Universalis
Wednesday 7 December 2016    (other days)
Saint Ambrose, Bishop, Doctor 
 (Wednesday of the 2nd week of Advent)

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
The Advent of our God
  With eager prayers we greet
And singing haste up on the road
  His glorious gift to meet.
The everlasting Son
  Scorns not a Virgin’s womb;
That we from bondage may be won
  He bears a bondsman’s doom.
Daughter of Zion, rise
  To meet thy lowly King;
Let not thy stubborn heart despise
  The peace he deigns to bring.
In clouds of awful light,
  As Judge he comes again,
His scattered people to unite,
  With them in heaven to reign.
Let evil flee away
  Ere that dread hour shall dawn.
Let this old Adam day by day
  God’s image still put on.
Praise to the Incarnate Son,
  Who comes to set us free,
With God the Father, ever One,
  To all eternity.

Psalm 38 (39)
A prayer in sickness
We groan inwardly and await the redemption of our bodies.
I said, “I will watch my ways,
  I will try not to sin in my speech.
I will set a guard on my mouth,
  for as long as my enemies are standing against me.”
I stayed quiet and dumb, spoke neither evil nor good,
  but my pain was renewed.
My heart grew hot within me,
  and fire blazed in my thoughts.
Then I spoke out loud:
  “Lord, make me know my end.
Let me know the number of my days,
  so that I know how short my life is to be.”
All the length of my days is a handsbreadth or two,
  the expanse of my life is as nothing before you.
For in your sight all men are nothingness:
  man passes away, like a shadow.
Nothingness, although he is busy:
  he builds up treasure, but who will collect it?
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.
We groan inwardly and await the redemption of our bodies.

Psalm 38 (39)
Lord, hear my prayer: do not be deaf to my tears.
What, now, can I look forward to, Lord?
  My hope is in you.
Rescue me from all my sins,
  do not make me a thing for fools to laugh at.
I have sworn to be dumb, I will not open my mouth:
  for it is at your hands that I am suffering.
Aim your blows away from me,
  for I am crushed by the weight of your hand.
You rebuke and chastise us for our sins.
Like the moth you consume all we desire
 – for all men are nothingness.
Listen, Lord, to my prayer:
  turn your ear to my cries.
Do not be deaf to my weeping,
  for I come as a stranger before you,
  a wanderer like my fathers before me.
Turn away from me, give me respite,
  before I leave this world,
  before I am no more.
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.
Lord, hear my prayer: do not be deaf to my tears.

Psalm 51 (52)
Against calumny
I trust in the goodness of God for ever and ever.
Why do you take pride in your malice,
  you expert in evil-doing?
All day long you plan your traps,
  your tongue is sharp as a razor –
  you master of deceit!
You have chosen malice over kindness;
  you speak lies rather than the truth;
  your tongue is in love with every deceit.
For all this, in the end God will destroy you.
  He will tear you out and expel you from your dwelling,
  uproot you from the land of the living.
The upright will see and be struck with awe:
  they will deride the evil-doer.
“Here is the man who did not make God his refuge,
  but put his hope in the abundance of his riches
  and in the power of his stratagems.”
But I flourish like an olive in the palace of God.
  I hope in the kindness of God,
  for ever, and through all ages.
I shall praise you for all time for what you have done.
  I shall put my hope in your name and in its goodness
  in the sight of your chosen ones.
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.
I trust in the goodness of God for ever and ever.

Lord our God, turn us round.
Show us your face and we shall be saved.

