Breviary

Office of Readings

INVITATORY

The Invitatory is said when this is the first ‘hour’ of the day.

Go to the Psalmody

Go to the Hymn

Lord, + open my lips.
And my mouth will proclaim your praise.

Ant. Come, let us worship Christ the Lord, who for our sake endured temptation and suffering.
Or: Today if you hear the voice of the Lord, harden not your hearts.

The antiphon is repeated. In individual recitation, the antiphon may be said only at the beginning of the psalm; it need not be repeated after each strophe.

Go to Psalm 24

Go to Psalm 67

Go to Psalm 100

Psalm 95
A call to praise God


Encourage each other daily while it is still today (Hebrews 3:13).

Come, let us sing to the Lord *
  and shout with joy to the Rock who saves us.
Let us approach him with praise and thanksgiving *
  and sing joyful songs to the Lord.

Ant. Come, let us worship Christ the Lord, who for our sake endured temptation and suffering.
Or: Today if you hear the voice of the Lord, harden not your hearts.

The Lord is God, the mighty God, *
  the great king over all the gods.
He holds in his hands the depths of the earth *
  and the highest mountains as well.
He made the sea; it belongs to him, *
  the dry land, too, for it was formed by his hands.

Ant. Come, let us worship Christ the Lord, who for our sake endured temptation and suffering.
Or: Today if you hear the voice of the Lord, harden not your hearts.

Come, then, let us bow down and worship, *
  bending the knee before the Lord, our maker.
For he is our God and we are his people, *
  the flock he shepherds.

Ant. Come, let us worship Christ the Lord, who for our sake endured temptation and suffering.
Or: Today if you hear the voice of the Lord, harden not your hearts.

When this antiphon is used, this strophe begins with the words: as your fathers.

Today, listen to the voice of the Lord:
Do not grow stubborn, as your fathers did
  in the wilderness, *
when at Meriba and Massah
  they challenged me and provoked me, *
Although they had seen all of my works.

Ant. Come, let us worship Christ the Lord, who for our sake endured temptation and suffering.
Or: Today if you hear the voice of the Lord, harden not your hearts.

Forty years I endured that generation. *
I said, “They are a people whose hearts go astray
  and they do not know my ways.”
So I swore in my anger, *
  “They shall not enter into my rest.”

Ant. Come, let us worship Christ the Lord, who for our sake endured temptation and suffering.
Or: Today if you hear the voice of the Lord, harden not your hearts.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, *
and to the Holy Spirit:
as it was in the beginning, is now, *
and will be for ever. Amen.

Ant. Come, let us worship Christ the Lord, who for our sake endured temptation and suffering.
Or: Today if you hear the voice of the Lord, harden not your hearts.

Go to the Hymn

Psalm 24
The Lord’s entry into his temple


Christ opened heaven for us in the manhood he assumed (Saint Irenaeus).

The Lord’s is the earth and its fullness, *
the world and all its peoples.
It is he who set it on the seas; *
on the waters he made it firm.

Ant. Come, let us worship Christ the Lord, who for our sake endured temptation and suffering.
Or: Today if you hear the voice of the Lord, harden not your hearts.

Who shall climb the mountain of the Lord? *
Who shall stand in his holy place?
The man with clean hands and pure heart,
who desires not worthless things, *
who has not sworn so as to deceive his neighbor.

Ant. Come, let us worship Christ the Lord, who for our sake endured temptation and suffering.
Or: Today if you hear the voice of the Lord, harden not your hearts.

He shall receive blessings from the Lord *
and reward from the God who saves him.
Such are the men who seek him, *
seek the face of the God of Jacob.

Ant. Come, let us worship Christ the Lord, who for our sake endured temptation and suffering.
Or: Today if you hear the voice of the Lord, harden not your hearts.

O gates, lift high your heads;
grow higher, ancient doors. *
Let him enter, the king of glory!

Ant. Come, let us worship Christ the Lord, who for our sake endured temptation and suffering.
Or: Today if you hear the voice of the Lord, harden not your hearts.

Who is the king of glory?
The Lord, the mighty, the valiant, *
the Lord, the valiant in war.

Ant. Come, let us worship Christ the Lord, who for our sake endured temptation and suffering.
Or: Today if you hear the voice of the Lord, harden not your hearts.

O gates, lift high your heads;
grow higher, ancient doors. *
Let him enter, the king of glory!

