Mar 14, Office of Readings for Thursday of the 4th week of Lent

This is a syndicated post from Divine Office - Liturgy of the Hours of the Roman Catholic Church. [Read the original article...]

Ribbon Placement:
Liturgy of the Hours Vol. II:
Ordinary: 1045
Proper of Seasons: 311
Psalter: Thursday, Week IV, 1570

Office of Readings for Thursday of the 4th Week of Lent

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

Father most holy, merciful and tender;
Jesus our Savior, with the Father reigning;
Spirit all kindly, Advocate, Defender,
Light never waning;

Trinity sacred, Unity unshaken;
Deity perfect, giving and forgiving,
Light of the angels, Life of the forsaken,
Hope of the living;

Maker of all things, all Thy creatures praise Thee;
Lo, all things serve Thee through Thy whole creation:
Hear us, Almighty, hear us as we raise Thee
Heart’s adoration.

To the all ruling Triune God be glory:
Highest and greatest, help Thou our endeavor;
We, too, would praise Thee, giving honor worthy
Now and forever.

“Father Most Holy, Merciful and Tender” by Choir of Girton College; Words: From the Latin. Music: Matthäus von Löwenstern (1594-1648).

PSALMODY

Ant. 1 Their own strength could not save them; it was your strength and the light of your face.

Psalm 44
The misfortunes 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 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. Their own strength could not save them; it was your strength and the light of your face.

Ant. 2 Turn back to the Lord; he will not hide his face.

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. Turn back to the Lord; he will not hide his face.

Ant. 3 Arise, Lord, do not abandon us for ever.

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 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 Jesus, you foretold that we would share in the persecutions that brought you to a violent death. The Church formed at the cost of your precious blood is even now conformed to your Passion; may it be transformed, now and eternally, by the power of your resurrection.

Ant. Arise, Lord, do not abandon us for ever.

Sacred Silence (indicated by a bell) – a moment to reflect and receive in our hearts the full resonance of the voice of the Holy Spirit and to unite our personal prayer more closely with the word of God and public voice of the Church.

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

READINGS

First reading
From the book of Numbers
12:16—13:3, 17-33
A scouting party is sent to Canaan

The people set out from Hazeroth and encamped in the desert of Paran.

The Lord said to Moses, “Send men to reconnoiter the land of Canaan, which I am giving the Israelites. You shall send one man from each ancestral tribe, all of them princes.” So Moses dispatched them from the desert of Paran, as the Lord had ordered. All of them were leaders among the Israelites.

In sending them to reconnoiter the land of Canaan, Moses said to them, “Go up here in the Negeb, up into the highlands, and see what kind of land it is. Are the people living there strong or weak, few or many? Is the country in which they live good or bad? Are the towns in which they dwell open or fortified? Is the soil fertile or barren, wooded or clear? And do your best to get some fruit of the land.” It was then the season for early grapes.

So they went up and reconnoitered the land from the desert of Zin as far as where Rehob adjoins Labo of Hamath. Going up by way of the Negeb, they reached Hebron, where Ahiman, Sheshai and Talmai, descendants of the Anakim, were living. [Hebron had been built seven years before Zoan in Egypt.] They also reached the Wadi Eshcol, where they cut down a branch with a single cluster of grapes on it, which two of them carried on a pole, as well as some pomegranates and figs. It was because of the cluster the Israelites cut there that they called the place Wadi Eshcol.

After reconnoitering the land for forty days they returned, met Moses and Aaron and the whole community of the Israelites in the desert of Paran at Kadesh, made a report to them all, and showed them the fruit of the country. They told Moses: “We went into the land to which you sent us. It does indeed flow with milk and honey, and here is its fruit.

However, the people who are living in the land are fierce, and the towns are fortified and very strong. Besides, we saw descendants of the Anakim there. Amalekites live in the region of the Negeb; Hittites, Jebusites and Amorites dwell in the highlands, and Canaanites along the seacoast and the banks of the Jordan.”

