Universalis
Wednesday 25 May 2016    (other days)
Saint Bede the Venerable, Priest, Doctor 
 (Wednesday after the Most Holy Trinity)

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
O God, creation’s secret force,
yourself unmoved, all motion’s source,
who from the morn till evening ray
through all its changes guide the day:
Grant us, when this short life is past,
the glorious evening that shall last;
that, by a holy death attained,
eternal glory may be gained.
To God the Father, God the Son,
and God the Spirit, Three in One,
may every tongue and nation raise
an endless song of thankful praise!
St Ambrose of Milan

Psalm 102 (103)
Praise of the compassionate Lord
My soul, give thanks to the Lord, and never forget all his blessings.
My soul, bless the Lord!
  All that is in me, bless his holy name.
My soul, bless the Lord!
  Never forget all he has done for you.
The Lord, who forgives your wrongdoing,
  who heals all your weaknesses.
The Lord, who redeems your life from destruction,
  who crowns you with kindness and compassion.
The Lord, who fills your age with good things,
  who renews your youth like an eagle’s.
The Lord, who gives fair judgements,
  who gives judgement in favour of the oppressed.
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.
My soul, give thanks to the Lord, and never forget all his blessings.

Psalm 102 (103)
As a father has compassion on his sons, the Lord has pity on those who fear him.
The Lord is compassion and kindness,
  full of patience, full of mercy.
He will not fight against you for ever:
  he will not always be angry.
He does not treat us as our sins deserve;
  he does not pay us back for our wrongdoing.
As high as the sky above the earth,
  so great is his kindness to those who fear him.
As far as east is from west,
  so far he has put our wrongdoing from us.
As a father cares for his children,
  so the Lord cares for those who fear him.
For he knows how we are made,
  he remembers we are nothing but dust.
Man – his life is like grass,
  he blossoms and withers like flowers of the field.
The wind blows and carries him away:
  no trace of him remains.
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.
As a father has compassion on his sons, the Lord has pity on those who fear him.

Psalm 102 (103)
Give thanks to the Lord, all his works.
The Lord has been kind from the beginning;
  to those who fear him his kindness lasts for ever.
His justice is for their children’s children,
  for those who keep his covenant,
  for those who remember his commandments
  and try to perform them.
The Lord’s throne is high in the heavens
  and his rule shall extend over all.
Bless the Lord, all his angels,
  strong in your strength, doers of his command,
  bless him as you hear his words.
Bless the Lord, all his powers,
  his servants who do his will.
Bless the Lord, all he has created,
  in every place that he rules.
My soul, bless the Lord!
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.
Give thanks to the Lord, all his works.

Teach me the way of your precepts, O Lord,
and I will reflect on the wonders you have wrought.

First ReadingJob 7:1-21 ©
Is not man’s life on earth nothing more than pressed service,
  his time no better than hired drudgery?
Like the slave, sighing for the shade,
  or the workman with no thought but his wages,
months of delusion I have assigned to me,
  nothing for my own but nights of grief.
Lying in bed I wonder, ‘When will it be day?’
  Risen I think, ‘How slowly evening comes!’
  Restlessly I fret till twilight falls.
Vermin cover my flesh, and loathsome scabs;
  my skin is cracked and oozes pus.
Swifter than a weaver’s shuttle my days have passed,
  and vanished, leaving no hope behind.
Remember that my life is but a breath,
  and that my eyes will never again see joy.
The eye that once saw me will look on me no more,
  your eyes will turn my way, and I shall not be there.
As a cloud dissolves and is gone,
  so he who goes down to Sheol never ascends again.
He never comes home again,
  and his house knows him no more.
No wonder then if I cannot keep silence;
  in the anguish of my spirit I must speak,
  lament in the bitterness of my soul.
Am I the Sea, or the Wild Sea Beast,
  that you should keep me under watch and guard?
If I say, ‘My bed will comfort me,
  my couch will soothe my pain’,
you frighten me with dreams
  and terrify me with visions.
Strangling I would welcome rather,
  and death itself, than these my sufferings.
I waste away, my life is not unending;
  leave me then, for my days are but a breath.
What is man that you should make so much of him,
  subjecting him to your scrutiny,
that morning after morning you should examine him
  and at every instant test him?
Will you never take your eyes off me
  long enough for me to swallow my spittle?
Suppose I have sinned, what have I done to you,
  you tireless watcher of mankind?
Why do you choose me as your target?
  Why should I be a burden to you?
Can you not tolerate my sin,
  nor overlook my fault?
It will not be long before I lie in earth;
  then you will look for me, but I shall be no more.
Responsory
℟. Vermin cover my flesh, and loathsome scabs; my skin is cracked and festering.* Lord, remember that my life is but a breath.
℣. Swifter than a weaver’s shuttle my days have passed, leaving no hope behind.* Lord, remember that my life is but a breath.

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 and 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 downloads do contain the Grail translation of the psalms.

You can also view this page in Latin and English.

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