The Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary - Wednesday 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.

O God, for Your name's sake save me and by Your power grant me redress. O God, hear my prayer, and hearken to my plea.

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. - Byzantine prokimen vespers

St. Thomas of Villanova
What joy, what happiness there is in heaven! The shoot from the root of Jesse, sown so long ago in the time of the patriarchs, has today sprung up and begun to grow. It will bear a Flower which is destined to heal the world, a Flower whose scent revives the dead, whose taste heals the sick, and whose beauty delights the angels--a white and red Flower which angels long to see.

St. Ephrem
Look upon Mary, my beloved, how, when Gabriel entered in to her and she spoke with him words of enquiry: "How shall these things be?" and the minister of the Spirit gave reply to Mary and said: "It is easy for God, all things are simple for him"--how she held it true when she heard, and said: "Behold, his handmaid am I." Therefore he came down, in a manner he knows, he stirred and came in a way that pleased him, he entered and dwelt in her without her perceiving, she received him, suffering nothing. He was in her womb like a babe, yet the whole world was full of him. Of his love he came down to renew the image of Adam grown old.

Psalm 139

Antiphon: Mary entered the house of Zechariah, and greeted Elizabeth.

Lord, you have proved me, and known me:
you have known my sitting down, and my rising up.
You have understood my thoughts afar off:

my path and my line you have searched out.
And you have foreseen all my ways:
for there is no speech in my tongue.

Behold, O Lord, you have known all things,
the last and those of old:
you have formed me, and have laid your hand upon me.

Your knowledge is become wonderful to me:
it is high, and I cannot reach to it.

Whither shall I go from your spirit?
or whither shall I flee from your face?

If I ascend into heaven, you are there:
if I descend into hell, you are present.
If I take my wings early in the morning,
and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea:
Even there also shall your hand lead me:
and your right hand shall hold me.

And I said: Perhaps darkness shall cover me:
and night shall be my light in my pleasures.
But darkness shall not be dark to you,
and night shall be light as the day:
the darkness thereof, and the light thereof are alike to you.

Antiphon: When your greeting sounded in my ears, the infant in my womb leaped for joy.

For you have possessed my reins:
you have protected me from my mother's womb.

I will praise you, for you are fearfully magnified:
wonderful are your works, and my soul knows right well.
My bone is not hidden from you, which you have made in secret:
and my substance in the lower parts of the earth.
Your eyes did see my imperfect being,
and in your book all shall be written:
days shall be formed, and no one in them.

But to me your friends, O God, are made exceedingly honorable:
their principality is exceedingly strengthened.
I will number them, and they shall be
multiplied above the sand:
I rose up and am still with you.

If you will kill the wicked, O God:
you men of blood, depart from me:
Because you say in thought: They shall receive your cities in vain.

Have I not hated them, O Lord, that hated you:
and pined away because of your enemies?
I have hated them with a perfect hatred:
and they are become enemies to me.

Prove me, O God, and know my heart:
examine me, and know my paths.
And see if there be in me the way of iniquity:
and lead me in the eternal way.

Sinless Virgin, let us follow joyfully in your footsteps; draw us after you in the fragrance of your holiness.

Colossians 1
Giving thanks to God the Father, who has made us worthy to be partakers of the lot of the saints in light: Who has delivered us from the power of darkness, and has translated us into the kingdom of the Son of his love, In whom we have redemption through his blood, the remission of sins; Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: For in him were all things created in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones, or dominations, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him and in him. And he is before all, and by him all things consist. And he is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he may hold the primacy: Because in him, it has well pleased the Father, that all fullness should dwell; And through him to reconcile all things unto himself, making peace through the blood of his cross, both as to the things that are on earth, and the things that are in heaven.

