Readings and Lessons for the Feast of
        
The Visitation
May 31


According to the use of the Episcopal Church (USA)
1979 Book of Common Prayer

HOLY EUCHARIST

1 Samuel 2:1-10
Psalm 113
Romans 12:9-16b
Luke 1:39-57

The Collect

Father in heaven, by your grace the virgin mother of your incarnate Son was blessed in bearing him, but still more blessed in keeping your word: Grant us who honor the exaltation of her lowliness to follow the example of her devotion to your will; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

FIRST READING

1 Samuel 2:1-10

Hannah prayed and said,

"My heart exults in the LORD;
    my strength is exalted in my God.
"There is no Holy One like the LORD,
    no one besides you;
    there is no Rock like our God.
Talk no more so very proudly,
    let not arrogance come from your mouth;
for the LORD is a God of knowledge,
    and by him actions are weighed.
The bows of the mighty are broken,
    but the feeble gird on strength.
Those who were full have hired themselves out for bread,
    but those who were hungry are fat with spoil.
The barren has borne seven,
    but she who has many children is forlorn.
The LORD kills and brings to life;
    he brings down to Sheol and raises up.
The LORD makes poor and makes rich;
    he brings low, he also exalts.
He raises up the poor from the dust;
    he lifts the needy from the ash heap,
to make them sit with princes
    and inherit a seat of honor.
For the pillars of the earth are the LORD's,
    and on them he has set the world.
"He will guard the feet of his faithful ones,
    but the wicked shall be cut off in darkness;
    for not by might does one prevail.
The LORD! His adversaries shall be shattered;
    the Most High will thunder in heaven.
The LORD will judge the ends of the earth;
    he will give strength to his king,
    and exalt the power of his anointed."

 

THE PSALM

1
Hallelujah!
Give praise, you servants of the LORD; *
     praise the Name of the LORD.
2
Let the Name of the LORD be blessed, *
     from this time forth for evermore.
3
From the rising of the sun to its going down *
     let the Name of the LORD be praised.
4
The LORD is high above all nations, *
     and his glory above the heavens.
5
Who is like the LORD our God, who sits enthroned on high, *
     but stoops to behold the heavens and the earth?
6
He takes up the weak out of the dust *
     and lifts up the poor from the ashes.
7
He sets them with the princes, *
     with the princes of his people.
8
He makes the woman of a childless house *
     to be a joyful mother of children.

SECOND READING

Romans 12:9-16b

Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good; love one another with mutual affection; outdo one another in showing honor. Do not lag in zeal, be ardent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints; extend hospitality to strangers.

Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another; do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly.

 

GOSPEL

Luke 1:39-57

In those days Mary set out and went with haste to a Judean town in the hill country, where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the child leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and exclaimed with a loud cry, "Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. And why has this happened to me, that the mother of my Lord comes to me? For as soon as I heard the sound of your greeting, the child in my womb leaped for joy. And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her by the Lord."

And Mary said,

"My soul magnifies the Lord,
    and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant.
    Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed;
for the Mighty One has done great things for me,
    and holy is his name.
His mercy is for those who fear him
    from generation to generation.
He has shown strength with his arm;
    he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts.
He has brought down the powerful from their thrones,
    and lifted up the lowly;
he has filled the hungry with good things,
    and sent the rich away empty.
He has helped his servant Israel,
    in remembrance of his mercy,
according to the promise he made to our ancestors,
    to Abraham and to his descendants forever."

And Mary remained with her about three months and then returned to her home. Now the time came for Elizabeth to give birth, and she bore a son.


