Universalis
Thursday 23 March 2017    (other days)
Thursday of the 3rd week of Lent 
 (optional commemoration of Saint Turibius of Mongrovejo, Bishop)

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.

Hymn
Lord, who throughout these forty days
for us didst fast and pray,
teach us with thee to mourn our sins,
and close by thee to stay.
As thou with Satan didst contend
and didst the victory win,
O give us strength in thee to fight,
in thee to conquer sin.
As thou didst hunger bear, and thirst,
so teach us, gracious Lord,
to die to self, and chiefly live
by thy most holy word.
And through these days of penitence,
and through thy Passiontide,
yea, evermore in life and death,
Jesus, with us abide.
Abide with us, that so, this life
of suffering overpast,
an Easter of unending joy
we may attain at last.

Psalm 88 (89)
A lament at the ruin of the house of David
Pay heed, Lord, and see how we are taunted.
But you have spurned and rejected him;
  you are enraged against your anointed.
You have repudiated the covenant of your servant,
  you have trampled his crown in the dust.
You have demolished his walls
  and laid his fortifications in ruins.
Anyone who passes can despoil him;
  he is a mockery among his neighbours.
You have strengthened the arm of those who oppress him,
  you have gladdened the hearts of his enemies.
You have turned back the sharp edge of his sword;
  you have deprived him of your help in battle.
You have put an end to his splendour,
  and cast his throne to the ground.
You have cut short the days of his youth;
  you have covered him from head to foot in shame.
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.
Pay heed, Lord, and see how we are taunted.

Psalm 88 (89)
I am the root and stock of David; I am the splendid morning star.
How long, O Lord, will you hide yourself? For ever?
  Will your anger always burn like fire?
Remember how short is my time.
  Was it truly so pointless, your creation of man?
Who is the man who can live and not die,
  who can save his life from the grasp of the underworld?
Where are the kindnesses you showed us of old?
  Where is the truth of your oath to David?
Remember, Lord, how your servants are taunted,
  the taunts I bear in my bosom, the taunts of the nations –
  the insults of your enemies, Lord,
  the insults that follow the steps of your anointed!
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 the root and stock of David; I am the splendid morning star.

Psalm 89 (90)
Let the Lord's glory shine upon us
Our years pass like grass; but you, God, are without beginning or end.
Lord, you have been our refuge
  from generation to generation.
Before the mountains were born,
  before earth and heaven were conceived,
  from all time to all time, you are God.
You turn men into dust,
  you say to them “go back, children of men.”
A thousand years in your sight
  are like yesterday, that has passed;
  like a short watch in the night.
When you take them away, they will be nothing but a dream;
  like the grass that sprouts in the morning:
in the morning it grows and flowers,
  in the evening it withers and dries.
For we are made weak by your anger,
  thrown into confusion by your wrath.
You have gazed upon our transgressions;
  the light of your face illuminates our secrets.
All our days vanish in your anger,
  we use up our years in a single breath.
Seventy years are what we have,
  or eighty for the stronger ones;
and most of that is labour and sadness –
  quickly they pass, and we are gone.
Who can comprehend the power of your wrath?
  Who can behold the violence of your anger?
Teach us to reckon our days like this,
  so that our hearts may be led at last to wisdom.
Turn to us, Lord, how long must we wait?
  Let your servants call on you and be answered.
Fill us with your kindness in the morning,
  and we shall rejoice and be glad all the days of our life.
Give us joy for as long as you afflicted us,
  for all the years when we suffered.
Let your servants see your great works,
  and let their children see your glory.
Let the glory of the Lord God be upon us:
  make firm the work of your hands.
  Make firm the work of your hands.
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.
Our years pass like grass; but you, God, are without beginning or end.

He who reflects on the law of the Lord
will yield his fruit in due season.

