Universalis
Saturday 14 December 2019    (other days)
Saint John of the Cross, Priest, Doctor 
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 Advent of our God
  With eager prayers we greet
And singing haste upon the road
  His glorious gift to meet.
The everlasting Son
  Scorns not a Virgin’s womb;
That we from bondage may be won
  He bears a bondsman’s doom.
Daughter of Zion, rise
  To meet thy lowly King;
Let not thy stubborn heart despise
  The peace he deigns to bring.
In clouds of awful light,
  As Judge he comes again,
His scattered people to unite,
  With them in heaven to reign.
Let evil flee away
  Ere that dread hour shall dawn.
Let this old Adam day by day
  God’s image still put on.
Praise to the Incarnate Son,
  Who comes to set us free,
With God the Father, ever One,
  To all eternity.

Psalm 20 (21)
Thanksgiving for victory

If anyone wishes to be first, he must make himself the last of all and servant of all.
Lord, the king will rejoice in your strength,
  he will triumph in your saving power.
You have granted him his heart’s desire,
  you have not denied the wish that he spoke.
For you showered him with blessings
  even before he asked for them.
  You have placed a crown of purest gold upon his head.
He asked you for life,
  and you granted it to him,
  length of days for ever and for ever.
Great is his glory through your help:
  you cover him with splendour and majesty.
You lay a blessing upon him that will last for ever,
  you make him rejoice in joy before you.
For the king hopes in the Lord,
  and through the kindness of the Most High he will not be shaken.
Stand high above us, Lord, in your power;
  and we will sing and celebrate your might.
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.
If anyone wishes to be first, he must make himself the last of all and servant of all.

Psalm 91 (92)
Praise of God, the Creator

When the chief shepherd appears, you will be given the crown of unfading glory.
It is good to praise the Lord,
  and to sing psalms to your name, O Most High,
to proclaim your mercy in the morning
  and your faithfulness by night;
on the ten-stringed lyre and the harp,
  with songs upon the lyre.
For you give me joy, Lord, in your creation:
  I rejoice in the work of your hands.
How great are your works, O Lord,
  how immeasurably deep your thoughts.
The fool does not hear,
  the slow-witted do not understand.
When the wicked sprout up like grass,
  and the doers of evil are in full bloom,
it will come to nothing, for they will perish for ever and ever;
  but you, Lord, are the Highest eternally.
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.
When the chief shepherd appears, you will be given the crown of unfading glory.

Psalm 91 (92)

Well done, good and faithful servant: come and join in your Master’s joy.
For behold, Lord, your enemies,
  how your enemies will perish,
  how wrongdoers will be scattered.
You will give me strength as the wild oxen have;
  I have been anointed with the purest oil.
I will look down upon my enemies,
  and hear the plans of those who plot evil against me.
The just will flourish like the palm tree,
  grow tall like the cedar of Lebanon.
They will be planted in the house of the Lord;
  in the courts of our God they will flourish.
They will bear fruit even when old,
  fresh and luxuriant through all their days.
They will proclaim how just is the Lord, my refuge,
  for in him there is no unrighteousness.
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.
Well done, good and faithful servant: come and join in your Master’s joy.

℣. You will hear the word from my mouth.
℟. You will speak to them in my name.

