Saturday, 26 December 2015

Readings for Matins of Sunday within the Octave of Christmas

The Sunday readings for the Benedictine Office for the  Sunday within the Octave of the Nativity are as follows:

Nocturn I

(Romans I)

Reading 1 - It is Paul who writes; a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be his apostle, and set apart to preach the gospel of God. 2 That gospel, promised long ago by means of his prophets in the holy scriptures, 3 tells us of his Son, descended, in respect of his human birth, from the line of David, 4 but, in respect of the sanctified spirit that was his, marked out miraculously as the Son of God by his resurrection from the dead; our Lord Jesus Christ. 5 It is through him we have received the grace of apostleship; all over the world, men must be taught to honour his name by paying him the homage of their faith, 6 and you among them, you, who are called to belong to Jesus Christ. 7 I wish, to all those at Rome whom God loves and has called to be holy, grace and peace from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ. 

R. This day is the true peace come down unto us from heaven.* This day throughout the whole world the skies drop down sweetness.
V. This day is the daybreak of our new redemption, of the restoring of the old, of everlasting joy.
R. This day throughout the whole world the skies drop down sweetness.

Reading 2 - And first, I offer thanks to my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, you whose faith is so renowned throughout the world. 9 The God to whom I address the inner worship of my heart, while I preach the gospel of his Son, is my witness how constantly I make mention of you, 10 never failing to ask, when I am at my prayers, that somehow, in God’s Providence, I may be granted at last an opportunity of visiting you.

R. O ye shepherds, speak, and tell us what ye have seen; who is appeared in the earth?* We saw the new-born Child, and Angels singing praise to the Lord.
V. Speak; what have ye seen? And tell us of the Birth of Christ.
R. We saw the new-born Child, and Angels singing praise to the Lord.

Reading 3 - I long to see you, in the hope that I may have some spiritual gift to share with you, so as to strengthen your resolve; 12 or rather, so that the faith we find in each other, you and I, may be an encouragement to you and to me as well. 13 I should be sorry, brethren, if you were left in doubt that (although hitherto I have always been prevented) I have often planned to visit you, and to be able to claim some harvest among you, as I can among the Gentiles elsewhere. 

Reading 4 - I have the same duty to all, Greek and barbarian, learned and simple; 15 and for my own part I am eager to preach the gospel to you in Rome as I have to others. 16 I am not ashamed of this gospel. It is an instrument of God’s power, that brings salvation to all who believe in it, Jew first and then Greek. 17 It reveals God’s way of justifying us, faith first and last; as the scripture says, It is faith that brings life to the just man.18 God’s anger is being revealed from heaven; his anger against the impiety and wrong-doing of the men whose wrong-doing denies his truth its full scope. 19 The knowledge of God is clear to their minds; God himself has made it clear to them

R. How great is this mystery, how wonderful is the teaching of the faith! The beasts saw the new-born Lord lying in a manger.* Blessed is that Virgin whose womb was made meet to bear our Lord Christ.
V. Hail, Mary, full of grace the Lord is with thee.
R. Blessed is that Virgin whose womb was made meet to bear our Lord Christ.

Nocturn II - Sermon 29 of St Leo - on the Nativity 9, 1

Reading 5 - Dearly beloved brethren, the greatness of God's work, in its breadth and height, passeth the power of man's utterance; and, therefore, when we must needs not keep silence, we find it hard to know what to say. The words of the Prophet Who shall declare His generation? look not only to the Divine, but also to the human birth of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. 

R. Blessed is God's holy Mother, Mary, maiden undefiled.* This day hath she brought forth the Saviour of the world.
V. Blessed is she that believed; for there is a performance of all those things which were told her from the Lord.

R. This day hath she brought forth the Saviour of the world.

Reading 6 - Faith believeth, but words cannot explain, how the two natures were joined in one Person, and therein we find that we shall never lack matter of praise in Him, Whose abundance ever outrunneth the power of our expression.Therefore let us rejoice, that this mystery of mercy is greater than we can ever speak; and let us feel that it is good for us to fail if we try to express the height and depth of redeeming love. 

R. O Mary, how holy and how spotless is thy virginity! I am too dull to praise thee!* For thou hast borne in thy breast Him Whom the heavens cannot contain.
V. Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb.
R. For thou hast borne in thy breast Him Whom the heavens cannot contain.

