Saturday, 19 December 2015

Matins readings for the Fourth Sunday of Advent

The Sunday readings for the Benedictine Office for the fourth Sunday of Advent are as follows:

Nocturn I

Reading 1 - Isaiah 35:1-4

The land that was desolate and impassable shall be glad, and the wilderness shall rejoice, and shall flourish like the lily.  It shall bud forth and blossom, and shall rejoice with joy and praise: the glory of Libanus is given to it: the beauty of Carmel, and Saron, they shall see the glory of the Lord, and the beauty of our God. Strengthen ye the feeble hands, and confirm the weak knees. Say to the fainthearted: Take courage, and fear not: behold your God will bring the revenge of recompense: God himself will come and will save you.

R. Blow ye the trumpet in Zion, call together the nations, tell it out among the people, and say
* Behold, God our Saviour cometh.
V. Tell it out and make it to be heard; speak aloud and cry
R. Behold, God our Saviour cometh.

Reading 2 - Isaiah 35: 5-7

Then shall the eyes of the blind be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. Then shall the lame man leap as a hart, and the tongue of the dumb shall be free: for waters are broken out in the desert, and streams in the wilderness. And that which was dry land, shall become a pool, and the thirsty land springs of water. In the dens where dragons dwell before, shall rise up the verdure of the reed and the bulrush.

R. The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor the law-giver from his loins, until he that shall be sent cometh.* And unto him shall the longing of the Gentiles be.
V. His eyes shall be bright with wine, and his teeth white with milk.
R. And unto him shall the desire of the Gentiles be.

Reading 3 - Isaiah 35: 8-10

And a path and a way shall be there, and it shall be called the holy way: the unclean shall not pass over it, and this shall be unto you a straight way, so that fools shall not err therein. No lion shall be there, nor shall any mischievous beast go up by it, nor be found there: but they shall walk there that shall be delivered. And the redeemed of the Lord shall return, and shall come into Sion with praise, and everlasting joy shall be upon their heads: they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and mourning shall flee away.

R: He must become more and more, I must become less and less, he who comes after me but was made before me. I am not worthy to untie the strap of his shoes.
V: I am baptizing you with water, but he will baptise you with the Holy Ghost.
R: I am not worthy to untie the strap of his shoes.

Reading 4 - Isaiah 41:1-4

Let the islands keep silence before me, and the nations take new strength: let them come near, and then speak, let us come near to judgment together. Who hath raised up the just one from the east, hath called him to follow him? he shall give the nations in his sight, and he shall rule over kings: he shall give them as the dust to his sword, as stubble driven by the wind, to his bow. He shall pursue them, he shall pass in peace, no path shall appear after his feet. Who hath wrought and done these things, calling the generations from the beginning? I the Lord, I am the first and the last.

Nocturn II - (Sermon of St Leo the Great, Sermon 12)

Reading  5 - Dearly beloved brethren, if we study attentively the history of the creation of our race, we shall find that man was made in the image of God, that his ways also might be an imitation of the ways of his Maker. This is the natural, real, and highest dignity to which we are capable of attaining, that the goodness of the Divine nature should have a reflection in us, as in a glass. As a mean of reaching this dignity, we are daily offered the grace of our Saviour, for as in the first Adam all men are fallen, so in the Second Adam can all men be raised up again.

R. Unto us shall a Child be born, and His name shall be called the Mighty God.
* He shall sit upon the throne of His father David, and shall reign, and the government shall be upon His shoulder.
V. In Him shall all the kindreds of the earth be blessed; all nations shall serve Him.
R. He shall sit upon the throne of His father David, and shall reign, and the government shall be upon His shoulder.

Reading  6 - Our restoration from the consequences of Adam's fall is sheer mercy of God, and nothing else; we should not have loved Him unless He had first loved us, and scattered the darkness of our ignorance by the light of His truth. This the Lord promised by the mouth of Isaiah, where He saith: I will bring the blind by a way that they knew not, and I will lead them in paths that they have not known I will make darkness light before them, and crooked things straight. These things will I do unto them and not forsake them. And again: I was found of them that sought Me not; I was made manifest unto them that asked not after Me.

