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Arch Bishop Micheal Ralph Vendegna S.O.S.M.A.

Office Readings

  • Monday 10 August 2020

    Saint Laurence, Deacon, Martyr - Feast 

    Office of Readings

    Introduction (without Invitatory)

    If this is the first Hour that you are reciting today, use the version with the Invitatory Psalm instead.

    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.



    The martyrs living now with Christ
    In suffering were tried,
    Their anguish overcome by love
    When on his cross they died.

    Across the centuries they come,
    In constancy unmoved,
    Their loving hearts make no complaint,
    In silence they are proved.

    No man has ever measured love,
    Or weighed it in his hand,
    But God who knows the inmost heart
    Gives them the promised land.

    Praise Father, Son and Spirit blest,
    Who guides us through the night
    In ways that reach beyond the stars
    To everlasting light.

    Francis E. Mostyn (1860-1939)


    Psalm 2
    The Messiah, king and victor

    “They rose up together against your servant Jesus, whom you had anointed” (Acts 4:27).

    You will be hated by all men for my name’s sake; but he who endures to the end will be saved.

    Why this tumult among nations,
    among peoples this useless murmuring?
    They arise, the kings of the earth,
    princes plot against the Lord and his Anointed.
    ‘Come, let us break their fetters,
    come, let us cast off their yoke.’

    He who sits in the heavens laughs;
    the Lord is laughing them to scorn.
    Then he will speak in his anger,
    his rage will strike them with terror.
    ‘It is I who have set up my king
    on Sion, my holy mountain.’

    I will announce the decree of the Lord:
    The Lord said to me: ‘You are my Son.
    It is I who have begotten you this day.
    Ask and I shall bequeath you the nations,
    put the ends of the earth in your possession.
    With a rod of iron you will break them,
    shatter them like a potter’s jar.’

    Now, O kings, understand,
    take warning, rulers of the earth;
    serve the Lord with awe
    and trembling, pay him your homage
    lest he be angry and you perish;
    for suddenly his anger will blaze.

    Blessed are they who put their trust in God.

    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.

    You will be hated by all men for my name’s sake; but he who endures to the end will be saved.


    Lord God, you gave the peoples of the world as the inheritance of your only Son; you crowned him as King of Zion, your holy city, and gave him your Church to be his Bride. As he proclaims the law of your eternal kingdom, may we serve him faithfully, and so share his royal power for ever.


    Psalm 10 (11)
    The Lord, support of the just

    “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for what is right: they shall be satisfied” (Mt 5:6).

    The sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed in us.

    In the Lord I have taken my refuge.
    How can you say to my soul:
    ‘Fly like a bird to its mountain.

    See the wicked bracing their bow;
    they are fixing their arrows on the string
    to shoot upright men in the dark.
    Foundations once destroyed, what can the just do?’

    The Lord is in his holy temple,
    the Lord, whose throne is in heaven.
    His eyes look down on the world;
    his gaze tests mortal men.

    The Lord tests the just and the wicked;
    the lover of violence he hates.
    He sends fire and brimstone on the wicked;
    he sends a scorching wind as their lot.

    The Lord is just and loves justice;
    the upright shall see his face.

    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.

    The sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed in us.


    Lord God, you search the hearts of all, both the good and the wicked. May those who are in danger for love of you, find security in you now, and, in the day of judgement, may they rejoice in seeing you face to face.


    Psalm 16 (17)
    Save me from wrongdoers

    “During his life on earth he offered up prayer, which was heard” (Heb 5:7).

    The Lord tried his chosen ones like gold in a furnace; he accepted them as a holy offering, thoroughly consumed by fire.

    Lord, hear a cause that is just,
    pay heed to my cry.
    Turn your ear to my prayer:
    no deceit is on my lips.

    From you may my judgement come forth.
    Your eyes discern the truth.

    You search my heart, you visit me by night.
    You test me and you find in me no wrong.
    My words are not sinful as are men’s words.

    I kept from violence because of your word,
    I kept my feet firmly in your paths;
    there was no faltering in my steps.

    I am here and I call, you will hear me, O God.
    Turn your ear to me; hear my words.
    Display your great love, you whose right hand saves
    your friends from those who rebel against them.

    Guard me as the apple of your eye.
    Hide me in the shadow of your wings
    from the violent attack of the wicked.

    My foes encircle me with deadly intent.
    Their hearts tight shut, their mouths speak proudly.
    They advance against me, and now they surround me.

