Universalis
Thursday 21 January 2021    (other days)
Saint Agnes, Virgin, Martyr 
 on Thursday of week 2 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
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.
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.

Hymnus
Igne divíni rádians amóris
córporis sexum superávit Agnes,
et super carnem potuére carnis
claustra pudícæ.
Spíritum celsæ cápiunt cohórtes
cándidum, cæli super astra tollunt;
iúngitur Sponsi thálamis pudíca
sponsa beátis.
Virgo, nunc nostræ miserére sortis
et, tuum quisquis célebrat tropǽum,
ímpetret sibi véniam reátus
atque salútem.
Redde pacátum pópulo precánti
príncipem cæli dominúmque terræ,
donet ut pacem pius et quiétæ
témpora vitæ.
Láudibus mitem celebrémus Agnum,
casta quem sponsum sibi legit Agnes,
astra qui cæli moderátur atque
cuncta gubérnat. Amen.
Hymn
The martyrs living now with Christ
In suffering were tried,
Their anguish overcome by love
When on his cross they died.
Across the centuries they come,
In constancy unmoved,
Their loving hearts make no complaint,
In silence they are proved.
No man has ever measured love,
Or weighed it in his hand,
But God who knows the inmost heart
Gives them the promised land.
Praise Father, Son and Spirit blest,
Who guides us through the night
In ways that reach beyond the stars
To everlasting light.
Francis E. Mostyn (1860-1939)

Ps 43:2-9
Populi calamitates

In his omnibus superamus propter eum, qui dilexit nos” (Rom 8, 37).

Salvásti nos, Dómine, et in nómine tuo confitébimur in sǽculum.
2Deus, áuribus nostris audívimus;†
  patres nostri annuntiavérunt nobis*
  opus, quod operátus es in diébus eórum, in diébus antíquis.
3Tu manu tua gentes depulísti et plantásti illos*
  afflixísti pópulos et dilatásti eos.
4Nec enim in gládio suo possedérunt terram,*
  et bráchium eórum non salvávit eos;
sed déxtera tua et bráchium tuum et illuminátio vultus tui,*
  quóniam complacuísti in eis.
5Tu es rex meus et Deus meus,*
  qui mandas salútes Iacob.
6In te inimícos nostros proiécimus,*
  et in nómine tuo conculcávimus insurgéntes in nos.
7Non enim in arcu meo sperábo,*
  et gládius meus non salvábit me.
8Tu autem salvásti nos de affligéntibus nos*
  et odiéntes nos confudísti.
9In Deo gloriábimur tota die*
  et in nómine tuo confitébimur in sǽculum.
Glória Patri et Fílio*
  et Spirítui Sancto.
Sicut erat in princípio et nunc et semper*
  et in sǽcula sæculórum.
Amen.
Salvásti nos, Dómine, et in nómine tuo confitébimur in sǽculum.

Psalm 43 (44)
In time of defeat

It was you who saved us, Lord: we will praise your name without ceasing.
Our own ears have heard, O God,
  and our fathers have proclaimed it to us,
  what you did in their days, the days of old:
how with your own hand you swept aside the nations
  and put us in their place,
  struck them down to make room for us.
It was not by their own swords that our fathers took over the land,
  it was not their own strength that gave them victory;
but your hand and your strength,
  the light of your face,
  for you were pleased in them.
You are my God and my king,
  who take care for the safety of Jacob.
Through you we cast down your enemies;
  in your name we crushed those who rose against us.
I will not put my hopes in my bow,
  my sword will not bring me to safety;
for it was you who saved us from our afflictions,
  you who set confusion among those who hated us.
We will glory in the Lord all the day,
  and proclaim your name for all ages.
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.
It was you who saved us, Lord: we will praise your name without ceasing.

Ps 43:10-17

Parce, Dómine, et ne des hereditátem tuam in oppróbrium.
10Nunc autem reppulísti et confudísti nos*
  et non egrediéris, Deus, cum virtútibus nostris.
11Convertísti nos retrórsum coram inimícis nostris,*
  et, qui odérunt nos, diripuérunt sibi.
12Dedísti nos tamquam oves ad vescéndum*
  et in géntibus dispersísti nos.
13Vendidísti pópulum tuum sine lucro,*
  nec dítior factus es in commutatióne eórum.
14Posuísti nos oppróbrium vicínis nostris,*
  subsannatiónem et derísum his, qui sunt in circúitu nostro.
15Posuísti nos similitúdinem in géntibus,*
  commotiónem cápitis in pópulis.
16Tota die verecúndia mea contra me est,*
  et confúsio faciéi meæ coopéruit me
17a voce exprobrántis et obloquéntis,*
  a fácie inimíci et ultóris.
Glória Patri et Fílio*
  et Spirítui Sancto.
Sicut erat in princípio et nunc et semper*
  et in sǽcula sæculórum.
Amen.
Parce, Dómine, et ne des hereditátem tuam in oppróbrium.

