Universalis
Tuesday 16 September 2014    (other days)
Saints Cornelius, Pope, and Cyprian, Bishop, Martyrs
 (Tuesday of week 24 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
O God of truth and Lord of power,
whose word their course to things assigns,
whose splendour lights the morning hour,
whose fiery sun at noonday shines:
Within us quench the flames of strife,
the harmful heat of passion quell;
give health of body to our life
and give true peace of soul as well.
In this, most loving Father, hear,
and Christ, co-equal Son, our prayer:
with Holy Ghost, one Trinity,
you reign for all eternity.

Psalm 101 (102)
Prayers and vows of an exile
Let my cry come to you, Lord: do not hide your face from me.
Lord, listen to my prayer
  and let my cry come to you.
Do not hide your face from me:
  whenever I am troubled,
  turn to me and hear me.
Whenever I call on you,
  hurry to answer me.
For my days vanish like smoke,
  and my bones are dry as tinder.
My heart is cut down like grass, it is dry –
  I cannot remember to eat.
The sound of my groaning
  makes my bones stick to my flesh.
I am lonely as a pelican in the wilderness,
  as an owl in the ruins,
  as a sparrow alone on a rooftop:
  I do not sleep.
All day long my enemies taunt me,
  they burn with anger and use my name as a curse.
I make ashes my bread,
  I mix tears with my drink,
  because of your anger and reproach –
you, who raised me up, have dashed me to the ground.
My days fade away like a shadow:
  I wither like grass.
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.
Let my cry come to you, Lord: do not hide your face from me.

Psalm 101 (102)
Turn, Lord, to the prayers of the helpless.
But you, Lord, remain for ever
  and your name lasts from generation to generation.
You will rise up and take pity on Zion,
  for it is time that you pitied it,
  indeed it is time:
for your servants love its very stones
  and pity even its dust.
Then, Lord, the peoples will fear your name.
  All the kings of the earth will fear your glory,
when the Lord has rebuilt Zion
  and appeared there in his glory;
when he has listened to the prayer of the destitute
  and not rejected their pleading.
These things shall be written for the next generation
  and a people yet to be born shall praise the Lord:
because he has looked down from his high sanctuary,
 – the Lord has looked down from heaven to earth –
and heard the groans of prisoners
  and freed the children of death
so that they could proclaim the Lord’s name in Zion
  and sing his praises in Jerusalem,
where people and kingdoms gather together
  to serve the Lord.
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.
Turn, Lord, to the prayers of the helpless.

Psalm 101 (102)
You founded the earth, Lord, and the heavens are the work of your hands.
He has brought down my strength in the midst of my journey;
  he has shortened my days.
I will say, “My God, do not take me away
  half way through the days of my life.
Your years last from generation to generation:
  in the beginning you founded the earth,
  and the heavens are the work of your hands.
They will pass away but you will remain;
  all will grow old, like clothing,
  and like a cloak you will change them, and they will be changed.
“But you are always the same,
  your years will never run out.
The children of your servants shall live in peace,
  their descendants will endure in your sight.”
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.
You founded the earth, Lord, and the heavens are the work of your hands.

Listen, my people, to my teaching;
open your ears to the words of my mouth.

