Saturday, 5 December 2015

Matins readings for for the Second Sunday of Advent

The readings for Matins of the Second Sunday of Advent in the traditonal form of the Benedictine Office are set out below.

Nocturn I

Reading 1 - Isaiah 11: 1-4a
Reading 2 - Isaiah 11: 4b-7
Reading 3 - Isaiah 11: 8-10
Reading 4 - Isaiah 11: 11-13

Nocturn II (Commentary of St Jerome on Isaiah, Bk 4, 11; v, 1-2)

Reading 5: And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse. From the beginning of the Book of this Prophet till the xiiith chapter, where commenceth the vision, or burden of Babylon, the whole of the vision of Isaiah, the son of Amoz, is one continual prophecy of Christ. We must explain it part by part, for if we were to take it all at once, the memory of the reader would be confused. According to the Jewish commentators, the rod and the flower would both relate to the Lord Himself. They take the rod to mean the sceptre of His Royal dominion, and the flower the loveliness of His beauty.

Reading 6: We, however, understand that the rod out of the root of Jesse signifieth the holy Virgin Mary. She was a clean stem that had as yet put forth no shoot; as we have read above Behold, the Virgin shall conceive and bear a son. (Isa. vii. 14.) And the flower we believe to mean the Lord our Redeemer, Who hath elsewhere compared Himself to a flower; I am a flower of the plain, and a lily of the valleys. 

Reading 7: The Spirit of the Lord then shall rest upon this flower; this flower which shall come forth from the stem and roots of Jesse by means of the Virgin Mary. And truly the Spirit of the Lord did rest upon our Redeemer. It is written that In Him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. CThe Spirit was not shed on Him by measure, as it is upon the Saints. To Him we may apply the words of the Hebrew Gospel used by the Nazarenes; The whole fountain of the Holy Ghost shall be poured forth upon Him The Lord is a spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.

Reading 8: In the same Gospel of St Matthew we read: "Behold my Son whom I have chosen; my elect in whom my soul is well pleased; I shall place my Spirit over him and he will mete out judgment to the Gentiles."  This is to be understood of the Savior, on whom the Spirit of the Lord rested, that is, remained eternally.

Nocturn III (Homily 6 of St Gregory the Great n1&2)

Reading 9: From the Holy Gospel according to Matthew (Matt 11:2-10): In that time when John had heard in prison the works of Christ: sending two of his disciples he said to him: Art thou he that art to come, or look we for another? And so on. The sight of so many signs and so many mighty works should have been a source of wonder, and not a stumbling-block. And yet the unfaithful found these very works a rock of offence, when they afterwards saw Him Who had worked so many miracles dying on the Cross. Hence Paul saith We preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumbling-block and unto the Gentiles foolishness. 

Reading 10: It is indeed folly in the eyes of men to say that the Author of life died for men and thus men put as a stumbling-block to hinder them from coming to Jesus, the very thing that doth oblige them the most unto Him. For the more humbling God hath undergone for man's sake, the more worthy is He that man should worship Him.

Reading 11: And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in Me. Now what is this, but a plain mention of that time, when He afterwards humbled Himself, becoming obedient unto death, even the death of the Cross? It is as if He said I indeed do wonderful works, but the day will come when I shall not refuse to suffer shame and evil treatment. Take heed then, ye who now worship Me for the works' sake, that when I come to die ye despise Me not for My death's sake.

Reading 12: And, as the disciples of John departed, what did Jesus say unto the multitudes concerning this same John? Let us hear. What went ye out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken with the wind? Here our Lord teacheth not by assertion, but by negation. Now a reed is a thing so made that as soon as the wind bloweth upon it, it bendeth it over toward the opposite quarter. And the fleshly-minded man is like a human reed. As he is praised or blamed so he bendeth himself in the one direction or the other.

The Gospel for the Second Sunday of Advent is St Matthew 11:2-10:

"...cum audisset in vinculis opera Christi, mittens duos de discipulis suis, 3 ait illi: Tu es, qui venturus es, an alium exspectamus? 4 Et respondens Jesus ait illis: Euntes renuntiate Joanni quæ audistis, et vidistis. 5 Cæci vident, claudi ambulant, leprosi mundantur, surdi audiunt, mortui resurgunt, pauperes evangelizantur: 6 et beatus est, qui non fuerit scandalizatus in me.7 Illis autem abeuntibus, cœpit Jesus dicere ad turbas de Joanne: Quid existis in desertum videre? arundinem vento agitatam? 8 Sed quid existis videre? hominem mollibus vestitum? Ecce qui mollibus vestiuntur, in domibus regum sunt. 9 Sed quid existis videre? prophetam? Etiam dico vobis, et plus quam prophetam. 10 Hic est enim de quo scriptum est: Ecce ego mitto angelum meum ante faciem tuam, qui præparabit viam tuam ante te."


