Breviary

Office of Readings

In those places where this Memorial is observed as a Solemnity or Feast, please use the texts found in the ‘Prayers’ Section of the iBreviary with the proper texts found below.

INVITATORY

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

Go to the Hymn

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

Ant. Come, let us worship Christ, the King of martyrs.
Or: Come, let us worship Christ, chief shepherd of the flock.

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 King of martyrs.
Or: Come, let us worship Christ, chief shepherd of the flock.

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 King of martyrs.
Or: Come, let us worship Christ, chief shepherd of the flock.

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 King of martyrs.
Or: Come, let us worship Christ, chief shepherd of the flock.

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 King of martyrs.
Or: Come, let us worship Christ, chief shepherd of the flock.

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 King of martyrs.
Or: Come, let us worship Christ, chief shepherd of the flock.

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 King of martyrs.
Or: Come, let us worship Christ, chief shepherd of the flock.

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 King of martyrs.
Or: Come, let us worship Christ, chief shepherd of the flock.

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 King of martyrs.
Or: Come, let us worship Christ, chief shepherd of the flock.

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 King of martyrs.
Or: Come, let us worship Christ, chief shepherd of the flock.

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

Ant. Come, let us worship Christ, the King of martyrs.
Or: Come, let us worship Christ, chief shepherd of the flock.

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 King of martyrs.
Or: Come, let us worship Christ, chief shepherd of the flock.

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

Ant. Come, let us worship Christ, the King of martyrs.
Or: Come, let us worship Christ, chief shepherd of the flock.

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 King of martyrs.
Or: Come, let us worship Christ, chief shepherd of the flock.

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 King of martyrs.
Or: Come, let us worship Christ, chief shepherd of the flock.

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 King of martyrs.
Or: Come, let us worship Christ, chief shepherd of the flock.

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

Ant. Come, let us worship Christ, the King of martyrs.
Or: Come, let us worship Christ, chief shepherd of the flock.

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 King of martyrs.
Or: Come, let us worship Christ, chief shepherd of the flock.

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

Ant. Come, let us worship Christ, the King of martyrs.
Or: Come, let us worship Christ, chief shepherd of the flock.

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 King of martyrs.
Or: Come, let us worship Christ, chief shepherd of the flock.

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 King of martyrs.
Or: Come, let us worship Christ, chief shepherd of the flock.

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 King of martyrs.
Or: Come, let us worship Christ, chief shepherd of the flock.

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 King of martyrs.
Or: Come, let us worship Christ, chief shepherd of the flock.

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 King of martyrs.
Or: Come, let us worship Christ, chief shepherd of the flock.

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

Ant. Come, let us worship Christ, the King of martyrs.
Or: Come, let us worship Christ, chief shepherd of the flock.

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 King of martyrs.
Or: Come, let us worship Christ, chief shepherd of the flock.

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. Alleluia.

HYMN

Faith of our fathers, living still
In spite of dungeon, fire and sword,
O how our hearts beat high with joy
Whene’er we hear that glorious word!

Refrain:
Faith of our fathers, holy faith!
We will be true to thee till death.

Our fathers, chained in prisons dark,
Were still in heart and conscience free;
And blest would be their children’s fate,
If they, like them should die for thee:

Refrain:
Faith of our fathers, holy faith!
We will be true to thee till death.

Faith of our fathers! faith and prayer
Shall win all nations unto thee;
And through the truth that comes from God,
Mankind shall then indeed be free.

Refrain:
Faith of our fathers, holy faith!
We will be true to thee till death.

Faith of our fathers! we will love
Both friend and foe in all our strife:
And preach thee, too, as love knows how,
By kindly deeds and virtuous life.

Refrain:
Faith of our fathers, holy faith!
We will be true to thee till death.

Tune: Saint Catherine L.M. with Refrain
Music: Henri F. Henry, 1818-1888 and James G. Walton, 1821-1905
Text: Frederick W. Faber, 1814-1864

PSALMODY

Ant. 1 Look on us, Lord, and see how we are despised.

