Thursday 23 February 2017    (other days)
Saint Polycarp, Bishop, Martyr 
 (Thursday after Sexagesima)

Office of Readings

If this is the first Hour that you are reciting today, you should precede it with the Invitatory Psalm.

Deus, in adiutórium meum inténde.
  Dómine, ad adiuvándum me festína.
Glória Patri et Fílio*
  et Spirítui Sancto.
Sicut erat in princípio et nunc et semper*
  et in sǽcula sæculórum.
Amen. Allelúia.
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.

I. Quando Officium lectionis dicitur noctu vel summo mane:
Nox atra rerum cóntegit
terræ colóres ómnium:
nos confiténtes póscimus
te, iuste iudex córdium,
Ut áuferas piácula
sordésque mentis ábluas,
donésque, Christe, grátiam
ut arceántur crímina.
Mens, ecce, torpet ímpia,
quam culpa mordet nóxia;
obscúra gestit tóllere
et te, Redémptor, quǽrere.
Repélle tu calíginem
intrínsecus quam máxime,
ut in beáto gáudeat
se collocári lúmine.
Sit, Christe, rex piíssime,
tibi Patríque glória
cum Spíritu Paráclito,
in sempitérna sǽcula. Amen.
II. Quando Officium lectionis dicitur diurno tempore:
Christe, precámur ádnuas
orántibus servis tuis,
iníquitas hæc sǽculi
ne nostram captívet fidem.
Non cogitémus ímpie,
invideámus némini,
læsi non reddámus vicem,
vincámus in bono malum.
Absit nostris e córdibus
ira, dolus, supérbia;
absístat avarítia,
malórum radix ómnium.
Consérvet pacis fœ́dera
non simuláta cáritas;
sit illibáta cástitas
credulitáte pérpeti.
Sit, Christe, rex piíssime,
tibi Patríque glória
cum Spíritu Paráclito,
in sempitérna sǽcula. Amen.
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

Ps 88:39-46
Lamentatio de ruina domus David

Erexit cornu salutis nobis in domo David” (Lc 1, 69).

Intuére, Dómine, et réspice oppróbrium nostrum.
39Tu vero reppulísti et reiecísti,*
  irátus es contra christum tuum;
40evertísti testaméntum servi tui,*
  profanásti in terram diadéma eius.
41Destruxísti omnes muros eius,*
  posuísti munitiónes eius in ruínas.
42Diripuérunt eum omnes transeúntes viam,*
  factus est oppróbrium vicínis suis.
43Exaltásti déxteram depriméntium eum,*
  lætificásti omnes inimícos eius.
44Avertísti áciem gládii eius*
  et non es auxiliátus ei in bello.
45Finem posuísti splendóri eius*
  et sedem eius in terram collisísti.
46Minorásti dies iuventútis eius,*
  perfudísti eum confusióne.
Glória Patri et Fílio*
  et Spirítui Sancto.
Sicut erat in princípio et nunc et semper*
  et in sǽcula sæculórum.
Intuére, Dómine, et réspice oppróbrium nostrum.
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.
Pay heed, Lord, and see how we are taunted.

Ps 88:47-53
Ego sum radix et genus David, stella spléndida et matutína.
47Usquequo, Dómine, abscondéris in finem,*
  exardéscet sicut ignis ira tua?
48Memoráre, quam brevis mea substántia.*
  Ad quam vanitátem creásti omnes fílios hóminum?
49Quis est homo, qui vivet et non vidébit mortem,*
  éruet ánimam suam de manu ínferi?
50Ubi sunt misericórdiæ tuæ antíquæ, Dómine,*
  sicut iurásti David in veritáte tua?
51Memor esto, Dómine, oppróbrii servórum tuórum,*
  quod contínui in sinu meo, multárum géntium,
52quo exprobravérunt inimíci tui, Dómine,*
  quo exprobravérunt vestígia christi tui.
53Benedíctus Dóminus in ætérnum.*
  Fiat, fiat.
Glória Patri et Fílio*
  et Spirítui Sancto.
Sicut erat in princípio et nunc et semper*
  et in sǽcula sæculórum.
Ego sum radix et genus David, stella spléndida et matutína.
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.
I am the root and stock of David; I am the splendid morning star.

