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

Office Readings

  • Saturday 15 August 2020

    The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary - Solemnity 

    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.



    Hail, of paradise the portal!
    Tree of Life regained, immortal;
    Whence, through thee, all sweetness floweth,
    And salvation’s fruit still groweth.
    Thou our hearts aright inclinest,
    On our life’s way brightly shinest;
    Us from God’s just anger savest,
    Who to man our Saviour gavest.

    Hail! Blest shrine of God the Father,
    Thither sinners haste to gather;
    Pardon for their guilt obtaining,
    Freedom from the foe’s enchaining;
    Strength from thee the weak shall borrow,
    Comfort, thou, of all who sorrow;
    From the final wrath tremendous,
    Mother of our Christ, defend us.

    Star of ocean! Mother fairest!
    Who the name of Mary bearest;
    In thy bright illumination
    Pales each star and constellation.
    Hail, O Father! Hail, sweet Mother!
    Hail, O Son of God, our Brother!
    Let the hosts of heaven adore thee,
    Every spirit bow before thee.


    Psalm 23 (24)
    The Lord comes to his temple

    “The gates of heaven were opened to Christ because he was lifted up in the flesh” (St Irenaeus).

    Arise, O Virgin Queen. You are worthy of everlasting honour: enter the splendid palace of the eternal King.

    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.

    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 neighbour.

    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.

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

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

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

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

    Arise, O Virgin Queen. You are worthy of everlasting honour: enter the splendid palace of the eternal King.


    King of glory, Lord of power and might, cleanse our hearts from all sin, preserve the innocence of our hands, and keep our minds from vanity, so that we may deserve your blessing in your holy place.


    Lord God, ruler and guide of heaven and earth, you gave Christ a share in our human race, made him a priest, and brought him into the temple of your glory. Make our intentions pure and selfless and give virtue to our thoughts, that the King of glory may enter our hearts and bring us rejoicing to your holy mountain.


    Psalm 45 (46)
    God, our refuge and our strength

    “They will call his name ‘Immanuel’, which means ‘God with us’” (Mt 1:23).

    The Lord chose her: he chose her before she was born. He has brought her to live in his own dwelling-place.

    God is for us a refuge and strength,
    a helper close at hand, in time of distress,
    so we shall not fear though the earth should rock,
    though the mountains fall into the depths of the sea;
    even though its waters rage and foam,
    even though the mountains be shaken by its waves.

    The Lord of hosts is with us:
    the God of Jacob is our stronghold.

    The waters of a river give joy to God’s city,
    the holy place where the Most High dwells.
    God is within, it cannot be shaken;
    God will help it at the dawning of the day.
    Nations are in tumult, kingdoms are shaken:
    he lifts his voice, the earth shrinks away.

    The Lord of hosts is with us:
    the God of Jacob is our stronghold.

    Come, consider the works of the Lord,
    the redoubtable deeds he has done on the earth.
    He puts an end to wars over all the earth;
    the bow he breaks, the spear he snaps.
    He burns the shields with fire.
    ‘Be still and know that I am God,
    supreme among the nations, supreme on the earth!’

    The Lord of hosts is with us:
    the God of Jacob is our stronghold.

    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 chose her: he chose her before she was born. He has brought her to live in his own dwelling-place.


    All-powerful Father, the refuge and strength of your people, you protect in adversity and defend in prosperity those who put their trust in you. May they persevere in seeking your will and find their way to you through obedience.


    Lord God, when the restless powers of this world and the waters of hell rise up against your holy city, the new Jerusalem, you keep watch over it and it is safe, founded on solid rock. May the river that flows from the throne of the Lamb so purify this city as to make it shine out before men as your chosen dwelling, the unfailing sign of your greatness.


    Psalm 86 (87)
    Jerusalem, mother of all nations

    “The Jerusalem which is above is free and is our mother” (Gal 4:26).

    Of you are told glorious things, O Virgin Mary!

    On the holy mountain is his city
    cherished by the Lord.
    The Lord prefers the gates of Sion
    to all Jacob’s dwellings.
    Of you are told glorious things,
    O city of God!