Psalm 89:39-53
Lament for the fall of David’s dynasty


He has raised up for us a mighty Savior born of the house of David his servant (Luke 1:69).

IV

And yet you have rejected and spurned *
and are angry with the one you have anointed.
You have broken your covenant with your servant *
and dishonored his crown in the dust.

You have broken down all his walls *
and reduced his fortresses to ruins.
He is despoiled by all who pass by: *
he has become the taunt of his neighbors.

You have exalted the right hand of his foes; *
you have made all his enemies rejoice.
You have made his sword give way, *
you have not upheld him in battle.

You have brought his glory to an end; *
you have hurled his throne to the ground.
You have cut short the years of his youth; *
you have heaped disgrace upon him.

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. Look on us, Lord, and see how we are despised.

Ant. 2 I am the root and stock of David; I am the morning star.

V

How long, O Lord? Will you hide yourself for ever? *
How long will your anger burn like a fire?
Remember, Lord, the shortness of my life *
and how frail you have made the sons of men.
What man can live and never see death? *
Who can save himself from the grasp of the grave?

Where are your mercies of the past, O Lord, *
which you have sworn in your faithfulness to David?
Remember, Lord, how your servant is taunted, *
how I have to bear all the insults of the peoples.
Thus your enemies taunt me, O Lord, *
mocking your anointed at every step.

Blessed be the Lord for ever. Amen, amen!

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, God of mercy and fidelity, you made a new and lasting pact with men and sealed it in the blood of your Son. Forgive the folly of our disloyalty and make us keep your commandments, so that in your new covenant we may be witnesses and heralds of your faithfulness and love on earth, and sharers of your glory in heaven.

Ant. I am the root and stock of David; I am the morning star.

Ant. 3 Our years wither away like grass, but you, Lord God, are eternal.

Psalm 90
May we live in the radiance of God


There is no time with God: a thousand years, a single day: it is all one (2 Peter 3:8).

O Lord, you have been our refuge *
from one generation to the next.
Before the mountains were born
or the earth or the world brought forth, *
you are God, without beginning or end.

You turn men back into dust *
and say: “Go back, sons of men.”
To your eyes a thousand years
are like yesterday, come and gone, *
no more than a watch in the night.

You sweep men away like a dream, *
like grass which springs up in the morning.
In the morning it springs up and flowers: *
by evening it withers and fades.

So we are destroyed in your anger, *
struck with terror in your fury.
Our guilt lies open before you; *
our secrets in the light of your face.

All our days pass away in your anger. *
Our life is over like a sigh.
Our span is seventy years *
or eighty for those who are strong.

And most of these are emptiness and pain. *
They pass swiftly and we are gone.
Who understands the power of your anger *
and fears the strength of your fury?

Make us know the shortness of our life *
that we may gain wisdom of heart.
Lord, relent! Is your anger for ever? *
Show pity to your servants.

In the morning, fill us with your love; *
we shall exult and rejoice all our days.
Give us joy to balance our affliction *
for the years when we knew misfortune.

Show forth your work to your servants; *
let your glory shine on their children.
Let the favor of the Lord be upon us:
give success to the work of our hands, *
give success to the work of our hands.

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

Eternal Father, you give us life despite our guilt and even add days and years to our lives in order to bring us wisdom. Make us love and obey you, so that the work of our hands may always display what your hands have done, until the day we gaze upon the beauty of your face.

Ant. Our years wither away like grass, but you, Lord God, are eternal.

In you is the source of life.
In your light we see light itself.

READINGS

FIRST READING

From the book of Ecclesiastes

[In view of the omission of yesterday’s continuous reading on account of the Feast of the Chair of Saint Peter, the following reading may precede today’s, in accordance with the GILH ¶249:

5:9.6:8

The vanity of riches


The covetous man is never satisfied with money, and the lover of wealth reaps no fruit from it; so this too is vanity. Where there are great riches, there are also many to devour them. Of what use are they to the owner except to feast his eyes upon? Sleep is sweet to the laboring man, whether he eats little or much, but the rich man’s abundance allows him no sleep.