Colossians 3
Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy, and beloved, the bowels of mercy, benignity, humility, modesty, patience: Bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if any have a complaint against another: even as the Lord has forgiven you, so do you also. But above all these things have charity, which is the bond of perfection: And let the peace of Christ rejoice in your hearts, wherein also you are called in one body: and be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you abundantly, in all wisdom: teaching and admonishing one another in psalms, hymns, and spiritual canticles, singing in grace in your hearts to God. All whatsoever you do in word or in work, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.

St. Bede
MY SOUL NOW MAGNIFIES THE LORD. AND MY SPIRIT HAS REJOICED IN GOD MY SAVIOR. With these words Mary first acknowledges the special gifts she has been given. Then she recalls God's universal favors, bestowed unceasingly on the human race.

When a man devotes all his thought to the praise and service of the Lord, he proclaims God's greatness. His observance of God's commands, moreover, shows that he has God's power and greatness always at heart. His spirit rejoices in God his savior and delights in the mere recollection of his creator who gives him hope for eternal salvation.These words are often for all God's creations, but especially for the Mother of God. She alone was chosen, and she burned with spiritual love for the son she so joyously conceived. Above all other saints, she alone could truly rejoice in Jesus, her savior, for she knew that he who was the source of eternal salvation would be born in time in her body, in one person both her own son and her Lord.

BECAUSE HE THAT IS MIGHTY, HAS DONE GREAT THINGS TO ME; AND HOLY IS HIS NAME. Mary attributes nothing to her own merits. She refers all her greatness to the gift of the one whose essence is power and whose nature is greatness, for he fills with greatness and strength the small and the weak who believe in him.She did well to add: AND HOLY IS HIS NAME, to warn those who heard, and indeed all who would receive his words, that they must believe and call upon his name. For they too could share in everlasting holiness and true salvation according to the words of the prophet: AND IT WILL COME TO PASS, THAT EVERYONE WHO CALLS ON THE NAME OF THE LORD WILL BE SAVED. This is the name she spoke of earlier: AND MY SPIRIT REJOICES IN GOD MY SAVIOR.

Therefore it is an excellent and fruitful custom of the holy Church that we should sing Mary's hymn at the time of evening prayer. By meditation upon the incarnation, our devotion is kindled, and by remembering the example of God's Mother, we are encouraged to lead a life of virtue. Such virtues are best achieved in the evening. We are weary after the day's work and worn out by our distractions. The time for rest is near, and our minds are ready for contemplation.

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou amongst women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb.

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

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee.

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
My most beloved Lady, I thank you for having delivered me from hell as many times as I have deserved it by my sins. Miserable creature that I was, I was once condemned to that prison, and perhaps already after the first sin, the sentence would have been put into execution, if you, in your compassion, had not helped me. You, without even being asked by me, and only in your goodness, did restrain divine Justice; and then, conquering my obduracy, you did draw me to have confidence in you. O, into how many other sins should I have afterwards fallen, in the dangers in which I have been, had not you, my loving Mother, preserved me by the graces which you did obtain for me! Ah, my Queen, continue to guard me from hell; for what will your mercy, and the favors which you have shown me, avail me if I am lost? If I did not always love you, now at least--after God--I love you above all things. Never allow me to turn my back on you and on God, who, by your means, has granted me so many graces. My most amiable Lady, never allow me to have the misfortune to hate you and curse you for all eternity in hell. Will you endure to see a servant of yours, who loves you, lost? O Mary, what do you say? I shall be lost if I abandon you. But who can ever more have the heart to leave you? How can I ever forget the love you have borne me? My Lady, since you have done so much to save me, complete the work, continue the aid. Will you help me? But what do I say? If, at a time when I lived forgetful of you, you did favor me so much, how much more may I hope for now, that I love you and recommend myself to you! No, he can never be lost who recommends himself to you; he alone is lost who has not recourse to you. Ay, my Mother, leave me not in my own hands, for I should then be lost; grant that I may always have recourse to you. Save me, my hope, save me from hell; but, in the first place, save me from sin, which alone can condemn me to it.

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.

All generations will call me blessed; the Lord has regarded the humility of his handmaid.

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.

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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