INTRODUCTION

O God, come to our aid.

O Lord, make haste to help us.

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. Alleluia.



Hymn

In ancient times God spoke to us

Through prophets, and in varied ways,

But now he speaks through Christ his Son,

His radiance through eternal days.

To God the Father of the world,

His Son through whom he made all things,

And Holy Spirit, bond of love,

All glad creation glory sings.

Stanbrook Abbey Hymnal


Psalm 34 (35)

The Lord, a saviour in time of persecution

O Lord, arise to help me.

Judge, Lord, those who are judging me:

attack those who are attacking me.

Take up your shield and come out to defend me.

Brandish your spear and hold back my pursuers.

Say to my soul, “I am your deliverance.”

Let them be thrown into confusion,

those who are after my life.

Let them be weakened and put to flight,

those who plan harm to me.

Let them be like chaff blowing in the wind,

when the angel of the Lord scatters them.

Let their paths be dark and slippery,

when the angel of the Lord harries them.

For it was without cause that they spread out their nets to ensnare me,

without cause that they dug a pit to take my life.

Let death come upon them suddenly,

may they be entangled in their own nets.

But my soul will exult in the Lord

and rejoice in his aid.

My bones themselves will say

“Lord, who is your equal?”

You snatch the poor man

from the hand of the strong,

the needy and weak

from those who would destroy them.

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.

O Lord, arise to help me.


Psalm 34 (35)

Lord, plead my cause; defend me with your strength.

Lying witnesses rose up against me;

they asked me questions I could not answer.

They paid me back evil for the good I did,

my soul is desolation.

Yet I – when they were ill, I put on sackcloth,

I mortified my soul with fasting,

I prayed for them from the depths of my heart.

I walked in sadness as for a close friend, for a brother;

I was bowed down with grief as if mourning my own mother.

But they – when I was unsteady, they rejoiced and gathered together.

They gathered and beat me: I did not know why.

They were tearing me to pieces, there was no end to it:

they teased me, heaped derision on me, they ground their teeth at me.

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.

Lord, plead my cause; defend me with your strength.


Psalm 34 (35)

My tongue shall speak of your justice, all day long.

Lord, how long will you wait?

Rescue my life from their attacks,

my only life from the lions.

I will proclaim you in the great assembly,

in the throng of people I will praise you.

Let not my lying enemies triumph over me,

those who hate me for no reason,

who conspire against me by secret signs,

who do not speak of peace,

who plan crimes against the innocent,

who cry out slanders against me,

saying “Yes! Yes! We saw it ourselves!”

You see them, Lord, do not stay silent:

Lord, do not leave me.

Rise up and keep watch at my trial:

my God and my Lord, watch over my case.

Judge me according to your justice,

Lord: my God, let them not rejoice over me!

Let them not think to themselves,

“Yes! We have what we wanted!”

Let them not say,

“We have swallowed him up.”

But let those who support my cause rejoice,

let them say always “How great is the Lord,

who takes care of his servant’s welfare.”

And my tongue too will ponder your justice,

and praise you all day long.

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.


My tongue shall speak of your justice, all day long.

My son, keep my words in your heart.

Follow my commandments and you will live.


First Reading

Job 40:1-14,42:1-6 ©

The Lord turned to Job, and he said:


Is Shaddai’s opponent willing to give in?

Has God’s critic thought up an answer?


Job replied to the Lord:


My words have been frivolous: what can I reply?

I had better lay my finger on my lips.

I have spoken once… I will not speak again;

more than once… I will add nothing.


The Lord gave Job his answer from the heart of the tempest. He said:


Brace yourself like a fighter,

now it is my turn to ask questions and yours to inform me.

Do you really want to reverse my judgement,

and put me in the wrong to put yourself in the right?

Has your arm the strength of God’s,

can your voice thunder as loud?

If so, assume your dignity, your state,

robe yourself in majesty and splendour.

Let the spate of your anger flow free;

humiliate the haughty at a glance!

Cast one look at the proud and bring them low,

strike down the wicked where they stand.

Bury the lot of them in the ground,

shut them, silent-faced, in the dungeon.

I myself will be the first to acknowledge

that your own right hand can assure your triumph.


This was the answer Job gave to the Lord:


I know that you are all-powerful:

what you conceive, you can perform.

I am the man who obscured your designs

with my empty-headed words.

I have been holding forth on matters I cannot understand,

on marvels beyond me and my knowledge.

Listen, I have more to say,

now it is my turn to ask questions and yours to inform me.

I knew you then only by hearsay;

but now, having seen you with my own eyes,

I retract all I have said,

and in dust and ashes I repent.


Responsory

I have heard of you by word of mouth, but now my eye has seen you, therefore I disown what I have said, and in dust and ashes I repent.

Though I have spoken once, I will not do so again; though twice, I will do so no more. I put my hand over my mouth, and in dust and ashes I repent.


Second Reading

A letter by St Boniface

The careful shepherd watches over Christ’s flock

In her voyage across the ocean of this world, the Church is like a great ship being pounded by the waves of life’s different stresses. Our duty is not to abandon ship but to keep her on her course.

The ancient fathers showed us how we should carry out this duty: Clement, Cornelius and many others in the city of Rome, Cyprian at Carthage, Athanasius at Alexandria. They all lived under emperors who were pagans; they all steered Christ’s ship – or rather his most dear spouse, the Church. This they did by teaching and defending her, by their labours and sufferings, even to the shedding of blood. I am terrified when I think of all this. Fear and trembling came upon me and the darkness of my sins almost covered me. I would gladly give up the task of guiding the Church which I have accepted if I could find such an action warranted by the example of the fathers or by holy Scripture.

Since this is the case, and since the truth can be assaulted but never defeated or falsified, with our tired mind let us turn to the words of Solomon: Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not rely on your own prudence. Think on him in all your ways, and he will guide your steps. In another place he says: The name of the Lord is an impregnable tower. The just man seeks refuge in it and he will be saved.

Let us stand fast in what is right and prepare our souls for trial. Let us wait upon God’s strengthening aid and say to him: O Lord, you have been our refuge in all generations.

Let us trust in him who has placed this burden upon us. What we ourselves cannot bear let us bear with the help of Christ. For he is all-powerful and he tells us: My yoke is easy and my burden is light. Let us continue the fight on the day of the Lord. The days of anguish and of tribulation have overtaken us; if God so wills, let us die for the holy laws of our fathers, so that we may deserve to obtain an eternal inheritance with them.

Let us be neither dogs that do not bark nor silent onlookers nor paid servants who run away before the wolf. Instead let us be careful shepherds watching over Christ’s flock. Let us preach the whole of God’s plan to the powerful and to the humble, to rich and to poor, to men of every rank and age, as far as God gives us the strength, in season and out of season, as Saint Gregory writes in his book of Pastoral Instruction.


Responsory

In our great longing for you, we desired nothing better than to offer you our own lives, as well as God’s gospel, so greatly had we learned to love you.

My little children, I am in travail over you afresh, until I can see Christ’s image formed in you, so greatly had we learned to love you.

Let us pray.


Almighty God, the martyr Saint Boniface

sealed with his blood the faith he preached.

Let him pray that we may hold fast to the faith and profess it courageously in our lives.

Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Amen.

Let us praise the Lord.

– Thanks be to God.