Psalm 43 (44)

Spare us, Lord, do not let your people be put to shame.
But now, God, you have spurned us and confounded us,
  so that we must go into battle without you.
You have put us to flight in the sight of our enemies,
  and those who hate us plunder us at will.
You have handed us over like sheep sold for food,
  you have scattered us among the nations.
You have sold your people for no money,
  not even profiting by the exchange.
You have made us the laughing-stock of our neighbours,
  mocked and derided by those who surround us.
The nations have made us a by-word,
  the peoples toss their heads in scorn.
All the day I am ashamed,
  I blush with shame
as they reproach me and revile me,
  my enemies and my persecutors.
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.
Spare us, Lord, do not let your people be put to shame.

Ps 43:18-26

Exsúrge, Dómine, et rédime nos propter misericórdiam tuam.
18Hæc ómnia venérunt super nos, nec oblíti sumus te;*
  et iníque non égimus in testaméntum tuum.
19Et non recéssit retro cor nostrum,*
  nec declinavérunt gressus nostri a via tua;
20sed humiliásti nos in loco vúlpium*
  et operuísti nos umbra mortis.
21Si oblíti fuérimus nomen Dei nostri*
  et si expandérimus manus nostras ad deum aliénum,
22nonne Deus requíret ista?*
  Ipse enim novit abscóndita cordis.
23Quóniam propter te mortificámur tota die,*
  æstimáti sumus sicut oves occisiónis.
24Evígila quare obdórmis, Dómine?*
  Exsúrge et ne repéllas in finem.
25Quare fáciem tuam avértis,*
  oblivísceris inópiæ nostræ et tribulatiónis nostræ?
26Quóniam humiliáta est in púlvere ánima nostra,*
  conglutinátus est in terra venter noster.
Exsúrge, Dómine, ádiuva nos*
  et rédime nos propter misericórdiam tuam.
Glória Patri et Fílio*
  et Spirítui Sancto.
Sicut erat in princípio et nunc et semper*
  et in sǽcula sæculórum.
Amen.
Exsúrge, Dómine, et rédime nos propter misericórdiam tuam.

Psalm 43 (44)

Arise, Lord! Redeem us because of your love.
All this happened to us,
  but not because we had forgotten you.
We were not disloyal to your covenant;
  our hearts did not turn away;
  our steps did not wander from your path;
and yet you brought us low,
  with horrors all about us:
  you overwhelmed us in the shadows of death.
If we had forgotten the name of our God,
  if we had spread out our hands before an alien god —
would God not have known?
  He knows what is hidden in our hearts.
It is for your sake that we face death all the day,
  that we are reckoned as sheep to be slaughtered.
Awake, Lord, why do you sleep?
  Rise up, do not always reject us.
Why do you turn away your face?
  How can you forget our poverty and our tribulation?
Our souls are crushed into the dust,
  our bodies dragged down to the earth.
Rise up, Lord, and help us.
  In your mercy, redeem 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.
Arise, Lord! Redeem us because of your love.

℣. Tribulátio et angústia invenérunt me.
℟. Mandáta tua meditátio mea est.
℣. Anguish and distress have taken hold of me.
℟. Yet will I delight in your commands.

