Universalis
Saturday 19 April 2014    (other days)
Holy Saturday

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.

Hymn
Sing, my tongue, the glorious battle,
sing the last, the dread affray;
o’er the cross, the victor’s trophy,
sound the high triumphal lay,
how, the pains of death enduring,
earth’s Redeemer won the day.
When at length the appointed fulness
of the sacred time was come,
he was sent, the world’s Creator,
from the Father’s heavenly home,
and was found in human fashion,
offspring of the virgin’s womb.
Now the thirty years are ended
which on earth he willed to see.
Willingly he meets his passion,
born to set his people free:
on the cross the Lamb is lifted,
there the sacrifice to be.
There the nails and spear he suffers,
vinegar and gall and reed.
From his sacred body piercèd
blood and water both proceed:
precious flood, which all creation
from the stain of sin hath freed.
Faithful Cross, above all other,
one and only noble Tree.
none in foliage, none in blossom,
none in fruit thy peer may be.
Sweet the wood and sweet the iron,
and thy load, most sweet is he.
Bend, O lofty Tree, thy branches,
thy too rigid sinews bend;
and awhile the stubborn harshness,
which thy birth bestowed, suspend;
and the limbs of heaven’s high Monarch
gently on thine arms extend.
Thou alone wast counted worthy
this world’s ransom to sustain,
that a shipwrecked race for ever
might a port of refuge gain,
with the sacred Blood anointed
of the Lamb for sinners slain.
Praise and honour to the Father,
praise and honour to the Son,
praise and honour to the Spirit,
ever Three and ever One:
One in might and One in glory,
while eternal ages run.

Psalm 4
Thanksgiving
Now I will lie down in peace and sleep comes at once.
When I called out, he heard me, the God of my righteousness.
When I was in trouble, you gave me freedom:
  now, take pity on me and listen to my prayer.
Sons of men, how long will your hearts be heavy?
  Why do you seek for vain things?
  Why do you run after illusions?
Know that the Lord has done marvellous things
  for those he has chosen.
When I call upon the Lord, he will hear me.
Be vigorous, but do not sin:
  speak in the silence of your heart,
  in your bed, be at rest.
Offer righteousness as a sacrifice,
  and put your trust in the Lord.
Many are saying, Who will give us good things?
Let your face shine on us, Lord,
  let the light of your face be a sign.
You have given me a greater joy
  than the others receive
  from abundance of wheat and of wine.
In peace shall I sleep, Lord, in peace shall I rest:
  firm in the hope you have given 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.
Now I will lie down in peace and sleep comes at once.

Psalm 15 (16)
The Lord, my inheritance
My body shall rest in hope.
Preserve me, Lord,
  I put my hope in you.
I have said to the Lord
  “You are my Lord,
  in you alone is all my good.”
As for the holy and noble men of the land,
  in them is all my delight.
But for those who run to alien gods,
  their sorrows are many.
I will not share in their libations of blood.
  I will not speak their names.
You, Lord, are my inheritance and my cup.
  You control my destiny,
the lot marked out for me is of the best,
  my inheritance is all I could ask for.
I will bless the Lord who gave me understanding;
  even in the night my heart will teach me wisdom.
I will hold the Lord for ever in my sight:
  with him at my side I can never be shaken.
Thus it is that my heart rejoices,
  heart and soul together;
  while my body rests in calm hope.
You will not leave my soul in the underworld.
  You will not let your chosen one see decay.
You will show me the paths of life,
  the fullness of joy before your face,
  and delights at your right hand until the end of time.
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 body shall rest in hope.

Psalm 23 (24)
The Lord comes to his temple
Grow higher, eternal doors: let the King of glory enter.
The Lord’s is the earth and its fullness,
  the world and all who live in it.
He himself founded it upon the seas
  and set it firm over the waters.
Who will climb the mountain of the Lord?
  Who will stand in his holy place?
The one who is innocent of wrongdoing and pure of heart,
  who has not given himself to vanities or sworn falsely.
He will receive the blessing of the Lord
  and be justified by God his saviour.
This is the way of those who seek him,
  seek the face of the God of Jacob.
Gates, raise your heads. Stand up, eternal doors,
  and let the king of glory enter.
Who is the king of glory?
The Lord of might and power.
  The Lord, strong in battle.
Gates, raise your heads. Stand up, eternal doors,
  and let the king of glory enter.
Who is the king of glory?
The Lord of hosts
 – he is the king of 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.
Grow higher, eternal doors: let the King of glory enter.

Judge my case and redeem me.
Give me life according to your promises.