"Now when [John] had heard in prison the works of Christ: sending two of his disciples he said to him: [3] Art thou he that art to come, or look we for another? [4] And Jesus making answer said to them: Go and relate to John what you have heard and seen. [5] The blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead rise again, the poor have the gospel preached to them. [6] And blessed is he that shall not be scandalized in me. [7] And when they went their way, Jesus began to say to the multitudes concerning John: What went you out into the desert to see? a reed shaken with the wind? [8] But what went you out to see? a man clothed in soft garments? Behold they that are clothed in soft garments, are in the houses of kings. [9] But what went you out to see? a prophet? yea I tell you, and more than a prophet. [10] For this is he of whom it is written: Behold I send my angel before thy face, who shall prepare thy way before thee.

Friday, 4 December 2015

Gospel for the First Sunday of Advent

The Gospel for the First Sunday of Advent (EF calendar) is St Luke 21:25-33:

25 Et erunt signa in sole, et luna, et stellis, et in terris pressura gentium præ confusione sonitus maris, et fluctuum: 26 arescentibus hominibus præ timore, et exspectatione, quæ supervenient universo orbi: nam virtutes cælorum movebuntur: 27 et tunc videbunt Filium hominis venientem in nube cum potestate magna et majestate. 28 His autem fieri incipientibus, respicite, et levate capita vestra: quoniam appropinquat redemptio vestra. 29 Et dixit illis similitudinem: Videte ficulneam, et omnes arbores: 30 cum producunt jam ex se fructum, scitis quoniam prope est æstas. 31 Ita et vos cum videritis hæc fieri, scitote quoniam prope est regnum Dei. 32 Amen dico vobis, quia non præteribit generatio hæc, donec omnia fiant. 33 Cælum et terra transibunt: verba autem mea non transibunt.


[25] And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, by reason of the confusion of the roaring of the sea and of the waves; [26] Men withering away for fear, and expectation of what shall come upon the whole world. For the powers of heaven shall be moved; [27] And then they shall see the Son of man coming in a cloud, with great power and majesty. [28] But when these things begin to come to pass, look up, and lift up your heads, because your redemption is at hand. [29] And he spoke to them in a similitude. See the fig tree, and all the trees: [30] When they now shoot forth their fruit, you know that summer is nigh;[31] So you also, when you shall see these things come to pass, know that the kingdom of God is at hand. [32] Amen, I say to you, this generation shall not pass away, till all things be fulfilled. [33] Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.

The third Nocturn Matins readings on the Gospel in the Benedictine Office are from St Gregory the Great:

Reading 9: Our Lord and Saviour wisheth to find us ready at His second coming. Therefore He telleth us what will be the evils of the world as it groweth old, that He may wean our hearts from worldly affections. Here we read what great convulsions will go before the end, that, if we will not fear God in our prosperity, we may at least be scourged into fearing His judgment when it is at hand.

Reading 10: Immediately before the passage which hath just been read from the Gospel, are found the following words of our Lord, Nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and great earthquakes shall be in divers places, and pestilences and famines. Then, after a few more verses, cometh to-day's Gospel. There shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations with perplexity, the sea and the waves roaring. Now some of these things are come to pass already, and we fear the others are not far off.

Reading 11: In these our days we see nation rise against nation, and their distress over all the earth, more than we read in books hath ever come to pass of old time. Ye know also how often we hear of earthquakes overwhelming countless cities in other parts of the world. As for pestilences, we suffer from them ourselves, with hardly any intermission. As yet we do not see signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; but the changes of seasons and climates warn us that we may look for these also before long.

You can also find some notes on the Gospel from de Lapide here.

Sunday, 29 November 2015

Matins readings for the first week of Advent

The readings at Matins this week are:


Nocturn I: Isaiah 1:1-3, 4-6, 7-9, 10-11
Nocturn II: Sermon of St Leo (Sermon 19, chapter 1 - broken into four readings)
Nocturn III: Sermon of St Gregory (Homily 1 on the Evangelist - including the first sentence of chapter 2, broken into four readings)
Gospel: St Luke 21:25-33


Isaiah 1: 16-18, 19-23, 24-28)


Isaiah 2:1-3, 4-6, 7-9


Isaiah 3:1-4, 5-7, 8-11

Feast of St Andrew (30 November):
Nocturn I: Romans 10:4-9, 10-13, 14-17
Nocturn II: (on the life of the saint)
Nocturn III: Sermon of St Gregory (Homily 5 n1-2)


Isaiah 4: 1-3; 5:1-4, 5-7


Isaiah 6:1-3, 4-7, 8-10


Isaiah 7:1-3, 4-6, 10-15