COMMON OF HOLY MEN

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 worship God, wonderful in his saints.

Or:     Let us sing praise to God, as we acclaim Saint N.





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

This is the feast day of the Lord's true witness,
Whom through the ages all have held in honor;
Now let us praise him and his deeds of glory
With exultation.

So now in chorus, giving God the glory,
We sing his praises and his mighty triumph,
That in his glory we may all be sharers
Here and hereafter.

Praise to the Father and the Son most holy,
Praise to the Spirit, with them coeternal,
Who give examples in the lives of all saints,
That we may follow.
Words: Iste Confessor, 8th century; Melody: Herr, Deinen Zorn 11.11.11.5; Johann Crueger

Or:


Blest are the pure in heart,
for they shall see our God;
the secret of the Lord is theirs,
their soul is Christ's abode.

The Lord, who left the heavens
our life and peace to bring,
to dwell in lowliness with men,
their Pattern and their King;

still to the lowly soul
he doth himself impart
and for his dwelling and his throne
chooseth the pure in heart.

Lord, we thy presence seek;
may ours this blessing be;
give us a pure and lowly heart,
a temple fit for thee.
Melody: Franconia; Music W.H. Havergal; Text: J. Keble


PSALMODY

Antiphon 1: He asked to share your life, O Lord, and you have heard his prayer; you have clothed him with glory and great beauty.

Psalm 21:2-8,14

O Lord, your strength gives joy to the King;
how your saving help makes him glad!
You have granted him his heart's desire;
you have not refused the prayer of his lips.

You came to meet him with the blessings of success,
you have set on his head a crown of pure gold.
He asked you for life and this you have given,
days that will last from age to age.

Your saving help has given him glory.
You have laid upon him majesty and splendor,
you have granted your blessings to him forever.
You have made him rejoice with the joy of your presence.

The king has put his trust in the Lord:
through the mercy of the Most High he shall stand firm.
O Lord, arise in your strength;
we shall sing and praise your power. Glory...

Antiphon 1 He asked to share your life, O Lord, and you have heard his prayer; you have clothed him with glory and great beauty.


Antiphon 2 The path of the just is like the passage of the dawn; it grows from first light to the full splendor of day.

Psalm 92

                  I
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. Glory...

Antiphon 2 The path of the just is like the passage of the dawn; it grows from first light to the full splendor of day.


Antiphon 3 The just man will flourish like the palm tree; he will grow like a cedar of Lebanon.

              II
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. Glory....

Antiphon 3 The just man will flourish like the palm tree; he will grow like a cedar of Lebanon.


The Lord led this holy man along a sure path.
- He showed him the kingdom of God.


FIRST READING

From the letter of the apostle Paul to the Colossians          3:1-17

Your life is hidden with Christ in God

Since you have been raised with Christ, seek what is above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Think of what is above, not of what is on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ your life appears, then you too will appear with him in glory.

Put to death, then, the parts of you that are earthly: immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and the greed that is idolatry.  Because of these the wrath of God is coming upon the disobedient. By these you too once conducted yourselves, when you lived in that way.

But now you must put them all away: anger, fury, malice, slander, and obscene language out of your mouths. Stop lying to one another, since you have taken off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed, for knowledge, in the image of its creator. Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcision and uncircumcision, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all and in all.

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.


RESPONSORY          Galatians 3:27-28; Ephesians 4:24
All who have been baptized in Christ have put on Christ;
there is no longer Jew or Greek;
 - you are all one in Christ Jesus.

Put on the new man who is created in the image of God,
in justice and in true holiness.
 - You are all one in Christ Jesus.


Alternative:

From the letter of the apostle Paul to the Romans          12:1-21

The Christian life; spiritual worship

I urge you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God, your spiritual worship. Do not conform yourselves to this age but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and pleasing and perfect.

For by the grace given to me I tell everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than one ought to think, but to think soberly, each according to the measure of faith that God has apportioned.

For as in one body we have many parts, and all the parts do not have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ and individually parts of one another. Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us exercise them: if prophecy, in proportion to the faith; if ministry, in ministering; if one is a teacher, in teaching; if one exhorts, in exhortation; if one contributes, in generosity; if one is over others, with diligence; if one does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.