Ps 89:1-17
Sit splendor Domini super nos

Unus dies apud Dominum sicut mille anni, et mille anni sicut dies unus” (2 Petr 3, 8).

Anni nostri sicut herba tránseunt: a sǽculo tu es, Deus.
1Dómine, refúgium factus es nobis*
  a generatióne in generatiónem.
2Priúsquam montes nasceréntur†
  aut gignerétur terra et orbis,*
  a sǽculo et usque in sǽculum tu es Deus.
3Redúcis hóminem in púlverem;*
  et dixísti: «Revertímini, fílii hóminum».
4Quóniam mille anni ante óculos tuos tamquam dies hestérna, quæ prætériit,*
  et custódia in nocte.
5Auferes eos, sómnium erunt:*
  6mane sicut herba succréscens,
mane floret et crescit,*
  véspere décidit et aréscit.
7Quia defécimus in ira tua*
  et in furóre tuo turbáti sumus.
8Posuísti iniquitátes nostras in conspéctu tuo,*
  occúlta nostra in illuminatióne vultus tui.
9Quóniam omnes dies nostri evanuérunt in ira tua,*
  consúmpsimus ut suspírium annos nostros.
10Dies annórum nostrórum sunt septuagínta anni*
  aut in valéntibus octogínta anni,
et maior pars eórum labor et dolor,*
  quóniam cito tránseunt, et avolámus.
11Quis novit potestátem iræ tuæ*
  et secúndum timórem tuum indignatiónem tuam?
12Dinumeráre dies nostros sic doce nos,*
  ut inducámus cor ad sapiéntiam.
13Convértere, Dómine, úsquequo?*
  Et deprecábilis esto super servos tuos.
14Reple nos mane misericórdia tua,*
  et exsultábimus et delectábimur ómnibus diébus nostris.
15Lætífica nos pro diébus, quibus nos humiliásti,*
  pro annis, quibus vídimus mala.
16Appáreat servis tuis opus tuum*
  et decor tuus fíliis eórum.
17Et sit splendor Dómini Dei nostri super nos,†
  et ópera mánuum nostrárum confírma super nos*
  et opus mánuum nostrárum confírma.
Glória Patri et Fílio*
  et Spirítui Sancto.
Sicut erat in princípio et nunc et semper*
  et in sǽcula sæculórum.
Anni nostri sicut herba tránseunt: a sǽculo tu es, Deus.
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.
Our years pass like grass; but you, God, are without beginning or end.

℣. Dómine, apud te est fons vitæ.
℟. Et in lúmine tuo vidébimus lumen.
Lord, from you springs life;
in your light we shall see light.