Ant. Come, let us worship Christ the Lord, who for our sake endured temptation and suffering.
Or: Today if you hear the voice of the Lord, harden not your hearts.

Who is he, the king of glory?
He, the Lord of armies, *
he is the king of glory.

Ant. Come, let us worship Christ the Lord, who for our sake endured temptation and suffering.
Or: Today if you hear the voice of the Lord, harden not your hearts.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, *
and to the Holy Spirit:
as it was in the beginning, is now, *
and will be for ever. Amen.

Ant. Come, let us worship Christ the Lord, who for our sake endured temptation and suffering.
Or: Today if you hear the voice of the Lord, harden not your hearts.

Go to the Hymn

Psalm 67
People of all nations will worship the Lord


You must know that God is offering his salvation to all the world (Acts 28:28).

O God, be gracious and bless us *
and let your face shed its light upon us.
So will your ways be known upon earth *
and all nations learn your saving help.

Ant. Come, let us worship Christ the Lord, who for our sake endured temptation and suffering.
Or: Today if you hear the voice of the Lord, harden not your hearts.

Let the peoples praise you, O God; *
let all the peoples praise you.

Ant. Come, let us worship Christ the Lord, who for our sake endured temptation and suffering.
Or: Today if you hear the voice of the Lord, harden not your hearts.

Let the nations be glad and exult *
for you rule the world with justice.
With fairness you rule the peoples, *
you guide the nations on earth.

Ant. Come, let us worship Christ the Lord, who for our sake endured temptation and suffering.
Or: Today if you hear the voice of the Lord, harden not your hearts.

Let the peoples praise you, O God; *
let all the peoples praise you.

Ant. Come, let us worship Christ the Lord, who for our sake endured temptation and suffering.
Or: Today if you hear the voice of the Lord, harden not your hearts.

The earth has yielded its fruit *
for God, our God, has blessed us.
May God still give us his blessing *
till the ends of the earth revere him.

Ant. Come, let us worship Christ the Lord, who for our sake endured temptation and suffering.
Or: Today if you hear the voice of the Lord, harden not your hearts.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, *
and to the Holy Spirit:
as it was in the beginning, is now, *
and will be for ever. Amen.

Ant. Come, let us worship Christ the Lord, who for our sake endured temptation and suffering.
Or: Today if you hear the voice of the Lord, harden not your hearts.

Go to the Hymn

Psalm 100
The joyful song of those entering God’s temple


The Lord calls his ransomed people to sing songs of victory (Saint Athanasius).

Cry out with joy to the Lord, all the earth.
Serve the Lord with gladness. *
Come before him, singing for joy.

Ant. Come, let us worship Christ the Lord, who for our sake endured temptation and suffering.
Or: Today if you hear the voice of the Lord, harden not your hearts.

Know that he, the Lord, is God.
He made us, we belong to him, *
we are his people, the sheep of his flock.

Ant. Come, let us worship Christ the Lord, who for our sake endured temptation and suffering.
Or: Today if you hear the voice of the Lord, harden not your hearts.

Go within his gates, giving thanks.
Enter his courts with songs of praise. *
Give thanks to him and bless his name.

Ant. Come, let us worship Christ the Lord, who for our sake endured temptation and suffering.
Or: Today if you hear the voice of the Lord, harden not your hearts.

Indeed, how good is the Lord,
eternal his merciful love. *
He is faithful from age to age.

Ant. Come, let us worship Christ the Lord, who for our sake endured temptation and suffering.
Or: Today if you hear the voice of the Lord, harden not your hearts.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, *
and to the Holy Spirit:
as it was in the beginning, is now, *
and will be for ever. Amen.

Ant. Come, let us worship Christ the Lord, who for our sake endured temptation and suffering.
Or: Today if you hear the voice of the Lord, harden not your hearts.

If the Invitatory is not said, then the following is used:

God, + come to my assistance.
Lord, make haste to help me.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit:
as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen.

HYMN

The fast, as taught by holy lore,
We keep in solemn course once more:
The fast to all men known, and bound
In forty days of yearly round.

The law and seers that were of old
In divers ways this Lent foretold,
Which Christ, all seasons’ King and guide,
In after ages sanctified.

More sparing therefore let us make
The words we speak, the food we take,
Our sleep and mirth, and closer barred
Be every sense in holy guard:

Avoid the evil thoughts that roll
Like waters o’er the heedless soul;
Nor let the foe occasion find
Our souls in slavery to bind.

We pray, O holy Trinity,
One God, unchanging Unity,
That we from this our abstinence
May reap the fruits of penitence.

