COMMON OF SEVERAL MARTYRS

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 Christ, the King of martyrs.






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

Faith of our fathers! faith and prayer
shall win all nations unto thee;
and through the truth that comes from God,
mankind shall then indeed be free.

Refrain:
Faith of our fathers, holy faith!
We will be true to thee till death.

Faith of our fathers! we will love
both friend and foe in all our strife:
and preach thee, too, as love knows how,
by kindly deeds and virtuous life.

Refrain

Melody: St. Catherine L.M. Music: Henri F. Henny and James G. Walton Text: Frederick W. Faber


PSALMODY

Antiphon 1: The holy martyrs died for Christ; with their blood they enriched the earth. Their gift is crowned with everlasting life.

Psalm 2
Why this tumult among nations,
among peoples this useless murmuring?
They arise, the kings of the earth,
princes plot against the Lord and his Anointed.
Come, let us break their fetters,
come, let us cast off their yoke.

He who sits in the heavens laughs;
the Lord is laughing them to scorn.
Then he will speak in his anger,
his rage will strike them with terror.
It is I who have set up my king on Zion,
my holy mountain.

I will announce the decree of the Lord:

The Lord said to me: You are my Son.
It is I who have begotten you this day.
Ask and I will bequeath you the nations,
put the ends of the earth in your possession.
With a rod of iron you will break them,
shatter them like a potter's jar.

Now, O kings, understand,
take warning, rulers of the earth;
serve the Lord with awe
and trembling, pay him your homage
lest he be angry and you perish;
for suddenly his anger will blaze.

Blessed are they who put their trust in God. Glory...

Antiphon 1 The holy martyrs died for Christ; with their blood they enriched the earth. Their gift is crowned with everlasting life.


Antiphon 2 The just will live for ever; to live for God is their reward.

Psalm 33

                     I
Ring out your joy to the Lord, O you just;
for praise is fitting for loyal hearts.

Give thanks to the Lord upon the harp,
with a ten-stringed lute sing him songs.
O sing him a song that is new,
play loudly, with all your skill.

For the word of the Lord is faithful
and all his works to be trusted.
The Lord loves justice and right
and fills the earth with his love.

By his word the heavens were made,
by the breath of his mouth all the stars.
He collects the waves of the ocean;
he stores up the depths of the sea.

Let all the earth fear the Lord
all who live in the world revere him.
He spoke; and it came to be.
He commanded; it sprang into being.

He frustrates the designs of the nations,
he defeats the plans of the peoples.
His own designs shall stand for ever,
the plans of his heart from age to age.  Glory...

Antiphon 2 The just will live for ever; to live for God is their reward.


Antiphon 3 My saints, you fought the good fight in this world; I will give you the reward of your labors.

                   II
They are happy, whose God is the Lord,
the people he has chosen as his own.
From the heavens the Lord looks forth,
he sees all the children of men.

From the place where he dwells he gazes
on all the dwellers on the earth;
he who shapes the hearts of them all;
and considers all their deeds.

A king is not saved by his army,
nor a warrior preserved by his strength.
A vain hope for safety is the horse;
despite its power it cannot save.

The Lord looks on those who revere him,
on those who hope in his love,
to rescue their souls from death,
to keep them alive in famine.

Our soul is waiting for the Lord.
The Lord is our help and our shield.
In him do our hearts find joy.
We trust in his holy name.

May your love be upon us, O Lord,
as we place all our hope in you. Glory...

Antiphon 3 My saints, you fought the good fight in this world; I will give you the reward of your labors.


Our spirits yearn for the Lord.
- He is our help and our protector.


FIRST READING

From the letter of the apostle Paul to the Romans          8:18-39

Nothing is able to separate us from the love of God which comes to us through Jesus Christ

I consider the sufferings of the present to be as nothing compared with the glory to be revealed in us. Indeed, the whole created world eagerly awaits the revelation of the sons of God. Creation was made subject to futility, not of its own accord but by him who once subjected it; yet not without hope, because the world itself will be freed from its slavery to corruption and share in the glorious freedom of the children of God. Yes, we know that all creation groans and is in agony even until now. Not only that, but we ourselves, although we have the Spirit as first fruits, groan inwardly while we await the redemption of our bodies. In hope we were saved. But hope is not hope if its object is seen; how is it possible for one to hope for what he sees? And hoping for what we cannot see means awaiting it with patient endurance.

The Spirit too helps us in our weakness, for we do not know how to pray as we ought; but the Spirit himself makes intercession for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in speech. He who searches hearts knows what the Spirit means, for the Spirit intercedes for the saints as God himself wills.

We know that God makes all things work together for the good of those who love him who have been called according to his decree. Those whom he foreknew he predestined to share the image of his Son, that the Son might be the first-born of many brothers.  Those he predestined he likewise called; those he called he also justified; and those he justified he in turn glorified.

