Universalis
Thursday 5 March 2015    (other days)
Thursday of the 2nd week of Lent

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.

Hymn
Lord, who throughout these forty days
for us didst fast and pray,
teach us with thee to mourn our sins,
and close by thee to stay.
As thou with Satan didst contend
and didst the victory win,
O give us strength in thee to fight,
in thee to conquer sin.
As thou didst hunger bear, and thirst,
so teach us, gracious Lord,
to die to self, and chiefly live
by thy most holy word.
And through these days of penitence,
and through thy Passiontide,
yea, evermore in life and death,
Jesus, with us abide.
Abide with us, that so, this life
of suffering overpast,
an Easter of unending joy
we may attain at last.

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.

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.

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.

He who reflects on the law of the Lord
will yield his fruit in due season.

First ReadingExodus 18:13-27 ©
On the following day, Moses took his seat to administer justice for the people, and from morning till evening they stood round him. Observing what labours he took on himself for the people’s sake, the father-in-law of Moses said to him, ‘Why do you take all this on yourself for the people? Why sit here alone with the people standing round you from morning till evening?’ Moses answered his father-in-law, ‘Because the people come to me to bring their enquiries to God. When they have some dispute they come to me, and I settle the differences between the one and the other and instruct them in God’s statutes and his decisions.’ ‘It is not right’ the father-in-law of Moses said to him ‘to take this on yourself. You will tire yourself out, you and the people with you. The work is too heavy for you. You cannot do it alone. Take my advice, and God will be with you. You ought to represent the people before God and bring their disputes to him. Teach them the statutes and the decisions; show them the way they must follow and what their course must be. But choose from the people at large some capable and God-fearing men, trustworthy and incorruptible, and appoint them as leaders of the people: leaders of thousands, hundreds, fifties, tens. Let these be at the service of the people to administer justice at all times. They can refer all difficult questions to you, but all smaller questions they will decide for themselves, so making things easier for you and sharing the burden with you. If you do this – and may God so command you – you will be able to stand the strain, and all these people will go home satisfied.’
  Moses took his father-in-law’s advice and did as he said. Moses chose capable men from the ranks of the Israelites and set them over the people: leaders of thousands, hundreds, fifties, tens. They were at the service of the people to administer justice at all times. They referred hard questions to Moses, and decided smaller questions by themselves.
  Then Moses allowed his father-in-law to go, and he made his way back to his own country.
Responsory
The Lord came down in the cloud and spoke to Moses, and took some of the spirit that was upon him and put it upon the seventy elders; when the spirit rested upon them they prophesied, and the gift of prophecy never left them.
Moses chose able men out of all Israel and made them heads over the people; when the spirit rested upon them they prophesied, and the gift of prophecy never left them.

Second Reading
From a treatise on the psalms by Saint Hilary of Poitiers
The meaning of "the fear of the Lord"
Blessed are those who fear the Lord, who walk in his ways. Notice that when Scripture speaks of the fear of the Lord it does not leave the phrase in isolation, as if it were a complete summary of faith. No, many things are added to it, or are presupposed by it. From these we may learn its meaning and excellence. In the book of Proverbs Solomon tells us: If you cry out for wisdom and raise your voice for understanding, if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for treasure, then you will understand the fear of the Lord. We see here the difficult journey we must undertake before we can arrive at the fear of the Lord.
  We must begin by crying out for wisdom. We must hand over to our intellect the duty of making every decision. We must look for wisdom and search for it. Then we must understand the fear of the Lord.
  “Fear” is not to be taken in the sense that common usage gives it. Fear in this ordinary sense is the trepidation our weak humanity feels when it is afraid of suffering something it does not want to happen. We are afraid, or made afraid, because of a guilty conscience, the rights of someone more powerful, an attack from one who is stronger, sickness, encountering a wild beast, suffering evil in any form. This kind of fear is not taught: it happens because we are weak. We do not have to learn what we should fear: objects of fear bring their own terror with them.
  But of the fear of the Lord this is what is written: Come, my children, listen to me, I shall teach you the fear of the Lord. The fear of the Lord has then to be learned because it can be taught. It does not lie in terror, but in something that can be taught. It does not arise from the fearfulness of our nature; it has to be acquired by obedience to the commandments, by holiness of life and by knowledge of the truth.
  For us the fear of God consists wholly in love, and perfect love of God brings our fear of him to its perfection. Our love for God is entrusted with its own responsibility: to observe his counsels, to obey his laws, to trust his promises. Let us hear what Scripture says: And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God ask of you except to fear the Lord your God and walk in his ways and love him and keep his commandments with your whole heart and your whole soul, so that it may be well for you?
  The ways of the Lord are many, though he is himself the way. When he speaks of himself he calls himself the way and shows us the reason why he called himself the way: No one can come to the Father except through me.
  We must ask for these many ways, we must travel along these many ways, to find the one that is good. That is, we shall find the one way of eternal life through the guidance of many teachers. These ways are found in the law, in the prophets, in the gospels, in the writings of the apostles, in the different good works by which we fulfil the commandments. Blessed are those who walk these ways in the fear of the Lord.
Responsory
Those who fear the Lord try to do his will; and all who love him steep themselves in the law.
He shows mercy to those who fear him, from one generation to another; and all who love him steep themselves in the law.

Let us pray.
Lord God,
  you love innocence of heart,
  and when it is lost you alone can restore it.
Turn then our hearts to you,
  and kindle in them the fire of your Spirit,
so that we may be steadfast in faith
  and unwearied in good works.
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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