Universalis
Wednesday 24 January 2018    (other days)
Saint Francis de Sales, Bishop, Doctor 
 (Wednesday of week 3 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
Bright as fire in darkness,
Sharper than a sword,
Lives throughout the ages
God’s eternal word.
Father, Son and Spirit,
Trinity of might,
Compassed in your glory,
Give the world your light.
Stanbrook Abbey Hymnal

Psalm 88 (89)
The Lord's kindness to the house of David
Love and truth walk in your presence, Lord.
I will sing for ever of the kindnesses of the Lord:
  to generation upon generation
  my mouth will proclaim your faithfulness.
For you have said
  “My kindness shall be established for ever”;
  your faithfulness will be established in the heavens.
“I have made a covenant with my chosen one.
  I have sworn to David my servant:
To all eternity I will set your descendants firm;
  I shall build your house to last for all generations.”
The heavens will proclaim your wonders, O Lord,
  the assembly of your holy ones will proclaim your faithfulness.
For who in the sky can be compared to the Lord?
  Who could resemble the Lord among all the sons of God?
God is to be feared in the council of his holy ones,
  great and terrible above all who surround him.
Lord God of hosts, who is like you?
  Yours is the power, and faithfulness surrounds you.
You subdue the pride of the sea:
  when its waves rise high, you calm them.
You have trampled Rahab underfoot, like a wounded man;
  through the strength of your arm you have scattered your enemies.
Yours are the heavens and yours is the earth,
  you set firm the globe and all it contains.
You made the north and the south,
  Tabor and Hermon will rejoice in your name.
Your arm it is that has the power,
  your hand is strong, your right hand held high.
Your throne is founded on justice and right,
  kindness and faithfulness are your attendants.
Happy the nation that knows the cry of praise!
  They will walk in the light of your presence, Lord,
  and rejoice in your name all the day –
for you are the splendour of their strength,
  and by your good will our standard is held high.
For our shields belong to the Lord,
  and our king to the Holy One of Israel.
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.
Love and truth walk in your presence, Lord.

Psalm 88 (89)
The Son of God was born into the house of David when he came into this world.
In a vision you spoke to your holy ones.
  You said, “I have given strength to a warrior,
  I have raised a chosen one from the people.
I have found David my servant,
  I have anointed him with my holy oil.
For my hand will always give him support,
  my right arm will give him strength.
The enemy shall make no headway against him,
  the son of iniquity shall have no power over him.
I will crush his foes in his sight
  and strike down those who hate him.
My faithfulness and kindness shall be with him
  and his strength will be triumphant through my name.
I shall extend his power over the sea,
  and his right hand over the rivers.
He will call upon me: ‘you are my father,
  my God and my safe refuge.’
And I shall make him my first-born,
  supreme over all the kings of the earth.
My kindness to him will continue for ever,
  my covenant with him will remain firm.
For all ages I shall establish his descendants,
  and for all the days of heaven his throne will stand.”
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.
The Son of God was born into the house of David when he came into this world.

Psalm 88 (89)
Once for all, I have sworn to David my servant: his dynasty shall last for ever.
“But if his children abandon my law
  and walk no more in the paths of my decrees;
if they profane my judgements
  and do not keep to my commandments,
I will punish their transgressions with a rod,
  I will punish their wickedness with a beating.
Even so, I will not turn my kindness away from him,
  nor will I be untrue to my word.
I will not profane my covenant,
  I will not go against the word I have spoken.
I have sworn in my sanctuary, once and for all:
  I will not lie to David.
His seed shall remain for ever,
  his throne firm as the sun in my sight,
just as the moon stays firm for ever,
  a faithful witness in the sky.”
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.
Once for all, I have sworn to David my servant: his dynasty shall last for ever.

The words that you utter give light
and understanding to the simple.

