Thursday, January 14, 2010

Prayer of the Day

For the Dying

Almighty and merciful God, You bestow on mankind both the remedies of health and the gifts of everlasting life. Look graciously on Your servant suffering from bodily infirmity and strengthen the soul which You have made. At the hour of his (her) death, may he (she) deserve to be offered without stain of sin to You his (her) Creator by the hands of the holy angels. Through Christ our Lord.


Thursday of the First Week in Ordinary Time

Reading I
1 Sm 4:1-11

The Philistines gathered for an attack on Israel.
Israel went out to engage them in battle and camped at Ebenezer,
while the Philistines camped at Aphek.
The Philistines then drew up in battle formation against Israel.
After a fierce struggle Israel was defeated by the Philistines,
who slew about four thousand men on the battlefield.
When the troops retired to the camp, the elders of Israel said,
“Why has the LORD permitted us to be defeated today
by the Philistines?
Let us fetch the ark of the Lord from Shiloh
that it may go into battle among us
and save us from the grasp of our enemies.”

So the people sent to Shiloh and brought from there
the ark of the LORD of hosts, who is enthroned upon the cherubim.
The two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, were with the ark of God.
When the ark of the LORD arrived in the camp,
all Israel shouted so loudly that the earth resounded.
The Philistines, hearing the noise of shouting, asked,
“What can this loud shouting in the camp of the Hebrews mean?”
On learning that the ark of the LORD had come into the camp,
the Philistines were frightened.
They said, “Gods have come to their camp.”
They said also, “Woe to us! This has never happened before. Woe to us!
Who can deliver us from the power of these mighty gods?
These are the gods that struck the Egyptians
with various plagues and with pestilence.
Take courage and be manly, Philistines;
otherwise you will become slaves to the Hebrews,
as they were your slaves.
So fight manfully!”
The Philistines fought and Israel was defeated;
every man fled to his own tent.
It was a disastrous defeat,
in which Israel lost thirty thousand foot soldiers.
The ark of God was captured,
and Eli’s two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, were among the dead.

Responsorial Psalm
44:10-11, 14-15, 24-25

R. Redeem us, Lord, because of your mercy.

Yet now you have cast us off and put us in disgrace,
and you go not forth with our armies.
You have let us be driven back by our foes;
those who hated us plundered us at will.

R. Redeem us, Lord, because of your mercy.

You made us the reproach of our neighbors,
the mockery and the scorn of those around us.
You made us a byword among the nations,
a laughingstock among the peoples.

R. Redeem us, Lord, because of your mercy.

Why do you hide your face,
forgetting our woe and our oppression?
For our souls are bowed down to the dust,
our bodies are pressed to the earth.

R. Redeem us, Lord, because of your mercy.

Mk 1:40-45

A leper came to him and kneeling down begged him and said,
“If you wish, you can make me clean.”
Moved with pity, he stretched out his hand,
touched the leper, and said to him,
“I do will it. Be made clean.”
The leprosy left him immediately, and he was made clean.
Then, warning him sternly, he dismissed him at once.
Then he said to him, “See that you tell no one anything,
but go, show yourself to the priest
and offer for your cleansing what Moses prescribed;
that will be proof for them.”
The man went away and began to publicize the whole matter.
He spread the report abroad
so that it was impossible for Jesus to enter a town openly.
He remained outside in deserted places,
and people kept coming to him from everywhere.

Saint of the Day

January 11

Servant of God John the Gardener (d. 1501)

John was born of poor parents in Portugal. Orphaned early in life, he spent some years begging from door to door. After finding work in Spain as a shepherd, he shared the little he earned with those even more needy than himself.

One day two Franciscans encountered him on a journey. Engaging him in conversation, they took a liking to the simple man and invited him to come and work at their friary in Salamanca. He readily accepted and was assigned to the task of assisting the brother with gardening duties. A short time later John himself entered the Franciscan Order and lived a life of prayer and meditation, fasting constantly, spending the nights in prayer, still helping the poor. Because of his work in the garden and the flowers he produced for the altar, he became known as "the gardener."

