The following version of the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary is from the Liturgy of the Hours. It has a Nihil Obstat from Daniel V. Flynn, J.C.D., Censor Librarian; and an Imprimatur from Patrick J. Sheridan, Vicar General, Archdiocese of New York. For those who wish to use the older form of the Office, it is available here.

The Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Sunday

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

Saturday

Morning

Morning

Morning

Morning

Morning

Morning

Morning

Evening

Evening

Evening

Evening

Evening

Evening

Evening


Office of Readings
Daytime Prayer
Compline



SUNDAY

Morning Prayer

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 forever.  Amen.

HYMN

O Mary of all women,
You are the chosen one,
Who, ancient prophets promised,
Would bear God’s only Son;
All Hebrew generations
Prepared the way to thee,
That in your womb the God-man
Might come to set us free.

O Mary, you embody
all God taught to our race,
For you are first and foremost
In fullness of His grace;
We praise this wondrous honor
That you gave birth to Him
Who from you took humanity
And saved us from our sin.

Melody: Au fort detresse 76.76D
Music: 17th century Flemish Melody Text: Michael Gannon

Or:

Truly, "you are blessed among women."
For you have changed Eve's curse into a blessing;
and Adam, who hitherto lay under a curse,
has been blessed because of you.

Truly, you are blessed among women.
Through you the Father's blessing has shone forth on mankind,
setting them free of their ancient curse.

Truly, you are blessed among women,
because through you
your forebears have found salvation.
For you were to give birth to the Savior
who was to win them salvation.

Truly, you are blessed among women,
for without seed you have borne, as your fruit,
him who bestows blessings on the whole world
and redeems it from that curse
that made it sprout thorns.

Truly, you are blessed among women,
because, though a woman by nature,
you will become, in reality, God's mother.
If he whom you are to bear is truly God made flesh,
then rightly do we call you God's mother.
For you have truly given birth to God.

Sophronius (c. 560-638)


PSALMODY

Ant.1 The Virgin has given birth to the Savior: a flower has sprung from Jesse's stock and a star has risen from Jacob. O God, we praise you.

or: You are all beautiful, O Mary; in you there is no trace of original sin.

Psalm 118
Song of joy for salvation

This Jesus is the stone which, rejected by you builders, has become the chief stone supporting all the rest. (Acts 4:11)

Give thanks to the Lord for he is good,
for his love endures forever.

Let the sons of Israel say:
"His love endures for ever."
Let the sons of Aaron say:
"His love endures for ever."
Let those who fear the Lord say:
"His love endures for ever."

I called to the Lord in my distress;
he answered and freed me.
The Lord is at my side; I do not fear.
what can man do against me?
The Lord is at my side as my helper;
I shall look down on my foes.

It is better to take refuge in the Lord
than to trust in men;
it is better to take refuge in the Lord
than to trust in princes.

The nations all encompassed me;
in the Lord's name I crushed them.
They compassed me, compassed me about;
in the Lord's name I crushed them.
They compassed me about like bees;
they blazed like a fire among thorns.
In the Lord's name I crushed them.

I was thrust down, thrust down and falling,
but the Lord was my helper.
The Lord is my strength and my song;
he is my savior.
There are shouts of joy and victory
in the tents of the just.

The Lord's right hand has triumphed;
his right hand raised me.
The Lord's right hand has triumphed;
I shall not die, I shall live
and recount his deeds.
I was punished, I was punished by the Lord,
but not doomed to die.

Open to me the gates of holiness:
I will enter and give thanks.
This is the Lord's own gate
where the just may enter.
I will thank you for you have answered
and you are my savior.

The stone which the builders rejected
has become the corner stone.
This is the work of the Lord,
a marvel in our eyes.
This day was made by the Lord;
we rejoice and are glad.

O Lord, grant us salvation;
O Lord, grant success.
Blessed in the name of the Lord
is he who comes.
We bless you from the house of the Lord;
the Lord God is our light.

Go forward in procession with branches
even to the altar.
You are my God, I thank you.
My God, I praise you.
Give thanks to the Lord for he is good;
for his love endures for ever.

Ant. 2 Mary has given birth to our Savior. John the Baptist saw him and cried out: This is the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world.

Or: You are the glory of Jerusalem, the joy of Israel; you are the fairest honor of our race.

Canticle                                                      Daniel 3:52-57
Let all creatures praise the Lord.

The Creator...is blessed for ever (Romans 1:25)

Blessed are you, O Lord, the God of our fathers,
praiseworthy and exalted above all forever;

And blessed is your holy and glorious name,
praiseworthy and exalted above all for all ages.

Blessed are you in the temple of your holy glory,
praiseworthy and glorious above all forever.

Blessed are you on the throne of your kingdom,
praiseworthy and exalted above all forever.

Blessed are you who look into the depths
from your throne upon the cherubim,
praiseworthy and exalted above all forever.

Blessed are you in the firmament of heaven,
praiseworthy and glorious forever.

Bless the Lord, all you works of the Lord,
praise and exalt him above all forever.

Ant. 3: Mary has given birth to a King whose name is everlasting; hers the joy of motherhood, hers the virgin's glory. Never was the like seen before, never shall it be seen again.

Or: The robe you wear is white as spotless snow; your face is radiant like the sun.

Psalm 150
Praise the Lord

Let mind and heart be in your song: this is to glorify God with your whole self (Hesychius)

Praise God in his holy place,
praise him in his mighty heavens.
Praise him for his powerful deeds,
praise his surpassing greatness.

O praise him with sound of trumpet,
praise him with lute and harp.
Praise him with timbrel and dance,
praise him with strings and pipes.

O praise him with resounding cymbals,
praise him with clashing of cymbals.
Let everything that lives and that breathes
give praise to the Lord.

FIRST READING                                                      Micah 5:2,3a,4a

The ruler in Israel will give them up, until the time
  when she who is to give birth has borne,
And the rest of his brethren shall return
  to the children of Israel.
He shall stand firm and shepherd his flock
  by the strength of the Lord,
  in the majestic name of the Lord, his God;
He shall be peace.

Or                                                       Zephaniah 3:14,15b

Shout for joy, O daughter Zion!
  sing joyfully, O Israel!
Be glad and exult with all your heart,
  O daughter Jerusalem!
The King of Israel, the Lord,
  is in your midst.

Or                                                      Sirach 24:17-21

I bud forth delights like the vine,
  my blossoms become fruit fair and rich.
Come to me, all you that yearn for me,
  and be filled with my fruits;
You will remember me as sweeter than honey,
  better to have than the honeycomb.
He who eats of me will hunger still,
  he who drinks of me will thirst for more;
He who obeys me will not be put to shame,
  he who serves me will never fail.

SECOND READING

From a letter by Saint Athanasius, bishop
(Epist. Ad Epictetum,5-9; PG 26,1058,1062-1066)

The Word took our nature from Mary

What was born of Mary was therefore human by nature, in accordance with the inspired Scriptures, and the body of the Lord was a true body: It was a true body because it was the same as ours. Mary, you see, is our sister, for we are all born from Adam.

The words of St John, the Word was made flesh, bear the same meaning, as we may see from a similar turn of phrase in St Paul: Christ was made a curse for our sake. Mary's body has acquired something great through its communion and union with the Word. From being mortal it has been made immortal; though it was a living body it has become a spiritual one; though it was made from the earth it has passed through the gates of heaven.

Even when the Word takes a body from Mary, the Trinity remains a Trinity, with neither increase nor decrease. It is for ever perfect. In the Trinity we acknowledge one Godhead, and thus one God, the Father of the Word, is proclaimed in the Church.

Or:

From a sermon by Saint Aelred, abbot
(Sermo 20, in Nativitate beatiae Mariae: PL 195, 322-324)

Mary our mother

She is our mother the mother of our life, the mother of our incarnation, the mother of our light. As the apostle says of our Lord: He became for us by God's power our wisdom and justice, and holiness and redemption.

She then, as mother of Christ, is the mother of our wisdom and justice, of our holiness and redemption. She is more our mother than the mother of our flesh. Our birth from her is better, for from her is born our holiness, our wisdom, our justice, our sanctification, our redemption

Praise the Lord in his holy ones, say the Scriptures. If our Lord is to be praised in those holy ones through whom he brings to being deeds of power and miracles, how much more is he to be praised in her in whom he fashioned himself, who is wonderful beyond all wonders.

Or:

From the dogmatic constitution on the Church of the Second Vatican Council
(Lumen gentium, nn. 63-65)

Mary as type of the Church

Mary, because she has entered intimately into the history of salvation, in a certain sense gathers up in her own person the great truths of the faith and awakens their resonance when she is the object of preaching and veneration; she summons the faithful to her Son, to his sacrifice and to the Father’s love. In seeking to further the glory of Christ, the Church becomes more and more like Mary, its exalted type, as it continues its progress in faith, hope and charity, seeking and fulfilling the divine will in all things.

So also in its apostolic task the Church rightly looks to the one who bore Christ, Christ who was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin in order that he might also be born and grow in the hearts of the faithful. In her whole life this virgin mother showed herself as an example of that motherly love that must animate all who share in the apostolic mission of the Church for the regeneration of mankind.

RESPONSORY

O Virgin Mary, no other daughter of Jerusalem is your equal,
for you are the mother of the King of kings,
you are the Queen of heaven and of angels.
 - Blessed are you among women
and blessed is the fruit of your womb.
Hail, full of grace; the Lord is with you.
 - Blessed are you among women
and blessed is the fruit of your womb.

Or:

The Word was made flesh and lived among us.
 - The Word was made flesh and lived among us.
He was in the beginning with God
 - and he lived among us.
Glory to the Father...
 - The Word was made flesh and lived among us.

CANTICLE OF ZECHARIAH                                                       Luke 1:68-79

Ant. Marvelous is the mystery proclaimed today, human nature is made new as God becomes man; he remains what he was and becomes what he was not. Yet each nature stays distinct and becomes for ever undivided.

The Messiah and his forerunner

Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel;
he has come to his people and set them free.
 
He has raised up for us a mighty savior,
born of the house of his servant David.
 
Through his holy prophets he promised of old,
  that he would save us from our enemies,
  from the hands of all who hate us.
 
He promised to show mercy to our fathers
and to remember his holy covenant.
 
This was the oath he swore to our father Abraham,
to set us free from the hands of our enemies,
free to worship him without fear,
holy and righteous in his sight
 all the days of our life.
 
You, my child, shall be called the prophet of the Most High,
for you will go before the Lord to prepare his way,
 
To give his people knowledge of salvation
by the forgiveness of their sins.
 
In the tender compassion of our God
the dawn from on high shall break upon us,
to shine on those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death,
and to guide our feet into the way of peace.
 
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.

INTERCESSIONS

Let us give glory to Christ who was born of the Virgin Mary
by the power of the Holy Spirit,
and let us pray to him:
    Son of the Virgin Mary, have mercy on us.

Christ born of the Virgin Mary,
you are the Wonder-Counselor and Prince of Peace,
- give your peace to the world.

Our King and our God, you have raised us up by your coming,
- help us to honor you all the days of our lives,
by our faith and our deeds.

You made yourself like us,
- in your mercy, grant that we may become more like you.

You made yourself a citizen of our earthly city,
- grant that we may become citizens of our true homeland,
your Kingdom in Heaven.

Our Father...

CONCLUDING PRAYER
God our Father,
may we always profit by the prayers
of the Virgin Mother Mary,
for You bring us life and salvation
through Jesus Christ her Son
Who lives and reigns with You
and the Holy Spirit, one God,
for ever and ever.

Alternative Prayer

Father,
source of light in every age,
the virgin conceived and bore your Son
Who is called Wonderful God, Prince of Peace.
May her prayer, the gift of a mother's love,
be your people's joy through all ages.
May her response, born of a humble heart,
draw your Spirit to rest on your people.

Grant this through Christ our Lord.

May the Lord bless us,
protect us from evil
and bring us to everlasting life.
 -  Amen.

SUNDAY

Evening Prayer

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 forever.  Amen.

HYMN


Mary the dawn, Christ the Perfect Day;
Mary the gate, Christ the Heavenly Way!

Mary the root, Christ the Mystic Vine;
Mary the grape, Christ the Sacred Wine!

Mary the wheat, Christ the Living Bread;
Mary the stem, Christ the Rose blood-red!

Mary the beacon, Christ the Haven's Rest;
Mary the mirror, Christ the Vision Blest!

Mary the mother, Christ the Mother's Son
By all things blest while endless ages run. Amen.

Melody: Mary the Dawn
Irregular
Music: Anon

Or:

Your name is Our Lady.
You alone are Mother of God
and raised high over all the earth.
O Spouse of God, we celebrate you with faith,
we honor you with longing,
we venerate you with awe;
at every moment we exalt you
and reverently proclaim you blessed.
St. Germanus of Constantinople (c. 638-730)


PSALMODY

Ant 1: O marvelous exchange! Man's Creator has become man, born of the Virgin. We have been made sharers in the divinity of Christ who humbled himself to share our humanity.

Or: Mary gave birth to Jesus, who is called the Christ.

Psalm 110:1-5,7
The Messiah, king and priest

Christ's reign will last until all his enemies are made subject to him (1 Cor 15:25).

The Lord's revelation to my Master:
"Sit on my right:
your foes I will put beneath your feet."

The Lord will yield from Zion
your scepter of power:
rule in the midst of all your foes.

A prince from the day of your birth
on the holy mountains;
from the womb before the dawn I begot you.

The Lord has sworn an oath he will not change.
"You are a priest for ever,
a priest like Melchizedek of old."

The Master standing at your right hand
will shatter kings in the day of his wrath.

He shall drink from the stream by the wayside
and therefore he shall lift up his head.

Ant. 2 By your miraculous birth from the virgin you have fulfilled the Scriptures: like a gentle rain falling upon the earth you have come down to save your people. O God, we praise you.

Or: With the Lord is unfailing love; great is his power to save.

Psalm 112
The happiness of the just man

Live as children born of the light. Light produces every kind of goodness and justice and truth. (Ephesians 5:8-9).

Happy the man who fears the Lord,
who take delight in all his commands.
His sons shall be powerful on earth;
the children of the upright are blessed.

Riches and wealth are in his house;
his justice stands firm for ever.
He is a light in the darkness for the upright:
he is generous, merciful and just.

The good man takes pity and lends,
he conducts his affairs with honor.
The just man will never waver:
he will be remembered for ever.

He has no fear of evil news;
with a firm heart he trusts in the Lord.
With a steadfast heart he will not fear;
he will see the downfall of his foes.

Open-handed, he gives to the poor;
his justice stands firm for ever.
His head will be raised in glory.

The wicked man sees and is angry,
grinds his teeth and fades away;
the desire of the wicked leads to doom.

Ant 3 Your blessing and fruitful virginity is like the bush, flaming yet unburned, which Moses saw on Sinai. Pray for us, Mother of God.

Or: In the beginning, before time began, the Word was God; today he is born, the Savior of the world.

OUTSIDE LENT

Canticle                                                      See Revelation 19:1-7
The wedding of the lamb

Alleluia.
Salvation, glory, and power to our God:
(R. Alleluia)
his judgments are honest and true.
R. Alleluia, (alleluia).

Alleluia.
Sing praise to our God, all you his servants,
(R. Alleluia)
all you who worship him, great and small.
R. Alleluia, (alleluia).

The Lord our all-powerful God is King;
(R. Alleluia)
let us rejoice, sing praise, and give him glory.
R. Alleluia, (alleluia).

The wedding feast of the Lamb has begun,
(R. Alleluia)
and his bride is prepared to welcome him.
R. Alleluia, (alleluia).

LENT

Canticle                                                      1 Peter 2:21-24
The willing acceptance of his passion by Christ, the servant of God

Ant. For our sakes God made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the holiness of God.

Christ suffered for you,
and left you an example
to have you follow in His footsteps.

He did no wrong;
no deceit was found in His mouth.
When He was insulted,
He returned no insult.

When He was made to suffer,
He did not counter with threats.
Instead He delivered Himself up
to the One who judges justly.

In His own body
He brought your sins to the Cross,
so that all of us, dead to sin,
could live in accord with God's will.

By His wounds you were healed.

FIRST READING                                                       Galatians 4:4-5

When the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to ransom those under the law, so that we might receive adoption.

OR                                                      Zechariah 9:9a

Rejoice heartily, O daughter Zion,
    shout for joy, O daughter Jerusalem!
See, your king shall come to you;
    a just savior is he.

OR                                                       Revelation 12:1-6

A great sign appeared in the sky, a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars. She was with child and wailed aloud in pain as she labored to give birth. Then another sign appeared in the sky; it was a huge red dragon, with seven heads and ten horns, and on its heads were seven diadems. Its tail swept away a third of the stars in the sky and hurled them down to the earth. Then the dragon stood before the woman about to give birth, to devour her child when she gave birth. She gave birth to a son, a male child, destined to rule all the nations with an iron rod. Her child was caught up to God and his throne. The woman herself fled into the desert where she had a place prepared by God, that there she might be taken care of for twelve hundred and sixty days.

SECOND READING

From a sermon by Saint Sophronius, bishop
(Oratio 2, in sanctissimae Deiparae Annuntiatione, 21-22, 26, PG 87, 3, 3242, 3250)

Through Mary the Father's blessing has shone forth on humankind

Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with you. What joy could surpass this, O Virgin Mother? What grace can excel that which God has granted to you alone? What could be imagined more dazzling or more delightful? Before the miracle we witness in you, all else pales; all else is inferior when compared with the grace you have been given. All else, even what is most desirable, must take second place and enjoy a lesser importance.

The Lord is with you. Who would dare challenge you? You are God's mother; who would not immediately defer to you and be glad to accord you a greater primacy and honor? For this reason, when I look upon the privilege you have above all creatures, I extol you with the highest praise: Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with you. On your account joy has not only graced men, but is also granted to the powers of heaven.

RESPONSORY
The God of power has given me his strength.
 - The God of power has given me his strength.
He has kept me in the way of holiness.
 - and has given me his strength.
Glory to the Father...
 - The God of power has given me his strength.

Or:

Through you we drink from the wellsprings of salvation, O Blessed Virgin Mary.
 - Through you we drink from the wellsprings of salvation, O Blessed Virgin Mary.
From the sacred wounds of Christ,
 - O Blessed Virgin Mary.
Glory to the Father...
 - Through you we drink from the wellsprings of salvation, O Blessed Virgin Mary.

CANTICLE OF MARY                                                      Luke 1:46-55

Ant: Blessed is the womb which bore you, O Christ, and the breast that nursed you, Lord and Savior of the world.

My soul rejoices in the Lord.

My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord,
my spirit rejoices in God my Savior;
for he has looked with favor on his lowly servant.

From this day all generations will call me blessed:
the Almighty has done great things for me,
and holy is his Name.

He has mercy on those who fear him
in every generation.

He has shown the strength of his arm,
he has scattered the proud in their conceit.

He has cast down the mighty from their thrones,
and has lifted up the lowly.

He has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich he has sent away empty.

He has come to the help of his servant Israel,
for he has remembered his promise of mercy,
The promise he made to our fathers,
to Abraham and his children for ever.

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.

