Thursday 27 August 2015    (other days)
Saint Monica
 (Thursday of week 21 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.

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.

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

Psalm 17 (18)
The word of the Lord is a shield for all who make him their refuge.
The Lord’s ways are pure;
  the words of the Lord are refined in the furnace;
  the Lord protects all who hope in him.
For what God is there, but our Lord?
  What help, but in the Lord our God?
God, who has wrapped me in his strength
  and set me on the perfect path,
who has made my feet like those of the deer,
  who has set me firm upon the heights,
who trains my hands for battle,
  teaches my arms to bend a bow of bronze.
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.
The word of the Lord is a shield for all who make him their refuge.

Psalm 17 (18)
Lord, your right hand upheld me.
You have given me the shield of your salvation;
  your right hand holds me up;
  by answering me, you give me greatness.
You have stretched the length of my stride,
  my feet do not weaken.
I pursue my enemies and surround them;
  I do not turn back until they are no more.
I smash them to pieces, they cannot stand,
  they fall beneath my feet.
You have wrapped me round with strength for war,
  and made my attackers fall under me.
You turned my enemies’ backs on me,
  you destroyed those who hated me.
They cried out, but there was no-one to save them;
  they cried to the Lord, but he did not hear.
I have ground them up until they are dust in the wind,
  trodden them down like the mud of the street.
You have delivered me from the murmurings of the people
  and placed me at the head of the nations.
A people I do not even know serves me –
  at a mere rumour of my orders, they obey.
The children of strangers beg for my favour;
  they hide away and tremble where they hide.
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.
Lord, your right hand upheld me.

Psalm 17 (18)
Long life to the Lord! Praised be the God who saves me.
The Lord lives, my blessed Helper.
  Let the God of my salvation be exalted.
God, you give me my revenge,
  you subject peoples to my rule,
  you free me from my enraged enemies.
You raise me up from those who attack me,
  you snatch me from the grasp of the violent.
And so I will proclaim you among the nations, Lord,
  and sing to your name.
Time and again you save your king,
  you show your loving kindness to your anointed,
  to David and his descendants for ever.
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.
Long life to the Lord! Praised be the God who saves me.

Uncover my eyes, Lord,
and I will consider the wonders of your Law.

First Reading
Jeremiah 3:1-5,19-4:4 ©
If a man divorces his wife
and she leaves him
to marry someone else,
may she still go back to him?
Has not that piece of land
been totally polluted?
And you, who have prostituted yourself with so many lovers,
you would come back to me? – it is the Lord who speaks.
Lift your eyes to the bare heights and look!
Is there a single place where you have not offered your body?
You waited by the roadside for clients
like an Arab in the desert.
You have polluted the country
with your prostitution and your vices:
this is why the showers have been withheld,
the late rains have not come.
And you maintained a prostitute’s bold front,
never thinking to blush.
Even then did you not cry to me, “My father!
You, the friend of my youth!
Will he keep his resentment for ever,
will he maintain his wrath to the end?”
That was what you said, and still you went on sinning,
you were so obstinate.
And I was thinking:
How I wanted to rank you with my sons,
and give you a country of delights,
the fairest heritage of all the nations!
I had thought you would call me: My father,
and would never cease to follow me.
But like a woman betraying her lover,
the House of Israel has betrayed me –
it is the Lord who speaks.
A noise is heard on the bare heights:
the weeping and entreaty of the sons of Israel,
because they have gone so wildly astray,
and forgotten the Lord their God.
‘Come back, disloyal sons,
I want to heal your disloyalty.’
‘We are here, we are coming to you,
for you are the Lord our God.
The heights are a delusion after all,
so is the tumult of the mountains.
‘The Lord our God is, after all,
the saving of Israel.
The Thing of Shame has devoured what our ancestors worked for
since our youth
(their flocks and herds, their sons and daughters).
Let us lie down in our shame, let our dishonour be our covering,
for we have sinned against the Lord our God
(we and our ancestors since our youth until today;
and we have not listened to the voice of the Lord our God).’
‘If you wish to come back, Israel – it is the Lord who speaks –
it is to me you must return.
Do away with your abominations
and you will have no need to avoid me.
If you swear, “As the Lord lives!”
truthfully, justly, honestly,
the nations will bless themselves by you,
and glory in you.
For thus speaks the Lord
to the men of Judah and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem:
Clean your ground thoroughly,
sow nothing among thorns.
Circumcise yourselves for the Lord; off with the foreskin of your hearts
(men of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem),
lest my wrath should leap out like a fire,
and burn with no one to quench it,
in return for the wickedness of your deeds.’
If our crimes are witness against us, then, Lord, for your name’s sake, act! Yes, our apostasies have been many, we have sinned against you.
If you, O Lord, should mark our guilt, Lord, who would survive? Yes, our apostasies have been many, we have sinned against you.

Second Reading
The Confessions of St. Augustine, bishop
Let us gain eternal wisdom
Because the day when she was to leave this life was drawing near – a day known to you, though we were ignorant of it – she and I happened to be alone, through (as I believe) the mysterious workings of your will. We stood leaning against a window which looked out on a garden within the house where we were staying, at Ostia on the Tiber; for there, far from the crowds, we were recruiting our strength after the long journey, in order to prepare ourselves for our voyage overseas. We were alone, conferring very intimately. Forgetting what lay in the past, and stretching out to what was ahead, we enquired between ourselves, in the light of present truth, into what you are and what the eternal life of the saints would be like, for Eye has not seen nor ear heard nor human heart conceived it. And yet, with the mouth of our hearts wide open we panted thirstily for the celestial streams of your fountain, the fount of life which is with you.
  This was the substance of our talk, though not the exact words. Yet you know, O Lord, how on that very day, amid this talk of ours that seemed to make the world with all its charms grow cheap, she said, “For my part, my son, I no longer find pleasure in anything that this life holds. What I am doing here still, or why I am still here, I do not know, for worldly hope has withered away for me. One thing only there was for which I desired to linger in this life: to see you a Catholic Christian before I died. And my God has granted this to me more lavishly than I could have hoped, letting me see even you spurning earthly happiness to be his servant. What am I still doing here?”
  What I replied I cannot clearly remember, because just about that time – five days later, or not much more – she took to her bed with fever. One day during her illness she lapsed into unconsciousness and for a short time was unaware of her surroundings. We all came running, but she quickly returned to her senses, and, gazing at me and my brother as we stood there, she asked in puzzlement, “Where was I?”
  We were bewildered with grief, but she looked keenly at us and said, “You are to bury your mother here”. I was silent, holding back my tears, but my brother said something about his hope that she would not die far from home but in her own country, for that would be a happier way. On hearing this she looked anxious and her eyes rebuked him for thinking so; then she turned her gaze from him to me and said, “What silly talk!” Shortly afterwards, addressing us both, she said, “Lay this body anywhere, and take no trouble over it. One thing only do I ask of you, that you remember me at the altar of the Lord wherever you may be”. Having made her meaning clear to us with such words as she could muster, she fell silent, and the pain of the disease grew worse.
Our time is growing short. Those who enjoy life should act as though there was nothing to enjoy, and those who deal in worldly things should not become engrossed in them. I say this because the world as we know it is passing away.
It is not the spirit of the world which we have received. I say this because the world as we know it is passing away.

Let us pray.
God our Father, comforter of the sorrowful,
  you accepted Saint Monica’s offering of tears
  for the conversion of her son, Augustine.
Help us, by their intercession,
  to be truly contrite for our sins
  so that we may receive the grace of your forgiveness.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
  who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
  one God, for ever and ever.

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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