Lectio prior
De libro Deuteronómii 9, 7-21. 25-29

Peccata populi et intercessio Moysis

In diébus illis: Locútus est Móyses pópulo dicens:
  7«Meménto et ne obliviscáris quómodo ad iracúndiam provocáveris Dóminum Deum tuum in solitúdine; ex eo die, quo egréssus es ex Ægýpto, usque ad locum istum advérsum Dóminum contendístis. 8Nam et in Horeb provocástis eum, et irátus delére vos vóluit, 9quando ascéndi in montem, ut accíperem tábulas lapídeas, tábulas pacti, quod pépigit vobíscum Dóminus, et perseverávi in monte quadragínta diébus ac nóctibus, panem non cómedens et aquam non bibens. 10Dedítque mihi Dóminus duas tábulas lapídeas scriptas dígito Dei et continéntes ómnia verba, quæ vobis locútus est in monte de médio ignis, quando cóntio pópuli congregáta est. 11Cumque transíssent quadragínta dies et tótidem noctes, dedit mihi Dóminus duas tábulas lapídeas, tábulas fœ́deris, 12dixítque mihi: “Surge et descénde hinc cito, quia peccávit pópulus tuus, quem eduxísti de Ægýpto: deseruérunt velóciter viam, quam præcépi eis, fecerúntque sibi conflátile”. 13Rursúmque ait Dóminus ad me: “Cerno quod pópulus iste duræ cervícis sit; 14dimítte me, ut cónteram eos et déleam nomen eórum sub cælo et fáciam te in gentem, quæ hac fórtior et maior sit”.
  15Cumque revérsus de monte ardénte descénderem et duas tábulas fœ́deris utráque tenérem manu 16vidissémque vos peccásse Dómino Deo vestro et fecísse vobis vítulum conflátilem ac deseruísse velóciter viam eius, quam Dóminus vobis præcéperat, 17arrípui duas tábulas et proiéci eas de mánibus meis confregíque eas in conspéctu vestro; 18et prócidi ante Dóminum, sicut prius quadragínta diébus et nóctibus panem non cómedens et aquam non bibens propter ómnia peccáta vestra, quæ gessístis contra Dóminum et eum ad iracúndiam provocástis; 19tímui enim indignatiónem et iram illíus, qua advérsum vos concitátus delére vos vóluit. Et exaudívit me Dóminus étiam hac vice. 20Advérsum Aaron quoque veheménter irátus vóluit contérere; et pro illo simíliter tunc deprecátus sum. 21Peccátum autem vestrum, quod fecerátis, id est vítulum, arrípiens igne combússi et in frusta commínuens omninóque in púlverem rédigens proiéci in torréntem, qui de monte descéndit.
  25Et iácui coram Dómino quadragínta diébus ac nóctibus, quibus eum supplíciter deprecábar, ne deléret vos, ut fúerat comminátus. 26Et orans dixi: Dómine Deus, ne dispérdas pópulum tuum et hereditátem tuam, quam redemísti in magnitúdine tua, quod eduxísti de Ægýpto in manu forti. 27Recordáre servórum tuórum Abraham, Isaac et Iacob; ne aspícias durítiam pópuli huius et impietátem atque peccátum, 28ne forte dicant habitatóres terræ, de qua eduxísti nos: “Non póterat Dóminus introdúcere eos in terram, quam pollícitus est eis, et óderat illos; idcírco edúxit, ut interfíceret eos in solitúdine”. 29Attamen ipsi sunt pópulus tuus et heréditas tua, quos eduxísti in fortitúdine tua magna et in bráchio tuo exténto».
First Reading
Deuteronomy 9:7-21,25-29 ©

