Office of Readings

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 Christ, chief shepherd of the flock.

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.)


The king of love my shepherd is,
Whose goodness fails me never:
I nothing lack if I am his,
And he is mine for ever.

Where streams of living water flow,
To rest my soul he leads me:
Where fresh and fertile pastures grow,
With heav’nly food he feeds me.

Perverse and foolish I have strayed,
But he with love has sought me,
And on his shoulder gently laid,
And home, rejoicing, brought me.

In death’s dark vale, I fear no ill,
With you, dear Lord, beside me:
Your rod and staff my comfort still,
Your cross will ever guide.

You spread a banquet in my sight,
My head with oil anointing,
And let me taste the sweet delight
From your pure chalice flowing.

And so through all the length of days
Your goodness fails me never;
Good Shepherd, may I sing your praise
Within your house forever.
Melody: St. Columba; Text Psalm 23 paraphrased by Henry W. Baker


Antiphon 1: If anyone wishes to be first, he must become the last and the servant of all.

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 If anyone wishes to be first, he must become the last and the servant of all.

Antiphon 2 When the prince of pastors comes again, you will receive from him an unfading crown of glory.

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.

Antiphon 2 When the prince of pastors comes again, you will receive from him an unfading crown of glory.

Antiphon 3 My good and faithful servant, come and share your master's joy.

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.

Antiphon 3 My good and faithful servant, come and share your master's joy.

You will hear the word from my mouth.
- You will tell others what I have said.


For a pope or a bishop:

From the letter of the apostle Paul to Titus       1:7-11;2:1-8

The teaching of the Apostle of the qualities and duties of bishops

The bishop as God's steward must be blameless, not arrogant, not irritable, not a drunkard, not aggressive, not greedy for sordid gain, but hospitable, a lover of goodness, temperate, just, holy, and self-controlled, holding fast to the true message as taught so that he will be able both to exhort with sound doctrine and to refute opponents.

For there are also many rebels, idle talkers and deceivers, especially the Jewish Christians.   It is imperative to silence them, as they are upsetting whole families by teaching for sordid gain what they should not.

As for yourself, you must say what is consistent with sound doctrine,

Tell the older men they they must be temperate, dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, love, and endurance. Similarly, older women should be reverent in their behavior, not slanderers, not addicted to drink, teaching what is good, so that they may train younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, chaste, good homemakers, under the control of their husbands, so that the word of God may not be discredited.

Urge the younger men, similarly, to control themselves, showing yourself as a model of good deeds in every respect, with integrity in your teaching, dignity, and sound speech that cannot be criticized, so that the opponent will be put to shame without anything bad to say about us.

RESPONSORY      See Acts 20:28; 1 Corinthians 4:2
You must have at heart every member of the flock,
for the Holy Spirit has made you their shepherds
- You must rule over the Church of God
which he made his own through the blood of his Son.

The great quality of a steward is to be faithful to his duty
- You must rule over the Church of God
which he made his own through the blood of his Son.

For a priest:

From the first letter of Peter the Apostle      5:1-11

The duties of pastors and the laity

I exhort the presbyters  among you, as a fellow presbyter and witness to the sufferings of Christ and one who has a share in the glory to be revealed. Tend the flock of God in your midst, overseeing not by constraint but willingly, as God would have it, not for shameful profit but eagerly. Do not lord it over those assigned to you, but be examples to the flock. And when the chief Shepherd is revealed, you will receive the unfading crown of glory.    

Likewise, you younger members,  be subject to the presbyters. And all of you, 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.

Be sober and vigilant. Your opponent the devil is prowling around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, steadfast in faith, knowing that your fellow believers throughout the world undergo the same sufferings.

The God of all grace who called you to his eternal glory through Christ Jesus will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you after you have suffered a little. To him be dominion forever. Amen.

RESPONSORY      See Acts 20:28; 1 Corinthians 4:2
It should be clear that we are Christ's servants, stewards of the mysteries of God;
- the great quality of a steward is to be faithful to his duty.
Many men are said to be merciful,
but how often do we find one who is faithful to his duty?
- the great quality of a steward is to be faithful to his duty.


