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

In prayer together let us fall,
And cry for mercy, one and all,
And weep before the Judge’s feet,
And his avenging wrath entreat.

Thy grace have we offended sore,
By sins, O God, which we deplore;
But pour upon us from on high,
O pardoning One, thy clemency.

Remember thou, though frail we be,
That yet thine handiwork are we;
Nor let the honor of thy name
Be by another put to shame.

Forgive the sin that we have wrought;
Increase the good that we have sought:
That we at length, our wanderings o’er,
May please thee here and evermore.

Blest Three in One, and One in Three,
Almighty God, we pray to thee,
That this our fast of forty days
May work our profit and thy praise. Amen.

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:

O God, creator of us all,
From whom we come, to whom we go,
You look with pity on our hearts,
The weakness of our wills you know.

Forgive us all the wrong we do,
And purify each sinful soul.
What we have darkened, heal with light,
And what we have destroyed, make whole.

The fast by law and prophets taught,
By you, O Christ, was sanctified.
Bless all our penance, give us strength
To share the cross on which you died.

O God of mercy, hear our prayer,
With Christ your Son, and Spirit blest,
Transcendent Trinity in whom
Created things all come to rest.

Tune: Breslau, L.M.
Music: As Hymnodus Sacer, Leipzig, 1625
Text: © Stanbrook Abbey, used with permission

PSALMODY

Ant. 1 Lord, you are our savior; we will praise you for ever.

Psalm 44
The misfortune of God’s people


We triumph over all these things through him who loved us (Romans 8:37).

I

We heard with our own ears, O God, *
our fathers have told us the story
of the things you did in their days, *
you yourself, in days long ago.

To plant them you uprooted the nations: *
to let them spread you laid peoples low.
No sword of their own won the land; *
no arm of their own brought them victory.
It was your right hand, your arm *
and the light of your face: for you loved them.

It is you, my king, my God, *
who granted victories to Jacob.
Through you we beat down our foes; *
in your name we trampled down our aggressors.

For it was not in my bow that I trusted *
nor yet was I saved by my sword:
it was you who saved us from our foes, *
it was you who put our foes to shame.
All day long our boast was in God *
and we praised your name without ceasing.

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. Lord, you are our savior; we will praise you for ever.

Ant. 2 Spare us, O Lord; do not bring your own people into contempt.

II

Yet now you have rejected us, disgraced us: *
you no longer go forth with our armies.
You make us retreat from the foe *
and our enemies plunder us at will.

You make us like sheep for the slaughter *
and scatter us among the nations.
You sell your own people for nothing *
and make no profit by the sale.

You make us the taunt of our neighbors, *
the laughing stock of all who are near.
Among the nations, you make us a byword, *
among the peoples a thing of derision.

All day long my disgrace is before me: *
my face is covered with shame
at the voice of the taunter, the scoffer, *
at the sight of the foe and avenger.

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. Spare us, O Lord; do not bring your own people into contempt.

Ant. 3 Rise up, O Lord, and save us, for you are merciful.

III

This befell us though we had not forgotten you; *
though we had not been false to your covenant,
though we had not withdrawn our hearts; *
though our feet had not strayed from your path.
Yet you have crushed us in a place of sorrows *
and covered us with the shadow of death.

Had we forgotten the name of our God *
or stretched out our hands to another god
would not God have found this out, *
he who knows the secrets of the heart?
It is for you that we face death all day long *
and are counted as sheep for the slaughter.

Awake, O Lord, why do you sleep? *
Arise, do not reject us for ever!
Why do you hide your face from us *
and forget our oppression and misery?

For we are brought down low to the dust; *
our body lies prostrate on the earth.
Stand up and come to our help! *
Redeem us because of your love!

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, rise up and come to our aid; with your strong arm lead us to freedom, as you mightily delivered our forefathers. Since you are the king who knows the secrets of our hearts, fill them with the light of truth.

Ant. Rise up, O Lord, and save us, for you are merciful.

Whoever meditates on the law of the Lord.
Will bring forth much fruit at harvest time.

READINGS

FIRST READING

From the book of Exodus
18:13-27

The judges are appointed under Moses.


Moses sat in judgment for the people, who waited about him from morning until evening. When his father-in-law saw all that he was doing for the people, he inquired, “What sort of thing is this that you are doing for the people? Why do you sit alone while all the people have to stand about you from morning till evening?”

Moses answered his father-in-law, “The people come to me to consult God. Whenever they have a disagreement, they come to me to have me settle the matter between them and make known to them God’s decisions and regulations.”