Let love be sincere; hate what is evil, hold on to what is good; love one another with mutual affection; anticipate one another in showing honor. Do not grow slack in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, endure in affliction, persevere in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the holy ones, exercise hospitality.

Bless those who persecute you, bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Have the same regard for one another; do not be haughty but associate with the lowly; do not be wise in your own estimation. Do not repay anyone evil for evil; be concerned for what is noble in the sight of all.

If possible, on your part, live at peace with all. Beloved, do not look for revenge but leave room for the wrath; for it is written, "Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord." Rather, "if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals upon his head." Do not be conquered by evil but conquer evil with good.


RESPONSORY          Romans 12:2; Ephesians 4:23-24
Be transformed by the renewing of your mind,
 - so that you may be able to discover what is God's will,
what is good, pleasing and perfect.

You must be renewed in mind and spirit,
and put on the new man.
 - So that you may be able to discover what is God's will,
what is good, pleasing and perfect.


For a married man:

From the letter of the Apostle Paul to the Ephesians          5:21-32

The sanctity of Christian marriage

Be subordinate to one another out of reverence for Christ.  Wives should be subordinate to their husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is head of his wife just as Christ is head of the church, he himself the savior of the body. As the church is subordinate to Christ, so wives should be subordinate to their husbands in everything.

Husbands, love your wives, even as 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. So also husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one hates his own flesh but rather nourishes and cherishes it, even as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body.

"For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother
and be joined to his wife,
and the two shall become one flesh."

This is a great mystery, but I speak in reference to Christ and the church. In any case, each one of you should love his wife as himself, and the wife should respect her husband.


RESPONSORY          1 Peter 1:13,15; Leviticus 11:44
Be pure and intent of heart, bent on him, the holy One,
who has called you;
 - be holy in all you do.

I am your own God, your Lord;
be holy for I am holy.
 - Be holy in all you do.



SECOND READING

From a homily on the Acts of the Apostles by Saint John Chrysostom , bishop
(Homilia 20,4: PG 60, 162-164)

The light of a Christian cannot escape notice

There is nothing colder than a Christian who does not seek to save others.

You cannot plead poverty here; the widow putting in her two small coins will be your accuser. Peter said, Silver and gold I have not. Paul was so poor that he was often hungry and went without necessary food.

You cannot plead humble birth, for they were humbly born, of humble stock. You cannot offer the excuse of lack of education, for they were uneducated. You cannot plead ill-health, for Timothy also had poor health, with frequent illnesses.

Each one can help his neighbor, if only he is willing to do what is in his power. Look at the trees that do not bear fruit: have you not noticed how strong and fine they are, upstanding, smooth, and tall? If we had a garden, we would much prefer trees with fruit—pomegranates and olives—to trees that are for pleasure, not for utility, and any utility these have is small.

Such are those men who think only of their own concerns. In fact, they are even worse: the trees are at least useful for building or for protection, whereas the selfish are fit only for punishment. Such were those foolish virgins who were chaste, comely, and self-controlled, but did nothing for anyone. So they are consumed in the fire. Such are those men who refuse to give Christ food.

Notice that none of them is accused of personal sins. They are not accused of committing fornication or perjury or any such sin at all: only of not helping anybody else. The man who buried the talent was like this. His life was blameless, but he was of no service to others.

How can such a person be a Christian? Tell me, if yeast did not make the whole mass like itself, is it really yeast? Again, if perfume failed to pervade all around it with its fragrance, would we call it perfume?

Do not say, “It is impossible for me to influence others.” If you are a Christian, it is impossible for this not to happen. Things found in nature cannot be denied; so it is here, for it is a question of the nature of a Christian.

Do not insult God. If you say that the sun cannot shine, you have insulted Him. If you say that a Christian cannot help others, you have insulted God and called Him a liar. It is easier for the sun not to give warmth or shine than for the Christian not to shed his light. It is easier for light to be darkness than for this to happen.

Do not say then that it is impossible. The opposite is impossible. Do not insult God. If we have put our affairs in order, these things will certainly come to be and will follow as a natural consequence. The light of a Christian cannot escape notice. So bright a lamp cannot be hidden.