God favored John with the gift of prophecy and the ability to read hearts. Important persons, including princes, came to the humble, ever-obedient friar for advice. He was so loving towards all that he never wanted to take offense at anything. His advice was that to forgive offenses is an act of penance most pleasing to God.

He predicted the day of his own death: January 11, 1501.

Office of Readings

O Lord, open my lips.
– And my mouth will proclaim your praise.

Antiphon: Come, let us worship the Lord, for he is our God.

(repeat antiphon*)

The Lord’s is the earth and its fullness,
the world and all who live in it.
He himself founded it upon the seas
and set it firm over the waters.

(repeat antiphon*)

Who will climb the mountain of the Lord?
Who will stand in his holy place?
The one who is innocent of wrongdoing and pure of heart,
who has not given himself to vanities or sworn falsely.
He will receive the blessing of the Lord
and be justified by God his saviour.
This is the way of those who seek him,
seek the face of the God of Jacob.

(repeat antiphon*)

Gates, raise your heads. Stand up, eternal doors,
and let the king of glory enter.
Who is the king of glory?
The Lord of might and power.
The Lord, strong in battle.

(repeat antiphon*)

Gates, raise your heads. Stand up, eternal doors,
and let the king of glory enter.
Who is the king of glory?
The Lord of hosts
– he is the king of glory.

(repeat antiphon*)

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.


(repeat antiphon*)

Psalm 17 (18)

The word of the Lord is a shield for all who believe in him.
The Lord’s ways are pure;
the words of the Lord are refined in the furnace;
the Lord protects all who hope in him.
For what God is there, but our Lord?
What help, but in the Lord our God?
God, who has wrapped me in his strength
and set me on the perfect path,
who has made my feet like those of the deer,
who has set me firm upon the heights,
who trains my hands for battle,
teaches my arms to bend a bow of bronze.

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.


The word of the Lord is a shield for all who believe in him.
Psalm 17 (18)

Your right hand, Lord, holds me up.
You have given me the shield of your salvation;
your right hand holds me up;
by answering me, you give me greatness.
You have stretched the length of my stride,
my feet do not weaken.
I pursue my enemies and surround them;
I do not turn back until they are no more.
I smash them to pieces, they cannot stand,
they fall beneath my feet.
You have wrapped me round with strength for war,
and made my attackers fall under me.
You turned my enemies’ backs on me,
you destroyed those who hated me.
They cried out, but there was no-one to save them;
they cried to the Lord, but he did not hear.
I have ground them up until they are dust in the wind,
trodden them down like the mud of the street.
You have delivered me from the murmurings of the people
and placed me at the head of the nations.
A people I do not even know serves me –
at a mere rumour of my orders, they obey.
The children of strangers beg for my favour;
they hide away and tremble where they hide.

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.


Your right hand, Lord, holds me up.
Psalm 17 (18)

Long live the Lord! Praise to God my salvation!
The Lord lives, my blessed Helper.
Let the God of my salvation be exalted.
God, you give me my revenge,
you subject peoples to my rule,
you free me from my enraged enemies.
You raise me up from those who attack me,
you snatch me from the grasp of the violent.
And so I will proclaim you among the nations, Lord,
and sing to your name.
Time and again you save your king,
you show your loving kindness to your anointed,
to David and his descendants for ever.

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.


Long live the Lord! Praise to God my salvation!
Uncover my eyes, Lord,
– and I will consider the wonders of your Law.