Eve of the Visitation
Evening Prayer 1




    Psalm 132    
    Memento, Domine
1
LORD, remember David, *
     and all the hardships he endured;
2
How he swore an oath to the LORD *
     and vowed a vow to the Mighty One of Jacob:
3
"I will not come under the roof of my house, *
     nor climb up into my bed;
4
I will not allow my eyes to sleep, *
     nor let my eyelids slumber;
5
Until I find a place for the LORD, *
     a dwelling for the Mighty One of Jacob."
6
"The ark! We heard it was in Ephratah; *
     we found it in the fields of Jearim.
7
Let us go to God's dwelling place; *
     let us fall upon our knees before his footstool."
8
Arise, O LORD, into your resting-place, *
     you and the ark of your strength.
9
Let your priests be clothed with righteousness; *
     let your faithful people sing with joy.
10
For your servant David's sake, *
     do not turn away the face of your Anointed.
11
The LORD has sworn an oath to David; *
     in truth, he will not break it:
12
"A son, the fruit of your body *
     will I set upon your throne.
13
If your children keep my covenant
and my testimonies that I shall teach them, *
     their children will sit upon your throne for evermore."
14
For the LORD has chosen Zion; *
     he has desired her for his habitation:
15
"This shall be my resting-place for ever; *
     here will I dwell, for I delight in her.
16
I will surely bless her provisions, *
     and satisfy her poor with bread.
17
I will clothe her priests with salvation, *
     and her faithful people will rejoice and sing.
18
There will I make the horn of David flourish; *
     I have prepared a lamp for my Anointed.
19
As for his enemies, I will clothe them with shame; *
     but as for him, his crown will shine."

Isaiah 11:1-10

A shoot shall come out from the stock of Jesse,
   and a branch shall grow out of his roots.
The spirit of the Lord shall rest on him,
   the spirit of wisdom and understanding,
   the spirit of counsel and might,
   the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.
His delight shall be in the fear of the Lord.

He shall not judge by what his eyes see,
   or decide by what his ears hear;
but with righteousness he shall judge the poor,
   and decide with equity for the meek of the earth;
he shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth,
   and with the breath of his lips he shall kill the wicked.
Righteousness shall be the belt around his waist,
   and faithfulness the belt around his loins.

The wolf shall live with the lamb,
   the leopard shall lie down with the kid,
the calf and the lion and the fatling together,
   and a little child shall lead them.
The cow and the bear shall graze,
   their young shall lie down together;
   and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.
The nursing child shall play over the hole of the asp,
   and the weaned child shall put its hand on the adder’s den.
They will not hurt or destroy
   on all my holy mountain;
for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord
   as the waters cover the sea.

 On that day the root of Jesse shall stand as a signal to the peoples; the nations shall inquire of him, and his dwelling shall be glorious.

Hebrews 2:11-18

For the one who sanctifies and those who are sanctified all have one Father. For this reason Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers and sisters, saying,
‘I will proclaim your name to my brothers and sisters,
   in the midst of the congregation I will praise you.’
And again,
‘I will put my trust in him.’
And again,
‘Here am I and the children whom God has given me.’

 Since, therefore, the children share flesh and blood, he himself likewise shared the same things, so that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by the fear of death. For it is clear that he did not come to help angels, but the descendants of Abraham. Therefore he had to become like his brothers and sisters in every respect, so that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make a sacrifice of atonement for the sins of the people. Because he himself was tested by what he suffered, he is able to help those who are being tested.

The Collect

Father in heaven, by your grace the virgin mother of your incarnate Son was blessed in bearing him, but still more blessed in keeping your word: Grant us who honor the exaltation of her lowliness to follow the example of her devotion to your will; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Morning Prayer


    Psalm 72    
    Deus, judicium
1
Give the King your justice, O God, *
     and your righteousness to the King's son;
2
That he may rule your people righteously *
     and the poor with justice.
3
That the mountains may bring prosperity to the people, *
     and the little hills bring righteousness.
4
He shall defend the needy among the people; *
     he shall rescue the poor and crush the oppressor.
5
He shall live as long as the sun and moon endure, *
     from one generation to another.
6
He shall come down like rain upon the mown field, *
     like showers that water the earth.
7
In his time shall the righteous flourish; *
     there shall be abundance of peace till the moon shall be no more.
8
He shall rule from sea to sea, *
     and from the River to the ends of the earth.
9
His foes shall bow down before him, *
     and his enemies lick the dust.
10
The kings of Tarshish and of the isles shall pay tribute, *
     and the kings of Arabia and Saba offer gifts.
11
All kings shall bow down before him, *
     and all the nations do him service.
12
For he shall deliver the poor who cries out in distress, *
     and the oppressed who has no helper.
13
He shall have pity on the lowly and poor; *
     he shall preserve the lives of the needy.
14
He shall redeem their lives from oppression and violence, *
     and dear shall their blood be in his sight.
15
Long may he live!
and may there be given to him gold from Arabia; *
     may prayer be made for him always,
     and may they bless him all the day long.
16
May there be abundance of grain on the earth,
growing thick even on the hilltops; *
     may its fruit flourish like Lebanon,
     and its grain like grass upon the earth.
17
May his Name remain for ever
and be established as long as the sun endures; *
     may all the nations bless themselves in him and call him blessed.
18
Blessed be the Lord GOD, the God of Israel, *
     who alone does wondrous deeds!
19
And blessed be his glorious Name for ever! *
     and may all the earth be filled with his glory. Amen. Amen.

