Saturday, 30 January 2016

Matins readings for Sexagesima Sunday

Matins readings in the traditional Benedictine Office for Sunday are set out below.  You can find the readings for the rest of the week here..

Nocturn I: Genesis 5:32 - 6:15

Reading 1: And Noe, when he was five hundred years old, begot Sem, Cham, and Japheth.And after that men began to be multiplied upon the earth, and daughters were born to them, [2] The sons of God seeing the daughters of men, that they were fair, took to themselves wives of all which they chose. [3] And God said: My spirit shall not remain in man for ever, because he is flesh, and his days shall be a hundred and twenty years. 

R. The Lord said unto Noah: The end of all flesh is come before Me; for the earth is filled with violence through them.
* And I will destroy them with the earth.
V. Make thee an ark of planed timber, rooms shalt thou make in it.
R. And I will destroy them with the earth.

Reading 2: Now giants were upon the earth in those days. For after the sons of God went in to the daughters of men, and they brought forth children, these are the mighty men of old, men of renown. [5] And God seeing that the wickedness of men was great on the earth, and that all the thought of their heart was bent upon evil at all times,It repented him that he had made man on the earth.

R. Noah was a just man and perfect; he walked with God.
* According to all that God commanded him, so did he.
V. He made him an ark, that a seed of every sort might be saved alive.
R. According to all that God commanded him, so did he.

Reading 3:And being touched inwardly with sorrow of heart, [7] He said: I will destroy man, whom I have created, from the face of the earth, from man even to beasts, from the creeping thing even to the fowls of the air, for it repenteth me that I have made them. [8] But Noe found grace before the Lord. [9] These are the generations of Noe: Noe was a just and perfect man in his generations, he walked with God. [10] And he begot three sons, Sem, Cham, and Japheth.

R. Forty days and forty nights were the heavens opened; and there went into the ark two and two of all flesh wherein is the breath of life.
* And the Lord shut them in.
V. In the self-same day entered Noah into the ark, and his sons, and his wife, and the wives of his sons.
R. And the Lord shut them in.

Reading 4: And the earth was corrupted before God, and was filled with iniquity. [12] And when God had seen that the earth was corrupted (for all flesh had corrupted its way upon the earth,) [13] He said to Noe: The end of all flesh is come before me, the earth is filled with iniquity through them, and I will destroy them with the earth. [14] Make thee an ark of timber planks: thou shalt make little rooms in the ark, and thou shalt pitch it within and without. [15] And thus shalt thou make it: The length of the ark shall be three hundred cubits: the breadth of it fifty cubits, and the height of it thirty cubits.

Nocturn II: From the book of St Ambrose on Noah and the Arc

Reading 5: We read that the Lord was angry. It is in the thoughts, that is to say, in the knowledge of God, that man being put on earth and weighted with the body cannot be without sin, for earth is the home of temptations, and the flesh is a bait for corruption. Yet man had a reasonable soul, and his soul had power to control his body; and, being so made, he made no struggle to keep himself from falling into that from whence he would not return. 

R. Noah built an Altar unto the Lord, and offered burnt offerings on the Altar; and the Lord smelled a sweet savour, and blessed Noah, and said:
* Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth.
V. Behold, I establish My covenant with you, and with your seed after you.
R. Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth.

Reading 6: God's thoughts are not as man's thoughts; in Him there is no such thing as change of mind, no such thing as to be angry and then cool down again. These things are written that we may know the bitterness of our sins, whereby we have earned the Divine wrath. To such a degree had iniquity grown that God, Who by His nature cannot be moved by anger, or hatred, or any passion whatsoever, is represented as provoked to anger.

R. The Lord said unto Noah: I do set My bow in the clouds of heaven,
* And I will remember My covenant which is between Me and you.
V. And it shall come to pass, when I bring a cloud over the heaven, that My bow shall be seen in the cloud.
R. And I will remember My covenant which is between Me and you

Reading 7: And God threatened that He would destroy man. He said: I will destroy man, whom I have created, from the face of the earth; both man and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air. What harm had the animals done? For man's use had they been created, and, when man was wiped away, they were of use no longer. And there is an higher reason. Man is a living soul, capable of reason, who may be described as a living animal, subject to death, and endowed with reason. When then the highest animal is gone, why should the lower branches remain? Why should anything be saved alive, when righteousness, the basis of salvation, is to be no more?

R. By Myself have I sworn, saith the Lord. I will not again bring the waters of the flood upon the earth, I will remember My covenant.
* And the waters shall become no more a flood to destroy all flesh.
V. I do set My bow in the clouds, and it shall be for a token of a covenant between Me and the earth.
R. And the waters shall no more become a flood to destroy all flesh.

Reading 8: But more effectually to condemn the rest of men, and to manifest the goodness of God, it is written that Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord. Here we learn also that the sin of his neighbour casteth no shadow on the righteous, when he is kept as a stock from whence the whole race are to spring. He is praised, not because he was of a noble race, but because he was a just man and perfect. The stock of a just man yieldeth men of just souls; for virtues, like blood, are hereditary. Among men are some families illustrious for honourable pedigrees, and so there are also races of souls whose comeliness is the lustre of virtues.

