23rd July - Our Lady, Mother of Divine Grace
‘The Blessed Virgin Mary was eternally predestined, in the context of the incarnation of the divine Word, to be the Mother of God. As decreed by divine Providence, she served on earth as the loving Mother of the divine Redeemer, his associate, uniquely generous, and the Lord’s humble servant. She conceived, bore, and nourished Christ; presented him to the Father in the Temple; and was united with him in his suffering as he died on the cross. In a completely unparalleled way she co-operated, by her obedience, faith, hope and burning charity, with our Saviour’s work of restoring supernatural life to souls. For this reason she is Mother to us all in the order of grace’ (Lumen Gentium, the Constitution on the Church, 61).
Entrance Antiphon - Heb 4.16
With confidence let us draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy, and find grace when we are in need of help.
God of eternal wisdom,
in your providence you willed that the Blessed Virgin Mary
should bring forth the Author of Grace,
and take part with him in the mystery of man’s redemption.
May she obtain for us grace in abundance
and bring us to the haven of everlasting salvation.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.
A reading from the book of Esther - 8:3-8a, 16-17a
How can I look on, while my people suffer?
Esther went to speak to the king. She fell at his feet, weeping and imploring his favour, to frustrate the wicked scheme devised by Haman the Agagite and his plot against the Jews. The king held out the golden sceptre to her, whereupon Esther rose and stood face to face with him. 'If such is the king's good pleasure,' she said 'and if I have found favour before him, if my petition seems proper to him and if I myself am pleasing to his eyes, may he be pleased to issue a written revocation of the letters which Haman son of Hammedatha, the Agagite, contrived to have written to procure the destruction of the Jews in every province of the realm. For how can I look on, while my people suffer what is in store for them? How can I bear to witness the extermination of my race?'
King Ahasuerus said to Queen Esther and to Mordecai the Jew, 'I for my part have given Esther Haman's house, and have had him hanged on the gallows for planning to destroy the Jews. You are free now to write to them as you judge best, in the king's name, and seal what you write with the king's signet'.
For the Jews there was light and gladness, joy and honour. In every province and in every city, wherever the king's command and decree arrived, there was joy and gladness among the Jews, with feasting and holiday-making.
Responsorial Psalm - Ps. 66:2-3, 4-5, 6-7b (R.2b)
R/. Let your face shed its light upon us, O Lord.
God, be gracious and bless us
and let your face shed its light upon us.
So will your ways be known upon earth
and all nations learn your saving help. R/.
Let the peoples praise you, O God;
let all the peoples praise you.
Let the nations be glad and exult
for you rule the world with justice.
With fairness you rule the peoples,
you guide the nations on earth. R/.
Let the peoples praise you, O God;
let all the peoples praise you
for God, our God, has blessed us. R/.
Hail, holy Queen, Mother of Mercy;
through you we receive grace from Christ our Saviour.
A reading from the holy Gospel according to John - 2:1-11
The mother of Jesus was there.
There was a wedding at Cana in Galilee. The mother of Jesus was there, and Jesus and his disciple had also been invited. When they ran out of wine, since the wine provided for the wedding was all finished, the mother of Jesus said to him, 'They have no wine'. Jesus said, 'Woman, why turn to me? My hour has not come yet'. His mother said to his servants, 'Do whatever he tells you'. There were six stone water jars standing there, meant for the ablutions that are customary among the Jews: each could hold twenty or thirty gallons. Jesus said to the servants, 'Fill the jars with water,' and they filled them to the brim. 'Draw some out now,' he told them, 'and take it to the steward'. They did this; the steward tasted the water, and it had turned into wine. Having no idea where it came from--only the servants who had drawn the water knew--the steward called the bridegroom and said, 'People generally serve the best wine first, and keep the cheaper sort till the guests have had plenty to drink; but you have kept the best wine till now'.
This was the first of the signs given by Jesus: it was given at Cana in Galilee. He let his glory be seen, and his disciples believed in him.
Prayer over the Gifts
accept our offerings of atonement and praise,
and through the working of the Holy Spirit
effect the sacrament of man’s redemption.
May that which Christ our Mediator
instituted for our reconciliation with you be for us,
through the prayers of the Blessed Virgin Mary,
a well-spring of grace
and an unfailing stream of salvation.
Grant this through Christ our Lord.
Priest: The Lord be with you.
People: And also with you.
Priest: Lift up your hearts.
People: We lift them up to the Lord.
Priest: Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
People: It is right to give him thanks and praise.
Father, all-powerful and ever-living God,
we do well always and everywhere to give you thanks
as we honour the Blessed Virgin Mary,
the Mother of Divine Grace.
Through the power of the Holy Spirit,
she became the virgin mother of your only Son,
Our Lord Jesus Christ,
who is for ever the light of the world.
Through him the choirs of angels
and all the powers of heaven
praise and worship your glory.
May our voices blend with theirs
as we join in their unending hymn:
Holy, holy, holy...
Communion Antiphon - Rev 22:17
The Spirit and the Bride say: “Come!”. And let him who hears say: “Come!” Let all who thirst come, and let him who desires it accept the gift of life-giving water.
Prayer after Communion
we have been refreshed at the fountain of salvation.
Through the power of this Sacrament
and the prayers of the Blessed Virgin Mary
may a closer union with Christ our Mediator
fit us to collaborate ever more faithfully
in the mystery of redemption.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.
Office of Readings
Second Reading - From the homily of St. Cyril of Alexandria preached at the Council of Ephesus
Hail Mary, Mother of God, august treasury of the whole world, unquenchable torch, crown of virginity, scepter of orthodoxy, temple indestructible, and place of the uncontainable, mother and virgin. Through you is named blessed in the holy gospel He who comes in the name of the Lord. Hail Mary! You contained the uncontainable in your holy virginal womb. Through you the Trinity is glorified; through you is the cross named precious, and adored throughout the whole world; through you heaven exults; through you angels and archangels rejoice; through you demons are put to flight; through you the devil, the tempter, fell from heaven; through you the fallen creature is taken up to heaven; through you the whole created world, gripped in the madness of idolatry, come to a recognition of the truth; through you comes about holy baptism for believers; through you the oil of gladness; through you churches have been founded through the whole world; through you nations are led to repentance.
What need is there to speak at length? Through you the only Son of God shone His light for those who sat in darkness and in the shadow of death; through you prophets foretold what was to come; through you apostles preach salvation to the nations; through you the dead are raised to life; through you kings reign, through the Holy Trinity.
What man can sing adequately the praise of Mary? She is both virgin and mother! The wonder astounds me. Shall the Builder be forbidden to inhabit the temple He has built? Shall He be despised who chose His handmaid for His mother?
See then, all things rejoice. May it be ours to fear and bow before the unity of the Trinity, to worship and tremble in awe before the indivisible Trinity, as we sing praises of the ever-virgin Mary, that is the holy Church, and of her Son and immaculate spouse; for to Him is glory for ever and ever. Amen.
R/. With confidence let us draw near to the throne of grace, * so that we may receive mercy, and find grace when we are in need of help.
V/. To you do we cry, blessed Virgin, mourning and weeping in this vale of tears, * so that we may receive mercy, and find grace when we are in need of help.
It is I who give birth to all noble loving and the holy gift
of hope. From me comes every grace of faithful observance;
from me all promise of life and vigour.
Our salvation is in your hands, O Mother; smile upon us,
and we shall be happy in our service of the Lord our King.