INTERCESSIONS

To Christ, Emmanuel, whom the Virgin conceived and brought forth, let us give praise and pray to him:
    Son of the Virgin Mary, hear us.

You gave Mary the joy of motherhood,
-- give all parents true joy in their children.

King of peace, your kingdom is one of justice and peace,
-- help us to seek the paths of peace.

You came to make the human race the holy people of God,
-- bring all nations to acknowledge the unifying bond of your love.

By your birth you strengthened family ties,
-- help families to come to a greater love for one another.

You desired to be born into the days of time,
-- grant that our departed brothers and sisters may be born into the day of eternity.

Our Father ...

God our Father,
may we always profit by the prayers
of the Virgin Mother Mary,
for you bring us life and salvation
through Jesus Christ her Son
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Alternative Prayer

Father,
source of light in every age,
the virgin conceived and bore your Son
Who is called Wonderful God, Prince of Peace.
May her prayer, the gift of a mother's love,
be your people's joy through all ages.
May her response, born of a humble heart,
draw your Spirit to rest on your people.

Grant this through Christ our Lord.

May the Lord bless us,
protect us from evil
and bring us to everlasting life.
 -  Amen.

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 forever.  Amen.

HYMN

Mary immaculate, star of the morning,
Chosen before the creation began,
Chosen to bring, for thy bridal adorning,
Woe to the serpent and rescue to man.
 
Here, in an orbit of shadow and sadness,
Veiling thy splendor, thy course thou hast run;
Now thou art throned in all glory and gladness,
Crowned by the hand of the savior and Son.
 
Sinners, we worship thy sinless perfection;
Fallen and weak for thy pity we plead;
Grant us the shield of thy sovereign protection,
Measure thine aid by the depth of our need.
 
Bend from thy throne at the voice of our crying,
Bend to this earth which thy footsteps have trod;
Stretch out thine arms to us, living and dying,
Mary immaculate, Mother of God.

Melody: Liebster Immanuel 11.10.11.10
Music: Melody from Himmels-Lust 1675, adapted and
   harmonized by J.S. Bach, 1685-1750
Text: F.W. Weatherell

Or:

Virgin of virgins,
you were untouched by that stain of sin,
that first of all evils,
the sad inheritance of the human race.
From my earliest years
I have placed my hope in you.
Where the power of evil overcomes me
and makes my life too sinful for your gaze,
all the more will your unbounded compassion
show me your generous love,
because my suffering is so deep,
my sinfulness so unworthy of your aid.

Luis de Leon (1527/1528-1591)


PSALMODY

Ant.1 Oh Mother, how pure you are, you are untouched by sin; yours was the privilege to carry God within you.

or: Blessed are you, O Mary, for the world's salvation came forth from you; now in glory, you rejoice forever with the Lord.  Intercede for us with your Son.

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 to 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.

Ant. 2  The Lord God most high has blessed you, Virgin Mary, above all the women on the earth.

Or: You are the glory of Jerusalem, the joy of Israel; you are the fairest of our race.

Canticle                                                       Isaiah 42:10-16
God victor and savior

They were singing a new hymn before the throne of God (Revelation 14:3)

Sing to the LORD a new song,
his praise from the end of the earth:
Let the sea and what fills it resound,
the coastlands, and those who dwell in them.
Let the steppe and its cities cry out,
the villages where Kedar dwells;

Let the inhabitants of Sela exult,
and shout from the top of the mountains.
Let them give glory to the LORD,
and utter his praise in the coastlands.

The LORD goes forth like a hero,
like a warrior he stirs up his ardor;
He shouts out his battle cry,
against his enemies he shows his might:

I have looked away, and kept silence,
I have said nothing, holding myself in;
But now, I cry out as a woman in labor,
gasping and panting.

I will lay waste mountains and hills,
all their herbage I will dry up;
I will turn the rivers into marshes,
and the marshes I will dry up.

I will lead the blind on their journey;
by paths unknown I will guide them.
I will turn darkness into light before them,
and make crooked ways straight.

Ant. 3:  Sinless virgin, let us follow joyfully in your footsteps; draw us after you in the fragrance of your holiness.

Or: O Virgin Mary, how great your cause for joy; God found you worthy to bear Christ our Savior.

Psalm 146
Those who trust in God know what it is to be happy

To praise God in our lives means all we do must be for his glory (Arnobius)

My soul, give praise to the Lord;
I will praise the Lord all my days,
make music to my God while I live.

Put no trust in princes,
in mortal men in whom there is no help.
Take their breath, they return to clay
and their plans that day come to nothing.

He is happy who is helped by Jacob's God,
whose hope is in the Lord his God,
who alone made heaven and earth,
the seas and all they contain.

It is he who keeps faith for ever,
who is just to those who are oppressed.
It is he who gives bread to the hungry,
the Lord, who sets prisoners free,

the Lord who gives sight to the blind,
who raises up those who are bowed down,
the Lord, who protects the stranger
and upholds the widow and orphan.

It is the Lord who loves the just
but thwarts the path of the wicked.
The Lord will reign for ever,
Zion's God, from age to age.

FIRST READING                                                      Isaiah 43:1

But now, thus says the LORD,
  who created you, O Jacob,
  and formed you, O Israel:
Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
  I have called you by name: you are mine.

Or                                                       Galatians 4:4-5

But when the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to ransom those under the law, so that we might receive adoption.

Or                                                      Proverbs 8:22-31

Mary in the mind of God

"The LORD begot me, the first-born of his ways,
  the forerunner of his prodigies of long ago;
From of old I was poured forth,
  at the first, before the earth.
When there were no depths I was brought forth,
  when there were no fountains or springs of water;
Before the mountains were settled into place,
  before the hills, I was brought forth;
While as yet the earth and the fields were not made,
  nor the first clods of the world.

"When he established the heavens I was there,
  when he marked out the vault over the face of the deep;
When he made firm the skies above,
  when he fixed fast the foundations of the earth;
When he set for the sea its limit,
  so that the waters should not transgress his command;
Then was I beside him as his craftsman,
  and I was his delight day by day,
Playing before him all the while,
  playing on the surface of his earth;
  and I found delight in the sons of men.

SECOND READING

From a sermon by St. Anselm, bishop
(Oratio 52:PL 158, 955-956)

Virgin Mary, all nature is blessed in you.

Blessed Lady, sky and stars, earth and rivers, day and night – everything that is subject to the power or use of man – rejoice that through you they are in some sense restored to their lost beauty and are endowed with inexpressible new grace. All creatures were dead, as it were, useless for men or for the praise of God, who made them. The world, contrary to its true destiny, was corrupted and tainted by the acts of men who served idols. Now all creation has been restored to life and rejoices that it is controlled and given splendor by men who believe in God.

The universe rejoices with new and indefinable loveliness. Not only does it feel the unseen presence of God himself, its Creator, it sees him openly, working and making it holy. These great blessings spring from the blessed fruit of Mary’s womb.

Through the fullness of the grace that was given you, dead things rejoice in their freedom, and those in heaven are glad to be made new. Through the Son who was the glorious fruit of your virgin womb, just souls who died before his life-giving death rejoice as they are freed from captivity, and the angels are glad at the restoration of their shattered domain.

Lady, full and overflowing with grace, all creation receives new life from your abundance. Virgin, blessed above all creatures, through your blessing all creation is blessed, not only creation from its Creator, but the Creator himself has been blessed by creation.

To Mary God gave his only-begotten Son, whom he loved as himself. Through Mary God made himself a Son, not different but the same, by nature Son of God and Son of Mary. The whole universe was created by God, and God was born of Mary. God created all things, and Mary gave birth to God. The God who made all things gave himself form through Mary, and thus he made his own creation. He who could create all things from nothing would not remake his ruined creation without Mary.

God, then, is the Father of the created world and Mary the mother of the re-created world. God is the Father by whom all things were given life, and Mary the mother through whom all things were given new life. For God begot the Son, through whom all things were made, and Mary gave birth to him as the Savior of the world. Without God’s Son, nothing could exist; without Mary’s Son, nothing could be redeemed.

Truly the Lord is with you, to whom the Lord granted that all nature should owe as much to you as to himself.

RESPONSORY
The God of power has given me his strength.
 - The God of power has given me his strength.
He has kept me in the way of holiness.
 - And has given me his strength.
Glory to the Father...
 - The God of power has given me his strength.

Or:

O Virgin Mary, no other daughter of Jerusalem is your equal,
for you are the mother of the King of kings,
you are the Queen of heaven and of angels.
 - Blessed are you among women
and blessed is the fruit of your womb.
Hail, full of grace; the Lord is with you.
 - Blessed are you among women
and blessed is the fruit of your womb.

CANTICLE OF ZECHARIAH                                                       Luke 1:68-79

Ant. The Lord God said to the serpent: I will make you enemies, you and the woman, your offspring and her offspring; she will crush your head, alleluia.

Or:  Holy Mary, ever-virgin, Mother of God, blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb.

The Messiah and his forerunner

Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel;
he has come to his people and set them free.
 
He has raised up for us a mighty savior,
born of the house of his servant David.
 
Through his holy prophets he promised of old,
  that he would save us from our enemies,
  from the hands of all who hate us.
 
He promised to show mercy to our fathers
and to remember his holy covenant.
 
This was the oath he swore to our father Abraham,
to set us free from the hands of our enemies,
free to worship him without fear,
holy and righteous in his sight
 all the days of our life.
 
You, my child, shall be called the prophet of the Most High,
for you will go before the Lord to prepare his way,
 
To give his people knowledge of salvation
by the forgiveness of their sins.
 
In the tender compassion of our God
the dawn from on high shall break upon us,
to shine on those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death,
and to guide our feet into the way of peace.
 
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.

INTERCESSIONS

Let us glorify our Savior, who chose the Virgin Mary for his mother. Let us ask him:
     May your mother intercede for us, Lord.

Sun of Justice, the Immaculate Virgin was the white dawn announcing your rising,
- grant that we may always live in the light of your coming.

Savior of the world, by your redeeming might you preserved your mother beforehand from all stain of sin,
- keep watch over us lest we sin.

You are our redeemer, who made the Immaculate Virgin Mary your purest home and a sanctuary of the Holy Spirit:
  -  make us temples of your Spirit forever.

King of kings, you lifted up your mother, body and soul, into heaven:
  -  help us fix our thoughts on things above.

Our Father...

CONCLUDING PRAYER
Father,
you prepared the Virgin Mary
to be the worthy mother of your Son.
You let her share beforehand
in the salvation Christ would bring by his death,
and kept her sinless from the first moment of her conception.
Help us by her prayers
to live in your presence without sin.
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.

Alternative Prayer

Father,
the image of the Virgin is found in the Church.
Mary had a faith that your Spirit prepared
and a love that never knew sin,
for you kept her sinless from the first moment of her conception.
Trace in our actions the lines of her love,
in our hearts her readiness of faith.
Prepare once again a world for your Son
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

May the Lord bless us,
protect us from evil
and bring us to everlasting life.
 -  Amen.

MONDAY

Evening Prayer

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 forever.  Amen.

HYMN

Mary, crowned with living light,
Temple of the Lord,
Place of peace and holiness,
Shelter of the Word.

Mystery of sinless life
In our fallen race,
Free from shadow, you reflect
Plenitude of grace.

Virgin-Mother of our God,
Lift us when we fall,
Who were named upon the
Cross Mother of us all.

Father, Son and Holy Ghost,
Heaven sings your praise;
Mary magnifies your name
Through eternal days.

Melody: Glorification 75.75.D
Music: Gossner's Choralbach, Leipzig, 1882
Text: Stanbrook Abbey

Or:


(Chanted by the Monastic Choir of the Abbey of Notre-Dame Fontgombault)
Salve, Regina, mater misericordiae;
vita, dulcedo et spes nostra, salve.
Ad te clamamus, exsules filii Evae.
Ad te suspiramus, gementes et flentes
in hac lacrimarum valle.
Eia ergo, advocata nostra,
illos tuos misericordes oculos
ad nos converte.
Et Iesum, benedictum fructum ventris tui,
nobis post hoc exsilium ostende.
O clemens, o pia, o dulcis Virgo Maria.

Melody: Salve Regina
Music: Paris, 1634
Text: 11th Century


PSALMODY

Ant 1: You are all beautiful, O Mary; in you there is no trace of original sin.

Or: Mary received a blessing from the Lord and loving kindness from God her savior.

Psalm 136
Easter Hymn
We praise God by recalling his marvelous deeds (Cassiodorus).

I

O give thanks to the Lord for he is good,
for his love endures for ever.
Give thanks to the God of gods,
for his love endures for ever.
Give thanks to the Lord of lords,
for his love endures for ever;

who alone has wrought marvellous works,
for his love endures for ever;
whose wisdom it was made the skies,
for his love endures for ever;
who fixed the earth firmly on the seas,
for his love endures for ever.

It was he who made the great lights,
for his love endures for ever.
the sun to rule the day,
for his love endures for ever.
the moon and stars in the night;
for his love endures for ever.

Ant. 2 You are the glory of Jerusalem, the joy of Israel; you are the fairest of our race.

Or: The Most High has made his dwelling place a holy temple.

II

The first-born of the Egyptians he smote,
for his love endures for ever.
He brought Israel out from their midst,
for his love endures for ever;
arm outstretched, with power in his hand,
for his love endures for ever.

He divided the Red Sea in two,
for his love endures for ever;
he made Israel pass through the midst,
for his love endures for ever;
he flung Pharaoh and his force in the sea,
for his love endures for ever.

Through the desert his people he led,
for his love endures for ever.
Nations in their greatness he struck,
for his love endures for ever.
Kings in their splendor he slew,
for his love endures for ever.

Sihon, king of the Amorites,
for his love endures for ever;
and Og, the king of Bashan,
for his love endures for ever.

He let Israel inherit their land,
for his love endures for ever.
On his servant their land he bestowed,
for his love endures for ever.
He remembered us in our distress,
for his love endures for ever.
 
And he snatched us away from out foes,
for his love endures for ever;
He give food to all living things
for his love endures for ever;
To the God of heaven give thanks,
for his love endures for ever.

Ant 3: The robe you wear is white as spotless snow; your face is radiant like the sun.

Or: Glorious things are said of you. O Virgin Mary.

Canticle                                                      Ephesians 1:3-10
God our Savior

Praised be the God and Father
of our Lord Jesus Christ,
who has bestowed on us in Christ
every spiritual blessing in the heavens.

God chose us in him
before the world began
to be holy
and blameless in his sight,
to be full of love.

He predestined us
to be his adopted sons through Jesus Christ,
such was his will and pleasure,
that all might praise the glorious favor
he has bestowed on us in his beloved.

In him and through his blood,we have been redeemed,
and our sins forgiven,
so immeasurably generous
is God’s favor to us.

God has given us the wisdom
to understand fully the mystery,
the plan he was pleased
to decree in Christ.
A plan to be carried out
in Christ, in the fulness of time,
to bring all things into one in him,
in the heavens and on earth.

FIRST READING                                                       Romans 5:20-21

Where sin increased, grace overflowed all the more, so that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through justification for eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

OR                                                                  Ephesians 5:25-27

Christ loved the church and handed himself over for her to sanctify her, cleansing her by the bath of water with the word, that he might present to himself the church in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.

OR                                                                  James 3:13-18

Who among you is wise and understanding? Let him show his works by a good life in the humility that comes from wisdom.  But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth. Wisdom of this kind does not come down from above but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every foul practice. But the wisdom from above is first of all pure, then peaceable, gentle, compliant, full of mercy and good fruits, without inconstancy or insincerity.  And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace for those who cultivate peace.

SECOND READING

From a homily delivered at the Council of Ephesus by Saint Cyril of Alexandria, bishop
(Hom. 4: PG 77,991,995-996)

Mary, Mother of God, we salute you. Precious vessel, worthy of the whole world’s reverence, you are an ever-shining light, the crown of virginity, the symbol of orthodoxy, an indestructible temple, the place that held him whom no place can contain, mother and virgin. Because of you the holy gospels could say: Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.

We salute you, for in your holy womb was confined him who is beyond all limitation. Because of you the holy Trinity is glorified and adored; the cross is called precious and is venerated throughout the world; the heavens exult; the angels and archangels make merry; demons are put to flight; the devil, that tempter, is thrust down from heaven; the fallen race of man is taken up on high; all creatures possessed by the madness of idolatry have attained knowledge of the truth; believers receive holy baptism; the oil of gladness is poured out; the Church is established throughout the world; pagans are brought to repentance.

What more is there to say? Because of you the light of the only-begotten Son of God has shone upon those who sat in darkness and in the shadow of death; prophets pronounced the word of God; the apostles preached salvation to the Gentiles; the dead are raised to life, and kings rule by the power of the holy Trinity.

RESPONSORY
By this I know you have chosen me.
 - By this I know you have chosen me.
You have not let my enemy triumph over me.
 - You have chosen me.
Glory to the Father...
 - By this I know you have chosen me.

Or:

I shall glorify you, Lord, for you have rescued me.
 - I shall glorify you, Lord, for you have rescued me.
You have not let my enemies rejoice over me
 - for you have rescued me.
Glory to the Father...
 - I shall glorify you, Lord, for you have rescued me.

CANTICLE OF MARY                                                      Luke 1:46-55

Ant: Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with you. Blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb, alleluia

Or: All generations will call me blessed: the Almighty has done great things for me.

My soul rejoices in the Lord.

My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord,
my spirit rejoices in God my Savior;
for he has looked with favor on his lowly servant.

From this day all generations will call me blessed:
the Almighty has done great things for me,
and holy is his Name.

He has mercy on those who fear him
in every generation.

He has shown the strength of his arm,
he has scattered the proud in their conceit.

He has cast down the mighty from their thrones,
and has lifted up the lowly.

He has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich he has sent away empty.

He has come to the help of his servant Israel,
for he has remembered his promise of mercy,
The promise he made to our fathers,
to Abraham and his children for ever.

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.

INTERCESSIONS

Let us praise God our almighty Father, who wished that Mary, his Son's mother, be celebrated by each generation. Now in need, we ask:

Mary, full of grace, intercede for us.

O God, worker of miracles, you made the immaculate Virgin Mary share, body and soul, in your Son's glory in heaven,
- direct the hearts of your children to that same glory.

You made Mary our mother. Through her intercession grant strength to the weak, comfort to the sorrowing, pardon to sinners,
- salvation and peace to all.

You made Mary the mother of mercy,
- may all who are faced with trials feel her motherly love.

You wished Mary to be the mother of the family in the home of Jesus and Joseph,
- may all mothers of families foster love and holiness through her intercession.

You crowned Mary queen of heaven,
- may all the dead rejoice in your kingdom with the saints for ever.

Our Father...

CONCLUDING PRAYER
Father,
you prepared the Virgin Mary
to be the worthy mother of your Son.
You let her share beforehand
in the salvation Christ would bring by his death,
and kept her sinless from the first moment of her conception.
Help us by her prayers
to live in your presence without sin.
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.

Alternative Prayer

Father,
the image of the Virgin is found in the Church.
Mary had a faith that your Spirit prepared
and a love that never knew sin,
for you kept her sinless from the first moment of her conception.
Trace in our actions the lines of her love,
in our hearts her readiness of faith.
Prepare once again a world for your Son
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

May the Lord bless us,
protect us from evil
and bring us to everlasting life.
 -  Amen.