Lectio prior
De libro Ecclesiástes 6, 11 — 7, 28
Ne plus sapias quam necesse est
6,11Ubi verba sunt plúrima, multíplicant vanitátem; quid lucri habet homo? 12Quóniam quis scit quid hómini bonum sit in vita, in paucis diébus vanitátis suæ, quos péragit velut umbra? Aut quis ei póterit indicáre quid post eum futúrum sub sole sit?
7,1Mélius est nomen bonum quam unguénta pretiósa,
et dies mortis die nativitátis.
2Mélius est ire ad domum luctus
quam ad domum convívii;
in illa enim finis cunctórum hóminum,
et vivens hoc cónferet in corde.
3Mélior est tristítia risu,
quia per tristítiam vultus corrígitur ánimus.
4Cor sapiéntium in domo luctus,
et cor stultórum in domo lætítiæ.
5Mélius est a sapiénte córripi
quam lætári stultórum cánticis,
6quia sicut sónitus spinárum ardéntium sub olla,
sic risus stulti.
Sed et hoc vánitas.
7Quia calúmnia stultum facit sapiéntem,
et munus cor insaníre facit.
8«Mélior est finis negótii quam princípium,
mélior est pátiens arrogánte».
9Ne sis velox in ánimo ad irascéndum, quia ira in sinu stulti requiéscit. 10Ne dicas: «Quid, putas, causæ est quod prióra témpora melióre fuére quam nunc sunt?». Non enim ex sapiéntia intérrogas de hoc. 11Bona est sapiéntia cum divítiis et prodest vidéntibus solem. 12Sicut enim prótegit sapiéntia, sic prótegit pecúnia; hoc autem plus habet erudítio quod sapiéntia vitam tríbuit possessóri suo.
  13Consídera ópera Dei: quod nemo possit corrígere, quod ille curvum fécerit. 14In die bona frúere bonis et in die mala consídera: Sicut hanc, sic et illam fecit Deus, ita ut non invéniat homo quidquam de futúro. 15Cuncta vidi in diébus vanitátis meæ: est iustus, qui perit in iustítia sua, et ímpius, qui multo vivit témpore in malítia sua.
16Noli esse nimis iustus,
neque sápiens supra modum!
Cur te pérdere vis?
17Ne agas nimis ímpie
et noli esse stultus!
Cur mori débeas in témpore non tuo?
18Bonum est ut, quod habes, téneas, sed et ab illo ne súbtrahas manum tuam, quia qui timet Deum, utrúmque devítat.
  19Sapiéntia confortábit sapiéntem super decem príncipes civitátis. 20Nullus enim homo iustus in terra, qui fáciat bonum et non peccet. 21Sed et cunctis sermónibus, qui dicúntur, ne accómmodes cor tuum, ne forte áudias servum tuum maledicéntem tibi; 22scit enim consciéntia tua, quia et tu crebro maledixísti áliis.
  23Cuncta tentávi in sapiéntia, dixi: «Sápiens effíciar». 24Et ipsa lóngius recéssit a me. Longe est, quod fuit; et alta est profúnditas. Quis invéniet eam?
  25Lustrávi univérsa ánimo meo, ut scirem et considerárem et quǽrerem sapiéntiam et ratiónem et ut cognóscerem impietátem esse stultítiam et errórem imprudéntiam. 26Et invénio amariórem morte mulíerem, quæ láqueus venatórum est, et sagéna cor eius, víncula sunt manus illíus. Qui placet Deo, effúgiet eam; qui autem peccátor est, capiétur ab illa.
  27Ecce hoc invéni, dixit Ecclesiástes, unum et álterum, ut invenírem ratiónem, 28quam adhuc quærit ánima mea, et non invéni:
Hóminem de mille unum répperi,
mulíerem ex ómnibus non invéni.
First Reading
Ecclesiastes 6:11-7:28 ©
The more words, the greater the vanity of it all; and what does man get from it? Who knows what is good for man in his lifetime, in those few days he lives so vainly, days that like a shadow he spends? Who can tell a man what will happen under the sun after his time?
Better a good name than costly oil,
the day of death than the day of birth.