R. Behold, the fulness of the time is come, wherein God hath sent forth His Son into the world, born of a Virgin, made under the law* To redeem them that were under the law.
V. God, for His great love wherewith He loved us, hath sent His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh.
R. To redeem them that were under the law

Reading  7 - And we know from the Apostle John how God fulfilled His promise. We know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know Him That is True, and be in Him That is True, even in His Son. And again: Let us therefore love God, because He first loved us. 

R. O virgin of Israel, turn again to thy cities.* How long wilt thou go about sorrowing? Thou shalt bring forth the Lord thy Saviour, a new offering in the earth; men shall walk in paths of salvation.
V. I have loved thee with an everlasting love therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.
R. How long wilt thou go about sorrowing? Thou shalt bring forth the Lord thy Saviour, a new offering in the earth. Men shall walk in paths of salvation.

Reading  8 - For His great love then wherewith he hath loved us, God reneweth His likeness in us. And, moreover, in order that He may find in us the reflection of His goodness, He giveth us that whereby to work along with Himself, (Who worketh all in all,) lighting, as it were, candles in our dark minds, and kindling in us the fire of His love, to make us love not Himself only, but likewise, in Him, whatsoever He loveth.

Nocturn III (St Gregory, Homily 20 on the gospels)

Reading 9 - John said unto the multitude, that came forth to be baptised of him: O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come? The wrath to come in one sense signifieth the great vengeance of the Latter Day the sinner that repenteth not of his sin now, will have no mean whereby to flee from punishment then. Let us remark that addressing evil children copying the example of evil parents, the Baptist calleth them a generation of vipers in that they were envious at the righteous, and persecuted them; that they repaid evil for evil; that they hunted out ways of harming their neighbours, in all these things following the pattern of carnal parents, the prophet likeneth them to a venomous brood hatched from a venomous stock.

R. I have sworn, saith the Lord, that I will not be wroth any more with the earth; for the mountains and the hills shall receive My righteousness.
* And the covenant of My peace shall be in Jerusalem.
V. My salvation is near to come, and My righteousness to be revealed.
R. And the covenant of My peace shall be in Jerusalem.

Reading 10 - We also have sinned, we have fallen into wicked habits. What must we do, if we would flee from the wrath to come? Let us hear John. Bring forth fruits worthy of repentance. In which words let us remark that the Friend of the Bridegroom demandeth not only fruits of repentance, but fruits worthy of repentance. 

R. We will not go back from thee. Thou, O Lord, shalt quicken us, and we will call upon thy name.
* Cause thy face to shine upon us, and we shall be saved.
V. Remember us, O Lord, with the favour that Thou showest unto thy people; O visit us with thy salvation.
R. Cause thy face to shine upon us, and we shall be saved.

Reading 11 - The former are one thing, and the latter another. In considering then what are fruits worthy of repentance, we may remark that if we had done nothing unlawful we might have had free use of things which are lawful, and been able to sanctify ourselves without abstaining from indulgence in the things of the world. But if any one, for example, hath fallen into fornication, or perhaps, into what is much worse, adultery, he ought to make up for his lawless pleasure by abstaining in some degree from lawful enjoyments. 

R. Consider how great this man is, who is entered in for the salvation of the nations; he is King of Righteousness* Without descent, nor end of life.
V. The Fore-runner is for us entered, made an High Priest for ever after the order of Melchisedek.
R. Without descent, nor end of life.

Reading 12 - He that hath sinned less is not bound to mortify himself as much as he that hath sinned more, nor he that is innocent like him that is guilty. Let every one hearing these words bring forth fruits worthy of repentance, proceed to judge himself by his own conscience, and the more he perceiveth that he hath sinned, the greater penance let him do.

R. Send forth the Lamb, O Lord, the Ruler of the land* From the rock in the wilderness unto the mount of the daughter of Zion.
V. Show us thy mercy, O Lord, and grant us thy salvation.
R. From the rock in the wilderness unto the mount of the daughter of Zion.
V Gloria Patri et Filio et Spiritui Sancto
V. Show us thy mercy, O Lord, and grant us thy salvation.

Gospel

St Luke 3: 1-6

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