The Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary - Friday Vespers


God, come to my assistance
Lord, make haste to help me
Your help, propitious Mother, lend us
And from the dreadful foe defend us.

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, now and for ever and ever. Amen.

Byzantine Prokimen Vespers
O God, You are my Protector, and Your mercy meets me on the way. O God, deliver me from my enemies, and save me from those who attack me.

God, be merciful to me, a sinner.
God, cleanse me of my sins and have mercy on me.
I have sinned without number, forgive me, O Lord.

Odes of Solomon
The Spirit spread his wings over the Virgin's womb. She conceived and gave birth. And she became a virginal mother by great mercy. She conceived and gave birth to a son without pain, and there was a purpose for this. She did not ask for a midwife to aid her, because God saw to her delivery. Like a human being, she gave birth according to the will of God. Manifestly she gave birth. With great power she acquired him. With thanksgiving she loved him. With kindness she guarded him. With grandeur she manifested him. Alleluia!

Psalm 145 Antiphon: Through his cross, Christ our peace has reconciled us to God.

I will extol you, O God my king:
and I will bless your name for ever;
yea, for ever and ever.
Every day will I bless you:
and I will praise your name for ever;
yea, for ever and ever.

Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised:
and of his greatness there is no end. Generation and generation shall praise your works:
and they shall declare your power.
They shall speak of the magnificence of the glory of your holiness:
and shall tell your wondrous works.
And they shall speak of the might of your terrible acts:
and shall declare your greatness.
They shall publish the memory of the abundance of your sweetness:
and shall rejoice in your justice.

The Lord is gracious and merciful:
patient and plenteous in mercy.
The Lord is sweet to all:
and his tender mercies are over all his works.

Let all your works, O Lord, praise you:
and let your saints bless you.
They shall speak of the glory of your kingdom:
and shall tell of your power:
To make your might known to the sons of men:
and the glory of the magnificence of your kingdom.

Your kingdom is a kingdom of all ages:
and your dominion endures throughout all generations.

Antiphon: His mother stood beside the cross.

The Lord is faithful in all his words:
and holy in all his works.
The Lord lifts up all that fall:
and sets up all that are cast down.
The eyes of all hope in you, O Lord:
and you give them meat in due season.
You open your hand,
and fill with blessing every living creature.

The Lord is just in all his ways:
and holy in all his works.
The Lord is nigh unto all them that call upon him:
to all that call upon him in truth.
He will do the will of them that fear him:
and he will hear their prayer, and save them.
The Lord keeps all them that love him;
but all the wicked he will destroy.

My mouth shall speak the praise of the Lord:
and let all flesh bless his holy name for ever;
yea, for ever and ever.

Antiphon: In Christ we have redemption through his blood.

Revelation 15
Great and wonderful are your works, O Lord God Almighty; just and true are your ways, O King of ages. Who shall not fear you, O Lord, and magnify your name? For you only are holy: for all nations shall come, and shall adore in your sight, because your judgments are manifest.

2 Timothy 2
Therefore I endure all things for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation, which is in Christ Jesus, with heavenly glory. A faithful saying: for if we be dead with him, we shall live also with him. If we suffer, we shall also reign.

2 John 4
I was exceeding glad, that I found of your children walking in truth, as we have received a commandment from the Father. And now I beseech you, lady, not as writing a new commandment to you, but that which we have had from the beginning, that we love one another. And this is charity, that we walk according to his commandment. For this is the commandment, that, as you have heard from the beginning, you should walk in the same: For many seducers are gone out into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh: this is a seducer and an antichrist. Look to yourselves, that you lose not the things which you have wrought: but that you may receive a full reward. Whosoever revolts, and continues not in the doctrine of Christ, has not God. He that continues in the doctrine the same has both the Father and the Son. If any man comes to you, and brings not this doctrine, receive him not into the house nor say to him, God speed you. For he that says unto him, God speed you, communicates with his wicked works. Having more things to write unto you, I would not by paper and ink: for I hope that I shall be with you, and speak face to face: that your joy may be full. The children of the sister Elect salute you.