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 forever.  Amen.

HYMN

Mother of Christ, our hope, our Patroness,
Star of the sea, our beacon in distress,
Guide to the shores of everlasting day
God's holy people on their pilgrim way.

Virgin by vow but Mother of all grace,
Chosen by God to be his dwelling-place,
Blessed are you: God's word you did believe,
Your "Yes" undid the "No" of sinful Eve.

Daughter of God, who bore his holy One,
Dearest of all, the Christ, your loving Son,
Show us his face, O Mother, as on earth,
Loving us all, you gave our Savior birth.

Melody: Farley Castle 10.10.10.10
Music: H. Lawes, 1596-1662
Text: Alma Redemptoris
Translator: James Quinn, SJ

Or:

Behold then the joy of the whole universe.
Let the union of God and man in the Son of the Virgin Mary
fill us with awe and adoration.
Let us fear and worship the undivided Trinity
as we sing the praise of the ever-virgin Mary,
the holy temple of God,
and of God himself, her Son and spotless Bridegroom.
To him be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
Cyril of Alexandria (c. 382-444)


PSALMODY

Ant.1 The angel Gabriel was sent to the Virgin Mary, who was engaged to be married to Joseph.

or: Blessed are you, O Virgin Mary, for you carried the Creator of the world in your womb.

Psalm 101
Avowal of a good ruler

If you love me, keep my commandments (John 14:15)

My song is of mercy and justice;
I sing to you, O Lord.
I will walk in the way of perfection.
O when, Lord, will you come?

I will walk with blameless heart
within my house;
I will not set before my eyes
whatever is base.

I will hate the ways of the crooked;
they shall not be my friends.
The false-hearted must keep far away;
the wicked I disown.

The man who slanders his neighbor in secret
I will bring to silence.
The man of proud looks and haughty heart
I will never endure.

I look to the faithful in the land
that they may dwell with me.
He who walk in the way of perfection
shall be my friend.

No man who practices deceit
shall live within my house.
No man who utters lies shall stand
before my eyes.

Morning by morning I will silence
all the wicked in the land,
uprooting from the city of the Lord
all who do evil.

Ant. 2 Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb.

Or: You are the mother of your maker, yet you remain a virgin for ever.

Canticle                                                      Daniel 3:26,27,29,34-41
Azariah's prayer in the furnace.

With your whole hearts turn to God and he will blot out your sins. (Acts 3:19.)

Blessed are you, and praiseworthy,
O Lord, the God of our fathers,
and glorious forever is your name.

For you are just in all you have done;
all your deeds are faultless, all your ways right,
and all your judgments proper.

For we have sinned and transgressed
by departing from you,
and we have done every kind of evil.

For your name's sake, do not deliver us up forever,
or make void your covenant.

Do not take away your mercy from us,
for the sake of Abraham, your beloved,
Isaac your servant, and Israel your holy one,

to whom you promised to multiply their offspring
like the stars of heaven,
or the sand on the shore of the sea.

For we are reduced, O Lord, beyond any other nation,
brought low everywhere in the world this day
because of our sins.

We have in our day no prince, prophet, or leader,
no holocaust, sacrifice, oblation, or incense,
no place to offer first fruits, to find favor with you.

But with contrite heart and humble spirit
let us be received;
as though it were holocausts of rams and bullocks,
or thousands of fat lambs,
so let our sacrifice be in your presence today
as we follow you unreservedly;
for those who trust in you cannot be put to shame.

And now we follow you with our whole heart,
we fear you and we pray to you.

Ant. 3: Trusting in the Lord's promise, the Virgin Mary conceived a child, and remaining a virgin, she gave birth to the Saviour.

Or: We share the fruit of life through you, O daughter blessed by the Lord.

Psalm 135:1-12
Praise for the wonderful things God does for us

He has won you for himself...and you must proclaim what he has done for you: he has called you out of darkness into his own wonderful light (1 Peter 2:9).

Praise the name of the Lord,
praise him, servants of the Lord,
who stand in the house of the Lord
in the courts of the house of our God.

Praise the Lord for the Lord is good.
Sing a psalm to his name for he is loving.
For the Lord has chosen Jacob for himself
and Israel for his own possession.

For I know that the Lord is great,
that our Lord is high above all gods.
The Lord does whatever he wills,
in heaven, on earth, in the seas.

He summons clouds from the ends of the earth;
makes lightning produce the rain;
from his treasuries he sends forth the wind.

The first-born of the Egyptians he smote,
of man and beast alike.
Signs and wonders he worked
in the midst of your land, O Egypt,
against Pharaoh and all his servants.

Nations in their greatness he struck
and kings in their splendor he slew.
Sihon, king of the Amorites,
Og, the king of Bashan,
and all the kingdoms of Canaan.
He let Israel inherit their land;
on his people their land he bestowed.

FIRST READING                                                      Philippians 2:6-7

Though he was in the form of God,
Jesus did not regard equality with God something to be grasped.
Rather, he emptied himself,
taking the form of a slave,
coming in human likeness;
and found human in appearance.

Or                                                       Sirach 24:1-16

Wisdom sings her own praises,
  before her own people she proclaims her glory;

In the assembly of the Most High she opens her mouth,
  in the presence of his hosts she declares her worth:

"From the mouth of the Most High I came forth,
  and mistlike covered the earth.
In the highest heavens did I dwell,
  my throne on a pillar of cloud.
The vault of heaven I compassed alone,
  through the deep abyss I wandered.
Over waves of the sea, over all the land,
  over every people and nation I held sway.
Among all these I sought a resting place;
in whose inheritance should I abide?

"Then the Creator of all gave me his command,
  and he who formed me chose the spot for my tent,
Saying, 'In Jacob make your dwelling,
  in Israel your inheritance.'
Before all ages, in the beginning, he created me,
  and through all ages I shall not cease to be.
In the holy tent I ministered before him,
  and in Zion I fixed my abode.
Thus in the chosen city he has given me rest,
  in Jerusalem is my domain.
I have struck root among the glorious people,
  in the portion of the LORD, his heritage.

"Like a cedar on Lebanon I am raised aloft,
  like a cypress on Mount Hermon,
Like a palm tree in En-gedi,
  like a rosebush in Jericho,
Like a fair olive tree in the field,
  like a plane tree growing beside the water.
Like cinnamon, or fragrant balm, or precious myrrh,
  I give forth perfume;
Like galbanum and onycha and sweet spices,
  like the odor of incense in the holy place.
I spread out my branches like a terebinth,
  my branches so bright and so graceful.

SECOND READING

From a sermon by St. Leo the Great, pope
(Sermo 1 in Nativitate Domini, 2, 3: PL 54, 191-192)

Mary conceived in her soul before she conceived in her body.

A royal virgin of the house of David is chosen. She is to bear a holy child, one who is both God and man. She is to conceive him in her soul before she conceives him in her body. In the face of so unheard of an event she is to know no fear through ignorance of the divine plan; the angel tells her what is to be accomplished in her by the Holy Spirit. She believes that there will be no loss of virginity, she who is soon to be the mother of God.

Why should she lose heart at this new form of conceiving when she has been promised that it will be effected through the power of the Most High? She believes, and her faith is confirmed by the witness of a previous wonder: against all expectation Elizabeth is made fruitful. God has enabled a barren woman to be with child; he must be believed when he makes the same promise to a virgin.

RESPONSORY
Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with you.
 - Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with you.
Blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb.
 - The Lord is with you.
Glory to the Father...
 - Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with you.

Or:

After the birth of your Son, you remained a virgin.
 - After the birth of your Son, you remained a virgin.
Mother of God, intercede for us;
 - you remained a virgin.
Glory to the Father...
 - After the birth of your Son, you remained a virgin.

CANTICLE OF ZECHARIAH                                                       Luke 1:68-79

Ant. In his great love for us, God sent his Son in the likeness of our sinful nature.

The Messiah and his forerunner

Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel;
he has come to his people and set them free.
 
He has raised up for us a mighty savior,
born of the house of his servant David.
 
Through his holy prophets he promised of old,
  that he would save us from our enemies,
  from the hands of all who hate us.
 
He promised to show mercy to our fathers
and to remember his holy covenant.
 
This was the oath he swore to our father Abraham,
to set us free from the hands of our enemies,
free to worship him without fear,
holy and righteous in his sight
 all the days of our life.
 
You, my child, shall be called the prophet of the Most High,
for you will go before the Lord to prepare his way,
 
To give his people knowledge of salvation
by the forgiveness of their sins.
 
In the tender compassion of our God
the dawn from on high shall break upon us,
to shine on those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death,
and to guide our feet into the way of peace.
 
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.

INTERCESSIONS

We celebrate the beginning of our salvation when the coming of the Lord was announced by the angel. Let us pray with joy in our hearts, saying:

May God's holy Mother intercede for us.

Mary received God's word with joy,
- may joy fill our hearts as we welcome our Saviour.

You looked with love on your lowly servant,
- in your mercy, Father, remember us and all your children.

Mary, the new Eve, was obedient to your word,
- may we echo her loving obedience.

May God's holy Mother help all in distress, encourage the fainthearted, console the sorrowful,
- may she pray for your holy people, for the clergy, and for all women dedicated to your service.

Our Father…

CONCLUDING PRAYER

God our Father,
your Word became flesh and was born of the Virgin Mary.
May we become more like Jesus Christ,
whom we acknowledge as our redeemer, God and man.
We ask this through Jesus Christ our Lord,
Who live and reigns with you and Holy Spirit
One God, forever and ever, Amen.

May the Lord bless us,
protect us from evil
and bring us to everlasting life.
 -  Amen.

TUESDAY

Evening Prayer

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 forever.  Amen.

HYMN

Mary occupies a place in the Church which is highest after Christ
and yet very close to us,
for you chose her to give the world
that very Life which renews all things,
Jesus Christ your Son and our Lord.

And so we praise you, Mary, virgin and mother.
After the Savior himself, you alone are all holy,
free from the stain of sin,
gifted by God from the first instant of your conception
with a unique holiness.

Mary, free from all sin and led by the Holy Spirit,
you embraced God's saving will with a full heart,
and devoted yourself totally as a handmaid of the Lord
to the fulfillment of His will in your life,
and to the mystery of our redemption.

Mary, your privileged and grace-filled origin
is the Father's final step in preparing humanity
to receive its Redeemer in human form.
Your fullness of grace is the Father's sign of His favor to the Church
and also His promise to the Church
of its perfection as the Bride of Christ,
radiant in beauty.
Your holiness in the beginning of your life
is the foreshadowing of that all-embracing holiness
with which the Father will surround his people
when his Son comes at the end of time to greet us.

Book of Mary, NCCB

Or:

Mary, we turn with confidence to you
who are always ready to listen with a mother's affection
and powerful assistance.
Consoler of the afflicted,
Health of the sick,
Refuge of sinners,
grant us comfort in tribulation,
relief in sickness,
and liberating strength in our weakness.

You who are free from sin, lead us to combat sin.
Obtain for us the victory of hope over anguish,
of joy and beauty over boredom and disgust,
of eternal visions over temporal ones,
of life over death.
Mary, conceived without sin,
pray for us who have recourse to you.

Book of Mary, NCCB


PSALMODY

Ant 1: The angel of the Lord brought tidings to Mary, and she conceived by the Holy Spirit.

Or: Blessed are you, O Mary, for the world's salvation came forth through you. Now in glory, you rejoice forever with the Lord.

Psalm 137:1-6
By the rivers of Babylon
The Babylonian captivity is a type of our spiritual captivity (Saint Hilary).

By the rivers of Babylon
there we sat and wept,
remembering Zion;
on the poplars that grew there
we hung up our harps.

For it was there that they asked us,
our captors, for songs,
our oppressors, for joy.
Sing to us, they said,
one of Zion's songs.

O how could we sing
the song of the Lord
on alien soil?
If I forget you, Jerusalem,
let my right hand wither!

O let my tongue
cleave to my mouth
if I remember you not,
if I prize not Jerusalem
above all my joys!

Ant. 2 Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. Behold, you shall conceive and bear a son, and he will be called the Son of the Most High.

Or: The Lord has chosen her, his loved one from the beginning. He has taken her to live with him.

Psalm 138
Thanksgiving
The kings of the earth will bring his glory and honor into the holy city. (see Revelation 21:24).

Happy the man who fears the Lord,
who take delight in all his commands.
His sons shall be powerful on earth;
the children of the upright are blessed.

Riches and wealth are in his house;
his justice stands firm for ever.
He is a light in the darkness for the upright:
he is generous, merciful and just.

The good man takes pity and lends,
he conducts his affairs with honor.
The just man will never waver:
he will be remembered for ever.

He has no fear of evil news;
with a firm heart he trusts in the Lord.
With a steadfast heart he will not fear;
he will see the downfall of his foes.

Open-handed, he gives to the poor;
his justice stands firm for ever.
His head will be raised in glory.

The wicked man sees and is angry,
grinds his teeth and fades away;
the desire of the wicked leads to doom.

Ant 3: Behold the handmaid of the Lord. Let it be done to me according to your word.

Or: The Lord made you so glorious that your praise will never cease to resound among men.

Canticle                                                      Revelation 4:11; 5:9, 10, 12
Redemption hymn

O Lord our God, you are worthy
to receive glory and honor and power,
for you have created all things;
by your will they came to be and were made.

Worthy are you, O Lord
to receive the scroll and break open its seals.

For you were slain;
with your blood you purchased for God
those from every tribe and tongue,
of every people and nation.

You made them a kingdom,
and priests to serve our God,
and they shall reign on earth."

Worthy is the Lamb that was slain
to receive power and riches,
wisdom and strength,
honor and glory and praise.

FIRST READING                                                       1 John 1:1-2

What was from the beginning,
what we have heard,
what we have seen with our eyes,
what we looked upon
and touched with our hands
concerns the Word of life--
for the life was made visible;
we have seen it and testify to it
and proclaim to you the eternal life
that was with the Father and was made visible to us.

OR                                                      Ephesians 2:12-22

You were strangers to the covenants of promise, without hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have become near by the blood of Christ.

For he is our peace, he who made both one and broke down the dividing wall of enmity, through his flesh, abolishing the law with its commandments and legal claims, that he might create in himself one new person in place of the two, thus establishing peace, and might reconcile both with God, in one body, through the cross, putting that enmity to death by it. He came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near, for through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father.

So then you are no longer strangers and sojourners, but you are fellow citizens with the holy ones and members of the household of God, built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the capstone. Through him the whole structure is held together and grows into a temple sacred in the Lord; in him you also are being built together into a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.

SECOND READING

From a sermon by Saint Augustine, bishop
(Sermo 25, 7-8: PL 46, 937-938))

She who believed by faith conceived by faith

Stretching out his hand over his disciples, the Lord Christ declared: "Here are my mother and my brothers; anyone who does the will of my Father who sent me is my brother and sister and my mother." I would urge you to ponder these words. Did the Virgin Mary, who believed by faith and conceived by faith, who was the chosen one from whom our Savior was born among men, who was created by Christ before Christ was created in her  did she not do the will of the Father?

Indeed the blessed Mary certainly did the Father's will, and so it was for her a greater thing to have been Christ's disciple than to have been his mother, and she was more blessed in her discipleship than in her motherhood. Hers was the happiness of first bearing in her womb him whom she would obey as her master.

RESPONSORY
The Word was made flesh and lived among us.
 - The Word was made flesh and lived among us.
He was in the beginning with God.
 - and lived among us.
Glory to the Father...
 - The Word was made flesh and lived among us.

Or:

The Lord has chosen her,
his loved one from the beginning.
 - The Lord has chosen her,
his loved one from the beginning.
He has taken her to live with him,
 - his loved one from the beginning.
Glory to the Father...
 - The Lord has chosen her,
his loved one from the beginning.

CANTICLE OF MARY                                                      Luke 1:46-55

Ant: The angel Gabriel said to Mary in greeting: Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women.

My soul rejoices in the Lord.

My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord,
my spirit rejoices in God my Savior;
for he has looked with favor on his lowly servant.

From this day all generations will call me blessed:
the Almighty has done great things for me,
and holy is his Name.

He has mercy on those who fear him
in every generation.

He has shown the strength of his arm,
he has scattered the proud in their conceit.

He has cast down the mighty from their thrones,
and has lifted up the lowly.

He has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich he has sent away empty.

He has come to the help of his servant Israel,
for he has remembered his promise of mercy,
The promise he made to our fathers,
to Abraham and his children for ever.

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.

INTERCESSIONS

On this day the eternal Father sent his angel to bring Mary the good news of our salvation. Let us turn to God and pray with confidence:

Lord, fill our hearts with your love.

You chose the Virgin Mary as the mother of your Son,
- have mercy on all who look for your gift of salvation.

You sent Gabriel to give Mary your message of peace and joy,
- give to the whole world the joy of salvation and your gift of true peace.

Mary gave her consent, the Holy Spirit overshadowed her, and your Word came to dwell among us,
- touch our hearts that we may welcome Christ as Mary did.

You look with love on the humble, and fill the hungry with your gifts,
- raise up the downcast, help all in need, comfort and strengthen the dying.

Lord our God, you alone work wonders and with you all things are possible,
- give us the fullness of salvation when you raise up the dead on the last day.

Our Father…

CONCLUDING PRAYER

God our Father,
your Word became flesh and was born of the Virgin Mary.
May we become more like Jesus Christ,
whom we acknowledge as our redeemer, God and man.
We ask this through Jesus Christ our Lord,
Who live and reigns with you and Holy Spirit
One God, forever and ever, Amen.

May the Lord bless us,
protect us from evil
and bring us to everlasting life.
 -  Amen.

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 forever.  Amen.

HYMN


O Mary of all women,
you are the chosen one,
Who, ancient prophets promised,
would bear God’s only Son;
All Hebrew generations
prepared the way to thee,
That in your womb the God-man
might come to see man free.

O Mary, you embody
all God taught to our race,
For you are first and foremost
on fullness of his grace;
We praise this wondrous honor
that you gave birth to Him
Who from you took his manhood
and saved us from our sin.

Melody: Au fort de ma detresse 76.76.D
Music: 17th Century Flemish Melody
Text: Michael Gannon

Or:

I bow before you, Virgin of virgins,
resting-place of the divine Bridegroom,
temple of eternal Wisdom,
sanctuary of the Holy Spirit,
palace of the Blessed Trinity,
Mother full of love and tenderness,
fountain of beauty,
wellspring of wonders,
golden key of God’s kingdom,
you are the admiration of angels,
the joy of the human family.
Who can ever do justice to your glory,
to your Queenship of grace?

Eugenio Cantera (1880-1955)


PSALMODY

Ant.1 Mary arose and went in haste into the hill country, to a town of Judah.

or: Blessed are you, O Virgin Mary, for you carried the Creator of the world in your womb.


Psalm 108
Praise of God and a plea for help

Since the Son of God has been exalted above the heavens, his glory is proclaimed through all the earth (Arnobius)

My heart is ready, O God;
I will sing, sing your praise.
Awake, my soul;
awake, lyre and harp,
I will awake the dawn.

