ASCENSION

Office of Readings



Invitatory
The Invitatory opens the first Office of the day. If Morning Prayer is the first Office of the day, begin below.

Lord, open my lips.
 - And my mouth shall proclaim your praise.

Psalm 95 is the traditional Invitatory Psalm. Psalm 24, 67, or 100 may be substituted.

Antiphon: Come, let us adore Christ the Lord who promised to send the Holy Spirit on his people, alleluia.




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 for ever.
Amen. Alleluia.

HYMN

-

Refrain
Hail thee, festival day!
Blest day that art hallowed for ever;
Day when the Christ ascends,
High in the heavens to reign.

Lo, the fair beauty of earth,
From the death of the winter arising!
Ev’ry good gift of the year
Now with its Master returns:

Refrain

He who was nailed to the cross
Is Lord and the ruler of all men;
All things created on earth
Sing to the glory of God:

Refrain

God the All-Father, the Lord,
Who rulest the earth and the heavens,
Guard us from harm without,
Cleanse us from evil within:

Refrain

Jesus the health of the world,
Enlighten our minds, thou Redeemer,
Son of the Father supreme,
Only begotten of God:

Refrain

Melody: Salve Festa Dies; Music: R. Vaughan Williams, 1906; Text:
Venantius Honorius Fortunatus, 530-609



PSALMODY

Antiphon 1: Sing to God, sing psalms to his name, make a path for him who rides high above the clouds, alleluia.
 


                         I
Let God arise, let his foes be scattered.
Let those who hate him flee before him.
As smoke is blown away so will they be blown away;
like wax that melts before the fire,
so the wicked shall perish at the presence of God.

But the just shall rejoice at the presence of God,
they shall exult and dance for joy.
O sing to the Lord, make music to his name;
make a highway for him who rides on the clouds.
Rejoice in the Lord, exult at his presence.

Father of the orphan, defender of the widow,
such is God in his holy place.
God gives the lonely a home to live in;
he leads the prisoners forth into freedom;
but rebels must dwell in a parched land.

When you went forth, O God, at the head of your people,
when you marched across the desert, the earth trembled:
the heavens melted at the presence of God,
at the presence of God, Israel's God.

You poured down, O God, a generous rain;
when your people were starved you gave them new life.
It was there that your people found a home,
prepared in your goodness, O God, for the poor. Glory...

Antiphon 1: Sing to God, sing psalms to his name, make a path for him who rides high above the clouds, alleluia.


Antiphon 2: The Lord God ascended on high; he has led captivity captive, alleluia.

                         II
The Lord gives the word to the bearers of good tidings:
"The Almighty has defeated a numberless army
and kings and armies are in flight, in flight
while you were at rest among the sheepfolds."

At home the women already share the spoil.
They are covered with silver as the wings of a dove,
its feathers brilliant with shining gold
and jewels flashing like snow on Mount Zalmon.

The mountains of Bashan are mighty mountains;
high-ridged mountains are the mountains of Bashan.
Why look with envy, you high-ridged mountains,
at the mountain where God has chosen to dwell?
It is there that the Lord shall dwell for ever.

The chariots of God are thousands upon thousands.
The Lord has come from Sinai to the holy place.
You have gone up on high; you have taken captives,
receiving men and women in tribute, O God,
even those who rebel, into your dwelling, O Lord.

May the Lord be blessed day after day.
He bears our burdens, God our savior;
this God of ours is a God who saves.
The Lord our God holds the keys of death.
And God will smite the head of his foes,
the crown of those who persist in their sins.

The Lord said: "I will bring them back from Bashan;
I will bring them back from the depth of the sea.
Then your feet will tread in their blood
and the tongues of your dogs take their share of the foe." Glory...

Antiphon 2: The Lord God ascended on high; he has led captivity captive, alleluia.


Antiphon 3: They see your procession, O God, the procession of my God and king to the sanctuary, alleluia.

                         III

They see your solemn procession, O God,
the procession of my God, of my king, to the sanctuary:
the singers in the forefront, the musicians coming last,
between them, maidens sounding their timbrels.

"In festive gatherings, bless the Lord;
bless God, O you who are Israel's sons."
There is Benjamin, least of the tribes, at the head,
Judah's princes, a mighty throng,
Zebulun's princes, Naphtali's princes.

Show forth, O God, show forth your might,
your might, O God, which you have shown for us.
0 For the sake of your temple high in Jerusalem
may nations come to you bringing their tribute.

Threaten the wild beast that dwells in the reeds,
the bands of the mighty and rulers of the peoples.
Let them bow down offering silver.
Scatter the peoples who delight in war.
Envoys will make their way from Egypt;
Ethiopia will stretch out her hands to God.

Kingdoms of the earth, sing to God, praise the Lord
who rides on the heavens, the ancient heavens.
He thunders his voice, his mighty voice.
Come, acknowledge the power of God.

His glory is on Israel; his might is in the skies.
God is to be feared in his holy place.
He is the Lord, Israel's God.
He gives strength and power to his people.