St. Bernard
The martyrdom of the Virgin is set forth both in the prophecy of Simeon and in the actual story of our Lord's passion. The holy man said of the infant Jesus: HE HAS BEEN ESTABLISHED AS A SIGN WHICH WILL BE CONTRADICTED. He went on to say to Mary: AND YOUR OWN HEART WILL BE PIERCED BY A SWORD. Truly, O blessed Mother, a sword has pierced your heart. For only by passing through your heart could the sword enter the flesh of your Son. Indeed, after your Jesus--who belongs to everyone, but is especially yours--gave up his life, the cruel spear, which was not withheld from his lifeless body, tore upon his side. Clearly it did not touch his soul and could not harm him, but it did pierce your heart. For surely his soul was no longer there, but yours could not be torn away. Thus the violence of sorrow has cut through your heart, and we rightly call you more than martyr, since the effect of compassion in you has gone beyond the endurance of physical suffering. Or were those words: WOMAN, BEHOLD YOUR SON, not more than a sword to you, truly piercing your heart, cutting through to the division between soul and spirit? What an exchange! John is given to you in place of Jesus, the servant in place of the Lord, the Son of Zebedee replaces the Son of God, a mere man replaces God himself. How could these words not pierce your most loving heart, when the mere remembrance of them breaks ours, hearts of stone and iron though they are! Do not be surprised, brothers, that Mary is said to be a martyr in spirit. Let him be surprised who does not remember the words of Paul, that one of the greatest crimes of the Gentiles was that they were without love. That was far from the heart of Mary; let it be far from her servants'. Perhaps someone will say: "Had she not known before that he would die?" Undoubtedly. "Did she not expect him to rise again at once?" Surely. "And still she grieved over her crucified Son?" Intensely.

Who are you and what is the source of your wisdom that you are more surprised at the compassion of Mary than at the passion of Mary's Son? For if he could die in body, could she not die with him in spirit? He dies in body through a love greater than anyone had known. She died in spirit through a love unlike any other since his.

The Lord has chosen her, his loved one from the beginning
He has taken her to live with him, his loved one from the beginning.
Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, now and for ever and ever.
The Lord has chosen her, his loved one from the beginning.

Angel's prayer at Fatima
Most Holy Trinity--Father, Son, and Holy Spirit--I adore Thee profoundly. I offer Thee the most precious Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ, present in all the tabernacles of the world, in reparation for the outrages, sacrileges and indifferences whereby He is offended. And through the infinite merits of His Most Sacred Heart and the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I beg of Thee the conversion of poor sinners.

St. Alphonsus
O Mary, I already know that you are the most noble, the most sublime, the most pure, the most beautiful, the most benign, the most holy--in a word, the most amiable of all creatures. O that all knew you, my Lady, and loved you as you do merit! But I am consoled when I remember that in heaven and on earth there are so many happy souls who live enamored of your goodness and beauty. Above all, I rejoice that God himself loves you alone more than he loves all men and angels together. My most amiable Queen, I, a miserable sinner, love you also; but I love you too little. I desire a greater and more tender love towards you; and this you must obtain for me, since to love you is a great mark of predestination, and a grace which God only grants to those whom he will save.

I see also, my Mother, that I am indeed under great obligations to your Son. I see that he merits infinite love. You, who desire nothing else but to see him loved, have to obtain me this grace above all others; obtain me great love for Jesus Christ. You obtain all that you will from God; ah, then, be graciously pleased to obtain me the grace to be so united to the divine will that I may never more be separated from it. I do not ask of you earthly goods, honors, or riches. I ask you for that which your heart desires most for me. I wish to love my God. Is it possible that you refuse to second this my desire, which is so pleasing to you? Ah no, you already help me; already you pray for me. Pray, pray, and cease not to pray until you see me safe in heaven, beyond the possibility of ever more losing my Lord, and certain to love him forever, together with you, my dearest Mother.

The Magnificat
My soul now magnifies the Lord.
And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior.
Because he has regarded the humility of his handmaid;
for behold from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.
Because he that is mighty, has done great things to me;
and holy is his name.
And his mercy is from generation unto generations, to them that fear him.
He has shown might in his arm:
he has scattered the proud in the conceit of their heart.
He has put down the mighty from their seat,
and has exalted the humble.
He has filled the hungry with good things;
and the rich he has sent empty away.
He has received Israel his servant,
being mindful of his mercy:
As he spoke to our fathers,
to Abraham and to his seed for ever.

When Jesus saw his mother standing beside the cross with the disciple whom he loved, he said to her: Woman, behold your son. Then he said to the disciple: Behold your mother.

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, now and for ever and ever. Amen.

Mary, full of grace, intercede for us.

Father, as your Son was raised on the cross, his mother Mary stood by him, sharing his sufferings. May your Church be united with Christ in his suffering and death and so come to share in his rising to new life, where he lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

May the Lord bless us, protect us from all evil and bring us to everlasting life. Amen.

Hail, wonderful dial Ezechias of old
Beheld when the prophet His destiny told;
The Word, That incarnate in you did become,
Receded, descending to man's lowly home.
Nine choirs He passed of superior powers,
To take up the tenth in this nature of ours.
The beams of this sun Are the light of your face,
And you the aurora Preceding his race.
The serpent that lurks In night's desperate gloom
You crushed, and caused, All beauties to bloom.


I have caused a never-fading light to rise in heaven;
And like a luminous veil have spread it over the earth.


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