I will thank you, Lord, among the peoples,
among the nations I will praise you,
for your love reaches to the heavens
and your truth to the skies.
O God, arise above the heavens;
may your glory shine on earth!

O come and deliver your friends;
help with your right hand and reply.
From his holy place God has made this promise;
I will triumph and divide the land of Shechem,

But who will lead me to conquer the fortress?
Who will bring me face to face with Edom?
Will you utterly reject us, O God,
and no longer march with our armies?

Give us help against the foe,
for the help of man is vain.
With God we shall do bravely
and he will trample down our foes.

Morning by morning I will silence
all the wicked in the land,
uprooting from the city of the Lord
all who do evil.

Ant. 2 When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the infant in her womb leaped for joy, and she was filled with the Holy Spirit.

Or: Blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb.

Canticle                                                      Isaiah 61:10-62:5
The prophet's joy in the vision of a new Jerusalem.

I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, with the beauty of a bride adorned for her husband (Revelation 21:2).

I rejoice heartily in the LORD,
in my God is the joy of my soul;
for he has clothed me with a robe of salvation,
and wrapped me in a mantle of justice,
like a bridegroom adorned with a diadem,
like a bride bedecked with her jewels.

As the earth brings forth its plants,
and a garden makes its growth spring up,
so will the Lord GOD make justice and praise
spring up before all the nations.

For Zion's sake I will not be silent,
for Jerusalem's sake I will not be quiet,
until her vindication shines forth like the dawn
and her victory like a burning torch.

Nations shall behold your vindication,
and all kings your glory;
you shall be called by a new name
pronounced by the mouth of the Lord.
You shall be a glorious crown in the hand of the Lord,
a royal diadem held by your God.

No more shall men call you "Forsaken,"
or your land "Desolate,"
but you shall be called "My delight,"
and your land "Espoused."
For the Lord delights in you,
and makes your land his spouse.

As a young man marries a virgin,
your Builder shall marry you;
and as a bridegroom rejoices in his bride
so shall your God rejoice in you.

Ant. 3: Blessed are you, Mary, because you believed that the Lord's words to you would be fulfilled.

Or: We share the fruit of life through you, O daughter blessed by the Lord.

Psalm 144:1-10
Prayer for victory and peace

I can do all things in him who strengthens me (Philippians 4:13).

Blessed be the Lord, my rock,
who trains my arms for battle,
who prepares my hands for war.

He is my love, my fortress;
he is my stronghold, my savior
my shield, my place of refuge.
He brings peoples under my rule.

Lord, what is man that you care for him,
mortal man, that your keep him in mind;
man, who is merely a breath
whose life fades like a passing shadow?

Lower your heavens and come down;
touch the mountains; wreathe them in smoke.
Flash your lightnings; rout the foe,
shoot your arrows and put them to flight.

Reach down from heaven and save me;
draw me out from the mighty waters,
from the hands of alien foes
whose mouths are filled with lies,
whose hands are raised in perjury.

To you, O God, will I sing a new song;
I will play on the ten-stringed harp
to you who give kings their victory,
who set David your servant free.

FIRST READING                                                      Joel 2:27-3:1a

You shall know that I am in the midst of Israel;
  I am the Lord, your God, and there is no other;
  my people shall nevermore be put to shame.
Then afterward I will pour out
  my spirit upon all mankind.
Your sons and daughters shall prophesy.

Or                                                       Song of Songs 2:8-14

Hark! my lover - here he comes
  springing across the mountains,
  leaping across the hills.

My lover is like a gazelle
  or a young stag.
Here he stands behind our wall,
  gazing through the windows,
  peering through the lattices.
My lover speaks; he says to me,
  "Arise, my beloved, my beautiful one,
  and come!

"For see, the winter is past,
  the rains are over and gone.
The flowers appear on the earth,
  the time of pruning the vines has come,
  and the song of the dove is heard in our land.
The fig tree puts forth its figs,
  and the vines, in bloom, give forth fragrance.
Arise, my beloved, my beautiful one,
  and come!

"O my dove in the clefts of the rock,
  in the secret recesses of the cliff,
Let me see you,
  let me hear your voice,
For your voice is sweet,
  and you are lovely."

SECOND READING

From a Encyclical Letter Redemptoris Mater of Pope John Paul II
(Number 36, 25 March 1987)

The whole salvific economy is concentrated in the Mother of Christ.

When Elizabeth greeted her young kinswoman coming from Nazareth, Mary replied with the Magnificat. In her greeting, Elizabeth first called Mary "blessed" because of "the fruit of her womb," and then she called her "blessed" because of her faith. These two blessings referred directly to the Annunciation. Now at the Visitation, when Elizabeth's greeting bears witness to that culminating moment, Mary's faith acquires a new consciousness and a new expression. That which remained hidden in the depths of the "obedience of faith" at the Annunciation can now be said to spring froth like a clear and life-giving flame of the spirit.

The words used by Mary on the threshold of Elizabeth's house are an inspired profession of her faith, in which her response to the revealed word is expressed with the religious and poetical exultation of her whole being towards God. In these sublime words, which are simultaneously very simple and wholly inspired by the sacred texts of the people of Israel, Mary's personal experience, the ecstasy of her heart, shines forth. In them shines a ray of the mystery of God, the glory of his ineffable holiness, the eternal love which, as an irrevocable gift, enters into human history.

Mary is the first to share in this new revelation of God and within the same, in this new "self-giving" of God. Therefore she proclaims" "For he who is mighty has done great things for me and holy is his name." Her words reflect a joy of spirit which is difficult to express: "My spirit rejoices in God my Savior." Indeed, "the deepest truth about God and the salvation of man is made clear to us in Christ, who is at the same time the mediator and the fullness of all revelation."  

In her exultation Mary confesses that she finds herself in the very heart of this fullness of Christ. She is conscious that the promise made to the fathers, first of all "to Abraham and to his posterity for ever," is being fulfilled in herself. She is thus aware that concentrated within herself as the Mother of Christ is the whole salvific economy, in which "from age to age" is manifested he who, as the God of the Covenant, "remembers his mercy."

RESPONSORY
The Lord has chosen her, his loved one from the beginning.
 - The Lord has chosen her, his loved one from the beginning.
He has taken her to live with him,
 - his loved one from the beginning.
Glory to the Father...
 - The Lord has chosen her, his loved one from the beginning.

Or:

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with you.
 - Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with you.
Blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb.
 - The Lord is with you.
Glory to the Father...
 - Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with you.

CANTICLE OF ZECHARIAH                                                       Luke 1:68-79

Ant. When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, she cried out and said: Who am I that the mother of my Lord should come to me?

The Messiah and his forerunner

Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel;
he has come to his people and set them free.
 
He has raised up for us a mighty savior,
born of the house of his servant David.
 
Through his holy prophets he promised of old,
  that he would save us from our enemies,
  from the hands of all who hate us.
 
He promised to show mercy to our fathers
and to remember his holy covenant.
 
This was the oath he swore to our father Abraham,
to set us free from the hands of our enemies,
free to worship him without fear,
holy and righteous in his sight
 all the days of our life.
 
You, my child, shall be called the prophet of the Most High,
for you will go before the Lord to prepare his way,
 
To give his people knowledge of salvation
by the forgiveness of their sins.
 
In the tender compassion of our God
the dawn from on high shall break upon us,
to shine on those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death,
and to guide our feet into the way of peace.
 
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.

INTERCESSIONS

Let us glorify our Savior, who chose the Virgin Mary for his mother. Let us ask him:

May your mother intercede for us, Lord.

Son of Justice, the immaculate Virgin was the white dawn announcing your rising.
 – grant that we may always live in the light of your coming.

Lord, help us imitate Mary, your mother, who chose the best part,
 - may we seek the food that will sustain us for ever.

Savior of the world, by your redeeming might you preserved your mother before-hand from all stain of sin,
 - keep watch over us, lest we sin.

You are our redeemer, who made the immaculate Virgin Mary your purest home and the sanctuary of the Holy Spirit,
 - make us temples of your Spirit for ever.

Our Father…

CONCLUDING PRAYER

Eternal Father,
you inspired the Virgin Mary, mother of your Son,
to visit Elizabeth and assist her in her need.
Keep us open to the working of your Spirit,
and with Mary may we praise you for ever.

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.

May the Lord bless us,
protect us from evil
and bring us to everlasting life.
 -  Amen.

WEDNESDAY

Evening Prayer

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 forever.  Amen.

HYMN

What joy,
what happiness there is in heaven!

The shoot from the root of Jesse,
sown so long ago
in the time of the patriarchs,
has today sprung up and begun to grow.
It will bear a Flower
which is destined to heal the world,
a Flower whose scent revives the dead,
whose taste heals the sick,
and whose beauty delights the angels -
a white and red Flower
which angels long to see.

when his Son comes at the end of time to greet us.

Thomas of Villanova (1487-1555)

Or:

Look upon Mary, my beloved,
how, when Gabriel entered in to her
and she spoke with him words of enquiry:
"How shall these things be?"
and the minister of the Spirit gave reply
to Mary and said: "It is easy for God,
all things are simple for him" -
how she held it true when she heard, and said:
"Behold, his handmaid am I."

Therefore he came down, in a manner he knows,
he stirred and came in a way that pleased him,
he entered and dwelt in her without her perceiving,
she received him, suffering nothing.
He was in her womb like a babe,
yet the whole world was full of him.
Of his love he came down to renew
the image of Adam grown old.

St. Ephrem (c. 306-373)

Or:


Ave Maria gratia plena,
Dominus tecum,
benedicta tu in mulieribus,
et benedictus fructus ventris tui Jesu.
Sancta Maria, Mater Dei,
ora pro nobis peccatoribus,
nunc et in hora mortis nostrae. Amen.

Melody: Ave Maria, Gregorian Mode I
Music: Traditional, Gregorian
Text: Traditional


PSALMODY

Ant 1: Mary entered the house of Zechariah, and greeted Elizabeth

Or: Blessed are you, O Mary, for the world's salvation came forth through you. Now in glory, you rejoice forever with the Lord.

Psalm 139:1-18, 23-24
God sees all that is
Who has known the mind of God, who has been his counselor? (Romans 11:34).

I

O Lord, you search me and you know me,
you know my resting and my rising,
you discern my purpose from afar.
You mark when I walk or lie down,
all my ways lie open to you.

Before ever a word is on my tongue
you know it, O Lord, through and through.
Behind and before you besiege me,
your hand ever laid upon me.
Too wonderful for me this knowledge,
too high, beyond my reach.

O where can I go from your spirit,
or where can I flee from your face?
If I climb the heavens, you are there.
If I lie in the grave, you are there.

If I take the wings of the dawn
and dwell at the sea's furthest end,
even there your hand would lead me,
your right hand would hold me fast.

If I say: Let the darkness hide me
and the light around me be night,"
even darkness is not dark for you
and the night is as clear as the day.

Ant. 2 When your greeting sounded in my ears, the infant in my womb leaped for joy.

Or: The Lord God Most High has blessed you, Virgin Mary, above all the women of the earth.

II

For it was you who created my being,
knit me together in my mother's womb.
I thank you for the wonder of my being,
for the wonders of all your creation.

Already you knew my soul
my body held no secret from you
when I was being fashioned in secret
and molded in the depths of the earth.

Your eyes saw all my actions,
they were all of them written in your book;
every one of my days was decreed
before one of them came into being.

To me, how mysterious your thoughts,
the sum of them not to be numbered!
If I count them, they are more than the sand;
to finish, I must be eternal, like you.

O search me, God, and know my heart.
O test me and know my thoughts.
See that I follow not the wrong path
and lead me in the path of life eternal.

Ant 3: Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb.

Or: Sinless Virgin, let us follow joyfully in your footsteps; draw us after you in the fragrance of your holiness.

Canticle                                                      Colossians 1:12-20
Christ the first-born of all creation
and the first-born from the dead

Let us give thanks to the Father
for having made you worthy
to share the lot of the saints
in light.

He rescued us
from the power of darkness
and brought us
into the kingdom of his beloved Son.
Through him we have redemption,
the forgiveness of our sins.

He is the image of the invisible God,
the first-born of all creatures.
In him everything in heaven and on earth was created,
things visible and invisible.

All were created through him;
all were created for him.
He is before all else that is.
In him everything continues in being.

It is he who is head of the body, the church;
he who is the beginning,
the first-born of the dead,
so that primacy may be his in everything.

It pleased God to make absolute fullness reside in him
and, by means of him, to reconcile everything in his person,
both on earth and in the heavens,
making peace through the blood of his cross.

FIRST READING                                                       1 Peter 5:5b-7

Clothe yourselves with humility in your dealings with one another, for:

  "God opposes the proud
    but bestows favor on the humble."

So humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time.  Cast all your worries upon him because he cares for you.

OR                                                      Colossians 3:12-17

Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, bearing with one another and forgiving one another, if one has a grievance against another; as the Lord has forgiven you, so must you also do. And over all these put on love, that is, the bond of perfection. And let the peace of Christ control your hearts, the peace into which you were also called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, as in all wisdom you teach and admonish one another, singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or in deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

SECOND READING

From a homily by St. Bede the Venerable, priest
(Lib 1, 4: CCL 122, 23-26,30)

Mary proclaims the greatness of the Lord working in her

My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my savior. With these words Mary first acknowledges the special gifts she has been given. Then she recalls God's universal favors, bestowed unceasingly on the human race.

When a man devotes all his thoughts to the praise and service of the Lord, he proclaims God's greatness. His observance of God's commands, moreover, shows that he has God's power and greatness always at heart. His spirit rejoices in God his savior and delights in the mere recollection of his creator who gives him hope for eternal salvation.

These words are often for all God's creations, but especially for the Mother of God. She alone was chosen, and she burned with spiritual love for the son she so joyously conceived. Above all other saints, she alone could truly rejoice in Jesus, her savior, for she knew that he who was the source of eternal salvation would be born in time in her body, in one person both her own son and her Lord.

For the Almighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name. Mary attributes nothing to her own merits. She refers all her greatness to the gift of the one whose essence is power and whose nature is greatness, for he fills with greatness and strength the small and the weak who believe in him.

She did well to add: and holy is his name, to warn those who heard, and indeed all who would receive his words, that they must believe and call upon his name. For they too could share in everlasting holiness and true salvation according to the words of the prophet: and it will come to pass, that everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. This is the name she spoke of earlier: and my spirit rejoices in God my savior.

Therefore it is an excellent and fruitful custom of holy Church that we should sing Mary's hymn at the time of Evening Prayer. By meditating upon the incarnation, our devotion is kindled, and by remembering the example of God's Mother, we are encouraged to lead a life of virtue. Such virtues are best achieved in the evening. We are weary after the day's work and worn out by our distractions. The time for rest is near, and our minds are ready for contemplation.

RESPONSORY
Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with you.
- Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with you.
Blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb.
- The Lord is with you.
Glory to the Father, and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit
- Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with you.

Or:

Happy are you who have believed,
because the Lord's promises will be accomplished in you.
And Mary said:
 - My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord.

Come, and listen,
and I will tell what great things God
has accomplished for me.
 - My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord.

CANTICLE OF MARY                                                      Luke 1:46-55

Ant: All generations will call me blessed; the Lord has looked with favor on his lowly servant.

My soul rejoices in the Lord.

My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord,
my spirit rejoices in God my Savior;
for he has looked with favor on his lowly servant.

From this day all generations will call me blessed:
the Almighty has done great things for me,
and holy is his Name.

He has mercy on those who fear him
in every generation.

He has shown the strength of his arm,
he has scattered the proud in their conceit.

He has cast down the mighty from their thrones,
and has lifted up the lowly.

He has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich he has sent away empty.

He has come to the help of his servant Israel,
for he has remembered his promise of mercy,
The promise he made to our fathers,
to Abraham and his children for ever.

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.

INTERCESSIONS

Let us praise God our Almighty Father, who wished that Mary, his Son's mother, be celebrated by each generation. Now in need we ask:
Mary, full of grace, intercede for us.


O God, worker of miracles, you made the Immaculate Virgin Mary share body and soul in your Son's glory in heaven,
  -  direct the hearts of your children to that same glory.

Lord, make your Church one in mind and heart, united in your love,
  -  and keep Christians united in prayer with Mary, the mother of Jesus.

You made Mary the mother of mercy,
  -  may all who are faced with trials feel her motherly love.

You wished Mary to be the mother of the family in the home of Jesus and Joseph,
  -  may all mothers of families foster love and holiness through her intercession.

You crowned Mary queen of heaven,
  -  may all the dead rejoice in your kingdom with the saints for ever.

Our Father…

CONCLUDING PRAYER

Eternal Father,
you inspired the Virgin Mary, mother of your Son,
to visit Elizabeth and assist her in her need.
Keep us open to the working of your Spirit,
and with Mary may we praise you for ever.

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.

May the Lord bless us,
protect us from evil
and bring us to everlasting life.
 -  Amen.

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 forever.  Amen.

HYMN

Virgin-born, we bow before you:
Blessed was the womb that bore you;
Mary, Mother meek and mild,
Blessed was she in her Child.
Blessed was the breast that fed you;
Blessed was the hand that led you;
Blessed was the other's eye
Watching o'er your infancy.

Blessed she by all creation,
Who brought forth the world's salvation.
Blessed they who ever blest,
Love you most and serve you best.
Virgin-born, we bow before you;
Blessed was the womb that bore you;
Mary, Mother meek and mild,
Blessed was she in her Child.

Melody: Mon Dieu, Prete Moi L'Orielle 88-77D (Genevan Psalm 86)
Music: German Psalter, 1543
Text: R. Heber, 1783-1826, alt.

Or:

Holy Virgin Mary, Mother of God,
I come before you, unworthy as I am,
to renew our total dedication to you.
Be now and for ever our Mother,
our advocate and our protector;
rule over us as our sovereign Lady,
keep us from falling,
but if we do fall
help us to rise again without delay.
Show yourself as Mother of God,
to whom all sinners have been entrusted:
be our patroness and theirs
with your loving Son.

Jean Joseph du Vieux Chatel (1724-1797)


PSALMODY

Ant.1 Tell us, shepherds, what have you seen? Who has appeared on earth? We have seen a newborn infant and a choir of angels praising the Lord.

or: O Mother, how pure you are, you are untouched by sin; yours was the privilege to carry God within you.


Psalm 143:1-11
Prayer in distress

A man is not justified by observance of the law but only through faith in Jesus Christ (Galatians 2:16)

Lord, listen to my prayer:
turn your ear to my appeal.
You are faithful, you are just; give answer.
Do not call your servant to judgment
for no one is just in your sight.

The enemy pursues my soul;
he has crushed my life to the ground;
he has made me dwell in darkness
like the dead, long forgotten.
Therefore my spirit fails;
my heart is numb within me.

I remember the days that are past:
I ponder all your works.
I muse on what your hand has wrought
and to you I stretch out my hands.
Like a parched land my soul thirsts for you.

Lord, make haste and answer;
for my spirit fails within me.
Do not hide your face
lest I become like those in the grave.

In the morning let me know your love
for I put my trust in you.
Make me know the way I should walk:
to you I lift up my soul.

Rescue me, Lord, from my enemies;
I have fled to you for refuge.
Teach me to do your will
for you, O Lord, are my God.
Let your good spirit guide me
in ways that are level and smooth.