Better go to the house of mourning
than to the house of feasting;
for to this end all men come,
let the living take this to heart.
Better sadness than laughter,
a severe face confers some benefit.
The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning,
the heart of fools in the house of gaiety.
Better attend to a wise man’s reprimand
than listen to a song sung by a fool.
For like the crackling of thorns under the cauldron
is the laughter of fools:
this is vanity, too.
For laughter makes a fool of the wise man
and merriment corrupts the heart.
Better the end of a matter than its beginning,
better patience than pride.
Do not be hasty with your resentment, for resentment is found in the heart of fools. Do not ask why earlier days were better than these, for that is not a question prompted by wisdom. Wisdom is a precious legacy, a boon for those on whom the sun shines. For as money gives protection, so does wisdom; and the good that knowledge imparts is this: its possessor finds that wisdom keeps him safe.
  Consider the work of God; who can set straight what he has made crooked? When times are prosperous, enjoy your happiness; when times are bad, consider this: the one is God’s doing, as is the other, in order that man may know nothing of his destiny. In this fleeting life of mine I have seen so much: the virtuous man perishing for all his virtue, for all his godlessness the godless living on.
Do not be over-virtuous
nor play too much the sage;
– why drive yourself too hard?
Do not be wicked to excess,
and do not be a fool;
– why die before your time?
  The best thing is to hold the one and not let go the other, for both of these will happen to the God-fearing man.
  Wisdom lends more strength to the wise than ten rulers in a city. There is no virtuous man on earth who, doing good, is ever free of sin. Another thing: pay no attention to telltales; you may hear that your servant has reviled you; your own heart knows how often you have reviled others.
  I have put all this to the test by wisdom, claiming to be wise; but wisdom has been beyond my reach. Reality lies beyond my grasp; and deep, so deep, who can discover it?
  Once again I was at pains to study wisdom and retribution, to see wickedness as folly, and foolishness as madness. I find woman more bitter than death; she is a snare, her heart a net, her arms are chains;
He who is pleasing to God eludes her,
but the sinner is her captive.
This then you must know, says Qoheleth, is the sum of my investigation, putting this and that together. I have made other researches too, without result.
One man in a thousand I may find,
but never a woman better than the rest.
Prov 20, 9; Eccle 7, 20; 1 Io 1, 8. 9
℟. Quis potest dícere: «Mundávi cor meum, purus sum a peccáto?»* Nullus enim homo iustus in terra, qui fáciat bonum et non peccet.
℣. Si dixérimus quóniam peccátum non habémus, nosmetípsos sedúcimus; si confiteámur peccáta nostra, fidélis est Deus, ut remíttat nobis.* Nullus.
℟. What man can say, ‘I have cleansed my heart, I am purified of my sin’?* There is no virtuous man on earth who, doing good, is ever free of sin.
℣. If we say we have no sin in us, we are deceiving ourselves, but if we acknowledge our sins, then God who is faithful and just will forgive us.* There is no virtuous man on earth who, doing good, is ever free of sin.