For a pope:

From a sermon by St. Leo the Great, pope
(Sermo 3 de natali ipsius 2-3; PL 54, 145-146)

Christ's foundation on Peter abides

Beloved, I am both weak and lazy in fulfilling the obligations of my office; whenever I try to act with vigor and devotedness, the frailty of our human condition slows me down. Yet I share in the ever-present atoning work of that almighty and eternal high priest, who is like us and yet equal to the Father; he brought the godhead down to our human level and raised our humanity to the godhead. Rightly, then, do we rejoice in what he established; for, though he delegated to many shepherds the care of his sheep, he has not ceased to watch over in person the flock that is dear to him.

It is from this ultimate inexhaustible source of security that we have received strength in our apostolic task; for his activity is never relaxed. The powerful foundation upon which the whole structure of the church rests is never shaken by the weight of the temple that presses upon it.

That faith which Christ commended in the prince of the apostles remains forever unshaken. And, just as Peter’s faith in Christ endures, so does Christ’s foundation upon Peter. The structure of truth persists; blessed Peter retains his rock-like strength and has not abandoned the helm of the Church which he took over.

Peter is called the rock; he is declared to be the foundation; he is made doorkeeper of the heavenly kingdom; he is made judge of what is to be bound or loosed, and his judgments remain valid even in heaven; in these various ways he is assigned a rank above the others. By reflecting on the hidden meaning of these titles of his , we can come to appreciate how close he is to Christ. …

And so, if I do anything well, if my judgment is sound, if I obtain anything from God’s mercy by my daily prayer, all this is due to the achievement and the deserts of Peter; it is his power that lives on in his See, it is his prestige that reigns.

This, beloved, is the outcome of that profession of faith which God the Father inspired in the apostle’s heart. That declaration rose above the doubts of all merely human opinion, and took on the solidarity of a rock unshaken by any outside pressure. For in the world-wide church, every day Peter declares: you are the Christ, the Son of the living God, and every man who acknowledges the Lord is enabled to proclaim what those words mean.

RESPONSORY      Matthew 16:18; Psalm 48:9
Jesus said to Simon: I tell you most solemnly that you are Peter,
and I will build my Church upon this rock's foundation.
- And the powers of hell will never overcome it.

For all eternity, God's Church stands firm.
- And the powers of hell will never overcome it.

For the founder of a church:

From a treatise on Psalm 126 by Saint Hilary, bishop
(Nn. 7-10; PL 9, 696-697)

God builds and protects his city

Unless the Lord builds a house, the builders labor in vain. you are the temple of God. The Spirit of God dwells in you. This is the house and temple of God, full of his doctrine and his power, a dwelling place holy enough to house the heart of God. It is of this that the same inspired author is speaking, in the words: Your temple is holy, marvelous in its goodness. Man's holiness, justice and self-restraint constitute God's temple.

Such a temple must be built by God; if it were constructed by human effort, it would not last; it is not held together by resting on merely worldly teachings, nor will it be protected by our own vain efforts or anxious concern. We must build it and protect it in a different way. It must not have its foundations on earth or on sand that is unstable and treacherous. Its foundation must be rooted in the prophets and apostles.

It must be built up from living stones, held together by a cornerstone; an ever-increasing unity will make it grow into a perfect harmony, to the scale of Christ's body; its beauty and its charm are the adornment given to it by supernatural grace.

A house so built by God, that is, by God's guidance, will not collapse. Through the efforts of the individual faithful this house will grow into many houses, and thus will arise the blessed and spacious city of God.

For many years now God has been watching over this city, ever on the alert. He cared for Abraham in his wanderings; he rescued Isaac when he was about to be sacrificed; Jacob he enriched in his time of servitude; it is he who set Joseph over Egypt, after he had been sold into slavery; who supported Moses against Pharaoh; chose Joshua to lead his nation in war; rescued David from every peril and endowed Solomon with wisdom. He came to the aid of the prophets, he took. Elijah up to heaven, chose Elisha; fed Daniel, and stood by and refreshed the three young men in the fiery furnace. He told Joseph, through an angel, of his virginal conception, he strengthened Mary, and sent John ahead to prepare the way. He chose the apostles and prayed for them, saying to his Father: Father most holy, protect them. While I was with them, I kept them safe by the power of your name. Finally after his passion, he promised us his eternal, watchful protection, in the words: Behold, I am with you always until the end of the world.