Tune: Schütz’ Psalm 66 L.M.
Music: Heinrich Schütz, 1585-1672
Text: Ex more docti mystico, attributed to Saint Gregory the Great, 540-604
Translation: John Mason Neale, 1818-1866


Go to the Psalmody

Or:

Forty days and forty nights
You were fasting in the wild;
Forty days and forty nights
Tempted and yet undefiled.

Shall not we your sorrow share
And from worldly joys abstain,
Fasting with unceasing prayer,
Strong with you to suffer pain?

Then if Satan on us press,
Flesh or spirit to assail,
Victor in the wilderness,
Grant we may not faint nor fail!

So shall we have peace divine:
Holier gladness ours shall be;
Round us, too, shall angels shine,
Such as served you faithfully.

Keep, O keep us, Savior dear,
Ever constant by your side;
That with you we may appear
At the ’ternal Eastertide.

Tune: Heinlein 77.77
Music: Attributed to Martin Herbst, 1654-1681
Text: George H. Smyttan, 1822-1870, alt.

PSALMODY

Ant. 1 Rise up, Lord, and come to my aid.

Psalm 35:1-2, 3c, 9-19, 22-23, 27-28
The Lord as Savior in time of persecution


They came together . . . and laid their plans to capture Jesus by treachery and put him to death (Matthew 26:3-4).

I

O Lord, plead my cause against my foes; *
fight those who fight me.
Take up your buckler and shield; *
arise to help me.

O Lord, say to my soul: *
“I am your salvation.”

But my soul shall be joyful in the Lord *
and rejoice in his salvation.
My whole being will say: *
“Lord, who is like you
who rescue the weak from the strong *
and the poor from the oppressor?”

Lying witnesses arise *
and accuse me unjustly.
They repay me evil for good: *
my soul is forlorn.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, *
and to the Holy Spirit:
as it was in the beginning, is now, *
and will be for ever. Amen.

Ant. Rise up, Lord, and come to my aid.

Ant. 2 All-powerful Lord, stand by me and defend me.

II

When they were sick I went into mourning, *
afflicted with fasting.
My prayer was ever on my lips, *
as for a brother, a friend.
I went as though mourning a mother, *
bowed down with grief.

Now that I am in trouble they gather, *
they gather and mock me.
They take me by surprise and strike me *
and tear me to pieces.
They provoke me with mockery on mockery *
and gnash their teeth.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, *
and to the Holy Spirit:
as it was in the beginning, is now, *
and will be for ever. Amen.

Ant. All-powerful Lord, stand by me and defend me.

Ant. 3 My tongue will speak of your goodness all the day long.

III

O Lord, how long will you look on? *
Come to my rescue!
Save my life from these raging beasts, *
my soul from these lions.
I will thank you in the great assembly, *
amid the throng I will praise you.

Do not let my lying foes *
rejoice over me.
Do not let those who hate me unjustly *
wink eyes at each other.

O Lord, you have seen, do not be silent, *
do not stand afar off!
Awake, stir to my defense, *
to my cause, O God!

Let there be joy for those who love my cause. *
Let them say without end:
“Great is the Lord who delights *
in the peace of his servant.”
Then my tongue shall speak of your justice, *
all day long of your praise.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, *
and to the Holy Spirit:
as it was in the beginning, is now, *
and will be for ever. Amen.

Psalm Prayer

Lord, you rescue the poor from their oppressors, and you rose to the aid of your beloved Son against those who unjustly sought his life. Look on your Church as we journey to you, that the poor and weak may recognize the help you provide and proclaim your saving acts.

Ant. My tongue will speak of your goodness all the day long.

Turn back to the Lord your God.
He is kind and merciful.

READINGS

FIRST READING

From the book of Exodus
12:21-36

The plague inflicted on the firstborn


Moses called all the elders of Israel and said to them, “Go and procure lambs for your families, and slaughter them as Passover victims. Then take a bunch of hyssop, and dipping it in the blood that is in the basin, sprinkle the lintel and the two doorposts with this blood. But none of you shall go outdoors until morning. For the Lord will go by, striking down the Egyptians. Seeing the blood on the lintel and the two doorposts, the Lord will pass over that door and not let the destroyer come into your houses to strike you down.