First Reading
Deuteronomy 29:1-5,9-28 ©
Curses on the breakers of the covenant
Moses called the whole of Israel together and said to them: ‘You have seen all that the Lord did before your eyes in the land of Egypt, to Pharaoh, to his servants and to his whole land, the great ordeals your own eyes witnessed, the signs and those great wonders. But until today the Lord has given you no heart to understand, no eyes to see, no ears to hear.
  For forty years I led you in the wilderness; the clothes on your back did not wear out and your sandals did not wear off your feet. You had no bread to eat, you drank no wine, no strong drink, learning thus that I, the Lord, am your God.
  All of you stand here today in the presence of the Lord your God: your heads of tribes, your elders, your scribes, all the men of Israel, with your children and your wives (and the stranger too who is in your camp, whether he cuts wood or draws water for you), and you are about to enter into the covenant of the Lord your God, a covenant ratified with dire sanctions, which he has made with you today, and by which, today, he makes a nation of you and he himself becomes a God to you, as he has promised and as he has sworn to your fathers Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
  ‘Not with you alone do I make this covenant today and pronounce these sanctions, but with him also who is not here today, as well as with him who stands with us here in the presence of the Lord our God.
  Yes, you know those among whom we lived in Egypt, those through whose lands we journeyed, the nations through whom we have passed. You have seen their abominations and their idols, the wood, the stone, the silver and gold they have in their countries.
  Let there be no man or woman among you, no clan or tribe, whose heart turns away from the Lord your God today to go and serve the gods of those nations. Let there be no root among you bearing fruit that is poisonous and bitter. If, after hearing these sanctions, such a man should bless himself in his heart and say, “I may follow the dictates of my own heart and still lack nothing; much water drives away thirst,” the Lord will not pardon him. The wrath and jealousy of the Lord will blaze against such a man; every curse written in this book will fall on him, and the Lord will blot out his name from under heaven. The Lord will single him out from all the tribes of Israel to his destruction, in accordance with all the curses of the covenant written in the Book of this Law.
  The future generation, your children who are to come after you, as also the stranger from a distant country, will see the plagues of that land and the diseases the Lord will inflict on it, and will exclaim, “Sulphur, salt, scorched earth, the whole land through! No one will sow, nothing grow, no grass spring ever again. Like this, Sodom and Gomorrah were overthrown, Admah and Zeboiim, which the Lord overthrew in his anger and his wrath.” And all the nations will exclaim, “Why has the Lord treated this land like this? Why this great blaze of anger?” And people will say, “Because they deserted the covenant of the Lord, the God of their fathers, the covenant he made with them when he brought them out of the land of Egypt; because they went and served other gods and worshipped them, gods they had not known, gods that were no part of their heritage from him, for this the anger of the Lord has blazed against this land, bringing on it all the curses written in this book. In anger, in fury, in fierce wrath the Lord has torn them from their country and flung them into another land where they are today.”
  Things hidden belong to the Lord our God but things revealed are ours and our children’s for all time, so that we may observe all the words of this Law.
Responsory
Ga 3:13-14; cf. Dt 8:14
℟. Christ was accursed for our sake so that the blessing of Abraham might include the pagans,* so that through faith we might receive the promised Spirit.
℣. God brought us out of the land of Egypt; he delivered us from the house of slavery,* so that through faith we might receive the promised Spirit.

Second Reading
From The Introduction to the Devout Life by Saint Francis de Sales, bishop
Devotion must be practised in different ways
When God the Creator made all things, he commanded the plants to bring forth fruit each according to its own kind; he has likewise commanded Christians, who are the living plants of his Church, to bring forth the fruits of devotion, each one in accord with his character, his station and his calling.
  I say that devotion must be practised in different ways by the nobleman and by the working man, by the servant and by the prince, by the widow, by the unmarried girl and by the married woman. But even this distinction is not sufficient; for the practice of devotion must be adapted to the strength, to the occupation and to the duties of each one in particular.
  Tell me, please, my Philothea, whether it is proper for a bishop to want to lead a solitary life like a Carthusian; or for married people to be no more concerned than a Capuchin about increasing their income; or for a working man to spend his whole day in church like a religious; or on the other hand for a religious to be constantly exposed like a bishop to all the events and circumstances that bear on the needs of our neighbour. Is not this sort of devotion ridiculous, unorganised and intolerable? Yet this absurd error occurs very frequently, but in no way does true devotion, my Philothea, destroy anything at all. On the contrary, it perfects and fulfils all things. In fact if it ever works against, or is inimical to, anyone’s legitimate station and calling, then it is very definitely false devotion.
  The bee collects honey from flowers in such a way as to do the least damage or destruction to them, and he leaves them whole, undamaged and fresh, just as he found them. True devotion does still better. Not only does it not injure any sort of calling or occupation, it even embellishes and enhances it.
  Moreover, just as every sort of gem, cast in honey, becomes brighter and more sparkling, each according to its colour, so each person becomes more acceptable and fitting in his own vocation when he sets his vocation in the context of devotion. Through devotion your family cares become more peaceful, mutual love between husband and wife becomes more sincere, the service we owe to the prince becomes more faithful, and our work, no matter what it is, becomes more pleasant and agreeable.
  It is therefore an error and even a heresy to wish to exclude the exercise of devotion from military divisions, from the artisans’ shops, from the courts of princes, from family households. I acknowledge, my dear Philothea, that the type of devotion which is purely contemplative, monastic and religious can certainly not be exercised in these sorts of stations and occupations, but besides this threefold type of devotion, there are many others fit for perfecting those who live in a secular state.
  Therefore, in whatever situations we happen to be, we can and we must aspire to the life of perfection.
Responsory
℟. Be friends with one another, and kind, forgiving each other as readily as God forgave you in Christ.* Try, then, to imitate God, as children of his that he loves.
℣. Shoulder my yoke and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble of heart.* Try, then, to imitate God, as children of his that he loves.

Let us pray.
Grant, Lord, that in the service of our fellow-men
we may always reflect your own gentleness and love,
  and so imitate Saint Francis de Sales,
  whom you made all things to all men for the saving of souls.
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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