer help us.
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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