Universalis
Friday 1 August 2014    (other days)
Saint Alphonsus Mary de Liguori, Bishop, Doctor
 (Friday of week 17 in Ordinary Time)

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
In ancient times God spoke to us
Through prophets, and in varied ways,
But now he speaks through Christ his Son,
His radiance through eternal days.
To God the Father of the world,
His Son through whom he made all things,
And Holy Spirit, bond of love,
All glad creation glory sings.
Stanbrook Abbey Hymnal

Psalm 34 (35)
The Lord, a saviour in time of persecution
O Lord, arise to help me.
Judge, Lord, those who are judging me:
  attack those who are attacking me.
Take up your shield and come out to defend me.
  Brandish your spear and hold back my pursuers.
Say to my soul, “I am your deliverance.”
Let them be thrown into confusion,
  those who are after my life.
Let them be weakened and put to flight,
  those who plan harm to me.
Let them be like chaff blowing in the wind,
  when the angel of the Lord scatters them.
Let their paths be dark and slippery,
  when the angel of the Lord harries them.
For it was without cause that they spread out their nets to ensnare me,
  without cause that they dug a pit to take my life.
Let death come upon them suddenly,
  may they be entangled in their own nets.
But my soul will exult in the Lord
  and rejoice in his aid.
My bones themselves will say
  “Lord, who is your equal?”
You snatch the poor man
  from the hand of the strong,
the needy and weak
  from those who would destroy them.
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.
O Lord, arise to help me.

Psalm 34 (35)
Lord, plead my cause; defend me with your strength.
Lying witnesses rose up against me;
  they asked me questions I could not answer.
They paid me back evil for the good I did,
  my soul is desolation.
Yet I – when they were ill, I put on sackcloth,
  I mortified my soul with fasting,
  I prayed for them from the depths of my heart.
I walked in sadness as for a close friend, for a brother;
  I was bowed down with grief as if mourning my own mother.
But they – when I was unsteady, they rejoiced and gathered together.
  They gathered and beat me: I did not know why.
They were tearing me to pieces, there was no end to it:
  they teased me, heaped derision on me, they ground their teeth at me.
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.
Lord, plead my cause; defend me with your strength.

Psalm 34 (35)
My tongue shall speak of your justice, all day long.
Lord, how long will you wait?
  Rescue my life from their attacks,
  my only life from the lions.
I will proclaim you in the great assembly,
  in the throng of people I will praise you.
Let not my lying enemies triumph over me,
  those who hate me for no reason,
who conspire against me by secret signs,
  who do not speak of peace,
  who plan crimes against the innocent,
who cry out slanders against me,
  saying “Yes! Yes! We saw it ourselves!”
You see them, Lord, do not stay silent:
  Lord, do not leave me.
Rise up and keep watch at my trial:
  my God and my Lord, watch over my case.
Judge me according to your justice,
  Lord: my God, let them not rejoice over me!
Let them not think to themselves,
  “Yes! We have what we wanted!”
Let them not say,
  “We have swallowed him up.”
But let those who support my cause rejoice,
  let them say always “How great is the Lord,
  who takes care of his servant’s welfare.”
And my tongue too will ponder your justice,
  and praise you all day long.
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.
My tongue shall speak of your justice, all day long.

My son, keep my words in your heart.
Follow my commandments and you will live.

First Reading
2 Corinthians 11:30-12:13 ©
If I am to boast, then let me boast of my own feebleness. The God and Father of the Lord Jesus – bless him for ever – knows that I am not lying. When I was in Damascus, the ethnarch of King Aretas put guards round the city to catch me, and I had to be let down over the wall in a hamper, through a window, in order to escape.
  Must I go on boasting, though there is nothing to be gained by it? But I will move on to the visions and revelations I have had from the Lord. I know a man in Christ who, fourteen years ago, was caught up – whether still in the body or out of the body, I do not know; God knows – right into the third heaven. I do know, however, that this same person – whether in the body or out of the body, I do not know; God knows – was caught up into paradise and heard things which must not and cannot be put into human language. I will boast about a man like that, but not about anything of my own except my weaknesses. If I should decide to boast, I should not be made to look foolish, because I should only be speaking the truth; but I am not going to, in case anyone should begin to think I am better than he can actually see and hear me to be.
  In view of the extraordinary nature of these revelations, to stop me from getting too proud I was given a thorn in the flesh, an angel of Satan to beat me and stop me from getting too proud! About this thing, I have pleaded with the Lord three times for it to leave me, but he has said, ‘My grace is enough for you: my power is at its best in weakness.’ So I shall be very happy to make my weaknesses my special boast so that the power of Christ may stay over me, and that is why I am quite content with my weaknesses, and with insults, hardships, persecutions, and the agonies I go through for Christ’s sake. For it is when I am weak that I am strong.
  I have been talking like a fool, but you forced me to do it: you are the ones who should have been commending me. Though I am a nobody, there is not a thing these arch-apostles have that I do not have as well. You have seen done among you all the things that mark the true apostle, unfailingly produced: the signs, the marvels, the miracles. Is there anything of which you have had less than the other churches have had, except that I have not myself been a burden on you? For this unfairness, please forgive me.
Responsory
I will gladly boast of my weaknesses, so that I may feel the protection of God’s power over me, for his power is strongest when we are weak.
We have a spiritual treasure hidden in earthenware vessels, to show that the supreme power belongs to God and not to us, for his power is strongest when we are weak.

Second Reading
From a sermon by Saint Alphonsus Liguori, bishop
On the love of Christ
All holiness and perfection of soul lies in our love for Jesus Christ our God, who is our Redeemer and our supreme good. It is part of the love of God to acquire and to nurture all the virtues which make a man perfect.
  Has not God in fact won for himself a claim on all our love? From all eternity he has loved us. And it is in this vein that he speaks to us: “O man, consider carefully that I first loved you. You had not yet appeared in the light of day, nor did the world yet exist, but already I loved you. From all eternity I have loved you.”
  Since God knew that man is enticed by favours, he wished to bind him to his love by means of his gifts: “I want to catch men with the snares, those chains of love in which they allow themselves to be entrapped, so that they will love me.” And all the gifts which he bestowed on man were given to this end. He gave him a soul, made in his likeness, and endowed with memory, intellect and will; he gave him a body equipped with the senses; it was for him that he created heaven and earth and such an abundance of things. He made all these things out of love for man, so that all creation might serve man, and man in turn might love God out of gratitude for so many gifts.
  But he did not wish to give us only beautiful creatures; the truth is that to win for himself our love, he went so far as to bestow upon us the fullness of himself. The eternal Father went so far as to give us his only Son. When he saw that we were all dead through sin and deprived of his grace, what did he do? Compelled, as the Apostle says, by the superabundance of his love for us, he sent his beloved Son to make reparation for us and to call us back to a sinless life.
  By giving us his Son, whom he did not spare precisely so that he might spare us, he bestowed on us at once every good: grace, love and heaven; for all these goods are certainly inferior to the Son: He who did not spare his own Son, but handed him over for all of us: how could he fail to give us along with his Son all good things?
Responsory
The Lord grants the desires of those who fear him, he hears their cry and he saves them. The Lord protects all who love him.
A child of God does not commit sin, because the divine seed remains in him. The Lord protects all who love him.

Let us pray.
Lord God,
  you never cease to give new saints to your Church
  as a pattern for holy living.
Help us to imitate Saint Alphonsus in his zeal for souls,
  that we may share his reward in heaven.
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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