Office of Readings
The Visitation
May 31
______

O, God, make speed to save us.
O, Lord, make haste to help us.

Holy God, Holy and Mighty, Holy Immortal One
Have mercy on us (3x)



The Psalms

Ant. 1: Mary received a blessing from the Lord and loving kindness from God her savior.

1
The earth is the LORD's and all that is in it, *
     the world and all who dwell therein.
2
For it is he who founded it upon the seas *
     and made it firm upon the rivers of the deep.
3
"Who can ascend the hill of the LORD? *
     and who can stand in his holy place?"
4
"Those who have clean hands and a pure heart, *
     who have not pledged themselves to falsehood,
     nor sworn by what is a fraud.
5
They shall receive a blessing from the LORD *
     and a just reward from the God of their salvation."
6
Such is the generation of those who seek him, *
     of those who seek your face, O God of Jacob.
7
Lift up your heads, O gates;
lift them high, O everlasting doors; *
     and the King of glory shall come in.
8
"Who is this King of glory?" *
     "The LORD, strong and mighty,
     the LORD, mighty in battle."
9
Lift up your heads, O gates;
lift them high, O everlasting doors; *
     and the King of glory shall come in.
10
"Who is he, this King of glory?" *
     "The LORD of hosts,
     he is the King of glory."
Ant. 1: Mary received a blessing from the Lord and loving kindness from God her savior.

Ant. 2: The most high has made his dwelling place a holy temple.

1
God is our refuge and strength, *
     a very present help in trouble.
2
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth be moved, *
     and though the mountains be toppled into the depths of the sea;
3
Though its waters rage and foam, *
     and though the mountains tremble at its tumult.
4
The LORD of hosts is with us; *
     the God of Jacob is our stronghold.
5
There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, *
     the holy habitation of the Most High.
6
God is in the midst of her;
     she shall not be overthrown; *
     God shall help her at the break of day.
7
The nations make much ado, and the kingdoms are shaken; *
     God has spoken, and the earth shall melt away.
8
The LORD of hosts is with us; *
     the God of Jacob is our stronghold.
9
Come now and look upon the works of the LORD, *
     what awesome things he has done on earth.
10
It is he who makes war to cease in all the world; *
     he breaks the bow, and shatters the spear,
     and burns the shields with fire.
11
"Be still, then, and know that I am God; *
     I will be exalted among the nations;
     I will be exalted in the earth."
12
The LORD of hosts is with us; *
     the God of Jacob is our stronghold.
Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be,
world without end.
Amen.

Ant. 2:The most high has made his dwelling place a holy temple.


Ant. 3: Glorious things are said of you, O Virgin Mary.

1
On the holy mountain stands the city he has founded; *
     the LORD loves the gates of Zion
     more than all the dwellings of Jacob.
2
Glorious things are spoken of you, *
     O city of our God.
3
I count Egypt and Babylon among those who know me; *
     behold Philistia, Tyre, and Ethiopia:
     in Zion were they born.
4
Of Zion it shall be said, "Everyone was born in her, *
     and the Most High himself shall sustain her."
5
The LORD will record as he enrolls the peoples, *
     "These also were born there."
6
The singers and the dancers will say, *
     "All my fresh springs are in you."      
Ant. 3: Glorious things are said of you, O Virgin Mary.

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be,
world without end.
Amen.

Biblical Reading

Song of Songs 2:8-14; 8:6-7
The voice of my beloved!
   Look, he comes,
leaping upon the mountains,
   bounding over the hills.
My beloved is like a gazelle
   or a young stag.
Look, there he stands
   behind our wall,
gazing in at the windows,
   looking through the lattice.
My beloved speaks and says to me:
‘Arise, my love, my fair one,
   and come away;
for now the winter is past,
   the rain is over and gone.
The flowers appear on the earth;
   the time of singing has come,
and the voice of the turtle-dove
   is heard in our land.
The fig tree puts forth its figs,
   and the vines are in blossom;
   they give forth fragrance.
Arise, my love, my fair one,
   and come away.
O my dove, in the clefts of the rock,
   in the covert of the cliff,
let me see your face,
   let me hear your voice;
for your voice is sweet,
   and your face is lovely.
Set me as a seal upon your heart,
   as a seal upon your arm;
for love is strong as death,
   passion fierce as the grave.
Its flashes are flashes of fire,
   a raging flame.
Many waters cannot quench love,
   neither can floods drown it.
If one offered for love
   all the wealth of one’s house,
   it would be utterly scorned.

Responsory
The angel Gabriel was sent to the Virgin Mary who was betrothed to Joseph. The light filled her with fear, but the angel said to her: Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God.
    -    Behold you shall conceive and bear a son, and he will be called the Son of the Most High, alleluia.
Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with you.
    -    Behold you shall conceive and bear a son, and he will be called the Son of the Most High, alleluia.

Reading from the Church Fathers

A sermon by St Bede the Venerable

"My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my saviour." With these words Mary first acknowledges the special gifts she has been given. Then she recalls Godís universal favours, bestowed unceasingly on the human race.

When a man devotes all his thoughts to the praise and service of the Lord, he proclaims Godís greatness. His observance of Godís commands, moreover, shows that he has Godís power and greatness always at heart. His spirit rejoices in God his saviour and delights in the mere recollection of his creator who gives him hope for eternal salvation.

These words are often for all Godís creations, but especially for the Mother of God. She alone was chosen, and she burned with spiritual love for the son she so joyously conceived. Above all other saints, she alone could truly rejoice in Jesus, her saviour, for she knew that he who was the source of eternal salvation would be born in time in her body, in one person both her own son and her Lord.

"For the Almighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name." Mary attributes nothing to her own merits. She refers all her greatness to the gift of the one whose essence is power and whose nature is greatness, for he fills with greatness and strength the small and the weak who believe in him.

She did well to add: "and holy is his name," to warn those who heard, and indeed all who would receive his words, that they must believe and call upon his name. For they too could share in everlasting holiness and true salvation according to the words of the prophet: "and it will come to pass, that everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved." This is the name she spoke of earlier: "and my spirit rejoices in God my saviour."

Therefore it is an excellent and fruitful custom of holy Church that we should sing Maryís hymn at the time of evening prayer. By meditating upon the incarnation, our devotion is kindled, and by remembering the example of Godís Mother, we are encouraged to lead a life of virtue. Such virtues are best achieved in the evening. We are weary after the dayís work and worn out by our distractions. The time for rest is near, and our minds are ready for contemplation.

Responsory
Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and cried out: Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb.
    -    and who am I that the mother of my Lord should come to me?
For when your greeting sounded in my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy.
    -    and who am I that the mother of my Lord should come to me?

Closing Prayer:
God our Father,
your Word became flesh and was born of the Virgin Mary.
May we become more like Jesus Christ,
whom we acknowledge as our redeemer, God and man.
We ask this through Jesus Christ our Lord,
Who live and reigns with you and Holy Spirit
One God, forever and ever, Amen.



 
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