1 Samuel 1:1-20

There was a certain man of Ramathaim, a Zuphite from the hill country of Ephraim, whose name was Elkanah son of Jeroham son of Elihu son of Tohu son of Zuph, an Ephraimite. He had two wives; the name of one was Hannah, and the name of the other Peninnah. Peninnah had children, but Hannah had no children.

 Now this man used to go up year by year from his town to worship and to sacrifice to the Lord of hosts at Shiloh, where the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, were priests of the Lord. On the day when Elkanah sacrificed, he would give portions to his wife Peninnah and to all her sons and daughters; but to Hannah he gave a double portion, because he loved her, though the Lord had closed her womb. Her rival used to provoke her severely, to irritate her, because the Lord had closed her womb. So it went on year after year; as often as she went up to the house of the Lord, she used to provoke her. Therefore Hannah wept and would not eat. Her husband Elkanah said to her, ‘Hannah, why do you weep? Why do you not eat? Why is your heart sad? Am I not more to you than ten sons?’

 After they had eaten and drunk at Shiloh, Hannah rose and presented herself before the Lord. Now Eli the priest was sitting on the seat beside the doorpost of the temple of the Lord. She was deeply distressed and prayed to the Lord, and wept bitterly. She made this vow: ‘O Lord of hosts, if only you will look on the misery of your servant, and remember me, and not forget your servant, but will give to your servant a male child, then I will set him before you as a nazirite until the day of his death. He shall drink neither wine nor intoxicants, and no razor shall touch his head.’

 As she continued praying before the Lord, Eli observed her mouth. Hannah was praying silently; only her lips moved, but her voice was not heard; therefore Eli thought she was drunk. So Eli said to her, ‘How long will you make a drunken spectacle of yourself? Put away your wine.’ But Hannah answered, ‘No, my lord, I am a woman deeply troubled; I have drunk neither wine nor strong drink, but I have been pouring out my soul before the Lord. Do not regard your servant as a worthless woman, for I have been speaking out of my great anxiety and vexation all this time.’ Then Eli answered, ‘Go in peace; the God of Israel grant the petition you have made to him.’ And she said, ‘Let your servant find favour in your sight.’ Then the woman went to her quarters, ate and drank with her husband, and her countenance was sad no longer.

 They rose early in the morning and worshipped before the Lord; then they went back to their house at Ramah. Elkanah knew his wife Hannah, and the Lord remembered her. In due time Hannah conceived and bore a son. She named him Samuel, for she said, ‘I have asked him of the Lord.’
 

Hebrews 3:1-6

Therefore, brothers and sisters, holy partners in a heavenly calling, consider that Jesus, the apostle and high priest of our confession, was faithful to the one who appointed him, just as Moses also ‘was faithful in all God’s house.’ Yet Jesus is worthy of more glory than Moses, just as the builder of a house has more honour than the house itself. (For every house is built by someone, but the builder of all things is God.) Now Moses was faithful in all God’s house as a servant, to testify to the things that would be spoken later. Christ, however, was faithful over God’s house as a son, and we are his house if we hold firm the confidence and the pride that belong to hope.