First Reading
Ezekiel 8:1-6,16-9:11 ©
In the sixth year, on the fifth day of the sixth month, I was sitting at home and the elders of Judah were sitting with me, when the hand of the Lord fell on me.
  I looked and saw something that looked like a man. Downwards from what seemed to be his loins he was fire; and upwards from his loins he seemed to shine like polished bronze. He stretched out what seemed to be a hand and took me by the hair; and the spirit lifted me into the air and, in visions from God, took me to Jerusalem, to the entrance of the inner north gate, where the idol of Jealousy stands, provoking jealousy. There I saw the glory of the God of Israel, as I had seen it in the valley. He said, ‘Son of man, raise your eyes to the north.’ I raised my eyes to the north, and there, to the north of the altar gate, stood this statue of Jealousy at the entrance. He said, ‘Son of man, do you see what they are doing? Do you see all the filth practised here by the House of Israel, to drive me out of my sanctuary? You will see filthier practices yet.’
  He then led me to the inner court of the Temple of the Lord. And there, at the entrance to the sanctuary of the Lord, between the porch and the altar, there were about twenty-five men, with their backs to the sanctuary of the Lord and their faces turned to the east. They were bowing to the east, towards the sun. He said to me, ‘Son of man, do you see that? Is it not bad enough for the House of Judah to do the filthy things that they are doing here? But they fill the country with violence and provoke my anger further; look at them now putting that branch to their nostrils. My anger forces me to it; I will show neither pity nor mercy. They may shout as loud as they like; I will not listen to them.’
  Then as I listened he shouted, ‘Come here, you scourges of the city, and bring your weapons of destruction.’ Immediately six men advanced from the upper north gate, each holding a deadly weapon. In the middle of them was a man in white, with a scribe’s ink horn in his belt. They came in and halted in front of the bronze altar. The glory of the God of Israel rose off the cherubs where it had been and went up to the threshold of the Temple. He called the man in white with a scribe’s ink horn in his belt and said, ‘Go all through the city, all through Jerusalem, and mark a cross on the foreheads of all who deplore and disapprove of all the filth practised in it.’ I heard him say to the others, ‘Follow him through the city, and strike. Show neither pity nor mercy; old men, young men, virgins, children, women, kill and exterminate them all. But do not touch anyone with a cross on his forehead. Begin at my sanctuary.’ So they began with the old men in front of the Temple. He said to them, ‘Defile the Temple; fill the courts with corpses, and go.’ They went out and hacked their way through the city.
  While they were hacking them down, I stayed behind; I fell face downwards and exclaimed, ‘Ah, Lord, are you going to annihilate all that is left of Israel as you turn your anger on Jerusalem?’ He said, ‘The guilt of the House of Israel and Judah is immense, boundless; the country is full of bloodshed, the city overflows with wickedness, for they say, “The Lord has abandoned the country, the Lord cannot see.” Right, then, I too will show no pity, I too will not spare. I mean to call them to account for all their behaviour.’ The man in white with the scribe’s ink horn in his belt then came back and made his report, ‘I have carried out your orders.’
Responsory
When you see the ‘abomination of desolation’ standing in the holy place, there will be a time of great distress. If that time were not cut short, no living thing could survive; but for the sake of God’s chosen that time of trouble will be cut short.
Do no damage to sea or land until we have set the seal of our God upon the foreheads of his servants; but for the sake of God’s chosen that time of trouble will be cut short.