For your name's sake, Lord, save my life;
in your justice save my soul from distress.

Ant. 2 The angel said to the shepherds: I proclaim to you a great joy: today the Savior of the world is born for you.

Or: You are the glory of Jerusalem, the joy of Israel; you are the fairest honor of our race.

Canticle                                                      Isaiah 66:10-14a
Joys of heaven

The heavenly Jerusalem is a free woman and our mother (Galatians 4:26)

Rejoice with Jerusalem and be glad because of her,
all you who love her;
Exult, exult with her,
all you who were mourning over her!

Oh, that you may suck fully
of the milk of her comfort,
That you may nurse with delight
at her abundant breasts!

For thus says the LORD:
Lo, I will spread prosperity over her like a river,
and the wealth of the nations like an overflowing torrent.

As nurslings, you shall be carried in her arms,
and fondled in her lap;
As a mother comforts her son,
so will I comfort you;
in Jerusalem you shall find your comfort.

When you see this, your heart shall rejoice,
and your bodies flourish like the grass.

Ant. 3: A little child is born for us today; little and yet called the mighty God.

Or: O Virgin Mary, how great your cause for joy; God found you worthy to bear Christ our Savior.

Psalm 147:1-11
The loving kindness of God who can do all he wills

You are God: we praise you; you are the Lord: we acclaim you.

Praise the Lord for he is good;
sing to our God for he is loving:
to him our praise is due.

The Lord builds up Jerusalem
and brings back Israel's exiles,
he heals the broken-hearted,
he binds up all their wounds.
He fixes the number of the stars;
he calls each one by its name.

Our Lord is great and almighty;
his wisdom can never be measured.
The Lord raises the lowly;
he humbles the wicked to the dust.
O sing to the Lord giving thanks;
sing psalms to our God with the harp.

He covers the heavens with clouds;
he prepares the rain for the earth,
making mountains sprout with grass
and with plants to serve man's needs.
He provides the beasts with their food
and young ravens that call upon him.

His delight is not in horses
nor his pleasure in warriors' strength.
The Lord delights in those who revere him,
in those who wait for his love.

FIRST READING                                                      Hebrews 1:1-2

In times past, God spoke in partial and various ways to our ancestors through the prophets; in these last days, he spoke to us through a son, whom he made heir of all things and through whom he created the universe,

Or                                                       Titus 2:11-12

For the grace of God has appeared, saving all and training us to reject godless ways and worldly desires and to live temperately, justly, and devoutly in this age.

Or                                                       Song of Songs 6:9-10

One alone is my dove, my perfect one,
  her mother's chosen,
  the dear one of her parent.
The daughters saw her and declared her fortunate,
  the queens and concubines, and they sang her praises;

Who is this that comes forth like the dawn,
  as beautiful as the moon, as resplendent as the sun,
  as awe-inspiring as bannered troops?

SECOND READING

From a sermon by St. Thomas of Villanova, bishop
(Sermon on the birth of Mary II,7-9)

Mother of her own Creator!

What a marvelous woman, to be the mother of her own Creator! What an amazing distinction for a woman, to have a Son in common with God. The Father loves his Son; the Mother rejoices in her Son. The Father tells his Son: from the womb, before the morning star, I begot you; the Mother says to her same Son: From the womb, I, a virgin, brought you into the world.

She is amazed at her own glory, nor can she herself understand her elevation, for by the very fact of being made mother of the Creator she became with the best right mistress and queen of all creation. Truly, Mary he that is mighty, has done great things for you; truly because he made you his own mother, all generations of the ages will call you blessed.

RESPONSORY
How blessed are you, Virgin Mary,
for you carried within you the Lord, the Creator of the world.
 - Mother of your Maker, you remain a virgin for ever.
Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with you.
 - Mother of your Maker, you remain a virgin for ever.

Or:

For our sake, the King of heaven chose to be born of his virgin mother,
to reclaim lost men for the heavenly kingdom
 - All the angels cry aloud with joy,
for God has come himself to save mankind.
Glory to God in the highest,
and peace to his people on earth.
 - All the angels cry aloud with joy,
for God has come himself to save mankind.

CANTICLE OF ZECHARIAH                                                       Luke 1:68-79

Ant. Blessed are you, Mary, because you believed that the Lord's words to you would be fulfilled.

The Messiah and his forerunner

Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel;
he has come to his people and set them free.
 
He has raised up for us a mighty savior,
born of the house of his servant David.
 
Through his holy prophets he promised of old,
  that he would save us from our enemies,
  from the hands of all who hate us.
 
He promised to show mercy to our fathers
and to remember his holy covenant.
 
This was the oath he swore to our father Abraham,
to set us free from the hands of our enemies,
free to worship him without fear,
holy and righteous in his sight
 all the days of our life.
 
You, my child, shall be called the prophet of the Most High,
for you will go before the Lord to prepare his way,
 
To give his people knowledge of salvation
by the forgiveness of their sins.
 
In the tender compassion of our God
the dawn from on high shall break upon us,
to shine on those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death,
and to guide our feet into the way of peace.
 
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.

INTERCESSIONS

The Word of God existed before the creation of the universe yet was born among us in time. We praise and worship him as we cry out in joy.  

Let the earth ring out with joy for you have come!

You are the eternal Word of God who flooded the world with joy at your birth,
- fill us with joy by the continuous gift of your life.

You saved us and by your birth revealed to us the covenant faithfulness of the Lord,
- help us to be faithful to the promises of our baptism.

You are the King of heaven and earth who sent messengers to announce peace to all,
- let our lives be filled with your peace.

You are the true vine that brings forth the fruit of life,
- make us branches of the vine bearing much fruit.

Our Father…

CONCLUDING PRAYER

Father,
we are filled with the new light
by the coming of your Word among us.
May the light of faith
shine in our words and actions.

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.

Alternative Prayer

Almighty God and Father of light,
a child is born for us and a son is given to us.
Your eternal Word leaped down from heaven
in the silent watches of the night,
and now your church is filled with wonder
at the nearness of her God.
Open our hearts to receive his life
and increase our vision with the rising of dawn,
that our lives may be filled with his glory and his peace,
who lives and reigns for ever and ever.

May the Lord bless us,
protect us from evil
and bring us to everlasting life.
 -  Amen.

THURSDAY

Evening Prayer

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 forever.  Amen.

HYMN

What Child is this who, laid to rest
On Mary’s lap is sleeping?
Whom angels greet with anthems sweet,
While shepherds watch are keeping?
This, this is Christ the King,
Whom shepherds guard and angels sing;
Haste, haste, to bring Him laud,
The Babe, the Son of Mary.

Why lies He in such mean estate,
Where ox and ass are feeding?
Good Christians, fear, for sinners here
The silent Word is pleading.
Nails, spear shall pierce Him through,
The cross be borne for me, for you.
Hail, hail the Word made flesh,
The Babe, the Son of Mary.

So bring Him incense, gold and myrrh,
Come peasant, king to own Him;
The King of kings salvation brings,
Let loving hearts enthrone Him.
Raise, raise a song on high,
The virgin sings her lullaby.
Joy, joy for Christ is born,
The Babe, the Son of Mary.

Melody: Greensleeves 87.87.58.67
Music: 16th Century English Melody
Text: William Chatterton Dix, 1837-1898

Or:

Rejoice, mother and heaven,
maiden and cloud, virgin and throne,
the boast and foundation of our Church.
Plead earnestly for us
that through you
we may obtain mercy on the Day of Judgment
and attain the good things reserved
for those who love God,
through the grace and love our Lord Jesus Christ,
to whom with the Father and the Holy Spirit
be glory, power, and honor
now and for ever and for all eternity. Amen.

Saint John Chrysostum (344/354-407)


PSALMODY

Ant 1: You have been endowed from your birth with princely gifts; in eternal splendor, before the dawn of light on earth, I have begotten you.

Or: Mary received a blessing from the Lord and loving kindness from God her savior.

Psalm 144
Prayer for victory and peace
Christ learned the art of warfare when he overcame the world, as he said: "I have overcome the world" (Saint Hilary)

I

Blessed be the Lord, my rock,
who trains my arms for battle,
who prepares my hands for war.

He is my love, my fortress;
he is my stronghold, my savior
my shield, my place of refuge.
He brings peoples under my rule.

Lord, what is man that you care for him,
mortal man, that your keep him in mind;
man, who is merely a breath
whose life fades like a passing shadow?

Lower your heavens and come down;
touch the mountains; wreathe them in smoke.
Flash your lightnings; rout the foe,
shoot your arrows and put them to flight.

Reach down from heaven and save me;
draw me out from the mighty waters,
from the hands of alien foes
whose mouths are filled with lies,
whose hands are raised in perjury.

Ant. 2 With the Lord is unfailing love; great is his power to save.

Or: The Most High has made his dwelling place a holy temple.

II

To you, O God, will I sing a new song;
I will play on the ten-stringed harp
to you who give kings their victory,
who set David your servant free.

You set him free from the evil sword;
you rescued him from alien foes
whose mouths were filled with lies,
whose hands were raised in perjury.

Let our sons then flourish like saplings
grown tall and strong from their youth,
our daughters graceful as columns,
adorned as though for a palace.

Let our barns be filled to overflowing
with crops of every kind;
our sheep increasing by thousands,
myriads of sheep in our fields,
our cattle heavy with young,

no ruined wall, no exile,
no sound of weeping in our streets.
Happy the people with such blessings;
happy the people whose God is the Lord.

Ant 3: In the beginning, before time began, the Word was God; today he is born, the Savior of the world.

Or: Glorious things are said of you, O Virgin Mary.

Canticle                                                      Revelation 11:17-18; 12:10b-12a
The judgment of God

We praise you, the Lord God Almighty,
Who is and who was.
You have assumed your great power,
You have begun your reign.

The nations have raged in anger,
But then came your day of wrath
And the moment to judge the dead:
The time to reward your servants the prophets
And the holy ones who revere you,
The great and the small alike.

Now have salvation and power come,
The reign of our God and the authority
Of his Anointed One,
For the accuser of our brothers is cast out,
Who night and day accused them before God.

They defeated him by the blood of the Lamb
And by the word of their testimony;
Love for life did not deter them from death.
So rejoice, you heavens,
And you that dwell therein!

FIRST READING                                                       Galatians 4:4-5

When the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to ransom those under the law, so that we might receive adoption.

OR                                                      1 John 3:1-8

See what love the Father has bestowed on us that we may be called the children of God. Yet so we are. The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him.  Beloved, we are God's children now; what we shall be has not yet been revealed. We do know that when it is revealed we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.  Everyone who has this hope based on him makes himself pure, as he is pure.  

Everyone who commits sin commits lawlessness, for sin is lawlessness.  You know that he was revealed to take away sins, and in him there is no sin.  No one who remains in him sins; no one who sins has seen him or known him.  Children, let no one deceive you. The person who acts in righteousness is righteous, just as he is righteous.  Whoever sins belongs to the devil, because the devil has sinned from the beginning. Indeed, the Son of God was revealed to destroy the works of the devil.

SECOND READING

From a homily by St. John Chrysostum, bishop
(Orientalia Christiana, vol. 32 [1966])

The birth of Mary's Son

Believe what we say about the Virgin, and do not hesitate to confess her to be both servant and Mother of God, both virgin and mother. She is a servant as the creature of him who was born of her; she is the Mother of God inasmuch as of her God was born in human flesh. She is a virgin because she did not conceive from the seed of man; she is a mother because she gave birth and became the mother of him who before all eternity was begotten of the Father.

She is therefore the mother of the Lord of angels and our mother; from her the Son of God received the human body in which he consented to be crucified. Do you desire to know how far the Virgin surpasses the power of heaven? Give me your attention then. They veil their faces as they hover in fear and trembling, but she offers the human race to God, and through her we receive the forgiveness of our sins. She bore him whom the angels glorified when they came with reverence to be present at his birth. Glory to God in the highest, they sang, and peace to his people on earth.

RESPONSORY
After the birth of your Son, you remained a virgin.
- After the birth of your Son, you remained a virgin.
Mother of God, intercede for us;
- you remained a virgin.
Glory to the Father, and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit
- After the birth of your Son, you remained a virgin.

Or:

I shall glorify you, Lord, for you have rescued me.
- I shall glorify you, Lord, for you have rescued me.
You have not let my enemies rejoice over me
- for you have rescued me.
Glory to the Father, and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit
- I shall glorify you, Lord, for you have rescued me.

CANTICLE OF MARY                                                      Luke 1:46-55

Ant: Christ the Lord is born today; today the Savior has appeared. Earth echoes songs of angel choirs, archangels' joyful praise. Today on earth his friends exult: Glory to God in the highest.

My soul rejoices in the Lord.

My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord,
my spirit rejoices in God my Savior;
for he has looked with favor on his lowly servant.

From this day all generations will call me blessed:
the Almighty has done great things for me,
and holy is his Name.

He has mercy on those who fear him
in every generation.

He has shown the strength of his arm,
he has scattered the proud in their conceit.

He has cast down the mighty from their thrones,
and has lifted up the lowly.

He has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich he has sent away empty.

He has come to the help of his servant Israel,
for he has remembered his promise of mercy,
The promise he made to our fathers,
to Abraham and his children for ever.

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.

INTERCESSIONS

At the birth of Jesus, angels proclaimed peace to the world.
We worship him now with joy, and we pray with hearts full of faith:

May your birth bring peace to all.

Lord, fill your holy people with whatever good they need,
- let the mystery of your birth be the source of our peace.

You came as chief shepherd and guardian of our lives,
- let the pope and bishops be faithful channels of your many gifts of grace.

King from all eternity, you desired to be born within time
and to experience the day-to-day life of men and women,
- share your gift of unending life with us, weak people doomed to death.

Awaited from the beginning of the world, you came only in the fullness of time,
-now reveal your presence to those who are expecting you.

You became one of us and gave new life to our human condition in the grip of death,
-now give the fullness of life to all who have died.

Our Father…

CONCLUDING PRAYER
Lord God,
we praise you for creating us,
and still more for restoring us in Christ.
Your Son shared our weakness;
may we share his glory,
for he lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Alternative Prayer

God of love, Father of all,
the darkness that covered the earth
has given way to the bright dawn of your Word made flesh.
Make us a people of this light.
Make us faithful to your Word,
that we may bring your life to the waiting world.

Grant this through Christ our Lord.

May the Lord bless us,
protect us from evil
and bring us to everlasting life.
 -  Amen.

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 forever.  Amen.

HYMN

The God whom earth and sea and sky
Adore and praise and magnify,
Whose might they own, whose praise they tell,
In Mary's body deigned to dwell.

O Mother blest! the chosen shrine
Where in the Architect divine,
Whose hand contains the earth and sky,
Vouchsafed in hidden guide to lie.

Blest in the message Gabriel brought;
Blest in the work the Spirit wrought;
More blest, to bring to human birth
The long desired of all the earth.

O Lord, the Virgin born, to thee
Eternal praise and glory be,
Whom with the Father we adore
And Holy Ghost for evermore.

Melody: Eisenach L.M.
Music: Johan H. Schein, 1586-1630
Text: Venantius Fortunatus 530-609
Translator: J.M. Neale, 1818-1866

Or:

Virgin of virgins,
I choose you today
as my sovereign, my queen, my empress,
and I declare myself, as I am in fact,
your servant and your slave.

I invoke your royal name of Mary,
that is, sovereign Lady,
and beg of you with all my heart
to admit me into the privileged circle
of your family
as one of your servants,
to do your will
as a humble slave and a loving child.

As a sign of your acceptance
engrave on my heart
with the fire of your love,
not the brand of an unwilling slave,
but those two gracious words of the angel:
Ave Maria.

As long as I draw breath
may your burning love ensure
that I bear these words
in my heart and in my memory,
and that until my dying breath
my will may be always on fire
with my great desire to serve you,
my sovereign and my queen,
glorious in your majesty.

Though I am in every way unworthy
of so honorable a title,
I resolve sincerely to be your slave,
to serve you wholeheartedly,
to protect your name,
and that of your Son,
against every insult,
as far as it may rest with me,
and never to allow anyone in my charge
to offend your Son in any way.

By your tender love for your Son,
by the glories you have received
from the Most Holy Trinity,
do not reject me from your service
but as my sovereign and my queen
preside over all my actions,
command whatever you will,
direct all my work,
remedy all its defects.

During my whole life
rule over me
as your servant and slave.
At the hour of my death,
as I hope for
at the end of my loving servitude
among the privileged members of your family,
receive my soul and escort it
into the presence of God.

St Bartolome de Los Rios(1580-1652)


PSALMODY

Ant.1 My soul clings to you, Lord Jesus Christ.

or: Mary gave birth to Jesus, who is called the Christ.

Psalm 51
O God, have mercy on me

Your inmost being must be renewed, and you must put on the new man. (Eph 4:23-24)

Have mercy on me, God, in your kindness.
In your compassion blot out my offense.
O wash me more and more from my guilt
and cleanse me from my sin.

My offenses truly I know them;
my sin is always before me
Against you, you alone, have I sinned;
what is evil in your sight I have done.

That you may be justified when you give sentence
and be without reproach when you judge,
O see, in guilt I was born,
a sinner was I conceived.

Indeed you love truth in the heart;
then in the secret of my heart teach me wisdom.
O purify me, then I shall be clean;
O wash me, I shall be whiter than snow.

Make me hear rejoicing and gladness,
that the bones you have crushed may thrill.
From my sins turn away your face
and blot out all my guilt.

A pure heart create for me, O God,
put a steadfast spirit within me.
Do not cast me away from your presence,
nor deprive me of your holy spirit.

Give me again the joy of your help;
with a spirit of fervor sustain me,
that I may teach transgressors your ways
and sinners may return to you.

O rescue me, God, my helper,
and my tongue shall ring out your goodness.
O Lord, open my lips
and my mouth shall declare your praise.

For in sacrifice you take no delight,
burnt offering from me you would refuse,
my sacrifice, a contrite spirit,
a humbled, contrite heart you will not spurn.

In your goodness, show favor to Zion:
rebuild the walls of Jerusalem.
Then you will be pleased with lawful sacrifice,
(burnt offerings wholly consumed),
then you will be offered young bulls on your altar.

Ant. 2 Let us rejoice that we have been made sharers in Christ's passion.

Or: Holy Mother, on the cross Christ entrusted us to you as your children. Today we join with you in praising him.

Canticle                                                      Tobit 13:8-11,13-15
Thanksgiving for the people's deliverance

He showed me the holy city Jerusalem which shone with the glory of God (Revelation 21:10-11)

Let all men speak of the Lord’s majesty
and sing his praises in Jerusalem

O Jerusalem, holy city,
he scourged you for the works of your hands,
but will again pity the children of the righteous.

Praise the Lord for his goodness,
and bless the King of the ages,
so that his tent may be rebuilt in you with joy.

May he gladden within you all who were captives;
all who were ravaged may he cherish within you
for all generations to come.

A bright light will shine to all parts of the earth;
many nations shall come to you from afar,
and the inhabitants of all the limits of the earth
drawn to you by the name of the Lord God,
bearing in their hands their gifts for the King of
heaven.