Nocturn III: Homily 15 on the Gospels of St Gregory

Reading 9: Dearly beloved brethren, the passage from the Holy Gospel which ye have just heard, needeth not so much that I should explain it, as that I should seek to enforce its lesson. The Truth Himself hath explained it, and, after that, it beseemeth not man's frailty to fritter away His exposition by any further comment. But there is, in that very explanation by the Lord, somewhat, which it behoveth us well to weigh. If it were but we who bade you believe that by the seed is signified the word; by the field, the world; by the birds, the devils; and by the thorns, riches ye would perchance doubt of the truth of our explanation.

R. God blessed Noah and his sons, and said unto them:
* Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth.
V. Behold, I establish My covenant with you, and with your seed after you.
R. Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth.

Reading 10: Therefore the Lord Himself hath vouchsafed to give this explanation, and that, not for this parable only, but that ye may know in what manner to interpret others, whereof He hath not given the meaning.Beginning His explanation, the Lord saith that He speaketh in parables. Hereby He doth certify us, when our weakness would unveil to you the hidden meaning of His words.

R. Behold, I establish My covenant with you, and with your seed after you.
* Neither shall there any more be a flood to destroy the earth.
V. I do set My bow in the clouds, and it shall be for a token of a covenant between Me and the earth.
R. Neither shall there any more be a flood to destroy the earth.

Reading 11: If I spake of myself, who would believe me when I say that riches are thorns? Thorns prick, but riches lull to rest. And yet riches are indeed thorns, for the anxiety they bring is a ceaseless pricking to the minds of their owners, and, if they lead into sin, they are thorns which bloodily tear the soul. But we understand from another Evangelist that in this place the Lord speaketh, not of riches themselves, but of the deceitfulness of riches.


Reading 12: Those riches are deceitful riches, which can be ours only for a little while; those riches are deceitful riches, which cannot relieve the poverty of our souls. They are the only true riches, which make us rich in virtues. If then, dearly beloved brethren, ye seek to be rich, earnestly desire the true riches. If ye would be truly honourable, strive after the kingdom of heaven. If ye love the bravery of titles, hasten to have your names written down at Court above, where Angels are. Take to heart the Lord's words which your ear heareth. The food of the soul is the word of God when the stomach is sick it throweth up again the food which is put into it, and so is the soul sick when a man heareth and digesteth not in his memory the Word of God. And if any man cannot keep his food, that man's life is in desperate case.

R. When much people were gathered together to Jesus, and were come to Him out of every city, He spake by a parable:* A sower went out to sow his seed.
V. And, as he sowed, some fell on good ground, and sprang up, and bare fruit an hundred-fold.
R. A sower went out to sow his seed.
V. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, * and to the Holy Ghost.
R. A sower went out to sow his seed.

This Sunday's Gospel is St Luke 8: 4-15:

Cum autem turba plurima convenirent, et de civitatibus properarent ad eum, dixit per similitudinem: 5 Exiit qui seminat, seminare semen suum. Et dum seminat, aliud cecidit secus viam, et conculcatum est, et volucres cæli comederunt illud. 6 Et aliud cecidit supra petram: et natum aruit, quia non habebat humorem. 7 Et aliud cecidit inter spinas, et simul exortæ spinæ suffocaverunt illud. 8 Et aliud cecidit in terram bonam: et ortum fecit fructum centuplum. Hæc dicens clamabat: Qui habet aures audiendi, audiat.9 Interrogabant autem eum discipuli ejus, quæ esset hæc parabola. 10 Quibus ipse dixit: Vobis datum est nosse mysterium regni Dei, ceteris autem in parabolis: ut videntes non videant, et audientes non intelligant. 11 Est autem hæc parabola: Semen est verbum Dei. 12 Qui autem secus viam, hi sunt qui audiunt: deinde venit diabolus, et tollit verbum de corde eorum, ne credentes salvi fiant. 13 Nam qui supra petram, qui cum audierint, cum gaudio suscipiunt verbum: et hi radices non habent: qui ad tempus credunt, et in tempore tentationis recedunt. 14 Quod autem in spinas cecidit: hi sunt qui audierunt, et a sollicitudinibus, et divitiis, et voluptatibus vitæ euntes, suffocantur, et non referunt fructum. 15 Quod autem in bonam terram: hi sunt qui in corde bono et optimo audientes verbum retinent, et fructum afferunt in patientia.

Or:

[4] And when a very great multitude was gathered together, and hastened out of the cities unto him, he spoke by a similitude. [5] The sower went out to sow his seed. And as he sowed, some fell by the way side, and it was trodden down, and the fowls of the air devoured it.[6] And other some fell upon a rock: and as soon as it was sprung up, it withered away, because it had no moisture. [7] And other some fell among thorns, and the thorns growing up with it, choked it. [8] And other some fell upon good ground; and being sprung up, yielded fruit a hundredfold. Saying these things, he cried out: He that hath ears to hear, let him hear. [9] And his disciples asked him what this parable might be. [10] To whom he said: To you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God; but to the rest in parables, that seeing they may not see, and hearing may not understand.[11] Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. [12] And they by the way side are they that hear; then the devil cometh, and taketh the word out of their heart, lest believing they should be saved. [13] Now they upon the rock, are they who when they hear, receive the word with joy: and these have no roots; for they believe for a while, and in time of temptation, they fall away. [14] And that which fell among thorns, are they who have heard, and going their way, are choked with the cares and riches and pleasures of this life, and yield no fruit. [15] But that on the good ground, are they who in a good and perfect heart, hearing the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit in patience.

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