Such is the never-failing protection given to this blessed and holy city, a city built for God, fashioned by the coming together of many, yet seen in each one of us. It is therefore the Lord who must build this city if it is to grow to its appointed size. A building just begun is not the perfect work; final perfection is brought about only in the very process of building.

RESPONSORY      1 Peter 2:4-5; Psalm 118:21
Come near to Christ, the living stone;
- you too must be living stones, built up in him to form a spiritual temple,
a holy priesthood to offer through Christ Jesus
the spiritual sacrifice acceptable to God.

Jesus is the stone which has become the cornerstone. - You too must be living stones, built up in him to form a spiritual temple,
a holy priesthood to offer through Christ Jesus
the spiritual sacrifice acceptable to God.

Alternative, particularly for a bishop

From a sermon by Saint Fulgentius of Ruspe, bishop
(Sermo 1,2-3: CCL 91A, 889-890)

The faithful and wise steward

The Lord, in his desire to explain the special function of those servants whom he placed over his people, said: Who do you think is the faithful and wise steward whom his master has set over his household to give them their portion of food at the, proper time? That servant is blessed if he is found doing this when his master comes.

And who is the master? None other than Christ, who said to his disciples: You call me teacher and master, and you are right, for so I am. And who is the master's household? Surely, it is the Church which the Lord redeemed from the power of the adversary, and which he purchased for himself, thereby becoming its master. This household is the holy Catholic Church which is so fruitfully extended far and wide over the world, rejoicing that it has been redeemed by the precious blood of the Lord. As the Lord himself says: The Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many. Furthermore, he is the Good Shepherd who has laid down his life for his sheep; the Good Shepherd's flock is this household of the Redeemer.

But who is the steward who must be both faithful and wise? The apostle Paul tells us when he says of himself and his companions: This is how one should regard us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. Moreover, it is required of stewards that they be found faithful.

But this does not mean that the apostles alone have been appointed our stewards, nor that any of us may give up our duty of spiritual combat and, as lazy servants, sleep our time away, and be neither faithful nor wise. For the blessed Apostle tells us that the bishops too are stewards. A bishop, he says, must be blameless because he is God's steward.

We bishops, then, are the servants of the householder, the stewards of the Master, and we have received the portion of food to dispense to you. If we should wonder what that portion of food is, the blessed Apostle Paul tells us when he says: To each according to the measure of faith which God has assigned to him. Hence what Christ calls the portion of food, Paul calls the measure of faith. We may therefore take this spiritual food to mean the venerable mystery of the Christian faith. and we give you this portion of food in the Lord's name as often as we, enlightened by the gift of grace, teach you in accordance with the rule of the true faith. In turn, you daily receive the portion of food at the hands of the Lord's stewards when you hear the word of truth from the servants of God.

RESPONSORY      Matthew 25:21,20
Well done, my good and faithful servant;
you have been faithful in the little tasks I gave you;
now I will entrust you with greater ones.
- Come and share my joy.

Lord, you gave me five coins,
and see I bring you back double.
- Come and share my joy.

For a priest:

From the decree on the ministry and life of priests of the Second Vatican Council
(Presbyterorum ordinis, Cap. 3,12)

The priestly vocation to perfection

By the sacrament of Orders priests are formed in the image of Christ the Priest, to be ministers of Christ the Head in constructing and building up his whole Body, the Church, as fellow-workers with the order of bishops. In the consecration of baptism they have already received, in common with all Christians, the sign and gift of so great a vocation and grace that, even in their human weakness, they have the power, and the duty, to seek perfection, in accordance with our Lordís words: Be perfect, then, as your Father in heaven is also perfect.

Priests are obligated in a special way to acquire this perfection. By receiving holy Orders they have been consecrated in a new way, and made living instruments of Christ the eternal Priest, so as to be able to continue through the years Christís wonderful work which, by divine power, has restored to wholeness the entire family of man.