First ReadingExodus 34:10-28 ©
The second text of the Covenant
The Lord said to Moses:
  ‘I am about to make a covenant with you. In the presence of all your people I shall work such wonders as have never been worked in any land or in any nation. All the people round you will see what the Lord can do, for what I shall do through you will be awe-inspiring. Mark, then, what I command you today. I mean to drive out the Amorites before you, the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, the Jebusites. Take care you make no pact with the inhabitants of the land you are about to enter, or this will prove a pitfall at your very feet. You are to tear down their altars, smash their standing-stones, cut down their sacred poles.
  ‘You shall bow down to no other god, for the Lord’s name is the Jealous One; he is a jealous God. Make no pact with the inhabitants of the land or, when they prostitute themselves to their own gods and sacrifice to them, they may invite you and you may consent to eat from their victim; or else you may choose wives for your sons from among their daughters and these, prostituting themselves to their own gods, may induce your sons to do the same.
  ‘You shall make yourself no gods of molten metal.
  ‘You shall celebrate the feast of Unleavened Bread: you shall eat unleavened bread, as I have commanded you, at the appointed time in the month of Abib, for in the month of Abib you came out of Egypt.
  ‘All that first issues from the womb is mine: every male, every first-born of flock or herd. But the first-born donkey you must redeem with an animal from your flocks. If you do not redeem it, you must break its neck. You must redeem all the first-born of your sons. And no one is to come before me empty-handed.
  ‘For six days you shall labour, but on the seventh day you shall rest, even at ploughing time and harvest.
  ‘You shall celebrate the feast of Weeks, of the first-fruits of wheat harvest, and the feast of Ingathering at the close of the year.
  ‘Three times a year all your menfolk must present themselves before the Lord, the God of Israel.
  ‘When I have dispossessed the nations for you and extended your frontiers, no one will covet your land, if you present yourselves three times in the year before the Lord your God.
  ‘You must not offer the blood of the victim sacrificed to me at the same time as you offer unleavened bread, nor is the victim offered at the feast of Passover to be put aside for the following day.
  ‘You must bring the best of the first-fruits of your soil to the house of the Lord your God.
  ‘You must not boil a kid in its mother’s milk.’
  The Lord said to Moses, ‘Put these words in writing, for they are the terms of the covenant I am making with you and with Israel.’
  He stayed there with the Lord for forty days and forty nights, eating and drinking nothing. He inscribed on the tablets the words of the Covenant – the Ten Words.
Responsory
℟. Through Moses the Law was given to us; through Jesus Christ grace and truth have come to us.* No-one has ever seen God: it is only the Son who is nearest to the Father’s heart who has made him known.
℣. It is given to us, all alike, to catch the glory of the Lord as in a mirror, with faces unveiled; and so we become transfigured into the same likeness, borrowing glory from glory.* No-one has ever seen God: it is only the Son who is nearest to the Father’s heart who has made him known.

Second Reading
From the treatise On Prayer by Tertullian, priest
The spiritual offering of prayer
Prayer is the offering in spirit that has done away with the sacrifices of old. What good do I receive from the multiplicity of your sacrifices? asks God. I have had enough of burnt offerings of rams, and I do not want the fat of lambs and the blood of bulls and goats. Who has asked for these from your hands?
  What God has asked for we learn from the Gospel. The hour will come, he says, when true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth. God is a spirit, and so he looks for worshippers who are like himself.
  We are true worshippers and true priests. We pray in spirit, and so offer in spirit the sacrifice of prayer. Prayer is an offering that belongs to God and is acceptable to him: it is the offering he has asked for, the offering he planned as his own.
  We must dedicate this offering with our whole heart, we must fatten it on faith, tend it by truth, keep it unblemished through innocence and clean through chastity, and crown it with love. We must escort it to the altar of God in a procession of good works to the sound of psalms and hymns. Then it will gain for us all that we ask of God.
  Since God asks for prayer offered in spirit and in truth, how can he deny anything to this kind of prayer? How great is the evidence of its power, as we read and hear and believe.
  Of old, prayer was able to rescue from fire and beasts and hunger, even before it received its perfection from Christ. How much greater then is the power of Christian prayer. No longer does prayer bring an angel of comfort to the heart of a fiery furnace, or close up the mouths of lions, or transport to the hungry food from the fields. No longer does it remove all sense of pain by the grace it wins for others. But it gives the armour of patience to those who suffer, who feel pain, who are distressed. It strengthens the power of grace, so that faith may know what it is gaining from the Lord, and understand what it is suffering for the name of God.
  In the past prayer was able to bring down punishment, rout armies, withhold the blessing of rain. Now, however, the prayer of the just turns aside the whole anger of God, keeps vigil for its enemies, pleads for persecutors. Is it any wonder that it can call down water from heaven when it could obtain fire from heaven as well? Prayer is the one thing that can conquer God. But Christ has willed that it should work no evil, and has given it all power over good.
  Its only art is to call back the souls of the dead from the very journey into death, to give strength to the weak, to heal the sick, to exorcise the possessed, to open prison cells, to free the innocent from their chains. Prayer cleanses from sin, drives away temptations, stamps out persecutions, comforts the fainthearted, gives new strength to the courageous, brings travellers safely home, calms the waves, confounds robbers, feeds the poor, overrules the rich, lifts up the fallen, supports those who are falling, sustains those who stand firm.
  All the angels pray. Every creature prays. Cattle and wild beasts pray and bend the knee. As they come from their barns and caves they look out to heaven and call out, lifting up their spirit in their own fashion. The birds too rise and lift themselves up to heaven: they open out their wings, instead of hands, in the form of a cross, and give voice to what seems to be a prayer.
  What more need be said on the duty of prayer? Even the Lord himself prayed. To him be honour and power for ever and ever. Amen.
Responsory
℟. True worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and truth:* the Father seeks men like these to worship him.
℣. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth:* the Father seeks men like these to worship him.

Let us pray.
We approach your throne of grace, Lord,
  humbly asking that as the Easter festival draws nearer,
we may prepare with ever greater devotion
  to celebrate the paschal mystery.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
  who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
  one God, for ever and ever.

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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