First Reading
Isaiah 25:6-26:6 ©
On this mountain,
the Lord of hosts will prepare for all peoples
a banquet of rich food, a banquet of fine wines,
of food rich and juicy, of fine strained wines.
On this mountain he will remove
the mourning veil covering all peoples,
and the shroud enwrapping all nations,
he will destroy Death for ever.
The Lord will wipe away
the tears from every cheek;
he will take away his people’s shame
everywhere on earth,
for the Lord has said so.
That day, it will be said: See, this is our God
in whom we hoped for salvation;
the Lord is the one in whom we hoped.
We exult and we rejoice
that he has saved us;
for the hand of the Lord
rests on this mountain.
Moab is trodden down where he stands
as straw is trodden in the dung pit;
and there he stretches out his hands
like a swimmer stretching out his hands to swim.
But the Lord curbs his pride
and whatever his hands attempt.
Your arrogant, lofty walls
he destroys, he overthrows,
he flings them in the dust.
That day, this song will be sung in the land of Judah:
We have a strong city;
to guard us he has set
wall and rampart about us.
Open the gates! Let the upright nation come in,
she, the faithful one
whose mind is steadfast, who keeps the peace,
because she trusts in you.
Trust in the Lord for ever,
for the Lord is the everlasting Rock;
he has brought low those who lived high up
in the steep citadel;
he brings it down, brings it down to the ground,
flings it down in the dust:
the feet of the lowly, the footsteps of the poor
trample on it.
Responsory
℟. I heard a loud voice speaking from the throne: Now God’s home is with men! He will live with them,* and they shall be his people and he will be their God.
℣. The Lord God will swallow up death for ever, and will wipe away tears from all faces,* and they shall be his people and he will be their God.

Second Reading
A letter of St Ambrose
You win the people over with the grace of your words
You have entered upon the office of bishop. Sitting at the helm of the Church, you pilot the ship against the waves. Take firm hold of the rudder of faith so that the severe storms of this world cannot disturb you. The sea is mighty and vast, but do not be afraid, for as Scripture says: he has founded it upon the seas, and established it upon the waters.
  The Church of the Lord is built upon the rock of the apostles among so many dangers in the world; it therefore remains unmoved. The Church’s foundation is unshakeable and firm against the assaults of the raging sea. Waves lash at the Church but do not shatter it. Although the elements of this world constantly beat upon the Church with crashing sounds, the Church possesses the safest harbour of salvation for all in distress. Although the Church is tossed about on the sea, it rides easily on rivers, especially those rivers that Scripture speaks of: The rivers have lifted up their voice. These are the rivers flowing from the heart of the man who is given drink by Christ and who receives from the Spirit of God. When these rivers overflow with the grace of the Spirit, they lift up their voice.
  There is also a stream which flows down on God’s saints like a torrent. There is also a rushing river giving joy to the heart that is at peace and makes for peace. Whoever has received from the fullness of this river, like John the Evangelist, like Peter and Paul, lifts up his voice. Just as the apostles lifted up their voices and preached the Gospel throughout the world, so those who drink these waters begin to preach the good news of the Lord Jesus.
  Drink, then, from Christ, so that your voice may also be heard. Store up in your mind the water that is Christ, the water that praises the Lord. Store up water from many sources, the water that rains down from the clouds of prophecy.
  Whoever gathers water from the mountains and leads it to himself or draws it from springs, is himself a source of dew like the clouds. Fill your soul, then, with this water, so that your land may not be dry, but watered by your own springs.
  He who reads much and understands much, receives his fill. He who is full, refreshes others. So Scripture says: If the clouds are full, they will pour rain upon the earth.
  Therefore, let your words be rivers, clean and limpid, so that in your exhortations you may charm the ears of your people. And by the grace of your words win them over to follow your leadership. Let your sermons be full of understanding. Solomon says: The weapons of the understanding are the lips of the wise; and in another place he says: Let your lips be bound with wisdom. That is, let the meaning of your words shine forth, let understanding blaze out. See that your addresses and expositions do not need to invoke the authority of others, but let your words be their own defence. Let no word escape your lips in vain or be uttered without depth of meaning.
Responsory
℟. Proclaim the message and, welcome or unwelcome, insist on it; refute falsehood, correct error, call to obedience,* but do all with the patience that the work of teaching requires.
℣. Who else can boast such deeds as yours, who anointed kings for repentance?* But do all with the patience that the work of teaching requires.

Let us pray.
Lord God, you made Saint Ambrose
  a teacher of the Catholic faith
  and a pattern of apostolic fortitude.
Raise up in the church today
  men after your own heart
  to lead your people with wisdom and strength.
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 apps, programs and downloads do contain the Grail translation of the psalms.

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