Since each priest acts, as far as he may, in the person of Christ himself, he is given special grace to help him grow toward the perfection of the one whose role he plays, as he ministers to his flock and the whole people of God. He receives grace for the healing of human weakness from the holiness of Christ, who became for us a high priest, holy, innocent, undefiled, separated from sinners.

Christ, whom the Father sanctified, that is, consecrated, and sent into the world, gave himself for us, to redeem us from all sin, and to purify for himself an acceptable people, zealous for good works. So, through his passion he entered into his glory. In the same way, priests, consecrated as they are by the anointing of the Holy Spirit and sent by Christ, put an end in their lives to the sins of our selfish nature, and give themselves wholly to the service of mankind, and so are enabled to grow to perfect manhood in the holiness with which they are enriched in Christ. As they exercise the ministry of the Spirit and of holiness, they are strengthened in the spiritual life, provided that they are docile to Christís Spirit, who gives them life and is their guide. By the sacred actions they perform daily, and by their entire ministry in communion with their bishop and fellow-priests, they are set on the way that leads to perfection.

The holiness of priests is itself an important contribution to the fruitfulness of their ministry. It is true that Godís grace can effect the work of salvation even through unworthy ministers, but God ordinarily prefers to show his wonders by means of those who are more submissive to the inspiration and guidance of the Holy Spirit, and, who through close union with Christ and holiness of life, are able to say with Saint Paul: I live, but no longer is it I who live, it is Christ who lives within me.

RESPONSORY      1 Thessalonians 2:8; Galatians 4:19
I have longed to give you the Gospel,
and more than that, to give you my very life;
- You have become very dear to me.

My little children, I am like a mother giving birth to you,
until Christ is formed in you.
- You have become very dear to me.

For a missionary:

From the decree on the missionary activity of the Church of the Second Vatican Council
(Ad gentes, nn. 4-5)

Go and teach all nations

The Lord Jesus, before giving his life freely for the world, made his arrangements for the apostolic ministry, and gave his promise that the Holy Spirit was to be sent. He did this in such a way that both the Spirit and ministry might be partners in carrying into effect the work of salvation in every age and place.

The Holy Spirit gives to the whole Church at all times unity in communion and ministry. He endows it with a diversity of gifts, hierarchical and charismatic, he gives life to its institutions, becoming as it were their soul, and instills into the hearts of the faithful the very missionary spirit that was the driving force in Christ himself. At times he is seen preparing the way for apostolic activity, just as in different ways he always accompanies it and directs it.

The Lord Jesus, from the very beginning, called to himself those whom he wanted; he arranged for twelve to be with him, and to be sent by him to preach. Thus the apostles were the first beginnings of the new Israel, and at the same time the origin of the sacred hierarchy.

Afterward, when he had once for all, by his death and resurrection, brought to completion in his own person the mysteries of our salvation and of the renewal of all things, the Lord, having received all power in heaven and on earth, before he was taken up into heaven, founded his Church as the sacrament of salvation, and sent the apostles into the whole world, just as he himself had been sent by the Father. He commanded them: Go then and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you.

From then onward there is a duty laid on the Church of spreading the faith and the salvation that come from Christ. This duty is in virtue of the express command inherited from the apostles by the college of bishops, assisted by the priests, in communion with Peter's successor, the chief shepherd of the Church; it is in virtue also of the life that Christ causes to flow into his members.

The mission of the Church is therefore fulfilled by that activity by which the Church, in obedience to Christ's command and under the impulse of the grace and love of the Holy Spirit, becomes fully and actively present to all men and to all peoples, to lead them by the example of its life, by its preaching, by the sacraments and other means of grace, to the faith, freedom and peace of Christ, so that there lies open before them a free and firm path to a full sharing in the mystery of Christ.

RESPONSORY      Mark 16:15-16; John 3:5
Go out to the ends of the earth,
and tell eveery living creture the good news of Christ.
- Everyone who believes and is baptized will be saved.
Unless a man is born again of water and the Holy Spirit,
he cannot enter the kingdom of God.
- Everyone who believes and is baptized will be saved.

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


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