    ‘Babylon and Egypt I will count
    among those who know me;
    Philistia, Tyre, Ethiopia,
    these will be her children
    and Sion shall be called “Mother”
    for all shall be her children.’

    It is he, the Lord Most High,
    who gives each his place.
    In his register of peoples he writes:
    ‘These are her children,’
    and while they dance they will sing:
    ‘In you all find their home.’

    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.

    Of you are told glorious things, O Virgin Mary!


    Lord God, your only Son wept over ancient Jerusalem, soon to be destroyed for its lack of faith. He established the new Jerusalem firmly upon rock and made it the mother of the faithful. Make us rejoice in your Church and grant that all people may be reborn into the freedom of your Spirit.


    ℣. Blessed are you, O Mary, because you put your trust in the Lord.
    ℟. All the things that were promised to you have come to pass.


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

    First Reading
    Ephesians 1:16-2:10

    I have never failed to remember you in my prayers and to thank God for you. May the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, give you a spirit of wisdom and perception of what is revealed, to bring you to full knowledge of him. May he enlighten the eyes of your mind so that you can see what hope his call holds for you, what rich glories he has promised the saints will inherit and how infinitely great is the power that he has exercised for us believers. This you can tell from the strength of his power at work in Christ, when he used it to raise him from the dead and to make him sit at his right hand, in heaven, far above every Sovereignty, Authority, Power, or Domination, or any other name that can be named not only in this age but also in the age to come. He has put all things under his feet and made him, as the ruler of everything, the head of the Church; which is his body, the fullness of him who fills the whole creation.
    And you were dead, through the crimes and the sins in which you used to live when you were following the way of this world, obeying the ruler who governs the air, the spirit who is at work in the rebellious. We all were among them too in the past, living sensual lives, ruled entirely by our own physical desires and our own ideas; so that by nature we were as much under God’s anger as the rest of the world. But God loved us with so much love that he was generous with his mercy: when we were dead through our sins, he brought us to life with Christ – it is through grace that you have been saved – and raised us up with him and gave us a place with him in heaven, in Christ Jesus.
    This was to show for all ages to come, through his goodness towards us in Christ Jesus, how infinitely rich he is in grace. Because it is by grace that you have been saved, through faith; not by anything of your own, but by a gift from God; not by anything that you have done, so that nobody can claim the credit. We are God’s work of art, created in Christ Jesus to live the good life as from the beginning he had meant us to live it.


    ℟. How lovely, how beautiful the Virgin Mary, who has left this world to be with Christ.* Clothed with heavenly power, she shines like the sun among the choirs of saints.
    ℣. Let the angels rejoice and the archangels exult in the Virgin Mary.* Clothed with heavenly power, she shines like the sun among the choirs of saints.


    Second Reading
    The Apostolic Constitution of Pope Pius XII on the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary
    Your body is holy and glorious