This is a grievous evil which I have seen under the sun: riches kept by their owner to his hurt. Should the riches be lost through some misfortune, he may have a son when he is without means. As he came forth from his mother’s womb, so again shall he depart, naked as he came, having nothing from his labor that he can carry in his hand. This too is a grievous evil, that he goes just as he came. What then does it profit him to toil for wind? All the days of his life are passed in gloom and sorrow, under great vexation, sickness and wrath.

Here is what I recognize as good: it is well for a man to eat and drink and enjoy all the fruits of his labor under the sun during the limited days of the life which God gives him; for this is his lot. Any man to whom God gives riches and property, and grants power to partake of them, so that he receives his lot and finds joy in the fruits of his toil, has a gift from God. For he will hardly dwell on the shortness of his life, because God lets him busy himself with the joy of his heart.

There is another evil which I have seen under the sun, and it weighs heavily upon man: there is the man to whom God gives riches and property and honor, so that he lacks none of all the things he craves; yet God does not grant him power to partake of them, but a stranger devours them. This is vanity and a dire plague.

Should a man have a hundred children and live many years, no matter to what great age, still if he has not the full benefit of his goods, or if he is deprived of burial, of this man I proclaim that the child born dead is more fortunate than he. Though it came in vain and goes into darkness and its name is enveloped in darkness; though it has not seen or known the sun, yet the dead child is at rest rather than such a man. Should he live twice a thousand years and not enjoy his goods, do not both go to the same place?

All man’s toil is for his mouth, yet his desire is not fulfilled. For what advantage has the wise man over the fool, or what advantage has the poor man in knowing how to conduct himself in life?]

6:12-7:28

Be not overwise


Who knows what is good for a man in life, the limited days of his vain life (which God has made like a shadow)? Because who is there to tell a man what will come after him under the sun?
 
A good name is better than good ointment,
   and the day of death than the day of birth.
It is better to go to the house of mourning
   than to the house of feasting,
For that is the end of every man,
   and the living should take it to heart.
Sorrow is better than laughter,
   because when the face is sad the heart grows wiser.
The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning,
   but the heart of fools is in the house of mirth.
It is better to hearken to the wise man’s rebuke
   than to hearken to the song of fools;
For as the crackling of thorns under a pot,
   so is the fool’s laughter.
For oppression can make a fool of a wise man,
   and a bribe corrupts the heart.
Better is the end of speech than its beginning;
   better is the patient spirit than the lofty spirit.
Do not in spirit become quickly discontented,
   for discontent lodges in the bosom of a fool.

Do not say: How is it that former times were better than these? For it is not in wisdom that you ask about this.

Wisdom and an inheritance are good,
   and an advantage to those that see the sun.

For the protection of wisdom is as the protection of money; and the advantage of knowledge is that wisdom preserves the life of its owner.

Consider the work of God. Who can make straight what he has made crooked? On a good day enjoy good things, and on an evil day consider: Both the one and the other God has made, so that man cannot find fault with him in anything.

I have seen all manner of things in my vain days: a just man perishing in his justice, and a wicked one surviving in his wickedness. “Be not just to excess, and be not overwise, lest you be ruined. Be not wicked to excess, and be not foolish. Why should you die before your time?” It is good to hold to this rule, and not to let that one go; but he who fears God will win through at all events.

Wisdom is a better defense for the wise man than would be ten princes in the city, yet there is no man on earth so just as to do good and never sin. Do not give heed to every word that is spoken lest you hear your servant speaking ill of you, for you know in your heart that you have many times spoken ill of others.

All these things I probed in wisdom. I said, “I will acquire wisdom”; but it was beyond me. What exists is far-reaching; it is deep, very deep: who can find it out? I turned my thoughts toward knowledge; I sought and pursued wisdom and reason, and I recognized that wickedness is foolish and folly is madness.

