Saturday, 23 January 2016

Matins readings for Septuagesima Sunday

The Matins readings for the Sunday of Septuagesima in the Benedictine Office are set out below.

Nocturn I (Genesis 1)

Reading 1: [1] In the beginning God created heaven, and earth. [2] And the earth was void and empty, and darkness was upon the face of the deep; and the spirit of God moved over the waters. [3] And God said: Be light made. And light was made. [4] And God saw the light that it was good; and he divided the light from the darkness. [5] And he called the light Day, and the darkness Night; and there was evening and morning one day.[6] And God said: Let there be a firmament made amidst the waters: and let it divide the waters from the waters. [7] And God made a firmament, and divided the waters that were under the firmament, from those that were above the firmament, and it was so. [8] And God called the firmament, Heaven; and the evening and morning were the second day. 

R. In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth, wherein He made man also * After His own image and likeness.
V. So God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his face the breath of life.
R. After His own image and likeness.

Reading 2: God also said: Let the waters that are under the heaven, be gathered together into one place: and let the dry land appear. And it was so done. [10] And God called the dry land, Earth; and the gathering together of the waters, he called Seas. And God saw that it was good. [11] And he said: Let the earth bring forth the green herb, and such as may seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after its kind, which may have seed in itself upon the earth. And it was so done. [12] And the earth brought forth the green herb, and such as yieldeth seed according to its kind, and the tree that beareth fruit, having seed each one according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. [13] And the evening and the morning were the third day.

R. In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth, and the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.* And God saw everything that He had made, and it was very good.
V. Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the hosts of them.
R. And God saw everything that He had made, and it was very good.

Reading 3: [14] And God said: Let there be lights made in the firmament of heaven, to divide the day and the night, and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days and years: [15] To shine in the firmament of heaven, and to give light upon the earth. And it was so done.[16] And God made two great lights: a greater light to rule the day; and a lesser light to rule the night: and the stars. [17] And he set them in the firmament of heaven to shine upon the earth. [18] And to rule the day and the night, and to divide the light and the darkness. And God saw that it was good. [19] And the evening and morning were the fourth day.

R. The Lord formed man of the dust of the ground
* And breathed into his face the breath of life, and man became a living soul.
V. In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth, wherein He made man also.
R. And breathed into his face the breath of life, and man became a living soul.

Reading 4:  [20] God also said: Let the waters bring forth the creeping creature having life, and the fowl that may fly over the earth under the firmament of heaven.[21] And God created the great whales, and every living and moving creature, which the waters brought forth, according to their kinds, and every winged fowl according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. [22] And he blessed them, saying: Increase and multiply, and fill the waters of the sea: and let the birds be multiplied upon the earth. [23] And the evening and morning were the fifth day. [24] And God said: Let the earth bring forth the living creature in its kind, cattle and creeping things, and beasts of the earth, according to their kinds. And it was so done. [25] And God made the beasts of the earth according to their kinds, and cattle, and every thing that creepeth on the earth after its kind. And God saw that it was good. [26] And he said: Let us make man to our image and likeness: and let him have dominion over the fishes of the sea, and the fowls of the air, and the beasts, and the whole earth, and every creeping creature that moveth upon the earth.

Nocturn II (From the Enchirion of St Augustine)

Reading 5: The Lord threatened man with the punishment of death, in case he sinned. Thus did He gift him with free will, while He yet kept His lordship over him, and helped him with the dread of destruction. And so He put him in that happy garden, under the very shadow of the tree of life, in that good place from whence, had he kept his righteousness, he might have passed to a better.

R. God took the man and put him into the garden of Eden * To dress it and to keep it.
V. And the Lord God had planted a garden aforetime in Eden, and there He put the man whom He had formed.
R. To dress it and to keep it.

Reading 6: But the first man sinned, and was banished from Eden, and infected all his descendants with the disease of sin, poisoning their very root, and bringing upon all that sentence of death and damnation, which he had earned for himself. So that all that descend by fleshly generation from Adam, and from the guilty woman, who was the cause of his sin and the partaker of his punishment, derive from them original sin; whereby they are drawn through a way of divers sins and sorrows, towards that final ruin which they shall share with the rebel angels who are at once their corrupters, their lords, and their comrades.

R. The Lord God said: It is not good that the man should be alone.
* Let Us make an help meet for him.
V. But for Adam there was not found an help meet for him; and God said:
R. Let Us make an help meet for him.