Every generation shall give joyful praise in you,
and shall call you the chosen one,
through all ages forever.

Go, then, rejoice over the children of the righteous,
who shall be gathered together
and shall bless the Lord of the ages.

Happy are those who love you,
and happy those who rejoice in your prosperity.

Happy all the men who shall grieve over you,
over all your chastisements.

for they shall rejoice in you
as they behold all your joy forever.

My spirit blesses the Lord, the great King.

Ant. 3: It pleased the Father to reconcile all creation in himself through the blood of Christ.

Or: The Virgin Mary, crowned with a diadem of twelve stars, is exalted above the choirs of angels.

Psalm 147:12-20
The restoration of Jerusalem

Come, I will show you the bride of the Lamb (Revelation 21:9)

O praise the Lord, Jerusalem!
Zion praise your God!

He has strengthened the bars of your gates
he has blessed the children within you.
He established peace on your borders,
he feeds you with finest wheat.

He sends out his word to the earth
and swiftly runs his command.
He showers down snow white as wool,
he scatters hoar-frost like ashes.

He hurls down hailstones like crumbs.
The waters are frozen at his touch;
he sends forth his word and it melts them:
at the breath of his mouth the waters flow.

He makes his word known to Jacob,
to Israel his laws and decrees.
He has not dealt thus with other nations;
he has not taught them his decrees.

FIRST READING                                                      Colossians 1:24-25

Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ on behalf of his body, which is the church, of which I am a minister in accordance with God's stewardship given to me to bring to completion for you the word of God.

Or                                                       Proverbs 8:32-36;9:1-6,10-12

"So now, O children, listen to me;
  instruction and wisdom do not reject!
Happy the man who obeys me,
  and happy those who keep my ways,
Happy the man watching daily at my gates,
  waiting at my doorposts;
For he who finds me finds life,
  and wins favor from the Lord;
But he who misses me harms himself;
  all who hate me love death."

Wisdom has built her house,
  she has set up her seven columns;
She has dressed her meat, mixed her wine,
  yes, she has spread her table.
She has sent out her maidens; she calls
  from the heights out over the city:

"Let whoever is simple turn in here;
  to him who lacks understanding, I say,
Come, eat of my food,
  and drink of the wine I have mixed!
Forsake foolishness that you may live;
  advance in the way of understanding.
For by me your days will be multiplied
  and the years of your life increased."

The beginning of wisdom is the fear of the Lord,
  and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.
If you are wise, it is to your own advantage;
  and if you are arrogant, you alone shall bear it.

SECOND READING

From a sermon by St. Laurence Justinian, bishop
(Sermo 8, in festo Purificationis B.M.V.: Opera, 2, Venetiis 1751, 38-39)

Mary stored up all these things in her heart.

While Mary contemplated all she had come to know through reading, listening and observing, she grew in faith, increased in merits, and was more illuminated by wisdom and more consumed by the fire of charity. The heavenly mysteries were opened to her, and she was filled with joy; she became fruitful by the Spirit, was being directed toward God, and watched over protectively while on earth.

So remarkable are the divine graces that they elevate one from the lowest depths to the highest summit, and transform one to a greater holiness. How entirely blessed was the mind of the Virgin which, through the indwelling and guidance of the Spirit, was always and in every way open to the power of the Word of God. She was not led by her own senses, nor by her own will; thus she accomplished outwardly through her body what wisdom from within gave to her faith.

It was fitting for divine Wisdom, which created itself a home in the Church, to use the intervention of the most blessed Mary in guarding the law, purifying the mind, giving an example of humility and providing a spiritual sacrifice.

Imitate her, O faithful soul. Enter into the deep recesses of your heart so that you may be purified spiritually and cleansed from your sins. God places more value on good will in all we do than on the works themselves.

Therefore, whether we give ourselves to God in the work of contemplation or whether we serve the needs of our neighbor by good works, we accomplish these things because the love of Christ urges us on. The acceptable offering of the spiritual purification is accomplished not in a man-made temple but in the recesses of the heart where the Lord Jesus freely enters.

RESPONSORY
Through you we drink from the wellsprings of salvation, O Blessed Virgin Mary
 - Through you we drink from the wellsprings of salvation, O Blessed Virgin Mary
From the sacred wounds of Christ,
 - O Blessed Virgin Mary.
Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit,
 - Through you we drink from the wellsprings of salvation, O Blessed Virgin Mary.

Or:

O Virgin Mary, no other daughter of Jerusalem is your equal,
for you are the mother of the King of kings,
you are the Queen of heaven and of angels.
 - Blessed are you among women,
and blessed is the fruit of you womb.
Hail, full of grace; the Lord is with you.
 - Blessed are you among women,
and blessed is the fruit of you womb.

CANTICLE OF ZECHARIAH                                                       Luke 1:68-79

Ant. Rejoice, O sorrowful Mother; after your great sufferings, you shine forth as Queen, enthroned beside your son.

The Messiah and his forerunner

Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel;
he has come to his people and set them free.
 
He has raised up for us a mighty savior,
born of the house of his servant David.
 
Through his holy prophets he promised of old,
  that he would save us from our enemies,
  from the hands of all who hate us.
 
He promised to show mercy to our fathers
and to remember his holy covenant.
 
This was the oath he swore to our father Abraham,
to set us free from the hands of our enemies,
free to worship him without fear,
holy and righteous in his sight
 all the days of our life.
 
You, my child, shall be called the prophet of the Most High,
for you will go before the Lord to prepare his way,
 
To give his people knowledge of salvation
by the forgiveness of their sins.
 
In the tender compassion of our God
the dawn from on high shall break upon us,
to shine on those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death,
and to guide our feet into the way of peace.
 
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.

INTERCESSIONS

Let us glorify our Savior, who chose the Virgin Mary for his mother. Let us ask him:

May your mother intercede for us, Lord.


Sun of Justice, the immaculate Virgin was the white dawn announcing your rising,
- grant that we may always live in the light of your coming.

Eternal Word, you chose Mary as the uncorrupted ark of your dwelling place,
- free us from the corruption of sin.

Savior of mankind, your mother stood at the foot of your cross,
- grant, through her intercession, that we may rejoice to share in your passion.

With ultimate generosity and love, you gave Mary as a mother to your beloved disciple,
-help us to live as worthy sons of so noble a mother.

Our Father…

CONCLUDING PRAYER

Father,
as your Son was raised on the cross,
his mother Mary stood by him, sharing his sufferings.
May your Church be united with Christ
in his suffering and death
and so come to share in his rising to new life,
where he lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

May the Lord bless us,
protect us from evil
and bring us to everlasting life.
 -  Amen.

FRIDAY

Evening Prayer

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 forever.  Amen.

HYMN

Ye who own the faith of Jesus,
sing the wonders that were done
when the love of God the Father
over sin the victory won,
when he made the Virgin Mary
mother of his only Son.
Hail Mary, full of grace.

Blessed were the chosen people
out of whom the Lord did come;
blessed was the land of promise
fashioned for his earthly home;
but more blessed far the mother,
she who bare him in her womb.
Hail Mary, full of grace.

Wherefore let all faithful people
tell the honor of her name;
let the Church, in her foreshadowed,
part in her thanksgiving claim;
what Christ's mother sang in gladness
let Christ's people sing the same.
Hail Mary, full of grace.

Praise, O Mary, praise the Father,
praise thy Savior and thy Son,
praise the everlasting Spirit,
who hath made thee ark and throne
o'er all creatures high exalted,
lowly praise the Three in One.
Hail Mary, full of grace.

Melody: Den das Vaters Sinn geboren 87.87.876
Music: J.A. Freilinghausen, 1670-1739
Text: V.S.S. Coles, 1845-1929

Or:

The Spirit spread his wings over the Virgin's womb.
She conceived and gave birth.
And she became a virginal mother by great mercy.
She conceived and gave birth to a son without pain,
and there was a purpose for this.
She did not ask for a midwife to aid her,
because God saw to her delivery.
Like a human being, she gave birth according to the will of God.
Manifestly she gave birth.
With great power she acquired him.
With thanksgiving she loved him.
With kindness she guarded him.
With grandeur she manifested him.
Alleluia!

(Odes of Solomon, 2nd Century, 19, 6-11)


PSALMODY

Ant 1: Through his cross, Christ our peace has reconciled us to God.

Or: The Angel Gabriel brought tidings to Mary, and she conceived by the Holy Spirit.

Psalm 145
Praise of God's majesty
Lord, you are the just one, who was and who is (Revelation 16:5)

I

I will give you glory, O God my king,
I will bless your name for ever.

I will bless you day after day
and praise your name for ever.
The Lord is great, highly to be praised,
his greatness cannot be measured.

Age to age shall proclaim your works,
shall declare your mighty deeds,
shall speak of your splendor and glory,
tell the tale of your wonderful works.
They will speak of your terrible deeds,
recount your greatness and might.
They will recall your abundant goodness;
age to age shall ring out your justice.

The Lord is kind and full of compassion,
slow to anger, abounding in love.
How good is the Lord to all,
compassionate to all his creatures.

All your creatures shall thank you, O Lord,
and your friends shall repeat their blessing.
They shall speak of the glory of your reign
and declare your might, O God,

to make known to all your mighty deeds
and the glorious splendor of your reign.
Yours is an everlasting kingdom;
your rule lasts from age to age.

Ant. 2 We have come to the city of the living God, and to Jesus, mediator of the new Covenant.

Or: His mother stood beside the cross.

II

The Lord is faithful in all his words
and loving in all his deeds.
The Lord supports all who fall
and raise up all who are bowed down.

The eyes of all creatures look to you
and you give them their food in due time.
You open wide your hand,
grant the desires of all who live.

The Lord is just in all his ways
and loving in all his deeds.
He is close to all who call him,
who call on him from their hearts.

He grants the desires of those who fear him,
he hears their cry and he saves them.
The Lord protects all who love him ;
the wicked he will utterly destroy.

Let me speak the praise of the Lord,
let all peoples bless his holy name
for ever, for ages unending.

Ant 3: In Christ we have redemption through his blood.

Or: Rejoice, O Virgin Mother; Christ has risen from the dead.

Canticle                                                      Revelation 15:3-4
Hymn of adoration

Mighty and wonderful are your works,
Lord God Almighty!
Righteous and true are your ways,
O King of the nations!

Who would dare refuse you honor,
or the glory due your name, O Lord?

Since you alone are holy,
all nations shall come
and worship in your presence.
Your mighty deeds are clearly seen.

FIRST READING                                                       2 Tim 2:10-12a

I bear with everything for the sake of those who are chosen, so that they too may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus, together with eternal glory. This saying is trustworthy:

If we have died with him
  we shall also live with him;
if we persevere
  we shall also reign with him.

OR                                                      2 John 4-13

I rejoiced greatly to find some of your children walking in the truth just as we were commanded by the Father. But now, Lady, I ask you, not as though I were writing a new commandment but the one we have had from the beginning: let us love one another.  For this is love, that we walk according to his commandments;  this is the commandment, as you heard from the beginning, in which you should walk.  

Many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh; such is the deceitful one and the antichrist.  Look to yourselves that you  do not lose what we worked for but may receive a full recompense.  Anyone who is so "progressive"  as not to remain in the teaching of the Christ does not have God; whoever remains in the teaching has the Father and the Son. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this doctrine, do not receive him in your house or even greet him; for whoever greets him shares in his evil works.

Although I have much to write to you, I do not intend to use paper and ink. Instead, I hope to visit you and to speak face to face so that our joy may be complete. The children of your chosen sister send you greetings.

SECOND READING

From a sermon by St. Bernard, Abbott
(Sermo in dom. infra oct. Assumptionis, 14-15: Opera omnia, Edit. Cisterc. 5 [1968}, 273-274)

His mother stood by the cross

The martyrdom of the Virgin is set forth both in the prophecy of Simeon and in the actual story of our Lord's passion. The holy man said of the infant Jesus: He has been established as a sign which will be contradicted. He went on to say to Mary: And your own heart will be pierced by a sword."

Truly, O blessed Mother, a sword has pierced your heart. For only by passing through your heart could the sword enter the flesh of your Son. Indeed, after your Jesus--who belongs to everyone, but is especially yours--gave up his life, the cruel spear, which was not withheld from his lifeless body, tore upon his side. Clearly it did not touch his soul and could not harm him, but it did pierce your heart. For surely his soul was no longer there, but yours could not be torn away. Thus the violence of sorrow has cut through your heart, and we rightly call you more than martyr, since the effect of compassion in you has gone beyond the endurance of physical suffering.

Or were those words:"Woman, behold your son, not more than a sword to you, truly piercing your heart, cutting through to the division between soul and spirit? What an exchange! John is given to you in place of Jesus, the servant in place of the Lord, the Son of Zebedee replaces the Son of God, a mere man replaces God himself. How could these words not pierce your most loving heart, when the mere remembrance of them breaks ours, hearts of stone and iron though they are!

Or:

From a sermon by St. Bernard, Abbott
(Sermo in dom. infra oct. Assumptionis, 14-15: Opera omnia, Edit. Cisterc. 5 [1968}, 273-274)

A martyr in spirit

Do not be surprised, brothers, that Mary is said to be a martyr in spirit. Let him be surprised who does not remember the words of Paul, that one of the greatest crimes of the Gentiles was that they were without love. That was far from the heart of Mary; let it be far from her servants.

Perhaps someone will say: "Had she not known before that he would not die?" Undoubtedly. "Did she not expect him to rise again at once?" Surely. "And still she grieved over her crucified Son?" Intensely. Who are you and what is the source of your wisdom that you are more surprised at the compassion of Mary than at the passion of Mary's Son? For if he could die in body, could she not die with him in spirit? He died in body through a love greater than anyone had known. She died in spirit through a love unlike any other since his.

Who are you and what is the source of your wisdom that you are more surprised at the compassion of Mary than at the passion of Mary's Son? For if he could die in body, could she not die with him in spirit? He dies in body through a love greater than anyone had known. She died in spirit through a love unlike any other since his.

RESPONSORY
Holy Mary, heaven's Queen and our Lady you stood by the cross of the Lord.
- Holy Mary, heaven's Queen and our Lady you stood by the cross of the Lord.
Happy is she, who without dying has won the martyr's crown.
- you stood by the cross of the Lord.
Glory to the Father, and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit
- Holy Mary, heaven's Queen and our Lady you stood by the cross of the Lord.

Or:

The Lord has chosen her,
his loved one from the beginning
 - The Lord has chosen her,
his loved one from the beginning
He has taken her to live with him,
 - his loved one from the beginning.
Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit
 - The Lord has chosen her, his loved one from the beginning.

CANTICLE OF MARY                                                      Luke 1:46-55

Ant: When Jesus saw his mother standing beside the cross with the disciple whom he loved, he said to her: Woman, behold your son. Then he said to the disciple: Behold your mother.

My soul rejoices in the Lord.

My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord,
my spirit rejoices in God my Savior;
for he has looked with favor on his lowly servant.

From this day all generations will call me blessed:
the Almighty has done great things for me,
and holy is his Name.

He has mercy on those who fear him
in every generation.

He has shown the strength of his arm,
he has scattered the proud in their conceit.

He has cast down the mighty from their thrones,
and has lifted up the lowly.

He has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich he has sent away empty.

He has come to the help of his servant Israel,
for he has remembered his promise of mercy,
The promise he made to our fathers,
to Abraham and his children for ever.

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.

INTERCESSIONS

Let us praise God, our almighty Father, who wished that Mary, his Son's mother, be celebrated by each generation.  Now in need we ask:

Mary, full of grace, intercede for us.

O God, worker of miracles, you made the immaculate Virgin Mary share, body and soul, in your Son's glory in heaven,
- direct the hearts of your children to that same glory.

You made Mary our mother.  Through her intercession grant strength to the weak, comfort to the sorrowing, pardon to sinners,
- Salvation and peace to all.

You made Mary full of grace,
- grant all men the joyful abundance of your grace.

Make your Church of one mind and one heart in love,
- and help all those who believe to be one in prayer with Mary, the mother of Jesus.

You crowned Mary queen of heaven,
- may all the dead rejoice in your kingdom with the saints for ever.

Our Father…

CONCLUDING PRAYER

Father,
as your Son was raised on the cross,
his mother Mary stood by him, sharing his sufferings.
May your Church be united with Christ
in his suffering and death
and so come to share in his rising to new life,
where he lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

May the Lord bless us,
protect us from evil
and bring us to everlasting life.
 -  Amen.

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 forever.  Amen.

HYMN

Hail, holy Queen of the Heavens.
Hail, holy Queen of the Angels.
Hail, Root of Jesse.
Hail, Gate of Heaven.
By you the Light has entered the world.
Rejoice, glorious Virgin,
Beautiful among all women.
Hail, radiant Splendor,
Intercede with Christ for us.

Melody: Hail Holy Queen.
Music: Lucien Deiss, C.S. Sp. 1965
Text: Lucien Deiss, C.S. Sp. 1965

Or:

Holy Mary,
my Queen and sovereign Lady,
I give you myself,
trusting in your fidelity and your protection.

I surrender myself entirely
to your motherly tenderness,
my body, my soul,
all that I am,
all that I possess,
for the whole of this day,
for every moment of my life,
and especially at the hour of my death.

I entrust to you once more
all my hopes, all my consolations,
all my anxieties, all my troubles,
my life, my dying breath,
so that by your prayers and merits,
I may have, in all I do, one only goal,
your good pleasure and the holy will of your Son.

St Pere Raphael (17th century)



PSALMODY

Ant.1 Blessed are you, O Mary, for the world's salvation came forth through you; now in glory, you rejoice for ever with the Lord.

or: Arise, O Virgin Queen, you are for ever worthy of our praise; take your place in the glorious dwelling place of our eternal King.


Psalm 92
Praise of God the Creator

Sing in praise of Christ's redeeming work. (St. Athanasius)

It is good to give thanks to the Lord,
to make music to your name, O Most High,
to proclaim your love in the morning
and your truth in the watches of the night,
on the ten-stringed lyre and the lute,
with the murmuring sound of the harp.

Your deeds, O Lord, have made me glad;
for the work of your hands I shout with joy.
O Lord, how great are your works!
How deep are your designs!
The foolish man cannot know this
and the fool cannot understand.

Though the wicked spring up like grass
and all who do evil thrive,
they are doomed to be eternally destroyed.
But you, Lord, are eternally on high.
See how your enemies perish;
all doers of evil are scattered.

To me you give the wild ox's strength;
you anoint me with the purest oil.
My eyes looked in triumph on my foes;
my ears heard gladly of their fall.
The just will flourish like the palm tree
and grow like a Lebanon cedar.

Planted in the house of the Lord
they will flourish in the courts of our God,
still bearing fruit when they are old,
still full of sap, still green,
to proclaim that the Lord is just.
In him, my rock, there is no wrong.

Ant. 2 The Virgin Mary is exalted above the choirs of angels; let all believers rejoice and bless the Lord.

Or: The Lord has chosen her, his loved one from the beginning. He has taken her to live with him.

Canticle                                  Ezekiel 36:24-28
The Lord will renew his people

They will be his own people, and God himself will be with them, their own God. (Revelation 21:3)

I will take you away from among the nations,
gather you from all the foreign lands,
and bring you back to your own land.

