Universalis
Monday 4 May 2015    (other days)
The English Martyrs
Feast

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 2
The Messiah, king and victor
The blood of the holy martyrs was shed for Christ on this earth; therefore have they received their reward in heaven. Alleluia.
Why are the nations in a ferment?
  Why do the people make their vain plans?
The kings of the earth have risen up;
  the leaders have united against the Lord,
  against his anointed.
“Let us break their chains, that bind us;
  let us throw off their yoke from our shoulders!”
The Lord laughs at them,
  he who lives in the heavens derides them.
Then he speaks to them in his anger;
  in his fury he throws them into confusion:
“But I – I have set up my king on Zion,
my holy mountain.”
I will proclaim the Lord’s decrees.
The Lord has said to me: “You are my son: today I have begotten you.
  Ask me, and I will give you the nations for your inheritance,
  the ends of the earth for you to possess.
You will rule them with a rod of iron,
  break them in pieces like an earthen pot.”
So now, kings, listen: understand, you who rule the land.
  Serve the Lord in fear, tremble even as you praise him.
Learn his teaching, lest he take anger,
  lest you perish when his anger bursts into flame.
Blessed are all who put their trust in 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.
The blood of the holy martyrs was shed for Christ on this earth; therefore have they received their reward in heaven. Alleluia.

Psalm 32 (33)
The Lord provides
These holy men will live for ever; the Lord himself is their reward. Alleluia.
Rejoice in the Lord, you just:
  it is good for the upright to praise him.
Proclaim the Lord on the lyre,
  play his song on the ten-stringed harp.
Sing a new song to the Lord,
  sing out your cries of triumph,
for the word of the Lord is truly just,
  and all his actions are faithful.
The Lord loves justice and right judgement;
  the earth is full of his loving kindness.
By the Lord’s word the heavens were made,
  and all their array by the breath of his mouth.
He gathered the seas as if in a bag,
  he stored up the depths in his treasury.
Let every land fear the Lord,
  let all the world be awed at his presence.
For he spoke, and they came into being;
  he commanded, and they were made.
The Lord confounds the counsel of the nations,
  throws the thoughts of the peoples into confusion.
But the Lord’s own counsel stands firm for ever,
  his thoughts last for all generations.
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.
These holy men will live for ever; the Lord himself is their reward. Alleluia.

Psalm 32 (33)
Come, my saints, who fought valiantly in this world: I will give you the reward of your labours. Alleluia.
Happy the nation whose lord is God,
  the people he has chosen as his inheritance.
The Lord looks down from the heavens
  and sees all the children of men.
From his dwelling-place he looks
  upon all who inhabit the earth.
He moulded each one of their hearts,
  he understands all that they do.
The king will not be saved by his forces;
  the abundance of his strength will not set the strong man free.
Do not trust a horse to save you,
  whatever its swiftness and strength.
For see, the eyes of the Lord are on those who fear him,
  upon those who trust in his mercy,
hoping he will save their souls from death
  and their bodies from hunger.
Our souls praise the Lord,
  for he is our help and our protector,
for our hearts rejoice in him,
  and we trust in his holy name.
Lord, show us your loving kindness,
  just as we put our hope in you.
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.
Come, my saints, who fought valiantly in this world: I will give you the reward of your labours. Alleluia.

Our soul is waiting for the Lord, alleluia:
he is our help and our protection. Alleluia.

First Reading
Apocalypse 7:9-17 ©
After that I saw a huge number, impossible to count, of people from every nation, race, tribe and language; they were standing in front of the throne and in front of the Lamb, dressed in white robes and holding palms in their hands. They shouted aloud, ‘Victory to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!’ And all the angels who were standing in a circle round the throne, surrounding the elders and the four animals, prostrated themselves before the throne, and touched the ground with their foreheads, worshipping God with these words, ‘Amen. Praise and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honour and power and strength to our God for ever and ever. Amen.’
  One of the elders then spoke, and asked me, ‘Do you know who these people are, dressed in white robes, and where they have come from?’ I answered him, ‘You can tell me, my lord.’ Then he said, ‘These are the people who have been through the great persecution, and because they have washed their robes white again in the blood of the Lamb, they now stand in front of God’s throne and serve him day and night in his sanctuary; and the One who sits on the throne will spread his tent over them. They will never hunger or thirst again; neither the sun nor scorching wind will ever plague them, because the Lamb who is at the throne will be their shepherd and will lead them to springs of living water; and God will wipe away all tears from their eyes.’
Responsory
The saints, who kept your commands, O Lord, travelled along a marvellous way: dry land appeared, and an unhindered path across the Red Sea, so that they emerged unharmed from the deep waters, alleluia.
They proclaimed with one voice your sovereign power, O Lord, and they extolled your holy name. Dry land appeared, and an unhindered path across the Red Sea, so that they emerged unharmed from the deep waters, alleluia.