Reading 7: So by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin, (and so death passed upon all men,) in whom all have sinned. By the world the Apostle signified! in this place all mankind. Thus then hath the matter stood. The damned mass of humanity lay in misery, or rather wallowed in it, and fell from bad to worse, till it joined the company of the sinning angels, and both together suffered the deserved punishment of their vile treason.

R. The Lord caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and He took one of his ribs.* And the rib which the Lord had taken from Adam made He a woman, and brought her unto Adam, to see what he would call her. And he called her name Woman, because she was taken out of Man.
V. And while he slept He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof.
R. And the rib which the Lord had taken from Adam made He a woman, and brought her unto Adam, to see what he would call her.

Reading 8: So the wrath of God appertained whatever sin man, through the blind and untamed sting of his flesh, willingly committeth, and whatever punishment, declared and open, he unwillingly suffereth. There is, indeed, no pause in that goodness of the Creator whereby He giveth even to the traitor angels life and strength, (which if He gave not, they would be annihilated,) and whereby He formeth the seed of men, though they come of a corrupt and condemned stock, quickeneth them, strengtheneth and fitteth their limbs for the changing seasons of their life, extendeth their knowledge in divers places, and giveth them whereon to live. It hath been His will rather to draw good out of evil, than to suffer that there should be no evil.

Nocturn III (Homily 19 of St Gregory on the Gospels)

Reading 9: From the Holy Gospel according to Matthew: In that time, Jesus said to his disciples: The kingdom of heaven is like to an householder, who went out early in the morning to hire labourers into his vineyard. And so on.

We hear that the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is an householder, which went out early in the morning, to hire labourers into his vineyard. Who indeed is more justly to be likened to an householder than our Maker, Who is the Head of the household of faith, bearing rule over them whom He hath made, and being Master of His chosen ones in the world, as a Master over those that are in his house? He it is That hath the Church for a vineyard, a vineyard that ceaseth not to bring forth branches of the True Vine, from righteous Abel to the last of the elect that shall be born in the world.

R. And the Lord God had planted a garden aforetime in Eden,
* And there He put the man whom He had formed.
V. And out of the ground made the Lord God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food, the tree of life also in the midst of the garden.
R. And there He put the man whom He had formed.

Reading 10: This householder, then, for the cultivation of his vineyard, goeth out early in the morning, and at the third hour, and the sixth hour, and the ninth hour, and the eleventh hour, to hire labourers into his vineyard. Thus the Lord, from the beginning to the end of the world, ceaseth not to gather together preachers for the instruction of His faithful people. The early morning of the world was from Adam until Noah; the third hour from Noah until Abraham; the sixth hour from Abraham until Moses; the ninth hour from Moses until the coming of the Lord; the eleventh hour from the coming of the Lord until the end of the world. At this eleventh hour are sent forth as preachers the Holy Apostles, who have received full wages, albeit they be come in late.

R. Behold, Adam is become as One of Us, to know good and evil.
* See lest he take of the tree of life and live for ever.
V. Unto Adam also did the Lord God make a coat of skins, and clothed him, and said:
R. See lest he take of the tree of life and live for ever.

Reading 11: Nor the cultivation of His vineyard, (that is, the instruction of His people,) the Lord hath never ceased to send into it labourers. First, by the Fathers, then, by the Prophets and Teachers of the Law, and lastly, by the Apostles He hath dressed and tended the lives of His people, as the owner of a vineyard dresseth and tendeth it by means of workmen. 

R. The Lord said unto Cain: Where is Abel thy brother? Lord, I know not am I my brother's keeper? And He said unto him What hast thou done?
* Behold, the voice of thy brother Abel's blood crieth unto Me from the ground.
V. Cursed shalt thou be upon the earth, which hath opened her mouth to receive thy brother's blood from thy hand.
R. Behold, the voice of thy brother Abel's blood crieth unto Me from the ground.

Reading 12: Whoever in whatever degree joined to a right faith the teaching of righteousness, was so far one of God's labourers in God's vineyard. By the labourers at early morning, and at the third hour, the sixth hour, and the ninth hour, may be understood God's ancient people, the Hebrews, who strove to worship Him with a right faith in company with His chosen ones from the very beginning of the world, and thus continually laboured in His vineyard. And now, at the eleventh hour, it is said unto the Gentiles also Why stand ye here all the day idle?

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