I will sprinkle clean water upon you
to cleanse you from all your impurities,
and from all your idols I will cleanse you.

I will give you a new heart
and place a new spirit within you,
taking from your bodies your stony hearts
and giving you natural hearts.

I will put my spirit within you
and make you live by my statutes,
careful to observe my decrees.
You shall live in the land I gave your fathers;
you shall be my people,
and I will be your God.

Ant. 3: The Lord has made you so glorious that your praise will never cease to resound among men.

Or: Glorious things are said of you, O Virgin Mary.

Psalm 8
The majesty of the Lord and man's dignity

The Father gave Christ lordship of creation (Ephesians 1:22)

How great is your name, O Lord our God,
through all the earth!

Your majesty is praised above the heavens;
on the lips of children and of babes
you have found praise to foil your enemy,
to silence the foe and the rebel.

When I see the heavens, the work of your hands,
the moon and the stars which you arranged,
what is man that you should keep him in mind,
mortal man that you care for him?

Yet you have made him little less than a god;
with glory and honor you crowned him,
gave him power over the works of your hands,
put all things under his feet.

All of them, sheep and cattle,
yes, even the savage beasts,
birds of the air, and fish
that make their way through the waters.

How great is your name, O Lord our God
through all the earth!

FIRST READING                                                      See Isaiah 61:10

I rejoice heartily in the Lord,
  in my God is the joy of my soul;
For he has clothed me with a robe of salvation,
  and wrapped me in a mantle of justice,
  like a bride bedecked with her jewels.

Or                                                       Revelation 12:1

A great sign appeared in the sky, a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars.

Or                                                       Judith 13:17-20

All the people were greatly astonished. They bowed down and worshiped God, saying with one accord, "Blessed are you, our God, who today have brought to nought the enemies of your people."

Then Uzziah said to her: "Blessed are you, daughter, by the Most High God, above all the women on earth; and blessed be the Lord God, the creator of heaven and earth, who guided your blow at the head of the chief of our enemies. Your deed of hope will never be forgotten by those who tell of the might of God.

"May God make this redound to your everlasting honor, rewarding you with blessings, because you risked your life when your people were being oppressed, and you averted our disaster, walking uprightly before our God." And all the people answered, "Amen! Amen!"

SECOND READING

From a letter by Paschasius Radbert, abbot
(Letter Cogito me 20-23,26,28: PL 30, 122,42)

Mary is taken from earth

Today the glorious, ever-virgin Mary ascends to heaven. I urge you to rejoice, for, if I may so put it, she has been raised up in an ineffable way to be with Christ who reigns for ever. The Queen of the world is today taken from the earth and from this present evil time. I say again: rejoice, because she who is sure of her imperishable glory has reached the palace of heaven.

Exalt, I say, and rejoice, and let the whole world rejoice, because this day Salvation has drawn nearer for us all...

"Hail, Mary, full of grace; the Lord is with thee; blessed art thou amongst women." It was fitting that the Virgin should be given such gifts and be full of grace, since she has bestowed glory on heaven and has brought God and peace to the earth, faith to pagans, an end to vice, order to life, and discipline to morals.

And it was right that an angel be sent to the Virgin, because virginity always means kinship with the angels...

"Rejoice," the angel says, "for you are full of grace." Yes, full! for while a share of grace was given to others, the undiminished fullness of grace was poured into Mary.

RESPONSORY
The Virgin Mary was taken up to heaven.
 - The Virgin Mary was taken up to heaven.
For all eternity she shares the victory of Christ.
 - The Virgin Mary was taken up to heaven.
Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit,
 - The Virgin Mary was taken up to heaven.

Or:

After the birth of your son, you remained a virgin.
 - After the birth of your son, you remained a virgin.
Mother of God, intercede for us;
 - you remained a virgin.
Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit,
 - After the birth of your son, you remained a virgin.

CANTICLE OF ZECHARIAH                                                       Luke 1:68-79

Ant. This daughter of Jerusalem is lovely and beautiful as she ascends to heaven like the rising sun at daybreak.

The Messiah and his forerunner

Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel;
he has come to his people and set them free.
 
He has raised up for us a mighty savior,
born of the house of his servant David.
 
Through his holy prophets he promised of old,
  that he would save us from our enemies,
  from the hands of all who hate us.
 
He promised to show mercy to our fathers
and to remember his holy covenant.
 
This was the oath he swore to our father Abraham,
to set us free from the hands of our enemies,
free to worship him without fear,
holy and righteous in his sight
 all the days of our life.
 
You, my child, shall be called the prophet of the Most High,
for you will go before the Lord to prepare his way,
 
To give his people knowledge of salvation
by the forgiveness of their sins.
 
In the tender compassion of our God
the dawn from on high shall break upon us,
to shine on those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death,
and to guide our feet into the way of peace.
 
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.

INTERCESSIONS

Let us glorify our Savior, who chose the Virgin Mary for his mother. Let us ask him:

May your mother intercede for us, Lord.


Eternal Word, you chose Mary as the uncorrupted ark of your dwelling place,
-free us from the corruption of sin.

You are our redeemer, who made the immaculate Virgin Mary your purest home and the sanctuary of the Holy Spirit,
- make us temples of your Spirit for ever.

King of kings, you lifted up your mother, body and soul, into heaven,
- help us to fix our thoughts on things above.

Lord of heaven and earth, you crowned Mary and set her at your right hand as queen,
- make us worthy to share this glory.

Our Father…

CONCLUDING PRAYER

All-powerful and ever-living God,
you raised the sinless Virgin Mary,
mother of your Son,
body and soul to the glory of heaven.
May we see heaven as our final goal
and come to share her 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.

May the Lord bless us,
protect us from evil
and bring us to everlasting life.
 -  Amen.

SATURDAY

Evening Prayer

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 forever.  Amen.

HYMN

Praise to Mary, Heaven's Gate,
Guiding Star of Christians' way,
Mother of our Lord and King,
Light and hope to souls astray.

When you heard the call of God
Choosing to fulfill his plan,
By your perfect act of love
Hope was born in fallen man.

Help us to amend our ways,
Halt the devil's strong attack,
Walk with us the narrow path,
Beg for us the grace we lack.

Mary, show your motherhood,
Bring your children's prayers to Christ,
Christ, your son, who ransomed man,
Who, for us, was sacrificed.

Virgin chosen, singly blest,
Ever faithful to God's call,
Guide us in this earthy life,
Guard us lest, deceived, we fall.

Mary, help us live our faith
So that we may see your son;
Join our humble prayers to yours,
Till life's ceaseless war is won.

Praise the Father, praise the Son,
Praise the holy Paraclete;
Offer all through Mary's hands,
Let her make our prayers complete.

Melody: Gott sei dank 77.77
Music: Freylinghausen's , 1670-1739
Text: V.S.S. Coles, 1845-1929

Or:

My Lady, my refuge,
life and help,
my armor and my boast,
my hope and my strength,
grant that I may enjoy
the ineffable, inconceivable gifts of your Son,
your God and our God,
in the heavenly kingdom.
For I know surely
that you have power to do as you will,
since you are Mother of the Most High.
Therefore, Lady Most Pure,
I beg you
that I may not be disappointed in my expectations
but may obtain them, O spouse of God,
who bore him who is the expectation of all:
Our Lord Jesus Christ,
true God and Master of all things,
visible and invisible,
to whom belongs all glory, honor, and respect,
now and always and through endless ages. Amen.

Saint Germanius of Constantinople (c. 634-730)



PSALMODY

Ant 1: Mary has been taken up to heaven; the angels rejoice. They bless the Lord and sing his praises.

Or: Christ ascended into heaven and prepared an everlasting place for his immaculate Mother.

Psalm 122
Holy city Jerusalem
You have come to Mount Zion, the city of the living God, heavenly Jerusalem (Hebrews 12:22)

I rejoiced when I heard them say:
Let us go to God's house.
And now our feet are standing
within your gates, O Jerusalem.

Jerusalem is built as a city
strongly compact.
It is there that the tribes go up,
the tribes of the Lord.

For Israel's law it is,
there to praise the Lord's name.
There were set the thrones of judgment
of the house of David.

For the peace of Jerusalem pray:
Peace be to your homes!

For love of my brethren and friends
I say: Peace upon you.
For love of the house of the Lord
I will ask for your good.

Ant. 2 The Virgin Mary was taken up to the heavenly bridal chamber where the King of kings is seated on a heavenly throne.

Or: Through Eve the gates of heaven were closed to all mankind: through the Virgin Mother they were opened wide again.

Psalm 130
A cry from the depths
He himself will save his people from their sins (Matthew 1:21).

Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord,
Lord, hear my voice!
O let your ears be attentive
to the voice of my pleading.

If you, O Lord, should mark our guilt,
Lord, who would survive?
But with you is found forgiveness:
for this we revere you.

My soul is waiting for the Lord.
I count on his word.
My soul is longing for the Lord
more than watchman for daybreak.
(Let the watchman count on daybreak
and Israel on the Lord.)

Because with the Lord there is mercy
and fullness of redemption,
Israel indeed he will redeem
from all its iniquity.

Ant 3: We share the fruit of life through you, O daughter blessed by the Lord.

Or: The Virgin Mary has been exalted above all the heavens; come, let all men glorify Christ the King, whose kingdom will endure for ever.

Canticle                                                      Philippians 2:6-11
Christ, God's holy servant

Though he was in the form of God,
Jesus did not deem equality with God
something to be grasped at.

Rather, he emptied himself
and took the form of a slave,
being born in the likeness of men.

He was known to be of human estate
and it was thus that he humbled himself,
obediently accepting even death,
death on a cross!

Because of this,
God highly exalted him
and bestowed on him the name
above every other name,  

So that at Jesus' name
every knee must bend
in the heavens, on the earth,
and under the earth,
and every tongue proclaim
to the glory of God the Father:  
JESUS CHRIST IS LORD!  

FIRST READING                                                       1 Cor 15:22-23

Just as in Adam all die, so too in Christ shall all be brought to life, but each one in proper order: Christ the firstfruits; then, at his coming, those who belong to Christ.

OR                                                      Judith 13:17b, 18a

Blessed are you, our God, who today have brought to nought the enemies of your people. Blessed are you, daughter, by the Most High God, above all the women on earth.

OR                                                      Revelation 12:1

A great sign appeared in the sky, a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars.

OR                                                      Romans 5:12-21

Just as through one person sin entered the world, and through sin, death, and thus death came to all, inasmuch as all sinned - for up to the time of the law, sin was in the world, though sin is not accounted when there is no law. But death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those who did not sin after the pattern of the trespass of Adam, who is the type of the one who was to come.

But the gift is not like the transgression. For if by that one person's transgression the many died, how much more did the grace of God and the gracious gift of the one person Jesus Christ overflow for the many. And the gift is not like the result of the one person's sinning. For after one sin there was the judgment that brought condemnation; but the gift, after many transgressions, brought acquittal. For if, by the transgression of one person, death came to reign through that one, how much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of justification come to reign in life through the one person Jesus Christ.  In conclusion, just as through one transgression condemnation came upon all, so through one righteous act acquittal and life came to all.  For just as through the disobedience of one person the many were made sinners, so through the obedience of one the many will be made righteous.  The law entered in so that transgression might increase but, where sin increased, grace overflowed all the more, so that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through justification for eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

SECOND READING

From a homily on the falling asleep of the Blessed Virgin Mary by Saint Germanus of Constantinople, bishop
(In Dormitionem B. Mariae I: PG 98, 345-348)

The Assumption of Mary

Truly, yes truly, and again I shall say in thanksgiving: even though you have left us, you have not deserted the Christian race. You who are like incorruptible life have not abandoned our mortal world, but on the contrary you draw near to those who call upon your name. You are found by those who faithfully seek you. And these visions indicate a living and continually active spirit and an everlasting body. For how could dissolution of the body return you to dust and ashes, you who delivered the human race from the destruction of death through the incarnation of your Son?

Indeed you left our earth to prove that the mystery of the awe-inspiring incarnation was really fulfilled. The fact that you waited for the natural end of human life would convince the world that the God who was born of you came into being also as perfect man, the Son of a true Mother, who was subject to the laws and constraints of nature, by divine decree and the requirement of an earthly lifetime. As one who possessed a human body you could not escape death, the common fate of humanity.

Thus even your Son, though God of all things, even he, through sharing, so to speak, the mortality of all our race, "tasted" a similar bodily "death." It was clearly in the same way as he made his own life-giving tomb that he made your sepulcher wonderful also, as the tomb of your falling asleep, a tomb which received life; therefore both tombs really received your bodies, but could in no way affect them with corruption. For nor could you, as the vessel which contained God, waste away to dust in the destruction of death.

For since he who humbled himself in you was God from beginning and eternal life, so the Mother of Life was to share the dwelling of Life, to accept her death like a sleep and consent to her translation like a waking, as the Mother of Life. For just as a child seeks and longs for its own mother, and the mother loves to spend her time with her child, so it was right that you, with your maternal love for your Son and God, should return to him. And it was right too that God, preserving a Son's love for you, should make his companionship with you into a perpetual association.

In this way, then, you suffered the death of finite beings and the translation to the immortal way of life of eternal beings where God dwells; and because you are his companion, Mother of God, you do not abandon your life with him.

OR

From the Apostolic Constitution Munificentissimus Deus by Pope Pius XII
(AAS 42 [1950], 760-762,767-769)

Your body is holy and excelling in splendor

The august Mother of God was mysteriously united from all eternity with Jesus Christ in one and the same decree of predestination, immaculate in her conception, a virgin inviolate in her divine motherhood, the whole hearted companion of the divine Redeemer who won complete victory over sin and its consequences.

Thus, she gained at last the supreme crown of her privileges--to be preserved immune from the corruption of the tomb, and like her Son, when death had been conquered, to be carried up body and soul to the exalted glory of heaven, there to sit in splendor at the right hand of her Son, the immortal King of the ages.

RESPONSORY
The Virgin Mary is exalted above the choirs of angels.
- The Virgin Mary is exalted above the choirs of angels.
Blessed is the Lord who has raised her up.
- Above the choirs of the angels.
Glory to the Father, and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit
- The Virgin Mary is exalted above the choirs of angels.

Or:

As Mary is taken up to heaven,
the angels of God rejoice.
 - As Mary is taken up to heaven,
the angels of God rejoice.
They worship the Lord and sing his praises;
 - The angels of God rejoice.
Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit.
 - As Mary is taken up to heaven,
the angels of God rejoice.

CANTICLE OF MARY                                                      Luke 1:46-55

Ant: Today the Virgin Mary was taken up to heaven; rejoice, for she reigns with Christ for ever.

Or: All generations will call me blessed; the Almighty has done great things for me.

My soul rejoices in the Lord.

My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord,
my spirit rejoices in God my Savior;
for he has looked with favor on his lowly servant.

From this day all generations will call me blessed:
the Almighty has done great things for me,
and holy is his Name.

He has mercy on those who fear him
in every generation.

He has shown the strength of his arm,
he has scattered the proud in their conceit.

He has cast down the mighty from their thrones,
and has lifted up the lowly.

He has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich he has sent away empty.

He has come to the help of his servant Israel,
for he has remembered his promise of mercy,
The promise he made to our fathers,
to Abraham and his children for ever.

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.

INTERCESSIONS

Let us praise God, our almighty Father, who wished that Mary, his Son's mother, be celebrated by each generation.  Now in need we ask:

Mary, full of grace, intercede for us.

O God, worker of miracles, you made the immaculate Virgin Mary share, body and soul, in your Son's glory in heaven,
- direct the hearts of your children to that same glory.

You made Mary our mother.  Through her intercession grant strength to the weak, comfort to the sorrowing, pardon to sinners,
- Salvation and peace to all.

You made Mary full of grace,
- grant all men the joyful abundance of your grace.

Make your Church of one mind and one heart in love,
- and help all those who believe to be one in prayer with Mary, the mother of Jesus.

You crowned Mary queen of heaven,
- may all the dead rejoice in your kingdom with the saints for ever.

Our Father…

CONCLUDING PRAYER

All-powerful and everliving God,
you raised the sinless Virgin Mary,
mother of your Son,
body and soul to the glory of heaven.
May we see heaven as our final goal
and come to share her glory.

May the Lord bless us,
protect us from evil
and bring us to everlasting life.
 -  Amen.



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

Invitatory

Ant. Come, let us worship Christ, the Son of Mary.

or: Come, let us sing to the Lord as we celebrate this feast of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Psalm 95
A call to praise God

Encourage each other daily while it is still today. (Hebrews 3:13)

(The anitphon is recited and then repeated)

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.

(Antiphon repeated)

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.

(Antiphon repeated)

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.

(Antiphon repeated)

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.

(Antiphon repeated)

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.”

(Antiphon repeated)

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.

(Antiphon repeated)

Office of Readings

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 forever.  Amen.

HYMN

The God whom earth and sea and sky
Adore and laud and magnify,
Whose might they own, whose praise they swell,
in Mary's body deigned to dwell.

O Mother blest! the chosen shrine
Wherein the architect divine,
Whose hand contains the earth and sky,
Vouchsafed in hidden guise to lie.

Blest in the message Gabriel brought,
Blest in the work the Spirit wrought;
Most blest to bring to human birth
The long desired of all the earth

O Lord, the Virgin-born, to thee
Eternal praise and glory be,
Whom with the Father we adore
And Holy Ghost for evermore.

Melody: Eisenach L.M.
Music: Johan H. Schein, 1586-1630
Text: Venantius Fortunatus
Translator: J.M. Neale, 1818-1866

Or:


Ye who own the faith of Jesus,
sing the wonders that were done
when the love of God the Father
over sin the victory won,
when he made the Virgin Mary
mother of his only Son.
Hail Mary, full of grace.

Blessed were the chosen people
out of whom the Lord did come;
blessed was the land of promise
fashioned for his earthly home;
but more blessed far the mother,
she who bare him in her womb.
Hail Mary, full of grace.

Wherefore let all faithful people
tell the honor of her name;
let the Church, in her foreshadowed,
part in her thanksgiving claim;
what Christ's mother sang in gladness
let Christ's people sing the same.
Hail Mary, full of grace.

Praise, O Mary, praise the Father,
praise thy Savior and thy Son,
praise the everlasting Spirit,
who hath made thee ark and throne
o'er all creatures high exalted,
lowly praise the Three in One.
Hail Mary, full of grace.

Melody: Den das Vaters Sinn geboren 87.87.876
Music: J.A. Freylinghausen, 1670-1739
Text: V.S.S. Coles, 1845-1929


PSALMODY

Ant.1 Mary received a blessing from the Lord and loving kindness from God her savior.

Psalm 24
The Lord's entry into his temple

Christ opened heaven for us when he assumed humanity. (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.

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.

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.
Amen.

Ant. 1 Mary received a blessing from the Lord and loving kindness from God her savior.

Ant. 2The most high has made his dwelling place a holy temple.

Psalm 46
God our refuge and strength

He shall be called Emmanuel which means: God-with-us (Matthew 1:23)

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.

Ant. 2: The most high has made his dwelling place a holy temple..

Ant. 3 Glorious things are said of you, O Virgin Mary.

