Universalis
Thursday 3 December 2020    (other days)
Saint Francis Xavier, Priest 
 on Thursday of the 1st 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 upon 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 17 (18)
Thanksgiving

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.
Amen.
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.
Amen.
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.
Amen.
Long life to the Lord! Praised be the God who saves me.

℣. You will hear the word from my mouth.
℟. You will speak to them in my name.

First Reading
Isaiah 16:1-5,17:4-8 ©

Zion, refuge of the Moabites. The conversion of Ephraim

Send lambs
to the king of the country
from Sela, by way of the desert,
to the mountain of the daughter of Zion.
Flying backwards and forwards
like bewildered nestlings,
at the ford of the Arnon.
‘Advise us what to do,
decide for us.
‘Spread your shadow as if it were night
at the height of noon.
Hide those who have been driven out,
do not let the refugee be seen.
‘Let those who have been driven out of Moab
stay with you;
be their refuge
against the destroyer.’
Once the oppression is over,
and the destroyer is no more,
and those now trampling the country underfoot have gone away,
the throne will be made secure in gentleness,
and on it there will sit in all fidelity,
within the tent of David,
a judge careful for justice
and eager for integrity.
That day, the glory of Jacob will be diminished,
from being fat he will grow lean;
as when a reaper hugs an armful of standing corn
and slices off the ears,
or when they glean the ears in the Valley of Rephaim:
nothing remains but gleanings;
or when an olive tree is beaten:
two or three berries left on the topmost bough,
four or five on the branches of the tree.
It is the Lord, the God of Israel, who speaks.
That day, man will look to his creator and his eyes will turn to the Holy One of Israel. He will no longer look after the altars, his own handiwork, nor gaze at what his hands have made: the sacred poles and the solar pillars.
Responsory
Jr 33:15-16; Is 16:5
℟. I will cause a righteous Branch to spring forth for David, and he shall execute justice and righteousness in the land,* and this is the name by which he will be called: The Lord is our righteousness.
℣. A throne will be established in steadfast love and on it will sit in faithfulness one who judges and seeks justice,* and this is the name by which he will be called: The Lord is our righteousness.

Second Reading
A letter from St Francis Xavier to St Ignatius

Woe to me if I do not preach the Gospel

We have visited the villages of the new converts who accepted the Christian religion a few years ago. No Portuguese live here, the country is so utterly barren and poor. The native Christians have no priests. They know only that they are Christians. There is nobody to say Mass for them; nobody to teach them the Creed, the Our Father, the Hail Mary and the Commandments of God’s Law.
  I have not stopped since the day I arrived. I conscientiously made the rounds of the villages. I bathed in the sacred waters all the children who had not yet been baptized. This means that I have purified a very large number of children so young that, as the saying goes, they could not tell their right hand from their left. The older children would not let me say my Office or eat or sleep until I taught them one prayer or another. Then I began to understand: “The kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”
  I could not refuse so devout a request without failing in devotion myself. I taught them, first the confession of faith in the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, then the Apostles’ Creed, the Our Father and Hail Mary. I noticed among them persons of great intelligence. If only someone could educate them in the Christian way of life, I have no doubt that they would make excellent Christians.
  Many, many people hereabouts are not becoming Christians for one reason only: there is nobody to make them Christians. Again and again I have thought of going round the universities of Europe, especially Paris, and everywhere crying out like a madman, riveting the attention of those with more learning than charity: “What a tragedy: how many souls are being shut out of heaven and falling into hell, thanks to you!”
  I wish they would work as hard at this as they do at their books, and so settle their account with God for their learning and the talents entrusted to them.
  This thought would certainly stir most of them to meditate on spiritual realities, to listen actively to what God is saying to them. They would forget their own desires, their human affairs, and give themselves over entirely to God’s will and his choice. They would cry out with all their heart: Lord, I am here! What do you want me to do? Send me anywhere you like – even to India.
Responsory
℟. The harvest is rich but the labourers are few,* so ask the Lord of the harvest to send labourers to his harvest.
℣. You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you, and then you will be my witnesses to the ends of the earth;* so ask the Lord of the harvest to send labourers to his harvest.

Let us pray.
Lord God, you won so many peoples to yourself
  by the preaching of Saint Francis Xavier.
Give us the same zeal that he had for the faith,
  and let your Church rejoice
  and see the virtue and number of her children increase
  throughout the world.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
  who lives and reigns with you in the unity of 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 apps and programs do contain the Grail translation of the psalms.

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