EITHER:
Second Reading
A letter of St Cyprian
A faith that is eager and firm
Cyprian to his brother Cornelius.
  My very dear brother, we have heard of the glorious witness given by your courageous faith. On learning of the honour you had won by your witness, we were filled with such joy that we felt ourselves sharers and companions in your praiseworthy achievements. After all, we have the same Church, the same mind, the same unbroken harmony. Why then should a priest not take pride in the praise given to a fellow priest as though it were given to him? What brotherhood fails to rejoice in the happiness of its brothers wherever they are?
  Words cannot express how great was the exultation and delight here when we heard of your good fortune and brave deeds: how you stood out as leader of your brothers in their declaration of faith, while the leader’s confession was enhanced as they declared their faith. You led the way to glory, but you gained many companions in that glory; being foremost in your readiness to bear witness on behalf of all, you prevailed on your people to become a single witness. We cannot decide which we ought to praise, your own ready and unshaken faith or the love of your brothers who would not leave you. While the courage of the bishop who thus led the way has been demonstrated, at the same time the unity of the brotherhood who followed has been manifested. Since you have one heart and one voice, it is the Roman Church as a whole that has thus borne witness. Dearest brother, bright and shining is the faith which the blessed Apostle praised in your community. He foresaw in the spirit the praise your courage deserves and the strength that could not be broken; he was heralding the future when he testified to your achievements; his praise of the fathers was a challenge to the sons. Your unity, your strength have become shining examples of these virtues to the rest of the brethren. Divine providence has now prepared us. God’s merciful design has warned us that the day of our own struggle, our own contest, is at hand. By that shared love which binds us close together, we are doing all we can to exhort our congregation, to give ourselves unceasingly to fastings, vigils and prayers in common. These are the heavenly weapons which give us the strength to stand firm and endure; they are the spiritual defences, the God-given armaments that protect us.
  Let us then remember one another, united in mind and heart. Let us pray without ceasing, you for us, we for you; by the love we share we shall thus relieve the strain of these great trials.
Responsory
God and his angels look down upon us; Christ, who looks on as we do battle in the contest of faith. What great dignity and glory are ours, what happiness to struggle in the presence of God and to be crowned by Christ our judge.
Let us be armed with a great determination and, pure in heart, sound in faith and full of courage, be prepared to face the combat. What great dignity and glory are ours, what happiness to struggle in the presence of God and to be crowned by Christ our judge.
OR:
Second Reading
The proconsular Acts of the martyrdom of St Cyprian, 258AD
I have no need to deliberate: the issues are clear
On the morning of 14 September a huge crowd gathered at Villa Sexti as the proconsul Galerius Maximus had ordered. The proconsul commanded that Bishop Cyprian be brought to trial before him as he sat in judgement in the court called Sauciolum. When the bishop appeared the proconsul asked him: ‘Are you Thascius Cyprian?’
  The bishop replied: ‘I am.’
  ‘And have you acted as leader in a community of impious men?’
  ‘I have.’
  ‘The sacred emperors have ordered you to sacrifice.’
  ‘I will not sacrifice.’
  ‘Consider your position.’
  ‘Do what is required of you. I have no need to deliberate; the issues are clear.’
  Galerius consulted briefly with his advisers and reluctantly pronounced sentence in the following words: ‘You have lived in an irreligious manner for a long time now and have gathered about you a large congregation of criminals and unbelievers. You have shown yourself hostile to the gods of Rome and the rites by which they are worshipped. The pious and sacred emperors Valerian and his son, Gallienus, and the right noble Caesar, Valerian, have been unable to recall you to the practice of the official religion. Furthermore you are the instigator of abominations, a veritable standard-bearer for criminals and as such you have been brought before me. Your death will be an example to those whom you have gathered into your criminal conspiracy. Your blood will uphold the law.’ He then pronounced the following sentence from his wax tablet: ‘It is our decision that Thascius Cyprian be put to death by the sword.’ Bishop Cyprian simply said, ‘Thanks be to God.’
  When sentence had been passed the assembled brethren cried out: ‘Let us be beheaded with him!’, and followed him in a huge and tumultuous crowd. Cyprian was brought to the plain of Sextus. There he removed his cloak and kneeling down he humbled himself in prayer to God. He disrobed and gave his dalmatic to the deacons. Clad only in his linen tunic he awaited his executioner.
  When the executioner arrived Cyprian told his followers to give him twenty-five gold pieces. His brethren spread before him linen cloths and towels. The blessed Cyprian blindfolded his eyes with his own hands. The presbyter Julian and the subdeacon Julian tied the ends of the handkerchief since he was unable to do so himself. So died blessed Cyprian.
  His body was exposed nearby to satisfy the curiosity of the pagans. During the night the body was removed by the light of wax candles and torches, and with prayer and great pomp it was brought for burial to a piece of open ground belonging to the procurator Macrobius Candidianus near the reservoirs on the Mappalian Way. A few days later the proconsul Galerius Maximus died.
  The blessed Cyprian suffered martyrdom on 14 September, under the emperors Valerian and Gallienus, but in the reign of our Lord Jesus Christ, to whom is honour and glory for ever. Amen.
Responsory
God and his angels look down upon us; Christ, who looks on as we do battle in the contest of faith. What great dignity and glory are ours, what happiness to struggle in the presence of God and to be crowned by Christ our judge.
Let us be armed with a great determination and, pure in heart, sound in faith and full of courage, be prepared to face the combat. What great dignity and glory are ours, what happiness to struggle in the presence of God and to be crowned by Christ our judge.

Let us pray.
Lord God,
  you gave Saint Cornelius and Saint Cyprian to your Church
  as faithful pastors and steadfast martyrs.
Strengthen our faith and our courage by their prayers,
  so that we may strive with all our power for the unity of the Church.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
  who lives and reigns with you and 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 downloads do contain the Grail translation of the psalms.

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