Reading 7 - He cometh nearest to the knowledge of the truth, who, the farther he advanceth, seeth all the more clearly that he can never overtake that whereafter he searcheth. For he that imagineth therein that he hath ever attained unto the goal, hath not found that which he seeketh, but hath altogether missed. But lest we should be confounded at the weakness of our mortality, we have help in the words of the Prophets and Evangelists; and they are able so to inflame and teach us that we may see the Birth of the Lord, wherein the Word was made Flesh, not so much as a thing past, as a thing present. 

Reading 8 - The proclamation of the angel to the shepherds who watched their flocks by night, ringeth in our ears also; and for this end are we appointed to rule the Lord's flock, that we may ever keep in our heart the word revealed from heaven, and say unto you, as we do this day Behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people; for unto you is born this day, in the city of David, a Saviour, Which is Christ the Lord!

Nocturn III - Homily of St Ambrose on Luke 2:60-62

Reading 9 - We see that God's abounding grace is poured forth on all by the birth of the Lord, and that the gift of prophecy is not denied to the righteous, but to the unbelieving. Simeon prophesieth that our Lord Jesus Christ is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel, setting forth that the just and the unjust reap different fruits from the coming of the Saviour; so will it be with us; according to our individual works will the True and Just Judge apportion to us punishment or reward.

R. Blessed be the womb of the Virgin Mary, which bore the Son of the Eternal Father, and blessed be the paps which give suck to Christ our Lord.
* This day hath He been pleased for the salvation of the world to be born of a Virgin.
V. This day which is breaking is holy; O come, ye Gentiles, and worship the Lord.
R. This day hath He been pleased for the salvation of the world to be born of a Virgin.

Reading 10 - See, a sword shall pierce through thine own soul also. We have no record or tradition that Mary left this world by suffering a violent death, and the material sword can pierce the body only, and not the soul. Wherefore here we see the wisdom of Mary in that she was not ignorant of the heavenly mysteries. 

R. In pricipio erat Verbum, et Verbum erat apud Deum, et Deus erat Verbum.* Hoc erat in principio apud Deum
V. Omnia per ipsum facta sunt, et sine ipso factum est nihil
R. Hoc erat in principio apud Deum

Reading 11 - For, the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart for all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of the Son of God, from Whom also the secret things of our conscience are not hidden.

R. And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, * And we saw his glory, the glory as it were of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.
V. In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
R. And we saw his glory, the glory as it were of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.

Reading 12 - There had been a triple prophecy; the prophecy of Simeon had followed the prophecy of the virgin, and the prophecy of the wife; those, namely, of Mary and Elizabeth. And now ought the widow also to prophesy, that no sex nor state might be wanting. And Anna is brought before us with such a title from her widowhood and her life, that we may well believe that she received the grace to announce the Advent of the Redeemer. In our exhortation addressed to widows we have already treated of her gifts at length, and, as we have much matter before us, we will not now again enter on the subject.

R. How is the King of heaven attended? He that containeth the world is laid in a stable
* Lying in a manger, reigning in heaven.
V. Unto us is born, this day, in the city of David, a Saviour, Which is Christ the Lord.
R. Lying in a manger, reigning in heaven.
V. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, * and to the Holy Ghost.
R. Lying in a manger, reigning in heaven.

Gospel: St Luke 2:33-40

33 The father and mother of the child were still wondering over all that was said of him, 34 when Simeon blessed them, and said to his mother Mary, Behold, this child is destined to bring about the fall of many and the rise of many in Israel; to be a sign which men will refuse to acknowledge; 35 and so the thoughts of many hearts shall be made manifest; as for thy own soul, it shall have a sword to pierce it. 36 There was besides a prophetess named Anna, daughter to one Phanuel, of the tribe of Aser (a woman greatly advanced in age, since she had lived with a husband for seven years after her maidenhood, 37 and had now been eighty-four years a widow) who abode continually in the temple night and day, serving God with fasting and prayer. 38 She too, at that very hour, came near to give God thanks, and spoke of the child to all that patiently waited for the deliverance of Israel. 39 And now, when all had been done that the law of the Lord required, they returned to Galilee, and to their own town of Nazareth.40 And so the child grew and came to his strength, full of wisdom; and the grace of God rested upon him.

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