“You shall observe this as a perpetual ordinance for yourselves and your descendants. Thus, you must also observe this rite when you have entered the land which the Lord will give you as he promised. When your children ask you, ‘What does this rite of yours mean?’ you shall reply, ‘This is the Passover sacrifice of the Lord, who passed over the houses of the Israelites in Egypt; when he struck down the Egyptians, he spared our houses.’”

Then the people bowed down in worship, and the Israelites went and did as the Lord had commanded Moses and Aaron.

At midnight the Lord slew every first-born in the land of Egypt, from the first-born of Pharaoh on the throne to the first-born of the prisoner in the dungeon, as well as all the first-born of the animals. Pharaoh arose in the night, he and all his servants and all the Egyptians; and there was loud wailing throughout Egypt, for there was not a house without its dead.

During the night Pharaoh summoned Moses and Aaron and said, “Leave my people at once, you and the Israelites with you! Go and worship the Lord as you said. Take your flocks, too, and your herds, as you demanded, and be gone; and you will be doing me a favor.”

The Egyptians likewise urged the people on, to hasten their departure from the land; they thought that otherwise they would all die. The people, therefore, took their dough before it was leavened, in their kneading bowls wrapped in their cloaks on their shoulders. The Israelites did as Moses had commanded: they asked the Egyptians for articles of silver and gold and for clothing. The Lord indeed had made the Egyptians so well-disposed toward the people that they let them have whatever they asked for. Thus did they despoil the Egyptians.

RESPONSORY
Exodus 12:7, 13; 1 Peter 1:18, 20


The children of Israel shall put the blood of the lamb
on the doorposts and lintels of their houses.
This blood will be a sign to you.

You have been redeemed by the precious blood of Christ,
the lamb without blemish.
This blood will be a sign to you.

SECOND READING

From the Mirror of Love by Saint Aelred, abbot
(Lib 3, 5: PL 195, 382)

Christ, the model of brotherly love


The perfection of brotherly love lies in the love of one’s enemies. We can find no greater inspiration for this than grateful remembrance of the wonderful patience of Christ. He who is more fair than all the sons of men offered his fair face to be spat upon by sinful men; he allowed those eyes that rule the universe to be blindfolded by wicked men; he bared his back to the scourges; he submitted that head which strikes terror in principalities and powers to the sharpness of the thorns; he gave himself up to be mocked and reviled, and at the end endured the cross, the nails, the lance, the gall, the vinegar, remaining always gentle, meek and full of peace.

In short, he was led like a sheep to the slaughter, and like a lamb before the shearers he kept silent, and did not open his mouth.

Who could listen to that wonderful prayer, so full of warmth, of love, of unshakeable serenity—Father, forgive them—and hesitate to embrace his enemies with overflowing love? Father, he says, forgive them. Is any gentleness, any love, lacking in this prayer?

Yet he put into it something more. It was not enough to pray for them: he wanted also to make excuses for them. Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing. They are great sinners, yes, but they have little judgment; therefore, Father, forgive them. They are nailing me to the cross, but they do not know who it is that they are nailing to the cross: if they had known, they would never have crucified the Lord of glory; therefore, Father, forgive them. They think it is a lawbreaker, an impostor claiming to be God, a seducer of the people. I have hidden my face from them, and they do not recognize my glory; therefore, Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.

If someone wishes to love himself he must not allow himself to be corrupted by indulging his sinful nature. If he wishes to resist the promptings of his sinful nature he must enlarge the whole horizon of his love to contemplate the loving gentleness of the humanity of the Lord. Further, if he wishes to savor the joy of brotherly love with greater perfection and delight, he must extend even to his enemies the embrace of true love.

But if he wishes to prevent this fire of divine love from growing cold because of injuries received, let him keep the eyes of his soul always fixed on the serene patience of his beloved Lord and Savior.

RESPONSORY
Isaiah 53:12; Luke 23:34


He surrendered himself to death
and was counted among the wicked.
He bore the crimes of many
and prayed all the while for sinners.

Jesus prayed: Father, forgive them;
they do not know what they are doing.
He bore the crimes of many
and prayed all the while for sinners.

CONCLUDING PRAYER

Let us pray.

Lord,
may our observance of Lent
help to renew us and prepare us
to celebrate the death and resurrection of Christ,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
God for ever and ever.
Amen.

Or:

Grant that your faithful, O Lord, we pray,
may be so conformed to the paschal observances,
that the bodily discipline now solemnly begun,
may bear fruit in the souls of all.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God, for ever and ever.
Amen.

ACCLAMATION

Let us praise the Lord.
And give him thanks.

******

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