Psalm 150
Praise the Lord

Let mind and heart be in your song: this is to glorify God with your whole self (Hesychius)

On the holy mountain is his city
cherished by the Lord.
The Lord prefers the gates of Zion
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 Zion 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.
Amen.

Ant. 3 Glorious things are said of you, O Virgin Mary.

FIRST READING                                                      Galatians 3:22-4:7

Scripture confined all things under the power of sin, that through faith in Jesus Christ the promise might be given to those who believe.  

Before faith came, we were held in custody under law, confined for the faith that was to be revealed.  Consequently, the law was our disciplinarian for Christ, that we might be justified by faith.  But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a disciplinarian.  For through faith you are all children of God in Christ Jesus.  For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.  There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free person, there is not male and female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.  And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's descendant, heirs according to the promise.  

I mean that as long as the heir is not of age, he is no different from a slave, although he is the owner of everything,  but he is under the supervision of guardians and administrators until the date set by his father.  In the same way we also, when we were not of age, were enslaved to the elemental powers of the world.  But when the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law,  to ransom those under the law, so that we might receive adoption.  As proof that you are children, God sent the spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying out, "Abba, Father!"  So you are no longer a slave but a child, and if a child then also an heir, through God.

RESPONSORY
See Gal. 4:4-5; Eph. 2:4; Rom. 8:3

When the fullness of time had come,
God sent to earth his own Son,
born of a woman, subject to the law;  
 - to deliver those under the law.

Because of his great love for us,
God sent his own Son
in the likeness of our sinful flesh.
 - To deliver those under the law.   

SECOND READING

From a sermon by Saint Aelred, abbot
(Sermo 20, in Nativitate beatiae Mariae: PL 195, 322-324)

Mary our mother

Let us come to his bride, his mother, his perfect handmaid, for the blessed Mary is all of this.

But what are we to do for her? What kind of gifts shall we offer her? Would that we could at least return what we are in duty bound to do, for we owe her honor and service, we owe her love and praise. We owe her honor, for she is the mother of our Lord. He who fails to honor the mother clearly dishonors the son. Also, Scripture says: Honor your father and your mother.

What then, my brothers, shall we say? Is she not our mother? Yes, my brothers, she is indeed our mother, for through her we have been born, not for the world but for God.

Once we all lay in death, as you know and believe, in sin, in darkness, in misery. In death, because we had lost the Lord; in sin, because of our corruption; in darkness, for we were without the light of wisdom, and thus had perished utterly.

But then we were born, far better than through Eve, through Mary the blessed, because Christ was born of her. We have recovered new life in place of sin, immortality instead of mortality, light in place of darkness.

She is our mother, the mother of our life, the mother of our incarnation, the mother of our light. As the Apostle says of our Lord, he became for us by God’s power our wisdom and justice, and holiness and redemption.

She then, as mother of Christ, is the mother of our wisdom and justice, of our holiness and redemption. She is more our mother than the mother of our flesh. Our birth from her is better, for from her is born our holiness, our wisdom, our justice, our sanctification, our redemption.

Praise the Lord in his holy ones, say the Scriptures. If our Lord is to be praised in those holy ones through whom he brings to being deeds of power and miracles, how much more is he to be praised in her in whom he fashioned himself, who is wonderful beyond all wonders.

RESPONSORY

Happy are you, holy Virgin Mary, and most worthy of all praise;  
 - from your womb Christ the Sun of Justice has risen.
Through him we have salvation and deliverance.

Let us celebrate with joy this feast in honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
 - From your womb Christ the Sun of Justice has risen.    
Through him we have salvation and deliverance.

Or:

From the dogmatic constitution on the Church of the Second Vatican Council
(Lumen gentium, nn. 61-62)

Mary's motherhood in the order of grace

This motherhood of Mary in the order of grace — from the consent which she gave in faith at the annunciation, and which she continued to give unhesitatingly at the foot of the cross — lasts without interruption until all the elect enter into eternal fulfillment. When she was taken up into heaven, she did not lay aside this saving role but she continues by her intercession for all to gain for us the gifts of eternal salvation.

In her maternal love she cares for the brothers and sisters of her Son as they journey on earth in the midst of dangers and hardships, until they are brought safely home to the happiness of heaven.

The Blessed Virgin is thus invoked in the Church under the titles of Advocate, Auxiliatrix, Adjutrix and Mediatrix. These titles must not, however, be understood as in any way detracting from, or adding to, the dignity and effectiveness of Christ, the one Mediator.

No creature can ever be classed as an equal with the incarnate Word, the Redeemer. But just as the priesthood of Christ is shared in various ways by his ministers and his faithful people, and as the goodness of God, one though it is, is, in different ways, really shared with creatures, so also the unique mediation of Christ does not exclude but brings about a variety of shared cooperation, deriving from the one unique source.

The Church does not hesitate to acknowledge this kind of subordinate role in the person of Mary. The Church has continuous experience of its effects, and commends it to the hearts of the faithful, so that as they lean on her motherly protection they may be brought into closer union with the Mediator, our Savior.

RESPONSORY

O pure and holy Virgin, how can I find words to praise your beauty?
 - The highest heavens cannot contain God whom you carried in your womb.
Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb.
- The highest heavens cannot contain God whom you carried in your womb.




Canticle
Te Deum Laudamus

You are God: we praise you;
You are the Lord; we acclaim you;
You are the eternal Father:
All creation worships you.
To you all angels, all the powers of heaven,
Cherubim and Seraphim, sing in endless praise:
     Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might,
     heaven and earth are full of your glory.
The glorious company of apostles praise you.
The noble fellowship of prophets praise you.
The white-robed army of martyrs praise you.
Throughout the world the holy Church acclaims you;
     Father, of majesty unbounded,
     your true and only Son, worthy of all worship,
     and the Holy Spirit, advocate and guide.
You, Christ, are the king of glory,
the eternal Son of the Father.
When you became man to set us free
you did not shun the Virgin's womb.
You overcame the sting of death
and opened the kingdom of heaven to all believers.
You are seated at God's right hand in glory.
We believe that you will come and be our judge.
     Come then, Lord, and help your people,
     bought with the price of your own blood,
     and bring us with your saints
     to glory everlasting.

V. Save your people, Lord, and bless your inheritance;
R. Govern and uphold them, now and always.
V. Day by day we bless you;
R. We praise your Name for eveR.
V. Lord, keep us from all sin today;
R. Have mercy on us, Lord, have mercy.
V. Lord, show us your love and mercy;
R. For we put our trust in you.
V. In you, Lord, is our hope;
R. And we shall never hope in vain.

CONCLUDING PRAYER

Lord, our God,
You have made the Virgin Mary
the model for all who welcome your word
and who put it into practice.
Open our hearts to receive it with joy
and by the power of your Spirit
grant that we also may become a dwelling place
in which your word of salvation is fulfilled.

We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, forever and ever.

Let us praise the Lord,
 - and give him thanks. Amen.   


Daytime Prayer

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 forever. Amen.   

HYMN

Midmorning

Breathe on me, breath of God,
Fill me with life anew,
That I may love the things you love,
And do what you would do.

Breathe on me, breath of God,
Until my heart is pure,
Until with you I have one will,
To live and to endure.

Breathe on me, breath of God,
My soul with grace refine,
Until this earthly part of me
Glows with your fire divine.

Breathe on me, breath of God,
So I shall never die,
But live with you the perfect life
In your eternity.    

Melody: Yattendon 46
Music: H.E. Wooldridge, 1845-1917
Text: Edwin Hatch, 1835-1889,
adapted by Anthony G. Petti


Midday

Help us, O Lord, to learn
The truths thy Word imparts:
To study that thy laws may be
Inscribed upon our hearts.

Help us, O Lord, to live
The faith which we proclaim,
That all our thoughts and words and deeds
May glorify your name.

Help us, O Lord, to teach
The beauty of your ways,
That yearning souls may find the Christ,
And sing aloud his praise.    


Midafternoon

Firmly I believe and truly
God is three and God is one;
And I next acknowledge duly
Manhood taken by the Son.

And I trust and hope most fully
In that manhood crucified;
And I love supremely, solely
Christ who for my sins has died.

And I hold in veneration,
For the love of him alone,
Holy Church as his creation,
And her teachings as his own.

Praise and thanks be ever given
With and through the angel host,
To the God of earth and heaven,
Father, Son and Holy Ghost.    

PSALMODY

Midmorning
Ant. All of them, united in heart, continued in prayer, with Mary the mother of Jesus.

Midday
Ant. The mother of Jesus said: Do whatever he asks of you.   

Midafternoon
Ant.  The Lord said to his mother: Woman, this is your son, and to the disciple: This is your mother.    


Ant. 1 Lead me, Lord, in the path of your commandments.   

Psalm 119:33-40

Teach me the demands of your precepts
And I will keep them to the end.
Train me to observe your law,
to keep it with my heart.

Guide me in the path of your commands;
for there is my delight.
Bend my heart to your will
and not to love of gain.  

Keep my eyes from what is false:
by your word, give me life.
Keep the promise you have made
to the servant who fears you.  

Keep me from the scorn I dread,
for your decrees are good.
See, I long for your precepts:
then in your justice, give me life.


Ant.2 Those who seek the Lord will be filled with every blessing.   


Psalm 34

             I.  

I will bless the Lord at all times,
his praise always on my lips;
in the Lord my soul shall make its boast.
The humble shall hear and be glad.

Glorify the Lord with me.
Together let us praise his name.
I sought the Lord and he answered me;
from all my terrors he set me free.

Look towards him and be radiant;
let your faces not be abashed.
This poor man called; the Lord heard him
and rescued him from all his distress.

The angel of the Lord is encamped
around those who revere him, to rescue them.
Taste and see that the Lord is good.
He is happy who seeks refuge in him.

Revere the Lord, you his saints.
They lack nothing, those who revere him.
Strong lions suffer want and go hungry
but those who seek the Lord lack no blessing.    

Ant. 3 Seek and strive after peace.   

Psalm 34

             II.

Come, children, and hear me
that I may teach you the fear of the Lord.
Who is he who longs for life
and many days, to enjoy his prosperity?

Then keep your tongue from evil
and your lips from seeking deceit.
Turn aside from evil and do good;
seek and strive after peace.

The Lord turns his face against the wicked
to destroy their remembrance from the earth.
The Lord turns his eyes to the just
and his ears to their appeal.

They call and the Lord hears
and rescues them in all their distress.
The Lord is close to the broken-hearted;
those whose spirit is crushed he will save.

Many are the trials of the just man
but from them all the Lord will rescue him.
He will keep guard over all his bones,
not one of his bones shall be broken.

Evil brings death to the wicked;
those who hate the good are doomed.
The Lord ransoms the souls of his servants.
Those who hide in him shall not be condemned.    


Midmorning
First Reading  
Zephaniah 3:14-15

Shout for joy, O daughter Zion!
  sing joyfully, 0 Israel!
Be glad and exult with all your heart,
  O daughter Jerusalem!
The King of Israel, the Lord,
  is in your midst.    

Second Reading
From a homily by St. Ambrose, bishop.

Let Mary's soul be in each of you

Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit after con­ceiving a son; Mary was filled before. “You are blessed,” said Elizabeth, “because you have believed.”

You too are blessed because you have heard and be­lieved. The soul of every believer conceives and brings forth the Word of God and recognizes his works. Let Mary’s soul be in each of you to glorify the Lord. Let her spirit be in each of you to rejoice in the Lord. Christ has only one Mother in the flesh, but we all bring forth Christ by faith. Every soul free from contamination of sin and inviolate in its purity can receive the Word of God.

Blessed are those who hear the word of God.
 - And cherish it in their hearts.    


Midday
First Reading
Zechariah 9:9

Rejoice heartily, O daughter Zion,
  shout for joy, O daughter Jerusalem.
See, your king shall come to you;
  a just savior is he.    

Second Reading
From a homily by Saint Chrysologus, bishop

Let no one judge in a human way what is done is a divine mystery

A virgin conceived and a virgin brought forth her child. Do not be disturbed at this conception or confused when you hear of this birth. Let no one judge in a human way what is done in a divine mystery. Let no one try to penetrate this heavenly mystery by earthly reasoning. Let no one treat this novel secret from knowledge of everyday occurrences. Let no one manipulate the work of love into an insult, or run the risk of losing faith.

Blessed is the womb of the Virgin Mary.
 - Who bore the Son of the Eternal Father.    

Midafternoon
First Reading
Judith 13:31

Blessed are you in every tent of Judah; and in every foreign nation, all who hear of you will be struck with terror.    

Second Reading  
From a homily by an unknown Greek author

Mary is celebrated in the sacred words of Scripture

Mary stood at your right hand, robed in a gown of gold, with adornment intricately wrought. Just as, being a woman, she was named queen and lady and Mother of God, so also now, standing as queen at the right hand of her most regal Son, she is celebrated in the sacred words of Scripture as clothed in the golden gown of incorruptibility. And so as we gaze upon him who is our king and lord and God, and upon her who is queen and lady and the Mother of God, contemplating them with the clear-sighted eye of our minds, let us repeat again and again unceasingly: The queen stands at your right hand, robed in a gown of gold with adornment intricately wrought.

Blessed are you among women.
 - And blessed is the fruit of your womb.    

  

Concluding Prayer

Lord, make the peace we pray for a reality: may we live our days in quiet joy and, with the help of the Virgin Mary’s prayers, safely reach your kingdom.

Grant this through Christ our Lord.    


Compline
Night Prayer

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 forever. Amen.   

CONFESSION
A brief examination of conscience should be made at this point. At its conclusion one of the penitential prayers may be said.

1.

I confess to almighty God,
and to you, my brothers and sisters,
that I have sinned through my own fault
in my thoughts and in my words,
in what I have done,
and in what I have failed to do;
and I ask blessed Mary, ever virgin,
all the angels and saints,
and you, my brothers and sisters,
to pray for me to the Lord our God.

2.

My God,
I am sorry for my sins with all my heart.
In choosing to do wrong
and failing to do good,
I have sinned against you
whom I should love above all things.
I firmly intend, with your help,
to do penance,
to sin no more,
and to avoid whatever leads me to sin.
Our Savior Jesus Christ
suffered and died for us.
In his name, my God, have mercy.

3.

Remember, Lord, your compassion and mercy
which you showed long ago.
Do not recall the sins and failings of my youth.
In your mercy remember me, Lord, because of your goodness.   


HYMN

O Christ, you are the light and day
Which drives away the night,
The ever shining Sun of God
And pledge of future light.

As now the evening shadows fall
Please grant us, Lord, we pray,
A quiet night to rest in you
Until the break of day.

Remember us, poor mortal men,
We humbly ask, 0 Lord,
And may your presence in our souls
Be now our great reward.   

PSALMODY

Antiphon. Night holds no terrors for me sleeping under God’s wings.   

Psalm 91

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
and abides in the shade of the Almighty
says to the Lord: “My refuge,
my stronghold, my God in whom I trust!”

It is he who will free you from the snare
of the fowler who seeks to destroy you;
he will conceal you with his pinions
and under his wings you will find refuge.

You will not fear the terror of the night
nor the arrow that flies by day,
nor the plague that prowls in the darkness
nor the scourge that lays waste at noon.

A thousand may fall at your side,
ten thousand fall at your right,
you, it will never approach;
his faithfulness is buckler and shield.

Your eyes have only to look
to see how the wicked are repaid,
you who have said: “Lord, my refuge!”
and have made the Most High your dwelling.

Upon you no evil shall fall,
no plague approach where you dwell.
For you has he commanded his angels,
to keep you in all your ways.

They shall bear you upon their hands
lest you strike your foot against a stone.
On the lion and the viper you will tread
and trample the young lion and the dragon.

Since he clings to me in love, I will free him;
protect him for he knows my name.
When he calls I shall answer: “I am with you.”
I will save him in distress and give him glory.

With length of life I will content him;
I shall let him see my saving power.   

First Reading  
Revelation 22:4-5

They will look upon his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. Night will be no more, nor will they need light from lamp or sun, for the Lord God shall give them light, and they shall reign forever and ever.    


Second Reading
From a homily by St. Bede the Venerable, priest.
(Lib. 1-4; CCL 122, 25-26, 30)
Remembering the example of God's Mother

By meditating upon the incarnation, our devotion is kindled, and by remembering the example of God’s Mother, we are encouraged to lead a life of virtue. Such virtues are best achieved in the evening. We are weary after the day’s work and worn out by our distractions. The time for rest is near, and our minds are ready for contemplation.     


RESPONSORY

Into  your hands, Lord, I commend my spirit.
 - Into your hands, Lord, I commend my spirit.  
Your have redeemed us, Lord God of truth.
 - I commend my spirit.   
Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit:
- Into your hands, Lord, I commend my spirit.      

    

NUNC DIMITTIS Canticle of Simeon
Luke 2:29-32


Antiphon
Protect us, Lord, as we stay awake; watch over us as we sleep, that awake, we may keep watch with Christ, and asleep, rest in his peace.   

Lord, now you let your servant go in peace;
your word has been fulfilled:
My own eyes have seen the salvation
which you have prepared in the sight of every people:
a light to reveal you to the nations
and the glory of your people Israel.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit:
As it was in the beginning, is now, and will be forever. Amen.    

Antiphon
Protect us, Lord, as we stay awake; watch over us as we sleep, that awake, we may keep watch with Christ, and asleep, rest in his peace.   

PRAYER

Father of holiness,
for the journey of your pilgrim Church on earth,
you have provided the Virgin Mary as a sign and beacon.
Through her intercession
sustain our faith and enliven our hope,
that no obstacle may divert us
from the road which brings us to salvation.
Grant this through Christ our Lord.   

BLESSING

May the all-powerful Lord grant us a restful night and a peaceful death.
 - Amen.


Antiphons of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Advent

Alma Redemptoris Mater

Loving mother of the Redeemer,
gate of heaven, star of the sea,
assist your people who have fallen yet strive to rise again.
To the wonderment of nature you bore your Creator,
yet remained a virgin after as before.
You who received Gabriel’s joyful greeting,
have pity on us poor sinners.   

Lent

Ave Regina Caelorum

Hail, Queen of heaven;
Hail, Mistress of the Angels;
Hail, root of Jesse;
Hail, the gate through which the Light rose over the earth.
Rejoice, Virgin most renowned and of unsurpassed beauty.   

Easter

Regina Caeli

Queen of heaven, rejoice, alleluia.
The Son whom you merited to bear, alleluia,
has risen as he said, alleluia.
Pray to God for us, alleluia.
Rejoice and be glad, 0 Virgin Mary, alleluia.
For the Lord has truly risen, alleluia.   

Ordinary Time


Salve, Regina

Hail, Holy Queen, Mother of Mercy.
Hail Our Life, Our Sweetness and Our Hope.
To thee do we cry, poor banished children of Eve.
To thee do we send up our sighs,
mourning and weeping, in this Valley of Tears.
Turn, then, most Gracious Advocate, thine Eyes of Mercy toward us.
And after this, our exile show unto us the Blessed Fruit of thy Womb, Jesus.
O clement, O loving, O Sweet Virgin Mary.


This Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary ©Catholic Book Publishing Corp, NJ, 1988

 
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