Wednesday 13 December 2017    (other days)
Saint Lucy, Virgin, Martyr 

Office of Readings

If this is the first Hour that you are reciting today, you should precede it with the Invitatory Psalm.

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.

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
You will be hated by all men for my name’s sake; but he who endures to the end will be saved.
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.
You will be hated by all men for my name’s sake; but he who endures to the end will be saved.

Psalm 10 (11)
The Lord, support of the just
The sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed in us.
I trust in the Lord, so why do you say to me:
  “Fly up to the mountain like a sparrow”?
“For the wicked have drawn their bows,
  fitted the arrow to the string,
  to shoot in darkness at the upright of heart.
When the foundations are being overthrown,
  what are the just to do?”
The Lord is in his holy temple;
  the Lord’s throne is in heaven.
His eyes look down on the poor,
  he examines the children of men.
The Lord scrutinises the just and the unjust,
  and his heart hates those who do evil.
He rains down coals upon the wicked,
  fire and brimstone and a scorching wind:
  this is what he gives them to drink.
For the Lord is just and loves just deeds,
  and the upright shall see his face.
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.
The sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed in us.

Psalm 16 (17)
Save me from wrongdoers
The Lord tried his chosen ones like gold in a furnace; he accepted them as a holy offering, thoroughly consumed by fire.
Hear the case I bring before you, Lord,
  listen to my plea.
Lend your ears to the voice of my pleading:
  on my lips there is no deceit.
Give judgement yourself in my favour,
  let your eyes see that justice is done.
Search my heart, inspect it by night,
  test me with fire –
  in me you will find no wrong.
My speech is not turned aside towards the works of men:
  and because of your words I keep far from the ways of the violent.
Keep my steps from leaving your paths,
  so that I may never stumble.
I have cried to you, God, because you will listen;
  turn your ear to me and listen to my words.
Pour out your kindness till men are astonished,
  you, who keep safe from attack
  all who trust in your strength.
Guard me as the apple of your eye,
  hide me in the shade of your wings,
  away from the wicked who have done me wrong.
In their rage, my enemies surround me,
  they have sealed up their hearts and their mouths utter threats.
They advance, they surround me,
  they watch for their chance to send me sprawling to the ground.
Their faces are like lions eager for their prey,
  like lion cubs lying and waiting in their den.
Rise up, O Lord, face my enemy and defeat him,
  with your sword rescue my life from the wicked.
By your hand, Lord, rescue me from death;
  from joining the dead, who have life no more.
From your storehouse you fill men’s bellies,
  their children are sated, they leave the rest to their heirs.
And I, being upright, shall see your face,
  the sight of you, when I wake, will be all that I need.
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.
The Lord tried his chosen ones like gold in a furnace; he accepted them as a holy offering, thoroughly consumed by fire.

Tribulation and anguish are upon me;
I meditate on your commandments.

First Reading
Ecclesiasticus 51:1-17 ©
I will give thanks to you, Lord and King,
  and praise you, God my saviour,
  I give thanks to your name;
for you have been protector and support to me,
  and redeemed my body from destruction,
from the snare of the lying tongue,
  from lips that fabricate falsehood;
and in the presence of those around me
  you have been my support, you have redeemed me,
true to the greatness of your mercy and of your name,
  from the fangs of those who would devour me,
from the hands of those seeking my life,
  from the many ordeals which I have endured,
from the stifling heat which hemmed me in,
  from the heart of a fire which I had not kindled,
from deep in the belly of Sheol,
  from the unclean tongue and the lying word –
  the perjured tongue slandering me to the king.
My soul has been close to death,
  my life had gone down to the brink of Sheol.
They were surrounding me on every side, there was no-one to support me;
  I looked for someone to help – in vain.
Then I remembered your mercy, Lord,
  and your deeds from earliest times,
how you deliver those who wait for you patiently,
  and save them from the clutches of their enemies.
And I sent up my plea from the earth,
  I begged to be delivered from death,
I called on the Lord, the father of my Lord,
‘Do not desert me in the days of ordeal,
  in the time of my helplessness against the proud.
I will praise your name unceasingly,
  and gratefully sing its praises.’
And my plea was heard,
  for you saved me from destruction,
  you delivered me from that time of evil.
And therefore I will thank you and praise you,
  and bless the name of the Lord.
℟. I will give thanks to your name, O Lord,* for you have been my protector and helper.
℣. I will rejoice and be glad for your steadfast love,* for you have been my protector and helper.

Second Reading
A book on virginity, by St Ambrose
You light up your grace of body with the radiance of your mind
You are one of God’s people, of God’s family, a virgin among virgins; you light up your grace of body with your splendour of soul. More than others you can be compared to the Church. When you are in your room, then, at night, think always on Christ, and wait for his coming at every moment.
  This is the person Christ has loved in loving you, the person he has chosen in choosing you. He enters by the open door; he has promised to come in, and he cannot deceive. Embrace him, the one you have sought; turn to him, and be enlightened; hold him fast, ask him not to go in haste, beg him not to leave you. The Word of God moves swiftly; he is not won by the lukewarm, nor held fast by the negligent. Let your soul be attentive to his word; follow carefully the path God tells you to take, for he is swift in his passing.
  What does his bride say? I sought him, and did not find him; I called him, and he did not hear me. Do not imagine that you are displeasing to him despite having called him, asked him in, and opened the door to him; and that this is the reason why he has gone so quickly – no, for he allows us to be constantly tested. When the crowds pressed him to stay, what does he say in the Gospel? I must preach the word of God to other cities, because for that I have been sent. But even if it seems to you that he has left you, go out and seek him once more.
  Who but holy Church is to teach you how to hold Christ fast? Indeed, she has already taught you, if you only understood her words in Scripture: How short a time it was when I left them before I found him whom my soul has loved. I held him fast, and I will not let him go.
  How do we hold him fast? Not by restraining chains or knotted ropes but by bonds of love, by spiritual reins, by the longing of the soul.
  If you also, like the bride, wish to hold him fast, seek him and be fearless of suffering. It is often easier to find him in the midst of bodily torments, in the very hands of persecutors.
  His bride says: How short a time it was after I left them. In a little space, after a brief moment, when you have escaped from the hands of your persecutors without yielding to the powers of this world, Christ will come to you, and he will not allow you to be tested for long.
  Whoever seeks Christ in this way, and finds him, can say: I held him fast, and I will not let him go before I bring him into my mother’s house, into the room of her who conceived me. What is this “house,” this “room,” but the deep and secret places of your heart?
  Maintain this house, sweep out its secret recesses until it becomes immaculate and rises as a spiritual temple for a holy priesthood, firmly secured by Christ, the cornerstone, so that the Holy Spirit may dwell in it.
  Whoever seeks Christ in this way, whoever prays to Christ in this way, is not abandoned by him; on the contrary, Christ comes again and again to visit such a person, for he is with us until the end of the world.
℟. The Lord strengthened her for the combat with his grace, and she was glorified before God and men, speaking words of wisdom in the presence of the prince,* and the Lord of all loved her.
℣. This virgin prepared a pleasant dwelling-place for God in her heart,* and the Lord of all loved her.

HymnTe Deum
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.
Let the prayer of the virgin martyr Lucy support us, Lord,
  so that with each passing year we may celebrate her entry into life,
  and finally see you face to face in heaven.
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.

Let us praise the Lord.
– Thanks be to God.

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