    In their sermons and speeches on the feast day of the Assumption of the Mother of God, the holy fathers and the great doctors of the church were speaking of something that the faithful already knew and accepted: all they did was to bring it out into the open, to explain its meaning and substance in other terms. Above all, they made it most clear that this feast commemorated not merely the fact that the blessed Virgin Mary did not experience bodily decay, but also her triumph over death and her heavenly glory, following the example of her only Son, Jesus Christ.
    Thus St John Damascene, who is the greatest exponent of this tradition, compares the bodily Assumption of the revered Mother of God with her other gifts and privileges: It was right that she who had kept her virginity unimpaired through the process of giving birth should have kept her body without decay through death. It was right that she who had given her Creator, as a child, a place at her breast should be given a place in the dwelling-place of her God. It was right that the bride espoused by the Father should dwell in the heavenly bridal chamber. It was right that she who had gazed on her Son on the cross, her heart pierced at that moment by the sword of sorrow that she had escaped at his birth, should now gaze on him seated with his Father. It was right that the Mother of God should possess what belongs to her Son and be honoured by every creature as God’s Mother and handmaid.
    St Germanus of Constantinople considered the preservation from decay of the body of the Mother of God, the Virgin Mary, and its elevation to heaven as being not only appropriate to her Motherhood but also to the peculiar sanctity of its virgin state: It is written, that you appear in beauty, and your virginal body is altogether holy, altogether chaste, altogether the dwelling-place of God; from which it follows that it is not in its nature to decay into dust, but that it is transformed, being human, into a glorious and incorruptible life, the same body, living and glorious, unharmed, sharing in perfect life.
    Another very ancient author asserts: Being the most glorious Mother of Christ our saviour and our God, the giver of life and immortality, she is given life by him and shares bodily incorruptibility for all eternity with him who raised her from the grave and drew her up to him in a way that only he can understand.
    All that the holy fathers say refers ultimately to Scripture as a foundation, which gives us the vivid image of the great Mother of God as being closely attached to her divine Son and always sharing his lot.
    It is important to remember that from the second century onwards the holy fathers have been talking of the Virgin Mary as the new Eve for the new Adam: not equal to him, of course, but closely joined with him in the battle against the enemy, which ended in the triumph over sin and death that had been promised even in Paradise. The glorious resurrection of Christ is essential to this victory and its final prize, but the blessed Virgin’s share in that fight must also have ended in the glorification of her body. For as the Apostle says: When this mortal nature has put on immortality, then the scripture will be fulfilled that says “Death is swallowed up in victory”.
    So then, the great Mother of God, so mysteriously united to Jesus Christ from all eternity by the same decree of predestination, immaculately conceived, an intact virgin throughout her divine motherhood, a noble associate of our Redeemer as he defeated sin and its consequences, received, as it were, the final crowning privilege of being preserved from the corruption of the grave and, following her Son in his victory over death, was brought, body and soul, to the highest glory of heaven, to shine as Queen at the right hand of that same Son, the immortal King of Ages.


    ℟. Here again is the wonderful day on which the Virgin Mary was taken up into heaven. We all praise her with the words:* Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb.
    ℣. Blessed are you, holy Virgin Mary, and most worthy of praise: through you has risen the Sun of justice, Christ our God.* Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb.



    If time allows, those who celebrate the Office of Readings of a Sunday (or solemnity, or feast of the Lord) on the evening before, or at the crack of dawn on the day itself, may enrich the celebration with three Old Testament canticles and a Gospel reading.


    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.

    Almighty, ever-living God,
    you have taken the mother of your Son,
    the immaculate Virgin Mary,
    body and soul into the glory where you dwell.
    Keep our hearts set on heaven
    so that, with her, we may share in your glory.
    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.

    Micah 7:7-20

    For my part, I look to the Lord,
    my hope is in the God who will save me;
    my God will hear me.

    Do not gloat over me, my enemy:
    though I have fallen, I shall rise;
    though I live in darkness,
    the Lord is my light.
    I must suffer the anger of the Lord,
    for I have sinned against him,
    until he takes up my cause
    and rights my wrongs;
    he will bring me out into the light
    and I shall rejoice to see the rightness of his ways.
    When my enemy sees it,
    she will be covered with shame,
    she who said to me, ‘Where is the Lord your God?’
    My eyes will gloat over her;
    she will be trampled underfoot
    like mud in the streets.

    The day is coming for rebuilding your walls.
    Your frontiers will be extended that day,
    men will come to you that day
    from Assyria as far as to Egypt,
    from Tyre as far as to the river,
    from sea to sea, from mountain to mountain.
    The earth will become a desert
    by reason of its inhabitants, in return for what they have done.

    With shepherd’s crook lead your people to pasture,
    the flock that is your heritage,
    living confined in a forest
    with meadow land all around.
    Let them pasture in Bashan and Gilead
    as in the days of old.
    As in the days when you came out of Egypt
    grant us to see wonders.
    The pagans, seeing it, will be confounded
    for all their power;
    they will lay their hands to their mouths,
    their ears will be deafened by it.
    They will lick the dust like serpents,
    like things that crawl on the earth.
    They will come trembling from their lairs,
    in terror and fear before you.

    What god can compare with you: taking fault away,
    pardoning crime,
    not cherishing anger for ever
    but delighting in showing mercy?
    Once more have pity on us,
    tread down our faults,
    to the bottom of the sea
    throw all our sins.
    Grant Jacob your faithfulness,
    and Abraham your mercy,
    as you swore to our fathers
    from the days of long ago.

    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.