Universalis
Thursday 22 June 2017    (other days)
Saints John Fisher, Bishop, and Thomas More, Martyrs 
 or Thursday of week 11 in Ordinary Time 
 or Saint Paulinus of Nola, 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. Alleluia.

Hymn
Eternal Father, through your Word
You gave new life to Adam’s race,
And call us now to live in light,
New creatures by your saving grace.
To you who stooped to all who sin
We render homage and give praise:
To Father, Son and Spirit blest
Whose loving gift is endless days.
Stanbrook Abbey Hymnal

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.

Lord, from you springs life;
in your light we shall see light.

First Reading
Judges 8:22-23,30-32,9:1-15,19-20 ©
God’s people struggle to appoint a king
The men of Israel said to Gideon, ‘Rule over us, you and your sons and your grandson, because you have rescued us from the power of Midian.’ But Gideon answered them, ‘It is not I who shall rule over you, nor my son; the Lord must be your lord.’
  Gideon had seventy sons begotten by him, for he had many wives. His concubine, who lived in Shechem, bore him a son too, whom he called Abimelech. Gideon son of Joash was blessed in his old age; he died, and was buried in the tomb of Joash his father, at Ophrah of Abiezer.
  Abimelech son of Jerubbaal came to his mother’s brothers at Shechem and said to them and the whole clan of his mother’s family, ‘Please put this question to the leading men of Shechem: Which is better for you, to be ruled by seventy – I mean all the sons of Jerubbaal – or to be ruled by one? Remind yourselves also that I am your own flesh and blood.’ His mother’s brothers spoke of him to all the leading men of Shechem in these terms, and their hearts inclined towards Abimelech, for they told themselves, ‘He is our brother.’ So they gave him seventy shekels of silver from the temple of Baal-berith, and with this Abimelech paid worthless scoundrels to follow him. Then he went to his father’s house at Ophrah and murdered his brothers, the seventy sons of Jerubbaal, on the selfsame stone. Only the youngest son of Jerubbaal escaped, for he had gone into hiding; this was Jotham. Then all the leading men of Shechem and all Beth-millo gathered, and proclaimed Abimelech king by the terebinth of the pillar at Shechem.
  News of this was brought to Jotham. He came and stood on the top of Mount Gerizim and shouted aloud for them to hear:
‘Hear me, leaders of Shechem,
that God may also hear you!
‘One day the trees went out
to anoint a king to rule over them.
They said to the olive tree, “Be our king!”
‘The olive tree answered them,
“Must I forego my oil
which gives honour to gods and men,
to stand swaying above the trees?”
‘Then the trees said to the fig tree,
“Come now, you be our king!”
‘The fig tree answered them,
“Must I forego my sweetness,
forego my excellent fruit,
to stand swaying above the trees?”
‘Then the trees said to the vine,
“Come now, you be our king!”
‘The vine answered them,
“Must I forego my wine
which cheers the heart of gods and men,
to stand swaying above the trees?”
‘Then all the trees said to the thorn bush,
“Come now, you be our king!”
‘And the thorn bush answered the trees,
“If in all good faith you anoint me king to reign over you,
then come and shelter in my shade.
If not, fire will come from the thorn bush
and devour the cedars of Lebanon.”
‘If, I say, you have acted in sincerity and good faith towards Jerubbaal and his family, then may Abimelech be your joy and may you be his. If not, may fire come out of Abimelech and devour the leading men of Shechem and Beth-millo, and fire come out of the leading men of Shechem and Beth-millo to devour Abimelech.’
Responsory
Jg 8:23; Rv 5:13
℟. I will not rule over you, neither will my son rule over you:* the Lord himself will rule over you.
℣. To him who sits upon the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honour, glory and might for ever and ever.* The Lord himself will rule over you.

Second Reading
From a letter written in prison to his daughter, Margaret, by Saint Thomas More
With good hope I shall commit myself wholly to God
Although I know well, Margaret, that because of my past wickedness I deserve to be abandoned by God, I cannot but trust in his merciful goodness. His grace has strengthened me until now and made me content to lose goods, land, and life as well, rather than to swear against my conscience. God’s grace has given the king a gracious frame of mind toward me, so that as yet he has taken from me nothing but my liberty. In doing this His Majesty has done me such great good with respect to spiritual profit that I trust that among all the great benefits he has heaped so abundantly upon me I count my imprisonment the very greatest. I cannot, therefore, mistrust the grace of God. Either he shall keep the king in that gracious frame of mind to continue to do me no harm, or else, if it be his pleasure that for my other sins I suffer in this case as I shall not deserve, then his grace shall give me the strength to bear it patiently, and perhaps even gladly.
  By the merits of his bitter passion joined to mine and far surpassing in merit for me all that I can suffer myself, his bounteous goodness shall release me from the pains of purgatory and shall increase my reward in heaven besides.
  I will not mistrust him, Meg, though I shall feel myself weakening and on the verge of being overcome with fear. I shall remember how Saint Peter at a blast of wind began to sink because of his lack of faith, and I shall do as he did: call upon Christ and pray to him for help. And then I trust he shall place his holy hand on me and in the stormy seas hold me up from drowning.
  And if he permits me to play Saint Peter further and to fall to the ground and to swear and forswear, may God our Lord in his tender mercy keep me from this, and let me lose if it so happen, and never win thereby! Still, if this should happen, afterward I trust that in his goodness he will look on me with pity as he did upon Saint Peter, and make me stand up again and confess the truth of my conscience afresh and endure here the shame and harm of my own fault.
  And finally, Margaret, I know this well: that without my fault he will not let me be lost. I shall, therefore, with good hope commit myself wholly to him. And if he permits me to perish for my faults, then I shall serve as praise for his justice. But in good faith, Meg, I trust that his tender pity shall keep my poor soul safe and make me commend his mercy.
  And, therefore, my own good daughter, do not let your mind be troubled over anything that shall happen to me in this world. Nothing can come but what God wills. And I am very sure that whatever that be, however bad it may seem, it shall indeed be the best.
Responsory
℟. In the midst of their sufferings, these martyrs of Christ fixed their minds on heavenly things, praying:* Lord, help us to bring your work in us to a perfect end, that we may appear blameless in your sight.
℣. Look upon your servants and upon your own handiwork.* Lord, help us to bring your work in us to a perfect end, that we may appear blameless in your sight.

Let us pray.
Almighty, ever-living God,
  you set the perfection of true faith in martyrdom.
Strengthen us by the prayers of the martyrs Saint John Fisher and Saint Thomas More,
  so that our lives may bear witness to the faith we profess.
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, programs and downloads do contain the Grail translation of the psalms.

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