RESPONSORY          Ephesians 5:8-9; Matthew 5:14, 16
Now you are light in the Lord;
live as men native to the light;
 - light makes you gentle, loving and true.

I have given you to the world as its light,
and you must shine for all to see.
 - Light makes you gentle, loving and true.


Alternative:

From a sermon by Saint Augustine, bishop
(Sermo 96,1.4.9; PL 38,584,586,588)

All men are called to holiness

If anyone wishes to come after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross and follow me. The Lord's command seems difficult and painful: that anyone who wishes to follow him must deny himself. But his command is not really difficult or painful, since he himself helps us to do what he commands. For the verse of the psalm addressed to him was truly spoken: Because of the words of you lips I have abided by hard ways. True also are his own words: My yoke is mild and my burden is light. For love makes easy whatever is difficult in his commands.

What does it mean, let him take up his own cross? It means he must endure many things that are painful; that is the way he must follow me. When he begins to follow me in my life and my teachings, many will contradict him, try to stop him, or dissuade him, even those who wall themselves Christ's disciples. It was they who walked with Christ that tried to stop the blind men from calling out to him. So if you wish to follow Christ, you will take these threats of flattery or any kind of obstacle and fashion them into the cross; you must endure it, carry it, and not give way under it. And so in this world that is the Church, a world of the good, the reconciled, and the saved, or rather, those destined for salvation, but already saved by hope, as it is written, by hope we are saved, in this world of the Church, which completely follows Christ, he has said to everyone: If anyone wishes to follow me, let him deny himself.

This is not a command for virgins to obey and brides to ignore, for widows and not for married women, for monks and not for married men, or for the clergy and not for the laity. No, the whole Church, the entire body, all the members in their distinct and varied functions, must follow Christ. She who is totally unique, the dove, the spouse who was redeemed and dowered by the blood of her bridegroom, is to follow him. There is a place in the Church for the chastity of the virgin, for the continence of the widow, and for the modesty of the married. Indeed, all her members have their place, and this is where they are to follow Christ, in their function and in their way of life. They must deny themselves, that is, they must not presume on their own strength. They must take up their cross by enduring in the world for Christ's sake whatever pain the world brings.

Let them love him who alone can neither deceive nor be deceived, who alone will not fail them. Let them love him because his promises are true. Faith sometimes falters because he does not reward us immediately. But hold out, be steadfast, endure, bear the delay, and you have carried the cross.


RESPONSORY          
This holy man worked wonders in the sight of God;
he praised the Lord with his whole heart.
 - May he intercede for sinful mankind.

He was a man without bitterness,
his life a living praise to God.
He avoided all evil deeds and kept himself sinless to the end.
 - May he intercede for sinful mankind.


On solemnities and feasts, the Te Deum is said:

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.


PRAYER

If there is no proper prayer, one of the following is said:

God our Father,
you alone are holy;
without you, nothing is good.
Trusting in the prayers of Saint N.,
we ask you to help us
to become the holy people you call us to be.
Never let us be found undeserving
of the glory you have prepared for us.
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. Amen.

Or:

All powerful God,
Help us who celebrate the memory of Saint N.
to imitate his way of life.
May the example of your saints
be our challenge to live holier lives.
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.

For several holy men:
Ever-living God,
the signs of your love are manifest
in the honour you give your saints.
May their prayers and their example encourage us
to follow your Son more faithfully.
We ask this through Jesus Christ your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, forever and ever. Amen.

For a religious:
Lord God,
you kept Saint N. faithful to Christ's pattern of poverty and humility.
May his prayers help us to live in fidelity to our calling
and bring us to the perfection you have shown us in your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, forever and ever. Amen.

For one who worked for the underprivileged:
Lord God,
you teach us that the commandments of heaven
are summarized in love of you and of our neighbor.
By following the example of Saint N.
in practicing the works of charity
may we be counted among the blessed in your kingdom.
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.

For a teacher:
Lord God,
you called Saint N. to serve you in the Church
by teaching his fellow man the way of salvation.
Inspire us by his example:
help us to follow Christ our teacher,
and lead us to our brothers and sisters in heaven.
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. Amen.


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



 
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