The Collect

Father in heaven, by your grace the virgin mother of your incarnate Son was blessed in bearing him, but still more blessed in keeping your word: Grant us who honor the exaltation of her lowliness to follow the example of her devotion to your will; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Evening Prayer 2


    Psalm 146    
    Lauda, anima mea
1
Hallelujah!
Praise the LORD, O my soul! *
     I will praise the LORD as long as I live;
     I will sing praises to my God while I have my being.
2
Put not your trust in rulers, nor in any child of earth, *
     for there is no help in them.
3
When they breathe their last, they return to earth, *
     and in that day their thoughts perish.
4
Happy are they who have the God of Jacob for their help! *
     whose hope is in the LORD their God;
5
Who made heaven and earth, the seas, and all that is in them; *
     who keeps his promise for ever;
6
Who gives justice to those who are oppressed, *
     and food to those who hunger.
7
The LORD sets the prisoners free;
     the LORD opens the eyes of the blind; *
     the LORD lifts up those who are bowed down;
8
The LORD loves the righteous;
the LORD cares for the stranger; *
     he sustains the orphan and widow,
     but frustrates the way of the wicked.
9
The LORD shall reign for ever, *
     your God, O Zion, throughout all generations.
     Hallelujah!



    Psalm 147    
    Laudate Domine
1
Hallelujah!
How good it is to sing praises to our God! *
     how pleasant it is to honor him with praise!
2
The LORD rebuilds Jerusalem; *
     he gathers the exiles of Israel.
3
He heals the brokenhearted *
     and binds up their wounds.
4
He counts the number of the stars *
     and calls them all by their names.
5
Great is our LORD and mighty in power; *
     there is no limit to his wisdom.
6
The LORD lifts up the lowly, *
     but casts the wicked to the ground.
7
Sing to the LORD with thanksgiving; *
     make music to our God upon the harp.
8
He covers the heavens with clouds *
     and prepares rain for the earth;
9
He makes grass to grow upon the mountains *
     and green plants to serve mankind.
10
He provides food for flocks and herds *
     and for the young ravens when they cry.
11
He is not impressed by the might of a horse; *
     he has no pleasure in the strength of a man;
12
But the LORD has pleasure in those who fear him, *
     in those who await his gracious favor.
13
Worship the LORD, O Jerusalem; *
     praise your God, O Zion;
14
For he has strengthened the bars of your gates; *
     he has blessed your children within you.
15
He has established peace on your borders; *
     he satisfies you with the finest wheat.
16
He sends out his command to the earth, *
     and his word runs very swiftly.
17
He gives snow like wool; *
     he scatters hoarfrost like ashes.
18
He scatters his hail like bread crumbs; *
     who can stand against his cold?
19
He sends forth his word and melts them; *
     he blows with his wind, and the waters flow.
20
He declares his word to Jacob, *
     his statutes and his judgments to Israel.
21
He has not done so to any other nation; *
     to them he has not revealed his judgments.
     Hallelujah!

Zechariah 2:10-13

Sing and rejoice, O daughter Zion! For lo, I will come and dwell in your midst, says the Lord. Many nations shall join themselves to the Lord on that day, and shall be my people; and I will dwell in your midst. And you shall know that the Lord of hosts has sent me to you. The Lord will inherit Judah as his portion in the holy land, and will again choose Jerusalem.

 Be silent, all people, before the Lord; for he has roused himself from his holy dwelling.

John 3:25-30

 Now a discussion about purification arose between John’s disciples and a Jew. They came to John and said to him, ‘Rabbi, the one who was with you across the Jordan, to whom you testified, here he is baptizing, and all are going to him.’ John answered, ‘No one can receive anything except what has been given from heaven. You yourselves are my witnesses that I said, “I am not the Messiah, but I have been sent ahead of him.” He who has the bride is the bridegroom. The friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly at the bridegroom’s voice. For this reason my joy has been fulfilled. He must increase, but I must decrease.’

The Collect

Father in heaven, by your grace the virgin mother of your incarnate Son was blessed in bearing him, but still more blessed in keeping your word: Grant us who honor the exaltation of her lowliness to follow the example of her devotion to your will; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.



 
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