“You are not acting wisely,” his father-in-law replied. “You will surely wear yourself out, and not only yourself but also these people with you. The task is too heavy for you; you cannot do it alone. Now, listen to me, and I will give you some advice, that God may be with you. Act as the people’s representative before God, bringing to him whatever they have to say. Enlighten them in regard to the decisions and regulations, showing them how they are to live and what they are to do. But you should also look among all the people for able and God-fearing men, trustworthy men who hate dishonest gain, and set them as officers over groups of thousands, of hundreds, of fifties, and of tens. Let these men render decisions for the people in all ordinary cases. More important cases they should refer to you, but all the lesser cases they can settle themselves. Thus, your burden will be lightened, since they will bear it with you. If you do this, when God gives you orders you will be able to stand the strain, and all these people will go home satisfied.”

Moses followed the advice of his father-in-law and did all that he had suggested. He picked out able men from all Israel and put them in charge of the people as officers over groups of thousands, of hundreds, of fifties, and of tens. They rendered decisions for the people in all ordinary cases. The more difficult cases they referred to Moses, but all the lesser cases they settled themselves.

Then Moses bade farewell to his father-in-law, who went off to his own country.

RESPONSORY
Numbers 11:25; Exodus 18:25


The Lord came down in the cloud and spoke to Moses.
He took some of the spirit he had given to Moses
and gave it to the seventy elders,
and when this spirit came on them,
they prophesied.

Out of all the Israelites, Moses chose capable men
and made them leaders of the people.
And when this spirit came on them,
they prophesied.

SECOND READING

From the treatise on the psalms by Saint Hilary, bishop
(Ps. 127, 1-3: CSEL 24, 628-630)

The meaning of “the fear of the Lord”


Blessed are those who fear the Lord, who walk in his ways. Notice that when Scripture speaks of the fear of the Lord it does not leave the phrase in isolation, as if it were a complete summary of faith. No, many things are added to it, or are presupposed by it. From these we may learn its meaning and excellence. In the book of Proverbs Solomon tells us: If you cry out for wisdom and raise your voice for understanding, if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for treasure, then you will understand the fear of the Lord. We see here the difficult journey we must undertake before we can arrive at the fear of the Lord.

We must begin by crying out for wisdom. We must hand over to our intellect the duty of making every decision. We must look for wisdom and search for it. Then we must understand the fear of the Lord.

“Fear” is not to be taken in the sense that common usage gives it. Fear in this ordinary sense is the trepidation our weak humanity feels when it is afraid of suffering something it does not want to happen. We are afraid, or are made afraid, because of a guilty conscience, the rights of someone more powerful, an attack from one who is stronger, sickness, encountering a wild beast, suffering evil in any form. This kind of fear is not taught: it happens because we are weak. We do not have to learn what we should fear: objects of fear bring their own terror with them.

But of the fear of the Lord this is what is written: Come, my children, listen to me, I shall teach you the fear of the Lord. The fear of the Lord has then to be learned because it can be taught. It does not lie in terror, but in something that can be taught. It does not arise from the fearfulness of our nature; it has to be acquired by obedience to the commandments, by holiness of life and by knowledge of the truth.

For us the fear of God consists wholly in love, and perfect love of God brings our fear of him to its perfection. Our love for God is entrusted with its own responsibility: to observe his counsels, to obey his laws, to trust his promises. Let us hear what Scripture says: And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God ask of you except to fear the Lord your God and walk in all his ways and love him and keep his commandments, with your whole heart and your whole soul, so that it may be well for you?

The ways of the Lord are many, though he is himself the way. When he speaks of himself he calls himself the way and shows us the reason why he called himself the way: No one can come to the Father except through me.

We must ask for these many ways, to find the one that is good. That is, we shall find the one way of eternal life through the guidance of many teachers. These ways are found in the law, in the prophets, in the gospels, in the writings of the apostles, in the different good works by which we fulfill the commandments. Blessed are those who walk these ways in the fear of the Lord.

RESPONSORY
Sirach 2:19; Luke 1:50


Those who fear the Lord do their best to please him;
those who love him are mindful of his law.

He has mercy on those who fear him
in every generation.
Those who love him are mindful of his law.

CONCLUDING PRAYER

Let us pray.

God of love,
bring us back to you.
Send your Spirit to make us strong in faith
and active in good works.
Grant 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:

O God, who delight in innocence and restore it,
direct the hearts of your servants to yourself,
that, caught up in the fire of your Spirit,
we may be found steadfast in faith
and effective in works.
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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