Ribbon Placement:
Liturgy of the Hours Vol. III:
Ordinary: 651
Psalter: Thursday, Week II, 916
Common of One Martyr: 1711 (verse before first reading)
Proper of Seasons: 94 (first reading)
Proper of Saints: 1310 (second reading, concluding prayer)

Christian Prayer:
Does not contain Office of Readings

Office of Readings for Thursday in Ordinary Time, the Memorial of Saint Agnes, Virgin and Martyr

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

Lo! round the throne, a glorious band,
The saints in countless myriads stand;
Of every tongue redeemed to God,
Arrayed in garments washed in blood,
Alleluia.

Through tribulation great they came;
They bore the cross, despised the shame;
From all their labors now they rest,
In God’s eternal glory blest,
Alleluia.

They see their Savior face to face;
And sing the triumphs of His grace;
Him day and night, they ceaseless praise,
To Him their loud thanksgiving raise,
Alleluia.

“Worthy the Lamb, for sinners slain,
Through endless years to live and reign;
Thou hast redeemed us by Thy blood,
And made us kings and priests to God.”
Alleluia.

O may we tread the sacred road
That saints and holy martyrs trod;
Wage to the end the glorious strife,
And win, like them, a crown of life,
Alleluia.

𝄞 “Lo! Round The Throne, A Glorious Band” by Rebecca Hincke • • Available for Purchase • Title: Lo! Round The Throne, A Glorious Band; Text: Rowland Hill, 1783; Music: Frederick M. A. Venua, cca. 1810; Artist: Rebecca Hincke; (c) 2017 Surgeworks, Inc. • Albums that contain this Hymn: The Hymns and Chants of Divine Office, Vol. 1

PSALMODY

Ant. 1 Lord, you are our Savior; we will praise you for ever.

Psalm 44
The misfortunes of God’s people

We triumph over all these things through him who loved us (Romans 8:37).

I

We heard with our own ears, O God,
our fathers have told us the story
of the things you did in their days,
you yourself, in days long ago.

To plant them you uprooted the nations:
to let them spread you laid peoples low.
No sword of their own won the land;
no arm of their own brought them victory.
It was your right hand, your arm
and the light of your face: for you loved them.

It is you, my king, my God,
who granted victories to Jacob.
Through you we beat down our foes;
in your name we trampled our aggressors.

For it was not in my bow that I trusted
nor yet was I saved by my sword:
it was you who saved us from our foes,
it was you who put our foes to shame.
All day long our boast was in God,
and we praised your name without ceasing.

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.

Ant. Lord, you are our Savior; we will praise you for ever.

Ant. 2 Spare us, O Lord; do not bring your own people into contempt.

II

Yet now you have rejected us, disgraced us:
you no longer go forth with our armies.
You make us retreat from the foe
and our enemies plunder us at will.

You make us like sheep for the slaughter
and scatter us among the nations.
You sell your own people for nothing
and make no profit by the sale.

You make us the taunt of our neighbors,
the laughing stock of all who are near.
Among the nations, you make us a byword,
among the peoples a thing of derision.

All day long my disgrace is before me:
my face is covered with shame
at the voice of the taunter, the scoffer,
at the sight of the foe and the avenger.

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.

Ant. Spare us, O Lord; do not bring your own people into contempt.

Ant. 3 Rise up, O Lord, and save us, for you are merciful.

III

This befell us though we had not forgotten you;
though we had not been false to your covenant,
though we had not withdrawn our hearts;
though our feet had not strayed from your path.
Yet you have crushed us in a place of sorrows
and covered us with the shadow of death.

Had we forgotten the name of our God
or stretched our hands to another god
would not God have found this out,
he who knows the secrets of the heart?
It is for you that we face death all day long
and are counted as sheep for the slaughter.

Awake, O Lord, why do you sleep?
Arise, do not reject us for ever!
Why do you hide your face from us
and forget our oppression and misery?

For we are brought down low to the dust;
our body lies prostrate on the earth.
Stand up and come to our help!
Redeem us because of your love!

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.

Psalm-prayer

Lord, rise up and come to our aid; with your strong arm lead us to freedom, as you mightily delivered our forefathers. Since you are the king who knows the secrets of our hearts, fill them with the light of truth.

Ant. Rise up, O Lord, and save us, for you are merciful.

Sacred Silence (indicated by a bell) – a moment to reflect and receive in our hearts the full resonance of the voice of the Holy Spirit and to unite our personal prayer more closely with the word of God and public voice of the Church.

I have known tribulation and distress.
But in your commands I have found consolation.

READINGS

First reading
From the book of Deuteronomy
9:7-21, 25-29
The sins of the people and the mediation of Moses

Moses spoke to the people, saying:

“Bear in mind and do not forget how you angered the Lord, your God, in the desert. From the day you left the land of Egypt until you arrived in this place, you have been rebellious toward the Lord. At Horeb you so provoked the Lord that he was angry enough to destroy you, when I had gone up the mountain to receive the stone tablets of the covenant which the Lord made with you. Meanwhile I stayed on the mountain forty days and forty nights without eating or drinking, till the Lord gave me the two tablets of stone inscribed, by God’s own finger, with a copy of all the words that the Lord spoke to you on the mountain from the midst of the fire on the day of the assembly.

“Then, at the end of the forty days and forty nights, when the Lord had given me the two stone tablets of the covenant, he said to me, ‘Go down from here now, quickly, for your people whom you have brought out of Egypt have become depraved; they have already turned aside from the way I pointed out to them and have made for themselves a molten idol. I have seen now how stiff-necked this people is,’ the Lord said to me. ‘Let me be, that I may destroy them and blot out their name from under the heavens. I will then make of you a nation mightier and greater than they.’