First ReadingHebrews 4:1-13 ©
Be careful: the promise of reaching the place of rest he had for them still holds good, and none of you must think that he has come too late for it. We received the Good News exactly as they did; but hearing the message did them no good because they did not share the faith of those who listened. We, however, who have faith, shall reach a place of rest, as in the text: And so, in anger, I swore that not one would reach the place of rest I had for them. God’s work was undoubtedly all finished at the beginning of the world; as one text says, referring to the seventh day: After all his work God rested on the seventh day. The text we are considering says: They shall not reach the place of rest I had for them. It is established, then, that there would be some people who would reach it, and since those who first heard the Good News failed to reach it through their disobedience, God fixed another day when, much later, he said ‘today’ through David in the text already quoted: If only you would listen to him today; do not harden your hearts. If Joshua had led them into this place of rest, God would not later on have spoken so much of another day. There must still be, therefore, a place of rest reserved for God’s people, the seventh-day rest, since to reach the place of rest is to rest after your work, as God did after his. We must therefore do everything we can to reach this place of rest, or some of you might copy this example of disobedience and be lost.
  The word of God is something alive and active: it cuts like any double-edged sword but more finely: it can slip through the place where the soul is divided from the spirit, or joints from the marrow; it can judge the secret emotions and thoughts. No created thing can hide from him; everything is uncovered and open to the eyes of the one to whom we must give account of ourselves.
Responsory
They buried the Lord, made the tomb secure and rolled a stone across the entrance, and they placed soldiers there to guard the body.
The chief priests went to Pilate and asked for a guard, and they placed soldiers there to guard the body.

Second Reading
From an ancient homily for Holy Saturday
The Lord's descent into the underworld
Something strange is happening – there is a great silence on earth today, a great silence and stillness. The whole earth keeps silence because the King is asleep. The earth trembled and is still because God has fallen asleep in the flesh and he has raised up all who have slept ever since the world began. God has died in the flesh and hell trembles with fear.
  He has gone to search for our first parent, as for a lost sheep. Greatly desiring to visit those who live in darkness and in the shadow of death, he has gone to free from sorrow the captives Adam and Eve, he who is both God and the son of Eve. The Lord approached them bearing the cross, the weapon that had won him the victory. At the sight of him Adam, the first man he had created, struck his breast in terror and cried out to everyone: “My Lord be with you all.” Christ answered him: “And with your spirit.” He took him by the hand and raised him up, saying: “Awake, O sleeper, and rise from the dead, and Christ will give you light.”
  I am your God, who for your sake have become your son. Out of love for you and for your descendants I now by my own authority command all who are held in bondage to come forth, all who are in darkness to be enlightened, all who are sleeping to arise. I order you, O sleeper, to awake. I did not create you to be held a prisoner in hell. Rise from the dead, for I am the life of the dead. Rise up, work of my hands, you who were created in my image. Rise, let us leave this place, for you are in me and I am in you; together we form only one person and we cannot be separated. For your sake I, your God, became your son; I, the Lord, took the form of a slave; I, whose home is above the heavens, descended to the earth and beneath the earth. For your sake, for the sake of man, I became like a man without help, free among the dead. For the sake of you, who left a garden, I was betrayed to the Jews in a garden, and I was crucified in a garden.
  See on my face the spittle I received in order to restore to you the life I once breathed into you. See there the marks of the blows I received in order to refashion your warped nature in my image. On my back see the marks of the scourging I endured to remove the burden of sin that weighs upon your back. See my hands, nailed firmly to a tree, for you who once wickedly stretched out your hand to a tree.
  I slept on the cross and a sword pierced my side for you who slept in paradise and brought forth Eve from your side. My side has healed the pain in yours. My sleep will rouse you from your sleep in hell. The sword that pierced me has sheathed the sword that was turned against you.
  Rise, let us leave this place. The enemy led you out of the earthly paradise. I will not restore you to that paradise, but I will enthrone you in heaven. I forbade you the tree that was only a symbol of life, but see, I who am life itself am now one with you. I appointed cherubim to guard you as slaves are guarded, but now I make them worship you as God. The throne formed by cherubim awaits you, its bearers swift and eager. The bridal chamber is adorned, the banquet is ready, the eternal dwelling places are prepared, the treasure houses of all good things lie open. The kingdom of heaven has been prepared for you from all eternity.
Responsory
Our shepherd, the source of living water, has departed. At his passing the sun was darkened, for he who held the first man captive is now taken captive himself. Today the Saviour has shattered the bars and burst the gates of death.
He has torn down the barricades of hell and overthrown the power of Satan. Today the Saviour has shattered the bars and burst the gates of death.

Let us pray.
Almighty, ever-living God,
  whose Only-Begotten Son descended to the realm of the dead,
  and rose from there to glory,
grant that your faithful people,
  who were buried with him in baptism,
  may, by his resurrection, obtain eternal life.
Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
  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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