More bitter than death I find the woman who is a hunter’s trap, whose heart is a snare and whose hands are prison bonds. He who is pleasing to God will escape her, but the sinner will be entrapped by her.

Behold, this have I found, says Qoheleth, adding one thing to another that I might discover the answer which my soul still seeks and has not found: One man out of a thousand have I come upon, but a woman among them all I have not found.

RESPONSORY
Proverbs 20:9; Ecclesiastes 7:21; 1 John 1:8, 9


Who can say: My heart is pure; I am not a sinner?
There is no living man so holy who does good and never sins.

If we claim to be sinless, we deceive ourselves;
but if we acknowledge our sins,
then God who is faithful and just will forgive us.
There is no living man so holy who does good and never sins.

SECOND READING

From a letter on the martyrdom of Saint Polycarp by the Church of Smyrna
(Cap. 13,2-15,2; Funk 1, 297-299)

A rich and pleasing sacrifice


When the pyre was ready, Polycarp took off all his clothes and loosened his under-garment. He made an effort also to remove his shoes, though he had been unaccustomed to this, for the faithful always vied with each other in their haste to touch his body. Even before his martyrdom he had received every mark of honor in tribute to his holiness of life.

There and then he was surrounded by the material for the pyre. When they tried to fasten him also with nails, he said: “Leave me as I am. The one who gives me strength to endure the fire will also give me strength to stay quite still on the pyre, even without the precaution of your nails.” So they did not fix him to the pyre with nails but only fastened him instead. Bound as he was, with hands behind his back, he stood like a mighty ram, chosen out for sacrifice from a great flock, a worthy victim made ready to be offered to God.

Looking up to heaven, he said: “Lord, almighty God, Father of your beloved and blessed Son Jesus Christ, through whom we have come to the knowledge of yourself, God of angels, of powers, of all creation, of all the race of saints who live in your sight, I bless you for judging me worthy of this day, this hour, so that in the company of the martyrs I may share the cup of Christ, your anointed one, and so rise again to eternal life in soul and body, immortal through the power of the Holy Spirit. May I be received among the martyrs in your presence today as a rich and pleasing sacrifice. God of truth, stranger to falsehood, you have prepared this and revealed it to me and now you have fulfilled your promise.

“I praise you for all things, I bless you, I glorify you through the eternal priest of heaven, Jesus Christ, your beloved Son. Through him be glory to you, together with him and the Holy Spirit, now and for ever. Amen.”

When he had said “Amen” and finished the prayer, the officials at the pyre lit it. But, when a great flame burst out, those of us privileged to see it witnessed a strange and wonderful thing. Indeed, we have been spared in order to tell the story to others. Like a ship’s sail swelling in the wind, the flame became as it were a dome encircling the martyr’s body. Surrounded by the fire, his body was like bread that is baked, or gold and silver white-hot in a furnace, not like flesh that has been burnt. So sweet a fragrance came to us that it was like that of burning incense or some other costly and sweet-smelling gum.

RESPONSORY
Revelation 2:8-9, 10


To the angel of the Church of Smyrna write this:
Thus says the Lord, the first and the last,
the one who was dead and now lives:
I know your suffering and your poverty,
but you are rich indeed!
Be true to your faith until death,
and I will give you the crown of life.

Have no fear of the suffering you will have to endure.
The devil will send some of you to prison to be tested.
Be true to your faith until death,
and I will give you the crown of life.

CONCLUDING PRAYER

Let us pray.

God of all creation,
you gave your bishop Polycarp
the privilege of being counted among the saints
who gave their lives in faithful witness to the Gospel.
May his prayers give us the courage
to share with him the cup of suffering
and to rise to eternal glory.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.
Amen.

Or:

God of all creation,
who were pleased to give the Bishop Saint Polycarp
a place in the company of the Martyrs,
grant, through his intercession,
that, sharing with him in the chalice of Christ,
we may rise through the Holy Spirit to eternal life.
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.

ACCLAMATION

Let us praise the Lord.
And give him thanks.

******

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