December 22

Office of Readings

The first part of the Office is from the current weekday of Advent:

Week 3

Office of Readings
Office of Readings
Office of Readings
Office of Readings
Office of Readings
Office of Readings

Week 4

Office of Readings
Office of Readings
Office of Readings
Office of Readings
Office of Readings
Office of Readings

Hear the word of the Lord, all you nations.
- Proclaim it to the ends of the earth.


From the book of the prophet Isaiah           49:14-50:1

The restoration of Zion

Zion said, "The Lord has forsaken me;
  my Lord has forgotten me."
Can a mother forget her infant,
  be without tenderness for the child of her womb?
Even should she forget,
  I will never forget you.
See, upon the palms of my hands I have written your name;
  your walls are ever before me.
Your rebuilders make haste,
  as those who tore you down and laid you waste go forth from you;

Look about and see,
  they are all gathering and coming to you.
As I live, says the Lord,
  you shall be arrayed with them all as with adornments,
  like a bride you shall fasten them on you.
Though you were waste and desolate,
  a land of ruins,
Now you shall be too small for your inhabitants,
  while those who swallowed you up will be far away.
The children whom you had lost
  shall yet say to you,
"This place is too small for me,
  make room for me to live in."
You shall ask yourself:
  "Who has borne me these?
I was bereft and barren
  exiled and repudiated;
  who has reared them?
I was left all alone;
  where then do these come from?"

    Thus says the Lord God:
See, I will lift up my hand to the nations,
  and raise my signal to the peoples;
They shall bring your sons in their arms,
  and your daughters shall be carried on their shoulders.
Kings shall be your foster fathers,
  their princesses your nurses;
Bowing to the ground, they shall worship you
  and lick the dust at your feet.
Then you shall know that I am the Lord,
  and those who hope in me shall never be disappointed.

    Thus says the Lord:
Can booty be taken from a warrior?
  or captives be rescued from a tyrant?
Yes, captives can be taken from a warrior,
  and booty be rescued from a tyrant;
Those who oppose you I will oppose,
  and your sons I will save.

I will make your oppressors eat their own flesh,
  and they shall be drunk with their own blood
  as with the juice of the grape.
All mankind shall know
  that I, the Lord, am your savior,
  your redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob.

    Thus says the Lord:
Where is the bill of divorce
  with which I dismissed your mother?
Or to which of my creditors
  have I sold you?
It was for your sins that you were sold,
  for your crimes that your mother was dismissed.

RESPONSORY           Isaiah 49:15; see Psalm 27:10
Could a mother ever forget her infant,
and not take compassion on the child of her womb?
- Even if a mother should forget,
I would never forget you, says the Lord.

My father and my mother have neglected me,
but you, Lord, have lifted me up.
- Even if a mother should forget,
I would never forget you, says the Lord.


From a commentary of Luke by Venerable Bede, priest
(Lib 1, 46-55: CCL 120, 37-39)

The Magnificat

Mary said: My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord, my spirit rejoices in God my Savior. The Lord has exalted me by a gift so great, so unheard of, that language is useless to describe it, and the depths of love in my heart can scarcely grasp it. I offer then all the powers of my soul in praise and thanksgiving. As I contemplate his greatness, which knows no limits, I joyfully surrender my whole life, my senses, my judgment, for my spirit rejoices in the eternal Godhead of that Jesus, that Savior, whom I have conceived in this world of time.

The Almighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name.

Mary looks back to the beginning of her song, where she said: My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord. Only that soul for whom the Lord in his love does great things can proclaim his greatness with fitting praise and encourage those who share her desire and purpose, saying: Join with me in proclaiming the greatness of the Lord; let us extol his name together.

Those who know the Lord, yet refuse to proclaim his greatness and sanctify his name to the limit of their power, will be called least in the kingdom of heaven. His name is called holy because in the sublimity of his unique power he surpasses every creature and is far removed from all that he had made.

He has come to the help of his servant Israel for he has remembered his promise of mercy. In a beautiful phrase Mary calls Israel the servant of the Lord. The Lord came to his aid to save him. Israel is an obedient and humble servant, in the words of Hosea: Israel was a servant, and I loved him.

Those who refuse to be humble cannot be saved. They cannot say with the prophet: See, God comes to my aid; the Lord is the helper of my soul. But anyone who makes himself humble like a little child is greater in the kingdom of heaven.

The promise he made to our fathers, to Abraham and his children for ever. This does not refer to the physical descendants of Abraham, but to his spiritual children. These are his descendants, sprung not from the flesh only, but who, whether circumcised or not, have followed him in faith. Circumcised as he was, Abraham believed, and this was credited to him as an act of righteousness.

The coming of the Savior was promised to Abraham and to his descendants for ever. These are the children of promise, to whom it is said: If you belong to Christ, then you are descendants of Abraham, heirs in accordance with the promise.

RESPONSORY           Luke 1:48-50
From this day, all generations will call me blessed.
- The almighty has done great things for me,
holy is his Name.

He has mercy on those who fear him
in every generation.
- The almighty has done great things for me,
holy is his Name.

O God, who, seeing the human race fallen into death,
willed to redeem it by the coming of your Only Begotten Son,
grant, we pray,
that those who confess his Incarnation with humble fervor
may merit his company as their Redeemer.
Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God, for ever and ever.

Let us praise the Lord.
- And give him thanks.

The English translation of Psalm Responses, Alleluia Verses, Gospel Verses from Lectionary for Mass 1969, 1981, 1997, International Commission on English in the Liturgy Corporation (ICEL); the English translation of Antiphons, Invitatories, Responsories, Intercessions, Psalm 95, the Canticle of the Lamb, Psalm Prayers, Non-Biblical Readings from The Liturgy of the Hours 1973, 1974, 1975, ICEL; excerpts from the English translation of The Roman Missal 2010, ICEL. All rights reserved. Used with permission.


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