Second Reading
A sermon of Blessed Pope Paul VI
Unshakeable loyalty to God-given vocation
To all those who are filled with admiration in reading the records of these Forty Holy Martyrs, it is perfectly clear that they are worthy to stand alongside the greatest martyrs of the past; and this not merely because of their fearless faith and marvellous constancy, but by reason of their humility, simplicity and serenity, and above all the spiritual joy and that wondrously radiant love with which they accepted their condemnation and death.
  The unity existing between these men and women depends from the deeply spiritual cast of mind which they had in common. In so many other respects they were completely different — as different as any large group usually is: in age and sex, in culture and education, in social status and occupation, in character and temperament, in their qualities, natural and supernatural, in the external circumstances of their lives. So we find among these Forty Holy Martyrs priests, secular and regular, religious of different orders and grades; and we have, amongst the laity, men of the highest nobility and those who rank as ordinary, married women and mothers of families. What unites them all is that interior quality of unshakeable loyalty to the vocation given them by God—the sacrifice of their lives as a loving response to that call.
  The high tragedy in the lives of these martyrs was that their honest and genuine loyalty came into conflict with their fidelity to God and with the dictates of their conscience illumined by the Catholic faith. Two truths especially were involved: the Holy Eucharist and the inalienable prerogatives of the successor of Peter who, by God’s will, is the universal shepherd of Christ’s Church. Faced with the choice of remaining steadfast in their faith and of dying for it, or of saving their lives by denying that faith, without a moment’s hesitation and with a truly supernatural strength they stood for God and joyfully confronted martyrdom. At the same time such was the greatness of their spirit that many of them died with prayers on their lips for the country they loved so much, for the King or Queen, and not least for those directly responsible for their capture, their sufferings, and the degradation and ignominy of their cruel deaths.
  May our thanksgiving go up to God who, in his providential goodness, saw fit to raise up these martyrs.
Responsory
The souls of the virtuous are in the hands of God; no torment shall ever touch them. Although in the sight of men they were punished, their hope is full of immortality; slight was their affliction, great will their blessings be.
God tested them and found them worthy of himself. Slight was their affliction, great will their blessings be.

God, we praise you; Lord, we proclaim you!
You, the Father, the eternal –
all the earth venerates you.
All the angels, all the heavens, every power –
The cherubim, the seraphim –
unceasingly, they cry:
“Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God of Hosts:
heaven and earth are full of the majesty of your glory!”
The glorious choir of Apostles –
The noble ranks of prophets –
The shining army of martyrs –
all praise you.
Throughout the world your holy Church proclaims you.
– Father of immeasurable majesty,
– True Son, only-begotten, worthy of worship,
– Holy Spirit, our Advocate.
You, Christ:
– You are the king of glory.
– You are the Father’s eternal Son.
– You, to free mankind, did not disdain a Virgin’s womb.
– You defeated the sharp spear of Death, and opened the kingdom of heaven to those who believe in you.
– You sit at God’s right hand, in the glory of the Father.
– You will come, so we believe, as our Judge.
And so we ask of you: give help to your servants, whom you set free at the price of your precious blood.
Number them among your chosen ones in eternal glory.
The final part of the hymn may be omitted:
Bring your people to safety, Lord, and bless those who are your inheritance.
Rule them and lift them high for ever.
Day by day we bless you, Lord: we praise you for ever and for ever.
Of your goodness, Lord, keep us without sin for today.
Have mercy on us, Lord, have mercy on us.
Let your pity, Lord, be upon us, as much as we trust in you.
In you, Lord, I trust: let me never be put to shame.

Let us pray.
God our Father,
  you raised up martyr-saints among our countrymen from every walk of life.
  They vindicated the authority of your Church in teaching and worship.
  Through their prayers may our whole nation be gathered once again
  to celebrate the same sacraments under one Pastor.
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.

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