    Their eyes are watching to strike me to the ground,
    as though they were lions ready to claw
    or like some young lion crouched in hiding.

    Lord, arise, confront them, strike them down!
    Let your sword rescue my soul from the wicked;
    let your hand, O Lord, rescue me from men,
    from men whose reward is in this present life.

    You give them their fill of your treasures;
    they rejoice in abundance of offspring
    and leave their wealth to their children.

    As for me, in my justice I shall see your face
    and be filled, when I awake, with the sight of your glory.

    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.

    The Lord tried his chosen ones like gold in a furnace; he accepted them as a holy offering, thoroughly consumed by fire.


    Turn our eyes to see the truth of your judgements, Lord, that, when our spirits are tried by fire, the anticipation of seeing you may make us rejoice in your justice.


    When your Son was unjustly condemned, Lord God, and surrounded by the impious, he cried to you and you set him free. Watch over your people as the treasure of your heart and guide their steps along safe paths that they may see your face.


    ℣. Anguish and distress have taken hold of me.
    ℟. Yet will I delight in your commands.


    The one-year and two-year cycles of readings are identical today.

    First Reading
    Acts 6:1-6,8:1,4-8

    About this time, when the number of disciples was increasing, the Hellenists made a complaint against the Hebrews: in the daily distribution their own widows were being overlooked. So the Twelve called a full meeting of the disciples and addressed them, ‘It would not be right for us to neglect the word of God so as to give out food; you, brothers, must select from among yourselves seven men of good reputation, filled with the Spirit and with wisdom; we will hand over this duty to them, and continue to devote ourselves to prayer and to the service of the word.’ The whole assembly approved of this proposal and elected Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit, together with Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolaus of Antioch, a convert to Judaism. They presented these to the apostles, who prayed and laid their hands on them.
    That day a bitter persecution started against the church in Jerusalem, and everyone except the apostles fled to the country districts of Judaea and Samaria.
    Those who had escaped went from place to place preaching the Good News. One of them was Philip who went to a Samaritan town and proclaimed the Christ to them. The people united in welcoming the message Philip preached, either because they had heard of the miracles he worked or because they saw them for themselves. There were, for example, unclean spirits that came shrieking out of many who were possessed, and several paralytics and cripples were cured. As a result there was great rejoicing in that town.


    ℟. Whoever declares publicly that he belongs to me, says the Lord,* I will do the same for him before my Father in heaven.
    ℣. Whoever wants to serve me must follow me, so that my servant will be with me wherever I am.* I will do the same for him before my Father in heaven.


    Second Reading
    A sermon preached by St Augustine on the feast day of St Laurence
    He administered the sacred chalice of Christ's blood

    The Roman Church commends this day to us as the blessed Laurence’s day of triumph, on which he trod down the world as it roared and raged against him; spurned it as it coaxed and wheedled him; and in each case, conquered the devil as he persecuted him. For in that Church, you see, as you have regularly been told, he performed the office of deacon; it was there that he administered the sacred chalice of Christ’s blood; there that he shed his own blood for the name of Christ. The blessed apostle John clearly explained the mystery of the Lord’s supper when he said Just as Christ laid down his life for us, so we too ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. St Laurence understood this, my brethren, and he did it; and he undoubtedly prepared things similar to what he received at that table. He loved Christ in his life, he imitated him in his death.
    And we too, brethren, if we truly love him, let us imitate him. After all, we shall not be able to give a better proof of love than by imitating his example; for Christ suffered for us, leaving us an example, so that we might follow in his footsteps. In this sentence the apostle Peter appears to have seen that Christ suffered only for those who follow in his footsteps, and that Christ’s passion profits none but those who follow in his footsteps. The holy martyrs followed him, to the shedding of their blood, to the similarity of their sufferings. The martyrs followed, but they were not the only ones. It is not the case, I mean to say, that after they crossed, the bridge was cut; or that after they had drunk, the fountain dried up.
    The garden of the Lord, brethren, includes – yes, it truly includes – includes not only the roses of martyrs but also the lilies of virgins, and the ivy of married people, and the violets of widows. There is absolutely no kind of human beings, my dearly beloved, who need to despair of their vocation; Christ suffered for all. It was very truly written about him: who wishes all men to be saved, and to come to the acknowledgement of the truth.
    So let us understand how Christians ought to follow Christ, short of the shedding of blood, short of the danger of suffering death. The Apostle says, speaking of the Lord Christ, Who, though he was in the form of God, did not think it robbery to be equal to God. What incomparable greatness! But he emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, and being made in the likeness of men, and found in condition as a man. What unequalled humility!
    Christ humbled himself: you have something, Christian, to latch on to. Christ became obedient. Why do you behave proudly? After running the course of these humiliations and laying death low, Christ ascended into heaven: let us follow him there. Let us listen to the Apostle telling us, If you have risen with Christ, savour the things that are above us, seated at God’s right hand.