First Reading
Wisdom 7:7-16,22-30 ©
I prayed, and understanding was given me;
I entreated, and the spirit of Wisdom came to me.
I esteemed her more than sceptres and thrones;
compared with her, I held riches as nothing.
I reckoned no priceless stone to be her peer,
for compared with her, all gold is a pinch of sand,
and beside her silver ranks as mud.
I loved her more than health or beauty,
preferred her to the light,
since her radiance never sleeps.
In her company all good things came to me,
at her hands riches not to be numbered.
All these I delighted in, since Wisdom brings them,
but as yet I did not know she was their mother.
What I learned without self-interest, I pass on without reserve;
I do not intend to hide her riches.
For she is an inexhaustible treasure to men,
and those who acquire it win God’s friendship,
commended as they are to him by the benefits of her teaching.
May God grant me to speak as he would wish
and express thoughts worthy of his gifts,
since he himself is the guide of Wisdom,
since he directs the sages.
We are indeed in his hand, we ourselves and our words,
with all our understanding, too, and technical knowledge.
For within her is a spirit intelligent, holy,
unique, manifold, subtle,
active, incisive, unsullied,
lucid, invulnerable, benevolent, sharp,
irresistible, beneficent, loving to man,
steadfast, dependable, unperturbed,
almighty, all-surveying,
penetrating all intelligent, pure
and most subtle spirits;
for Wisdom is quicker to move than any motion;
she is so pure, she pervades and permeates all things.
She is a breath of the power of God,
pure emanation of the glory of the Almighty;
hence nothing impure can find a way into her.
She is a reflection of the eternal light,
untarnished mirror of God’s active power,
image of his goodness.
Although alone, she can do all;
herself unchanging, she makes all things new.
In each generation she passes into holy souls,
she makes them friends of God and prophets;
for God loves only the man who lives with Wisdom.
She is indeed more splendid than the sun,
she outshines all the constellations;
compared with light, she takes first place,
for light must yield to night,
but over Wisdom evil can never triumph.
Responsory
℟. I prayed, and understanding was given me;* I entreated, and the spirit of wisdom came to me. I esteemed her more than sceptres and thrones.
℣. If there is any one of you who needs wisdom, he must ask God, who gives to all freely and ungrudgingly; it will be given to him.* I entreated, and the spirit of wisdom came to me. I esteemed her more than sceptres and thrones.

Second Reading
From a Spiritual Canticle of St John of the Cross

Recognising the mystery hidden within Christ Jesus

Though holy doctors have uncovered many mysteries and wonders, and devout souls have understood them in this earthly condition of ours, yet the greater part still remains to be unfolded by them, and even to be understood by them.
  We must then dig deeply in Christ. He is like a rich mine with many pockets containing treasures: however deep we dig we will never find their end or their limit. Indeed, in every pocket new seams of fresh riches are discovered on all sides.
  For this reason the apostle Paul said of Christ: In him are hidden all the treasures of the wisdom and knowledge of God. The soul cannot enter into these treasures, nor attain them, unless it first crosses into and enters the thicket of suffering, enduring interior and exterior labours, and unless it first receives from God very many blessings in the intellect and in the senses, and has undergone long spiritual training.
  All these are lesser things, disposing the soul for the lofty sanctuary of the knowledge of the mysteries of Christ: this is the highest wisdom attainable in this life.
  Would that men might come at last to see that it is quite impossible to reach the thicket of the riches and wisdom of God except by first entering the thicket of much suffering, in such a way that the soul finds there its consolation and desire. The soul that longs for divine wisdom chooses first, and in truth, to enter the thicket of the cross.
  Saint Paul therefore urges the Ephesians not to grow weary in the midst of tribulations, but to be steadfast and rooted and grounded in love, so that they may know with all the saints the breadth, the length, the height and the depth – to know what is beyond knowledge, the love of Christ, so as to be filled with all the fullness of God.
  The gate that gives entry into these riches of his wisdom is the cross; because it is a narrow gate, while many seek the joys that can be gained through it, it is given to few to desire to pass through it.
Responsory
℟. What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, things beyond our imagining – all that God has prepared for those who love him:* these are the very things that God has revealed to us through the Spirit.
℣. The Spirit reaches the depths of everything, even the depths of God:* these are the very things that God has revealed to us through the Spirit.

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.
Lord God, you gave Saint John of the Cross
  the grace of complete self-denial
  and an ardent love for the cross of Christ.
Grant that by following always in his footsteps
  we may come to the eternal vision of your glory.
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 and programs do contain the Grail translation of the psalms.

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