Lectio altera
Ex Epístola Ecclésiæ Smyrnénsis de martýrio sancti Polycárpi (Cap. 13, 2 — 15, 3: Funk 1, 297-299)
Tamquam sacrificium pingue et acceptum
Cum rogus apparátus esset, Polycárpus, sibi detráctis ómnibus vestiméntis et cíngulo solúto, conabátur étiam se excalceáre, quod prius non faciébat, quia semper cuncti fidéles contendébant, quisnam celérius corpus eius tángeret; omni enim bono, propter sanctos mores suos, ille étiam ante martýrium ornátus erat.
  Illico nunc ille ómnibus instruméntis circumdabátur, quæ pro rogo paráta erant. Cum vero et clavis ipsum affígere vellent, dixit: «Sínite me sic; qui enim dat ignem pati, dabit et sine vestra ex clavis cautióne imperturbátum in pyra permanére». Illi ergo non clavis defixérunt, sed alligavérunt eum.
  Hic vero mánibus in tergum reiéctis ac vinctus, tamquam áries insígnis ex magno grege ad oblatiónem, víctima acceptábilis Deo præparáta, cælum intúitus, dixit:
  «Dómine Deus omnípotens, Pater dilécti ac benedícti Fílii tui Iesu Christi, per quem tui notítiam accépimus, Deus angelórum et virtútum et univérsæ creatúræ totiúsque géneris iustórum in conspéctu tuo vivéntium; benedíco tibi, quóniam me hac die atque hac hora dignátus es, ut in número mártyrum accíperem partem cálicis Christi tui ad resurrectiónem in vitam ætérnam ánimæ et córporis in incorruptióne per Spíritum Sanctum; inter quos útinam suscípiar hódie coram te tamquam sacrifícium pingue et accéptum, quemádmodum præparásti et mihi præmonstrásti et nunc adimplevísti, Deus, mendácii néscius ac verax.
  Quaprópter de ómnibus te laudo, tibi benedíco, te glorífico per sempitérnum et cæléstem pontíficem Iesum Christum, diléctum tuum Fílium, per quem tibi, cum ipso et Spíritu Sancto, glória et nunc et in futúra sǽcula. Amen».
  Et postquam «Amen» emisísset precationémque complevísset, minístri ignis ignem accendérunt.
  Cum vero ingens flamma emicásset, miráculum vídimus nos, quibus illud spectáre concéssum fuit, qui et ídeo reserváti sumus, ut áliis, quæ contigérunt, annuntiarémus. Ignis enim fórnicis spéciem præbens, tamquam navis velum a vento replétum, in círculo corpus mártyris circúmdedit; quod in médio pósitum, non ut caro assa videbátur, sed véluti panis coctus vel sicut aurum et argéntum in fornáce candens. Tantam autem nos percépimus suavitátem odóris, ac si tus aut áliud quoddam pretiosórum arómatum oluísset.
Second Reading
From a letter on the martyrdom of Saint Polycarp by the Church of Smyrna
A rich and pleasing sacrifice
When the pyre was ready, Polycarp took off all his clothes and loosened his under-garment. He made an effort also to remove his shoes, though he had been unaccustomed to this, for the faithful always vied with each other in their haste to touch his body. Even before his martyrdom he had received every mark of honour in tribute to his holiness of life.
  There and then he was surrounded by the material for the pyre. When they tried to fasten him also with nails, he said: “Leave me as I am. The one who gives me strength to endure the fire will also give me strength to stay quite still on the pyre, even without the precaution of your nails.” So they did not fix him to the pyre with nails but only fastened him instead. Bound as he was, with hands behind his back, he stood like a mighty ram, chosen out for sacrifice from a great flock, a worthy victim made ready to be offered to God.
  Looking up to heaven, he said: “Lord, almighty God, Father of your beloved and blessed Son Jesus Christ, through whom we have come to the knowledge of yourself, God of angels, of powers, of all creation, of all the race of saints who live in your sight, I bless you for judging me worthy of this day, this hour, so that in the company of the martyrs I may share the cup of Christ, your anointed one, and so rise again to eternal life in soul and body, immortal through the power of the Holy Spirit. May I be received among the martyrs in your presence today as a rich and pleasing sacrifice. God of truth, stranger to falsehood, you have prepared this and revealed it to me and now you have fulfilled your promise.
  “I praise you for all things, I bless you, I glorify you through the eternal priest of heaven, Jesus Christ, your beloved Son. Through him be glory to you, together with him and the Holy Spirit, now and for ever. Amen.”
  When he had said “Amen” and finished the prayer, the officials at the pyre lit it. But, when a great flame burst out, those of us privileged to see it witnessed a strange and wonderful thing. Indeed, we have been spared in order to tell the story to others. Like a ship’s sail swelling in the wind, the flame became as it were a dome encircling the martyr’s body. Surrounded by the fire, his body was like bread that is baked, or gold and silver white-hot in a furnace, not like flesh that has been burnt. So sweet a fragrance came to us that it was like that of burning incense or some other costly and sweet-smelling gum.
Ap 2, 8-9 a 10 a
℟. Angelo ecclésiæ, quæ est Smyrnæ, scribe: Hæc dicit Primus et Novíssimus, qui fuit mórtuus et vixit: Scio tribulatiónem tuam et paupertátem, sed dives es;* Esto fidélis usque ad mortem et dabo tibi corónam vitæ.
℣. Nihil horum tímeas, quæ passúrus es. Ecce missúrus est diábolus ex vobis in cárcerem, ut tentémini.* Esto.
℟. To the angel of the church at Smyrna, write, These are the words of the First and the Last, who was dead and came to life again: I know how hard-pressed you are, and poor – and yet you are rich;* only be faithful till death, and I will give you the crown of life.
℣. Do not be afraid of the suffering to come. The devil will throw some of you into prison, to put you to the test;* only be faithful till death, and I will give you the crown of life.

  Deus univérsæ creatúræ, qui beátum Polycárpum, epíscopum, in número mártyrum dignátus es aggregáre, eius nobis intercessióne concéde, ut, cum illo partem cálicis Christi capiéntes, in vitam resurgámus ætérnam.
Per Dóminum nostrum Iesum Christum, Fílium tuum,
qui tecum vivit et regnat in unitáte Spíritus Sancti, Deus,
per ómnia sǽcula sæculórum.
Let us pray.
Lord of all creation, you gave Saint Polycarp
  a place in the company of the martyrs.
Grant that, through his intercession,
  we may, like him, drink from that cup which Christ drank,
  and so rise to eternal life.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
  who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
  one God, for ever and ever.

Benedicámus Dómino.
– Deo grátias.
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.

You can also view this page in English only.

Copyright © 1996-2017 Universalis Publishing Limited: see www.universalis.com. Scripture readings from the Jerusalem Bible are published and copyright © 1966, 1967 and 1968 by Darton, Longman & Todd, Ltd and Doubleday, a division of Random House, Inc, and used by permission of the publishers.
This web site © Copyright 1996-2016 Universalis Publishing Ltd (contact us) Cookies