    ℟. Blessed Laurence cried out: I worship my God and serve him alone,* and I am not afraid of torture.
    ℣. My God is the rock where I take refuge,* and I am not afraid of torture.


    Te Deum

    We praise you, O God:
    we acclaim you as the Lord.

    Everlasting Father,
    all the world bows down before you.

    All the angels sing your praise,
    the hosts of heaven and all the angelic powers,

    all the cherubim and seraphim
    call out to you in unending song:

    Holy, Holy, Holy,
    is the Lord God of angel hosts!

    The heavens and the earth are filled
    with your majesty and glory.

    The glorious band of apostles,
    the noble company of prophets,

    the white-robed army who shed their blood for Christ,
    all sing your praise.

    And to the ends of the earth
    your holy Church proclaims her faith in you:

    Father, whose majesty is boundless,
    your true and only Son, who is to be adored,
    the Holy Spirit sent to be our Advocate.

    You, Christ, are the king of glory,
    Son of the eternal Father.

    When you took our nature to save mankind
    you did not shrink from birth in the Virgin’s womb.

    You overcame the power of death
    opening the Father’s kingdom to all who believe in you.

    Enthroned at God’s right hand in the glory of the Father,
    you will come in judgement according to your promise.

    You redeemed your people by your precious blood.
    Come, we implore you, to our aid.

    Grant us with the saints
    a place in eternal glory.

    The final part of the hymn may be omitted:

    Lord, save your people
    and bless your inheritance.

    Rule them and uphold them
    for ever and ever.

    Day by day we praise you:
    we acclaim you now and to all eternity.

    In your goodness, Lord, keep us free from sin.
    Have mercy on us, Lord, have mercy.

    May your mercy always be with us, Lord,
    for we have hoped in you.

    In you, Lord, we put our trust:
    we shall not be put to shame.


    Let us pray.

    Lord God,
    you inspired Saint Laurence with so ardent a love
    that his life was renowned for the service of your people
    and his death for the splendour of his martyrdom.
    Help us to love what he loved
    and to live as he showed us.
    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.


    Let us praise the Lord.
    – Thanks be to God.


    The week’s sequence of readings from Scripture has been interrupted today, because today’s feast has a First Reading of its own.
    The reading you would otherwise have seen is shown below. It is perfectly reasonable (and encouraged) to join it on to yesterday’s or tomorrow’s First Reading, if it goes well with one of them and you think this is a sensible way of avoiding a gap.

    Hosea 14:2-10
    A call to conversion and promise of safety

    The Lord says this:

    Israel, come back to the Lord your God;
    your iniquity was the cause of your downfall.
    Provide yourself with words
    and come back to the Lord.
    Say to him, ‘Take all iniquity away
    so that we may have happiness again
    and offer you our words of praise.
    Assyria cannot save us,
    we will not ride horses any more,
    or say, “Our God!” to what our own hands have made,
    for you are the one in whom orphans find compassion.’
    – I will heal their disloyalty,
    I will love them with all my heart,
    for my anger has turned from them.
    I will fall like dew on Israel.
    He shall bloom like the lily,
    and thrust out roots like the poplar,
    his shoots will spread far;
    he will have the beauty of the olive
    and the fragrance of Lebanon.
    They will come back to live in my shade;
    they will grow corn that flourishes,
    they will cultivate vines
    as renowned as the wine of Helbon.
    What has Ephraim to do with idols any more
    when it is I who hear his prayer and care for him?
    I am like a cypress ever green,
    all your fruitfulness comes from me.

    Let the wise man understand these words.
    Let the intelligent man grasp their meaning.
    For the ways of the Lord are straight,
    and virtuous men walk in them,
    but sinners stumble.

    Copyright © 1996-2020 Universalis Publishing Limited: see www.universalis.com. Scripture readings from the Jerusalem Bible are published and copyright © 1966, 1967 and 1968 by Darton, Longman & Todd, Ltd and Doubleday, a division of Random House, Inc, and used by permission of the publishers. Text of the Psalms: Copyright © 1963, The Grail (England). Used with permission of A.P. Watt Ltd. All rights reserved.