The sin of the people and Moses' intercession

These are the words that Moses spoke beyond Jordan to the whole of Israel:
  Remember; never forget how you provoked the Lord your God in the wilderness. From the day you came out of the land of Egypt you have been rebels against the Lord. At Horeb you provoked the Lord, and the Lord was so angry with you that he was ready to destroy you. I had gone up the mountain to receive the tablets of stone, the tablets of the covenant that the Lord was making with you. I stayed forty days and forty nights on the mountain, eating no bread, drinking no water. The Lord gave me the two stone tablets inscribed by the finger of God, and all the words on them that the Lord had spoken to you on the mountain from the midst of the fire on the day of the Assembly. At the end of the forty days and forty nights, after he had given me the two tablets of stone, the tablets of the covenant, the Lord said to me, “Leave this place, go down quickly, for your people whom you brought out of Egypt have broken faith. They have been quick to leave the way I marked out for them; they have made themselves an idol of cast metal.” Then the Lord said to me, “I have seen this people, and what a headstrong people they are! Let me destroy them, and wipe out their name from under heaven, and make out of you a nation mightier and greater than they.”
  So I went down the mountain again and it was blazing with fire, and in my hands were the two tablets of the covenant. And I looked and there you were, you had been sinning against the Lord your God. You had made yourself a calf of cast metal; you had been quick to leave the way the Lord marked out for you. I seized the two tablets and with my two hands threw them down and broke them before your eyes. Then I fell prostrate before the Lord; as before, I passed forty days and forty nights eating no bread and drinking no water, for all the sin you had committed in doing what was displeasing to the Lord, thus arousing his anger. For I was afraid of this anger, of the fury which so roused the Lord against you that he was ready to destroy you. And once more the Lord heard my prayer. The Lord was enraged with Aaron too and was ready to destroy him, and I pleaded for Aaron also. That work of sin, the calf you had made, I took and burned and broke to pieces, and grinding it to fine dust I threw its dust into the stream that comes down from the mountain.
  So I fell prostrate before the Lord and lay there these forty days and forty nights, for the Lord had said he would destroy you. And I pleaded with the Lord. My Lord, I said, do not destroy your people, your heritage whom in your greatness you have redeemed, whom you have brought out of Egypt with your mighty hand. Remember your servants, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; take no notice of this people’s stubbornness, their wickedness, and their sin, so that it may not be said in the land from which you brought us, “The Lord was not able to bring them to the land he promised them. It was because he hated them that he brought them out, to die in the wilderness.” But they are your people and your heritage whom you brought out by your great power and your outstretched arm.
Responsorium
Cf. Ex 32, 11. 13, 14; 33, 17
℟. Precátus est Móyses in conspéctu Dómini Dei sui et dixit: Quare, Dómine, irásceris in pópulo tuo? Parce iræ ánimæ tuæ; meménto Abraham, Isaac et Iacob, quibus iurásti dare terram fluéntem lac et mel.* Et placátus factus est Dóminus de malignitáte quam dixit fácere pópulo suo.
℣. Dixit Dóminus ad Móysen: Invenísti grátiam in conspéctu meo et scio te præ ómnibus.* Et placátus.
Responsory
Ex 32:11-14, 33:17
℟. Moses pleaded with the Lord his God. Lord, he said, why vent your anger against this people of yours? Let the storm of your anger pass; remember Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, to whom you swore to give a land flowing with milk and honey.* So the Lord relented and did not bring on his people the disaster he had threatened.
℣. The Lord said to Moses, ‘You have won my favour. You alone do I know above all others.’* So the Lord relented and did not bring on his people the disaster he had threatened.

Lectio altera
Ex Tractátu sancti Ambrósii epíscopi De virgínibus (Lib. 1, cap. 2. 5. 7-9: PL 16 [edit. 1845], 189-191)

Nondum idonea pœnæ et iam matura victoriæ

Natális est vírginis, integritátem sequámur; natális est mártyris, hóstias immolémus. Natális est sanctæ Agnétis. Hæc duódecim annórum martýrium fecísse tráditur. Quo detestabílior crudélitas, quæ nec minúsculæ pepércit ætáti, immo magna vis fídei, quæ étiam ab illa testimónium invénit ætáte.
  Fuítne in illo corpúsculo vúlneri locus? Et quæ non hábuit quo ferrum recíperet, hábuit quo ferrum vínceret. At istíus ætátis puéllæ torvos étiam vultus paréntum ferre non possunt, et acu distrícta solent puncta flere quasi vúlnera.
  Hæc inter cruéntas carníficum impávida manus, hæc stridéntium grávibus immóbilis tráctibus catenárum, nunc furéntis mucróni mílitis totum offérre corpus, mori adhuc néscia, sed paráta; vel si ad aras invíta raperétur, téndere Christo inter ignes manus atque in ipsis sacrílegis focis trophǽum Dómini signáre victóris; nunc ferrátis colla manúsque ambas insérere néxibus, sed nullus tam ténuia membra póterat nexus inclúdere.
  Novum martýrii genus? Nondum idónea pœnæ et iam matúra victóriæ; certáre diffícilis, fácilis coronári; magistérium virtútis implévit, quæ præiudícium vehébat ætátis. Non sic ad thálamum nupta properáret, ut ad supplícii locum læta succéssu, gradu festína virgo procéssit, non intórto crine caput compta sed Christo; non flósculis redimíta, sed móribus.
  Flere omnes, ipsa sine fletu. Mirári pleríque quod tam fácile vitæ suæ pródiga, quam nondum háuserat, iam quasi perfúncta donáret. Stupére univérsi quod iam Divinitátis testis exsísteret, quæ adhuc árbitra sui per ætátem esse non posset. Effécit dénique ut ei de Deo crederétur cui de hómine adhuc non crederétur, quia quod ultra natúram est, de Auctóre natúræ est.
  Quanto terróre egit cárnifex ut timerétur, quantis blandítiis ut suadéret, quantórum vota ut sibi ad núptias perveníret. At illa: «Et hæc Sponsi iniúria est exspectáre placitúrum; qui me sibi prior elégit, accípiet. Quid, percússor, moráris? Péreat corpus, quod amári potest óculis, quibus nolo». Stetit, orávit, cervícem infléxit.
  Cérneres trepidáre carníficem, quasi ipse addíctus fuísset; trémere percussóris déxteram, pallére ora aliéno timéntis perículo, cum puélla non timéret suo. Habétis ígitur in una hóstia duplex martýrium, pudóris et religiónis. Et virgo permánsit et martýrium obtínuit.
Second Reading
From a treatise On Virgins by Saint Ambrose, bishop

