Vespers: Wednesday, wk 2

During Lent, this O.T. Canticle, based on Isaiah 58:5-9,
replaces the one for ordinary time

Such fasting as you do today,
will not make your voice heard on high.
Is this the kind of fasting that I wish,
a day to humble yourself?

Is it to bow your head like a reed,
and lie in sackcloth and ashes?
Do you call this a fast,
a day pleasing to your God?

Is not this the fast that I wish:
Loose the bonds of injustice;
undo the thongs of the yoke,
and let the oppressed go free.

Then your light will break forth like the dawn,
and your wound shall quickly be healed.
When you call for help, God will answer,
saying to you: Here I am!

Psalm 104  (Praise God the Creator)

Bless God, O my soul!
My God, how great you are,
robed in majesty and splendor;
light enfolds you as a garment!

You spread out the heavens like a tent,
the beams of your home above the water.
You make the clouds your chariot;
you ride on the wings of the wind.

You make the winds your messengers,
fire and flame your servants.

You set the earth on its foundation,
so it will never be moved.
You clothed it with the deep as with a mantle;
higher than the mountains stood the waters.

At your rebuke they took to flight,
scattered by the sound of your thunder;
they flowed over mountains, down the valleys,
to the place you prepared for them.

You set limits they were not to cross;
they shall not again cover the earth.
You send springs into the valleys;
between the mountains they flow.

There the animals drink their fill;
wild donkeys quench their thirst.
Birds make their nests by the streams;
they sing from among the branches.

From your lofty home you water the hills;
the fruit of your works fills the earth.
You make grass grow for the cattle,
and the plants that your people need,

To bring forth bread from the earth,
and wine to rejoice human hearts,
that their faces may be radiant with oil,
and their hearts made strong with bread.

The trees are abundantly watered,
the cedars of Lebanon which you planted.
In them the birds build their nests;
on the tree‑top the stork makes her home.

The goats find refuge in the mountains,
and rabbits hide in the rocks.
You ordered the moon to mark the seasons;
the sun knows the time it should set.

When you bring on darkness it is night;
then the beasts of the forest are stirring.
The lions roar for their prey,
as they look to you for their food.

When the sun rises, they return,
and go to rest in their dens.
Your people go forth to their work,
to labor until the evening.

( PAUSE )

How manifold are your works, O God!
You arrange all things with wisdom.
The earth is full of your creations.

In the vast ocean, teeming with life,
are numberless creatures, great and small.
There the ships go their way,
with Leviathan you made to play for you.

All creatures look to you with hope,
to receive their food when it is due.
As you give it, they gather it up;
with open hands you provide for all needs.

But if you hide your face they are afraid;
if you take back your spirit they die,
and return to the dust from which they came.

When you send forth your spirit they are created,
and you renew the face of the earth.

O God, may you be glorified forever!
May you find joy in all your creatures.
You look upon the earth and it trembles;
you touch the mountains and they smoke!

I will sing to you throughout my life;
I will praise you as long as I live.
May my thoughts be pleasing to you;
in you, my God, I find joy.

May evildoing vanish from the earth;
let wickedness exist no more.
Bless God, O my soul.

Psalm 65  (A song of springtime)

All praise belongs to you,
in Zion, O God;
to you our vows are paid.
You listen to our prayers.

All people bring to you,
the burdens of sin.
When our faults are overwhelming,
you grant us forgiveness.

Happy are they whom you choose,
and bring to live in your courts.
Fill us with the blessings of your house,
the holiness of your temple.

In justice you show great marvels,
O God our Savior,
the hope of all the earth,
and of the distant seas.

Your power holds the mountains firm;
you have clothed yourself with strength.
You calm the roaring waves of the seas,
and the rage of the peoples.

All who dwell at the ends of the earth,
stand in awe before your wonders.
The sunrise and the sunset
resound with joy.

You visited the earth and watered it;
you have greatly enriched it.
Your river, O God, brims over;
you have provided the grain.

Thus you have prepared the land,
drenching furrows and soaking its ridges.
You soften the ground with showers,
while blessing its growth.

You crown the year with your goodness.
Your paths overflow with plenty.
Desert pastures are rich for grazing;
the hills are girded with joy.

The meadows are covered with flocks,
the valleys are clothed with grain.
They shout and sing for joy.

N.T.Canticle, based on Luke 12:22-31

Do not be concerned for your life,
what you will eat or what you will wear,
for life is more than food,
and the body more than clothing.

You know the ravens do not sow or reap,
they have no storehouse or barn,
yet God provides them with food.
You are much more important that the birds!

Which of your fears or worries
can add a moment to your life-span?
If the smallest things are beyond your power,
why be anxious about the rest?

If God clothes the lilies in such splendor,
and the grass of the field which grows today,
but is thrown on the fire tomorrow,
how much more will God provide for you!

O you who are weak in faith,
it is not for you to be searching
for what you are to eat or drink.
God knows that you need such things.

Seek first the kingdom of God,
and these things will be given you as well.

Psalms Trans. ©Benedictine Sisters of Perpetual Adoration, 2008