Universalis
Wednesday 25 January 2017    (other days)
The Conversion of Saint Paul, Apostle 
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
Bright as fire in darkness,
Sharper than a sword,
Lives throughout the ages
God’s eternal word.
Father, Son and Spirit,
Trinity of might,
Compassed in your glory,
Give the world your light.
Stanbrook Abbey Hymnal

Psalm 18 (19)
Praise of God the creator
‘Who are you, Lord?’ ‘I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. It is hard for you to go against the goad.’
The skies tell the story of the glory of God,
  the firmament proclaims the work of his hands;
day pours out the news to day,
  night passes to night the knowledge.
Not a speech, not a word,
  not a voice goes unheard.
Their sound is spread throughout the earth,
  their message to all the corners of the world.
At the ends of the earth he has set up
  a dwelling place for the sun.
Like a bridegroom leaving his chamber,
  it rejoices like an athlete at the race to be run.
It appears at the edge of the sky,
  runs its course to the sky’s furthest edge.
Nothing can hide from its heat.
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.
‘Who are you, Lord?’ ‘I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. It is hard for you to go against the goad.’

Psalm 63 (64)
A prayer against enemies
Ananias, you must go and seek Saul, who is praying. He is my chosen instrument to bring my name to pagan kings as well as to the people of Israel.
Listen, O God, to my voice;
  keep me safe from fear of the enemy.
Protect me from the alliances of the wicked,
  from the crowd of those who do evil.
They have sharpened their tongues like swords,
  aimed poisonous words like arrows,
  to shoot at the innocent in secret.
They will attack without warning, without fear,
  for they are firm in their evil purpose.
They have set out to hide their snares
 – for they say, “Who will see us?”
They have thought out plans to commit wicked deeds,
  and they carry out what they have planned.
Truly the heart and soul of a man
  are bottomless depths.
And God has shot them with his arrow:
  in a moment, they are wounded –
  their own tongues have brought them low.
All who see them will shake their heads;
  all will behold them with fear
and proclaim the workings of God
  and understand what he has done.
The just will rejoice and hope in the Lord:
  the upright in heart will give him glory.
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.
Ananias, you must go and seek Saul, who is praying. He is my chosen instrument to bring my name to pagan kings as well as to the people of Israel.

Psalm 96 (97)
The glory of God in his judgements
Paul entered the synagogues and preached to the Jews, telling them that Jesus was the Messiah.
The Lord reigns! Let the earth rejoice,
  let the many islands be glad.
Clouds and dark mist surround him,
  his throne is founded on law and justice.
Fire precedes him,
  burning up his enemies all around.
His lightnings light up the globe;
  the earth sees and trembles.
The mountains flow like wax at the sight of the Lord,
  at the sight of the Lord the earth dissolves.
The heavens proclaim his justice
  and all peoples see his glory.
Let them be dismayed, who worship carved things,
  who take pride in the images they make.
All his angels, worship him.
Zion heard and was glad,
  the daughters of Judah rejoiced
  because of your judgements, O Lord.
For you are the Lord, the Most High over all the earth,
  far above all other gods.
You who love the Lord, hate evil!
The Lord protects the lives of his consecrated ones:
  he will free them from the hands of sinners.
A light has arisen for the just,
  and gladness for the upright in heart.
Rejoice, you just, in the Lord
  and proclaim his holiness.
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.
Paul entered the synagogues and preached to the Jews, telling them that Jesus was the Messiah.

The Lord is compassion and love.
He is patient and kind.

First Reading
Galatians 1:11-24 ©
The fact is, brothers, and I want you to realise this, the Good News I preached is not a human message that I was given by men, it is something I learnt only through a revelation of Jesus Christ. You must have heard of my career as a practising Jew, how merciless I was in persecuting the Church of God, how much damage I did to it, how I stood out among other Jews of my generation, and how enthusiastic I was for the traditions of my ancestors.
  Then God, who had specially chosen me while I was still in my mother’s womb, called me through his grace and chose to reveal his Son in me, so that I might preach the Good News about him to the pagans. I did not stop to discuss this with any human being, nor did I go up to Jerusalem to see those who were already apostles before me, but I went off to Arabia at once and later went straight back from there to Damascus. Even when after three years I went up to Jerusalem to visit Cephas and stayed with him for fifteen days, I did not see any of the other apostles; I only saw James, the brother of the Lord, and I swear before God that what I have just written is the literal truth. After that I went to Syria and Cilicia, and was still not known by sight to the churches of Christ in Judaea, who had heard nothing except that their one-time persecutor was now preaching the faith he had previously tried to destroy; and they gave glory to God for me.
Responsory
℟. The gospel you heard me preach is no human invention.* I did not take it over from any man, I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ.
℣. As the truth of Christ lives in me, it is God’s gospel that I preached to you.* I did not take it over from any man, I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ.

Second Reading
From a homily by Saint John Chrysostom, bishop
For love of Christ, Paul bore every burden
Paul, more than anyone else, has shown us what man really is, and in what our nobility consists, and of what virtue this particular animal is capable. Each day he aimed ever higher; each day he rose up with greater ardour and faced with new eagerness the dangers that threatened him. He summed up his attitude in the words: I forget what is behind me and push on to what lies ahead. When he saw death imminent, he bade others share his joy: Rejoice and be glad with me! And when danger, injustice and abuse threatened, he said: I am content with weakness, mistreatment and persecution. These he called the weapons of righteousness, thus telling us that he derived immense profit from them.
  Thus, amid the traps set for him by his enemies, with exultant heart he turned their every attack into a victory for himself; constantly beaten, abused and cursed, he boasted of it as though he were celebrating a triumphal procession and taking trophies home, and offered thanks to God for it all: Thanks be to God who is always victorious in us! This is why he was far more eager for the shameful abuse that his zeal in preaching brought upon him than we are for the most pleasing honours, more eager for death than we are for life, for poverty than we are for wealth; he yearned for toil far more than others yearn for rest after toil. The one thing he feared, indeed dreaded, was to offend God; nothing else could sway him. Therefore, the only thing he really wanted was always to please God.
  The most important thing of all to him, however, was that he knew himself to be loved by Christ. Enjoying this love, he considered himself happier than anyone else; were he without it, it would be no satisfaction to be the friend of principalities and powers. He preferred to be thus loved and be the least of all, or even to be among the damned, than to be without that love and be among the great and honoured.
  To be separated from that love was, in his eyes, the greatest and most extraordinary of torments; the pain of that loss would alone have been hell, and endless, unbearable torture.
  So too, in being loved by Christ he thought of himself as possessing life, the world, the angels, present and future, the kingdom, the promise and countless blessings. Apart from that love nothing saddened or delighted him; for nothing earthly did he regard as bitter or sweet.
  Paul set no store by the things that fill our visible world, any more than a man sets value on the withered grass of the field. As for tyrannical rulers or the people enraged against him, he paid them no more heed than gnats. Death itself and pain and whatever torments might come were but child’s play to him, provided that thereby he might bear some burden for the sake of Christ.
Responsory
℟. Because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief, God dealt with me mercifully;* the grace of our Lord was lavished upon me, with the faith and love which are ours in Christ Jesus.
℣. I persecuted the Church of God and am therefore not fit to be called an apostle;* the grace of our Lord was lavished upon me, with the faith and love which are ours in Christ Jesus.

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.
Today, Lord, we celebrate the conversion of Saint Paul,
  your chosen vessel for carrying your name to the whole world.
Help us to make our way towards you by following in his footsteps,
  and by witnessing to your truth before the men and women of our day.
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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