Too young to be punished, yet old enough for a martyr's crown

Today is the birthday of a virgin; let us imitate her purity. It is the birthday of a martyr; let us offer ourselves in sacrifice. It is the birthday of Saint Agnes, who is said to have suffered martyrdom at the age of twelve. The cruelty that did not spare her youth shows all the more clearly the power of faith in finding one so young to bear it witness.
  There was little or no room in that small body for a wound. Though she could scarcely receive the blow, she could rise superior to it. Girls of her age cannot bear even their parents’ frowns and, pricked by a needle, weep as for a serious wound. Yet she shows no fear of the blood-stained hands of her executioners. She stands undaunted by heavy, clanking chains. She offers her whole body to be put to the sword by fierce soldiers. She is too young to know of death, yet is ready to face it. Dragged against her will to the altars, she stretches out her hands to the Lord in the midst of the flames, making the triumphant sign of Christ the victor on the altars of sacrilege. She puts her neck and hands in iron chains, but no chain can hold fast her tiny limbs.
  A new kind of martyrdom! Too young to be punished, yet old enough for a martyr’s crown; unfitted for the contest, yet effortless in victory, she shows herself a master in valour despite the handicap of youth. As a bride she would not be hastening to join her husband with the same joy she shows as a virgin on her way to punishment, crowned not with flowers but with holiness of life, adorned not with braided hair but with Christ himself.
  In the midst of tears, she sheds no tears herself. The crowds marvel at her recklessness in throwing away her life untasted, as if she had already lived life to the full. All are amazed that one not yet of legal age can give her testimony to God. So she succeeds in convincing others of her testimony about God, though her testimony in human affairs could not yet be accepted. What is beyond the power of nature, they argue, must come from its creator.
  What menaces there were from the executioner, to frighten her; what promises made, to win her over; what influential people desired her in marriage! She answered: “To hope that any other will please me does wrong to my Spouse. I will be his who first chose me for himself. Executioner, why do you delay? If eyes that I do not want can desire this body, then let it perish.” She stood still, she prayed, she offered her neck.
  You could see fear in the eyes of the executioner, as if he were the one condemned; his right hand trembled, his face grew pale as he saw the girl’s peril, while she had no fear for herself. One victim, but a twin martyrdom, to modesty and to religion; Agnes preserved her virginity, and gained a martyr’s crown.
Responsorium
℟. Diem festum beátæ Agnétis celebrémus, quáliter passa sit ad memóriam revocémus;* In iuventúte sua mortem pérdidit et vitam invénit.
℣. Solum enim vitæ diléxit Auctórem.* In iuventúte.
Responsory
℟. Let us keep the feast of blessed Agnes, and recall the kind of suffering she endured:* in the full flower of her youth she died, and found life.
℣. She chose to love the Author of life alone;* in the full flower of her youth she died, and found life.

Oremus.
  Omnípotens sempitérne Deus, qui infírma mundi éligis ut fórtia quæque confúndas, concéde propítius, ut, qui beátæ Agnétis, mártyris, tuæ natalícia celebrámus, eius in fide constántiam subsequámur.
Per Dóminum nostrum Iesum Christum, Fílium tuum,
qui tecum vivit et regnat in unitáte Spíritus Sancti, Deus,
per ómnia sǽcula sæculórum.
Amen.
Let us pray.
Almighty, ever-living God,
  you choose what is weak in the world to shame what is strong.
Grant that, as we celebrate the martyrdom of Saint Agnes,
  we may follow her example of steadfastness in faith.
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.

Benedicámus Dómino.
– Deo grátias.
Let us praise the Lord.
– Thanks be to God.

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