Blessed be God!   Glory...

Antiphon 3: They see your procession, O God, the procession of my God and king to the sanctuary, alleluia.


The Lord opened their minds, alleluia.
- That they might understand the Scriptures, alleluia.


FIRST READING          Ephesians 4:1-24

He ascended to heaven and led captivity captive

I plead with you, as a prisoner for the Lord, to live a life worthy of the calling you have received, with perfect humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another lovingly. Make every effort to preserve the unity which has the Spirit as its origin and peace as its binding force. There is but one body and one Spirit, just as there is but one hope given all of you by your call. There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all, and works through all, and is in all.

Each of us has received God’s favor in the measure in which Christ bestows it. Thus you find Scripture saying:

"When he ascended on high, he took a host of captives and gave gifts to men."

"He ascended" - what does this mean but that he had first descended into the lower regions of the earth? He who descended is the very one who ascended high above the heavens, that he might fill all men with his gifts. It is he who gave apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers in roles of service for the faithful to build up the body of Christ, till we become one in faith and in the knowledge of God’s Son, and form that perfect man who is Christ come to full stature.  

Let us, then, be children no longer, tossed here and there, carried about by every wind of doctrine that originates in human trickery and skill in proposing error. Rather, let us profess the truth in love and grow to the full maturity of Christ the head. Through him the whole body grows, and with the proper functioning of the members joined firmly together by each supporting ligament, builds itself up in love.

I declare and solemnly attest in the Lord that you must no longer live as the pagans do - their minds empty, their understanding darkened. They are estranged from a life in God because of their ignorance and their resistance; without remorse they have abandoned themselves to lust and the indulgence of every sort of lewd conduct.

That is not what you learned when you learned Christ! I am supposing, of course, that he has been preached and taught to you in accord with the truth that is in Jesus: namely, that you must lay aside your former way of life and the old self which deteriorates through illusion and desire, and acquire a fresh, spiritual way of thinking. You must put on that new man created in God’s image, whose justice and holiness are born of truth


RESPONSORY           Eph 4:8 (Ps 68:19); Ps 47:6
When Christ ascended on high,
he led captivity captive,
 - he gave gifts to men, alleluia.
God ascends to shouts of joy,
the Lord to the blasts of trumpets.
 - He gave gifts to men, alleluia.


SECOND READING

From a sermon by Saint Augustine, bishop
(Sermo de Ascensione Domini, Mai 98, 1-2: PLS 2, 494-495)

No one has ever ascended into heaven except the one who descended from heaven

Today our Lord Jesus Christ ascended into heaven; let our hearts ascend with him. Listen to the words of the Apostle: If you have risen with Christ, set your hearts on the things that are above where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God; seek the things that are above, not the things that are on earth. For just as he remained with us even after his ascension, so we too are already in heaven with him, even though what is promised us has not yet been fulfilled in our bodies.

Christ is now exalted above the heavens, but he still suffers on earth all the pain that we, the members of his body, have to bear. He showed this when he cried out from above: Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me? and when he said: I was hungry and you gave me food.

Why do we on earth not strive to find rest with him in heaven even now, through the faith, hope and love that unites us to him? While in heaven he is also with us; and we while on earth are with him. He is here with us by his divinity, his power and his love. We cannot be in heaven, as he is on earth, by divinity, but in him, we can be there by love.

He did not leave heaven when he came down to us; nor did he withdraw from us when he went up again into heaven. The fact that he was in heaven even while he was on earth is borne out by his own statement: No one has ever ascended into heaven except the one who descended from heaven, the Son of Man, who is in heaven.

These words are explained by our oneness with Christ, for he is our head and we are his body. No one ascended into heaven except Christ because we also are Christ: he is the Son of Man by his union with us, and we by our union with him are the sons of God. So the Apostle says: Just as the human body, which has many members, is a unity, because all the different members make one body, so is it also with Christ. He too has many members, but one body.

Out of compassion for us he descended from heaven, and although he ascended alone, we also ascend, because we are in him by grace. Thus, no one but Christ descended and no one but Christ ascended; not because there is no distinction between the head and the body, but because the body as a unity cannot be separated from the head.


RESPONSORY            Acts 1:3, 9, 4
During the forty days after his passion,
he appeared to them and spoke with them about the kingdom of God.
 - As they watched, he was lifted up,
and a cloud took him from their sight, alleluia.
While he was with them, he told them not to leave Jerusalem,
but to wait there for the fulfillment of the Father’s promise.
 - As they watched, he was lifted up,
and a cloud took him from their sight, alleluia.


CANTICLE          TE DEUM

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.  Keep us today, Lord, from all sin;
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.

The concluding part of the hymn may be omitted.


COLLECT
O God, whose Son today ascended to the heavens
as the Apostles looked on,
grant, we pray, that, in accordance with his promise,
we may be worthy for him to live with us always on earth,
and we with him in heaven.
Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one 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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