What shall we say after that? If God is for us, who can be against us? Is it possible that he who did not spare his own Son but handed him over for the sake of us all will not grant us all things besides? Who shall bring a charge against God's chosen ones? God, who justifies? Who shall condemn them? Christ Jesus, who died or rather was raised up, who is at the right hand of God and who intercedes for us?

Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Trial, or distress, or persecution, or hunger, or nakedness, or danger, or the sword? As Scripture says: "For your sake we are being slain all the day long; we are looked upon as sheep to be slaughtered. Yet in all this we are more than conquerors because of him who had loved us. For I am certain that neither death nor life neither angels nor principalities, neither the present nor the future, nor powers, neither height nor depth nor any other creature, will be able to separate us from the love of God that comes to us in Christ Jesus, our Lord.


RESPONSORY          Matthew 5:44-45
Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you;
pray for those who persecute and insult you.
 - Then you will be true sons of your Father who is in heaven.

You must be perfect just as your heavenly Father is perfect.
 - Then you will be true sons of your Father who is in heaven.


SECOND READING

From a letter by Saint Cyprian, bishop and martyr
(Ep. 6,1-2: CSEL 3, 480-482)

We desire to gain the Lord's promises; we must then imitate him in all things

I greet you, dearest brothers, and would like also to enjoy your company face to face, if only the conditions in which I find myself did not prevent my coming to see you. What could be more desirable or more joyful for me than to embrace you now, to be encircled by those pure and sinless hands that have kept the faith of the Lord and refused to offer sacrilegious worship?

What could be more pleasant, more sublime, than to kiss at this moment those lips of yours, which have given such glorious utterance in praise of the Lord; to be seen also by those eyes of yours, which have despised the world and proved themselves worthy of seeing God?

But, because there is no opportunity for my sharing this joy, I send this letter as my representative for your ears and eyes to hear and see. Through it I congratulate you, and at the same time urge you to persevere courageously and steadfastly in your witness to heavenly glory, and to continue with spiritual courage, now that you have entered on the way that the Lord has graciously opened up for you, until you receive the crown of victory. You have the Lord as your protector and guide, for he has said: Behold, I am with you always, even to the end of the world.

How blessed is the prison honored by your presence, how blessed the prison honored by your presence, how blessed the prison that sends men of god to heaven! Darkness brighter than the sun  itself, more resplendent than this light of the world, for it is here that God's temples are now established, and your limbs made holy by your praise of God.

Let nothing else be now in your hearts and minds except God's commandments and the precepts of heaven: by their means the Holy Spirit has always inspired you to bear your sufferings. Let no one think of death, but only of immortality; let no one think of suffering that is for a time, but only of glory that is for eternity. It is written: Precious in the sight of God is the death of his holy ones. And again: A sacrifice to God is an afflicted spirit; a broken and humbled heart God does not despise.

Holy Scripture speaks also of the sufferings which consecrate God's martyrs and sanctify them by the very testing of pain: Though in the eyes of men they suffered torments, their hope is full of immortality. They will judge nations, and rule over the peoples, and the Lord will reign over them forever.

When , therefore, you recall that you will be judges and rulers with Christ the Lord, you must rejoice, despising present suffering for you at what is to come. You know that from the beginning of the world it was so; justice is here oppressed in its conflict with the world, for at the very outset Abel the just is killed, and after him the just, and those sent as prophets and apostles.

The Lord himself is an example of all this in his own person. He teaches us that only those who have followed him along his way arrive at his kingdom: He who loves his life in this world, will lose it. And he who hates his life in this world, will save it for eternal life. And again he says: Do not fear those who kill the body, but cannot kill the soul; fear rather him who can kill both body and soul and send them to hell.

Paul too admonishes us, that as we desire to gain the Lord's promises we must imitate the Lord in all things. We are God's children, he tells us. If children, we area also heirs of God, and coheirs with Christ, if only we suffer with him, that we may also be glorified with him.


RESPONSORY          
We are warriors now, fighting on the battlefield of faith,
and God see all we do;
the angels watch and so does Christ.
 - What honor and glory and joy, to do battle in the presence of God,
and to have Christ approve our victory.

Let us arm ourselves in full strength
and prepare ourselves for the ultimate struggle
with blameless hearts, true faith and unyielding courage.
 - What honor and glory and joy, to do battle in the presence of God,
and to have Christ approve our victory.


On solemnities and feasts, the TE DEUM is said.


PRAYER

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

All-powerful, ever-living God,
turn our weakness into strength.
As you gave your martyrs N. and N.
the courage to suffer death for Christ,
give us the courage to live in faithful witness to you.
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.

Or:

Lord, hear the prayers of the martyrs N. and N.
and give us the courage to bear witness to your truth.
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 virgin martyrs:
God our Father,
you give us joy each year
in honoring the memory of Saints N. and N.  
May their prayers be a source of help for us,
and may their example of courage and chastity be our inspiration.
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 holy women:
Father,
in our weakness your power reaches perfection.
You gave Saints N. and N. the strength
to defeat the power of sin and evil.
May we who celebrate their glory share in their triumph.
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 all evil and bring us to everlasting life. Amen.



 
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