Reading Ecclesiasticus 42:15-43:13
Praise of God in his creation

I will remind you of the works of the Lord,
and tell of what I have seen.
By the words of the Lord his works come into being
and all creation obeys his will.
As the sun in shining looks on all things,
so the work of the Lord is full of his glory.
The Lord has not granted to the holy ones
to tell of all his marvels
which the Almighty Lord has solidly constructed
for the universe to stand firm in his glory.
He has fathomed the deep and the heart,
and seen into their devious ways;
for the Most High knows all the knowledge there is,
and has observed the signs of the times.
He declares what is past and what will be,
and uncovers the traces of hidden things.
Not a thought escapes him,
not a single word is hidden from him.
He has imposed an order on the magnificent works of his wisdom,
he is from everlasting to everlasting,
nothing can be added to him, nothing taken away,
he needs no one’s advice.
How desirable are all his works,
how dazzling to the eye!
They all live and last for ever,
whatever the circumstances all obey him.
All things go in pairs, by opposites,
and he has made nothing defective;
the one consolidates the excellence of the other,
who could ever be sated with gazing at his glory?
Pride of the heights, shining vault,
so, in a glorious spectacle, the sky appears.
The sun, as he emerges, proclaims at his rising,
‘A thing of wonder is the work of the Most High!’
At his zenith he parches the land,
who can withstand his blaze?
A man must blow a furnace to produce any heat,
the sun burns the mountains three times as much;
breathing out blasts of fire,
flashing his rays he dazzles the eyes.
Great is the Lord who made him,
and whose word speeds him on his course.
And then the moon, always punctual,
to mark the months and make division of time:
the moon it is that signals the feasts,
a luminary that wanes after her full.
The month derives its name from hers,
she waxes wonderfully in her phases,
banner of the hosts on high,
shining in the vault of heaven.
The glory of the stars makes the beauty of the sky,
a brilliant decoration to the heights of the Lord.
At the words of the Holy One they stand as he decrees,
and never grow slack at their watch.
See the rainbow and praise its maker,
so superbly beautiful in its splendour.
Across the sky it forms a glorious arc
drawn by the hands of the Most High.

Reading From a discourse Against the Pagans by Saint Athanasius, bishop
The word of the Father gives order, direction and unity to creation

By his own wisdom and Word, who is our Lord and Saviour Christ, the all-holy Father (whose excellence far exceeds that of any creature), like a skilful steersman guides to safety all creation, regulating and keeping it in being, as he judges right. It is right that creation should exist as he has made it and as we see it happening, because this is his will, which no one would deny. For if the movement of the universe were irrational, and the world rolled on in random fashion, one would be justified in disbelieving what we say. But if the world is founded on reason, wisdom and science, and is filled with orderly beauty, then it must owe its origin and order to none other than the Word of God.

He is God, the living and creative God of the universe, the word of the good God, who is God in his own right. The Word is different from all created things: he is the unique Word belonging only to the good Father. This is the Word that created this whole world and enlightens it by his loving wisdom. He who is the good Word of the good Father produced the order in all creation, joining opposites together, and forming from them one harmonious sound. He is God, one and only-begotten, who proceeds in goodness from the Father as from the fountain of goodness, and gives order, direction and unity to creation.

By his eternal Word the Father created all things and implanted a nature in his creatures. He did not want to see them tossed about at the mercy of their own natures, and so be reduced to nothingness. But in his goodness he governs and sustains the whole of nature by his Word (who is himself also God), so that under the guidance, providence and ordering of that Word, the whole of nature might remain stable and coherent in his light. Nature was to share in the Father’s Word, whose reality is true, and be helped by him to exist, for without him it would cease to be. For unless the Word, who is the very “image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation,” kept it in existence it could not exist. For whatever exists, whether visible or invisible, remains in existence through him and in him, and he is also the head of the Church, as we are taught by the ministers of truth in their sacred writings.

The almighty and most holy Word of the Father pervades the whole of reality, everywhere unfolding his power and shining on all things visible and invisible. He sustains it all and binds it all together in himself. He leaves nothing devoid of his power but gives life and keeps it in being throughout all of creation and in each individual creature.

Concluding Prayer

In your love, Lord, answer the prayers of your people:
make us see what we have to do
and give us the strength to do it.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God for ever and ever.