Universalis
Wednesday 20 August 2014    (other days)
Saint Bernard, Abbot, Doctor
 (Wednesday of week 20 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, creation’s secret force,
yourself unmoved, all motion’s source,
who from the morn till evening ray
through all its changes guide the day:
Grant us, when this short life is past,
the glorious evening that shall last;
that, by a holy death attained,
eternal glory may be gained.
To God the Father, God the Son,
and God the Spirit, Three in One,
may every tongue and nation raise
an endless song of thankful praise!
St Ambrose of Milan

Psalm 102 (103)
Praise of the compassionate Lord
My soul, give thanks to the Lord, and never forget all his blessings.
My soul, bless the Lord!
  All that is in me, bless his holy name.
My soul, bless the Lord!
  Never forget all he has done for you.
The Lord, who forgives your wrongdoing,
  who heals all your weaknesses.
The Lord, who redeems your life from destruction,
  who crowns you with kindness and compassion.
The Lord, who fills your age with good things,
  who renews your youth like an eagle’s.
The Lord, who gives fair judgements,
  who gives judgement in favour of the oppressed.
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.
My soul, give thanks to the Lord, and never forget all his blessings.

Psalm 102 (103)
As a father has compassion on his sons, the Lord has pity on those who fear him.
The Lord is compassion and kindness,
  full of patience, full of mercy.
He will not fight against you for ever:
  he will not always be angry.
He does not treat us as our sins deserve;
  he does not pay us back for our wrongdoing.
As high as the sky above the earth,
  so great is his kindness to those who fear him.
As far as east is from west,
  so far he has put our wrongdoing from us.
As a father cares for his children,
  so the Lord cares for those who fear him.
For he knows how we are made,
  he remembers we are nothing but dust.
Man – his life is like grass,
  he blossoms and withers like flowers of the field.
The wind blows and carries him away:
  no trace of him remains.
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.
As a father has compassion on his sons, the Lord has pity on those who fear him.

Psalm 102 (103)
Give thanks to the Lord, all his works.
The Lord has been kind from the beginning;
  to those who fear him his kindness lasts for ever.
His justice is for their children’s children,
  for those who keep his covenant,
  for those who remember his commandments
  and try to perform them.
The Lord’s throne is high in the heavens
  and his rule shall extend over all.
Bless the Lord, all his angels,
  strong in your strength, doers of his command,
  bless him as you hear his words.
Bless the Lord, all his powers,
  his servants who do his will.
Bless the Lord, all he has created,
  in every place that he rules.
My soul, bless 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.
Give thanks to the Lord, all his works.

Teach me the way of your precepts, O Lord,
and I will reflect on the wonders you have wrought.

First ReadingIsaiah 9:8-10:4 ©
The Lord hurls a word against Jacob,
it falls on Israel.
All the people of Ephraim and all the inhabitants of Samaria know it.
In their pride they have said,
speaking in the arrogance of their heart,
‘The bricks have fallen down, then we will build with dressed stone;
the sycamores have been cut down, we will put cedars in their place.’
But the Lord is marshalling his people’s enemies against them,
he is stirring up their foes:
to the east, Aram, to the west, the Philistines
devour Israel with gaping jaw.
Yet his anger is not spent,
still his hand is raised to strike.
But the people have not come back to him who struck them,
they have not come looking for the Lord of Hosts;
hence the Lord has cut head and tail from Israel,
palm branch and reed in a single day.
(The ‘head’ is the elder and the man of rank;
the ‘tail’, the prophet with lying vision.)
This people’s leaders have taken the wrong turning,
and those who are led are lost.
And so the Lord will not spare their young men,
will have no pity for their orphans and widows.
Since the whole people is godless and evil,
its speech is madness.
Yet his anger is not spent,
still his hand is raised to strike.
Yes, wickedness burns like a fire:
it consumes briar and thorn,
it sets the forest thickets alight
and columns of smoke go rolling upwards.
The land is set aflame by the wrath of the Lord of Hosts
and the people are food for the fire.
Not one spares his brother,
each devours the flesh of his neighbour.
On the right side they carve and still are hungry,
on the left they devour and are not satisfied.
Manasseh devours Ephraim, Ephraim Manasseh,
and both hurl themselves on Judah.
Yet his anger is not spent,
still his hand is raised to strike.
Responsory
What darkness the Lord in his anger has brought upon the daughter of Zion! He hurled down from heaven to earth the glory of Israel.
He did not remember in the day of his anger that Zion was his footstool. He hurled down from heaven to earth the glory of Israel.

Second Reading
From a sermon by St. Bernard, abbot
I love because I love, I love that I may love
Love is sufficient of itself, it gives pleasure by itself and because of itself. It is its own merit, its own reward. Love looks for no cause outside itself, no effect beyond itself. Its profit lies in its practice. I love because I love, I love that I may love. Love is a great thing so long as it continually returns to its fountainhead, flows back to its source, always drawing from there the water which constantly replenishes it. Of all the movements, sensations and feelings of the soul, love is the only one in which the creature can respond to the Creator and make some sort of similar return however unequal though it be. For when God loves, all he desires is to be loved in return; the sole purpose of his love is to be loved, in the knowledge that those who love him are made happy by their love of him.
  The Bridegroom’s love, or rather the love which is the Bridegroom, asks in return nothing but faithful love. Let the beloved, then, love in return. Should not a bride love, and above all, Love’s bride? Could it be that Love not be loved?
  Rightly then does she give up all other feelings and give herself wholly to love alone; in giving love back, all she can do is to respond to love. And when she has poured out her whole being in love, what is that in comparison with the unceasing torrent of that original source? Clearly, lover and Love, soul and Word, bride and Bridegroom, creature and Creator do not flow with the same volume; one might as well equate a thirsty man with the fountain.
  What then of the bride’s hope, her aching desire, her passionate love, her confident assurance? Is all this to wilt just because she cannot match stride for stride with her giant, any more than she can vie with honey for sweetness, rival the lamb for gentleness, show herself as white as the lily, burn as bright as the sun, be equal in love with him who is Love? No. It is true that the creature loves less because she is less. But if she loves with her whole being, nothing is lacking where everything is given. To love so ardently then is to share the marriage bond; she cannot love so much and not be totally loved, and it is in the perfect union of two hearts that complete and total marriage consists. Or are we to doubt that the soul is loved by the Word first and with a greater love?
Responsory
How abundant are your treasures of loving-kindness, O Lord, which you give to those who fear you.
They delight in the abundance of your house, they drink the waters of contentment which you give to those who fear you.

Let us pray.
Lord God,
  you made Saint Bernard burn with zeal for your house,
  and gave him grace to enkindle and enlighten others in your Church.
Grant that by his prayer
  we may be filled with the same spirit
  and always live as children of the light.
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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