“When I had come down again from the blazing, fiery mountain, with the two tablets of the covenant in both my hands, I saw how you had sinned against the Lord, your God: you had already turned aside from the way which the Lord had pointed out to you by making for yourselves a molten calf! Raising the two tablets with both hands I threw them from me and broke them before your eyes. Then, as before, I lay prostrate before the Lord for forty days and forty nights without eating or drinking, because of all the sin you had committed in the sight of the Lord and the evil you had done to provoke him. For I dreaded the fierce anger of the Lord against you: his wrath would destroy you. Yet once again the Lord listened to me.

“With Aaron, too, the Lord was deeply angry, and would have killed him had I not prayed for him also at that time. Then, taking the calf, the sinful object you had made, and fusing it with fire, I ground it down to powder as fine as dust, which I threw into the wadi that went down the mountainside.

“Those forty days, then, and forty nights, I lay prostrate before the Lord, because he had threatened to destroy you.

“This was my prayer to him: O Lord God, destroy not your people, the heritage which your majesty has ransomed and brought out of Egypt with your strong hand. Remember your servants, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Look not upon the stubbornness of this people nor upon their wickedness and sin, lest the people from whose land you have brought us say, ‘The Lord was not able to bring them into the land he promised them’; or ‘Out of hatred for them, he brought them out to slay them in the desert.’ They are, after all, your people and your heritage, whom you have brought out by your great power and with your outstretched arm.”

RESPONSORY Exodus 32:11, 13, 14; 33:17

Moses pleaded with the Lord God, and said:
Why, O Lord, should your anger blaze against your people?
Turn from your burning wrath; remember Abraham, Isaac and Jacob,
to whom you promised a land where milk and honey flow.
So the Lord relented and held back the punishment with which he had threatened his people.

God said to Moses:
You have found favor with me; you are my intimate friend.
So the Lord relented and held back the punishment with which he had threatened his people.

Second reading
From a treatise On Virgins by Saint Ambrose, bishop
Too young to be punished, yet old enough for a martyr’s crown

Today is the birthday of a virgin; let us imitate her purity. It is the birthday of a martyr; let us offer ourselves in sacrifice. It is the birthday of Saint Agnes, who is said to have suffered martyrdom at the age of twelve. The cruelty that did not spare her youth shows all the more clearly the power of faith in finding one so young to bear it witness.

There was little or no room in that small body for a wound. Though she could scarcely receive the blow, she could rise superior to it. Girls of her age cannot bear even their parents’ frowns and, pricked by a needle, weep as for a serious wound. Yet she shows no fear of the blood-stained hands of her executioners. She stands undaunted by heavy, clanking chains. She offers her whole body to be put to the sword by fierce soldiers. She is too young to know of death, yet is ready to face it. Dragged against her will to the altars, she stretches out her hands to the Lord in the midst of the flames, making the triumphant sign of Christ the victor on the altars of sacrilege. She puts her neck and hands in iron chains, but no chain can hold fast her tiny limbs.

A new kind of martyrdom! Too young to be punished, yet old enough for a martyr’s crown; unfitted for the contest, yet effortless in victory, she shows herself a master in valor despite the handicap of youth. As a bride she would not be hastening to join her husband with the same joy she shows as a virgin on her way to punishment, crowned not with flowers but with holiness of life, adorned not with braided hair but with Christ himself.

In the midst of tears, she sheds no tears herself. The crowds marvel at her recklessness in throwing away her life untasted, as if she had already lived life to the full. All are amazed that one not yet of legal age can give her testimony to God. So she succeeds in convincing others of her testimony about God, though her testimony in human affairs could not yet be accepted. What is beyond the power of nature, they argue, must come from its creator.

What menaces there were from the executioner, to frighten her; what promises made, to win her over; what influential people desired her in marriage! She answered: “To hope that any other will please me does wrong to my Spouse. I will be his who first chose me for himself. Executioner, why do you delay? If eyes that I do not want can desire this body, then let it perish.” She stood still, she prayed, she offered her neck.

You could see fear in the eyes of the executioner, as if he were the one condemned; his right hand trembled, his face grew pale as he saw the girl’s peril, while she had no fear for herself. One victim, but a twin martyrdom, to modesty and to religion; Agnes preserved her virginity, and gained a martyr’s crown.

RESPONSORY

Let us keep the feast of Saint Agnes by recalling all that she suffered.
While still so young, she overcame death and found true life.

For the giver of life was her only love.
While still so young, she overcame death and found true life.

CONCLUDING PRAYER

Almighty ever-living God,
who choose what is weak in the world
to confound the strong,
mercifully grant, that we,
who celebrate the heavenly birthday
of your Martyr Saint Agnes,
may follow her constancy in the faith.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.
Amen.

Acclamation (at least in the communal celebration)

Let us praise the Lord.
And give him thanks.


The English translation of The Liturgy of the Hours (Four Volumes) ©1974,
International Commission on English in the Liturgy
Corporation
. Readings and Old and New Testament Canticles (except the Gospel Canticles) are from the New American Bible
© 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Washington, D.C.. Used with permission. All rights reserved.
The DivineOffice.org website, podcast, apps and all related media follows the liturgical calendar for the United States.
The 1970 edition of the New American Bible as published in the Liturgy of the Hours is approved for use
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