Caleb, however, to quiet the people toward Moses, said, “We ought to go up and seize the land, for we can certainly do so.” But the men who had gone up with him said, “We cannot attack these people; they are too strong for us.”

So they spread discouraging reports among the Israelites about the land they had scouted, saying, “The land that we explored is a country that consumes its inhabitants. And all the people we saw there are huge men, veritable giants [the Anakim were a race of giants]; we felt like mere grasshoppers, and so we must have seemed to them.”

RESPONSORY Deuteronomy 1:31, 32, 26, 27

The Lord your God carried you in the desert, as a man carries his child,
but still you would not trust him.

You refused to go up to the land he had promised you, you defied the Lord your God.
But still you would not trust him.

Second reading
From a sermon by Saint Leo the Great, pope
Contemplating the Lord’s passion

True reverence for the Lord’s passion means fixing the eyes of our heart on Jesus crucified and recognizing in him our own humanity.

The earth — our earthly nature — should tremble at the suffering of its Redeemer. The rocks — the hearts of unbelievers — should burst asunder. The dead, imprisoned in the tombs of their mortality, should come forth, the massive stones now ripped apart. Foreshadowings of the future resurrection should appear in the holy city, the Church of God: what is to happen to our bodies should now take place in our hearts.

No one, however weak, is denied a share in the victory of the cross. No one is beyond the help of the prayer of Christ. His prayer brought benefit to the multitude that raged against him. How much more does it bring to those who turn to him in repentance. Ignorance has been destroyed, obstinacy has been overcome. The sacred blood of Christ has quenched the flaming sword that barred access to the tree of life. The age-old night of sin has given place to the true light.

The Christian people are invited to share the riches of paradise. All who have been reborn have the way open before them to return to their native land, from which they had been exiled. Unless indeed they close off for themselves the path that could be opened before the faith of a thief.

The business of this life should not preoccupy us with its anxiety and pride, so that we no longer strive with all the love of our heart to be like our Redeemer, and to follow his example. Everything that he did or suffered was for our salvation: he wanted his body to share the goodness of its head.

First of all, in taking our human nature while remaining God, so that the Word became man, he left no member of the human race, the unbeliever excepted, without a share in his mercy. Who does not share a common nature with Christ if he has welcomed Christ, who took our nature, and is reborn in the Spirit through whom Christ was conceived?

Again, who cannot recognize in Christ his own infirmities? Who would not recognize that Christ’s eating and sleeping, his sadness and his shedding of tears of love are marks of the nature of a slave?

It was this nature of a slave that had to be healed of its ancient wounds and cleansed of the defilement of sin. For that reason the only-begotten Son of God became also the son of man. He was to have both the reality of a human nature and the fullness of the godhead.

The body that lay lifeless in the tomb is ours. The body that rose again on the third day is ours. The body that ascended above all the heights of heaven to the right hand of the Father’s glory is ours. If then we walk in the way of his commandments, and are not ashamed to acknowledge the price he paid for our salvation in a lowly body, we too are to rise to share his glory. The promise he made will be fulfilled in the sight of all: Whoever acknowledges me before men, I too will acknowledge him before my Father who is in heaven.

RESPONSORY 1 Corinthians 1:18, 23

To those who are on the way to destruction, the message of the cross is foolishness;
but we who are on the way to salvation see it as the proof of God’s power.

We preach a crucified Christ: an obstacle to the Jews, sheer madness to the Gentiles.
But we who are on the way to salvation see it as the proof of God’s power.

CONCLUDING PRAYER

We invoke your mercy in humble prayer, O Lord,
that you may cause us, your servants,
corrected by penance and schooled by good works,
to persevere sincerely in your commands
and come safely to the paschal festivities.
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 (only added when praying in community)

Let us praise the Lord.
And give him thanks.

The English translation of The Liturgy of the Hours (Four Volumes) ©1974, International Commission on English in the Liturgy Corporation. All rights reserved. Used with permission by Surgeworks, Inc for the Divine Office Catholic Ministry. DivineOffice.org website, podcast, apps and all related media is © 2006-2011 Surgeworks, Inc. All rights reserved. (202)

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