Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Gospel for the feast of St Scholastica

Madonna and child with Saint Scholastica by Francesco Sparapane (16c)
Basilica of St Benedict, Norcia
St Scholastica's feast (February 10) is transferred to Thursday this year (at least for monasteries of nuns) because of Ash Wednesday.  Accordingly, for those celebrating the feast, the Gospel is from St Matthew 25:1-13, the parable of the wise and foolish virgins:

1 Tunc simile erit regnum cælorum decem virginibus: quæ accipientes lampades suas exierunt obviam sponso et sponsæ. 2 Quinque autem ex eis erant fatuæ, et quinque prudentes: 3 sed quinque fatuæ, acceptis lampadibus, non sumpserunt oleum secum: 4 prudentes vero acceperunt oleum in vasis suis cum lampadibus. 5 Moram autem faciente sponso, dormitaverunt omnes et dormierunt. 6 Media autem nocte clamor factus est: Ecce sponsus venit, exite obviam ei. 7 Tunc surrexerunt omnes virgines illæ, et ornaverunt lampades suas. 8 Fatuæ autem sapientibus dixerunt: Date nobis de oleo vestro, quia lampades nostræ extinguuntur. 9 Responderunt prudentes, dicentes: Ne forte non sufficiat nobis, et vobis, ite potius ad vendentes, et emite vobis. 10 Dum autem irent emere, venit sponsus: et quæ paratæ erant, intraverunt cum eo ad nuptias, et clausa est janua. 11 Novissime vero veniunt et reliquæ virgines, dicentes: Domine, domine, aperi nobis. 12 At ille respondens, ait: Amen dico vobis, nescio vos. 13 Vigilate itaque, quia nescitis diem, neque horam.

And in English:

1] Then shall the kingdom of heaven be like to ten virgins, who taking their lamps went out to meet the bridegroom and the bride. [2] And five of them were foolish, and five wise. [3] But the five foolish, having taken their lamps, did not take oil with them: [4] But the wise took oil in their vessels with the lamps. [5] And the bridegroom tarrying, they all slumbered and slept. [6] And at midnight there was a cry made: Behold the bridegroom cometh, go ye forth to meet him. [7] Then all those virgins arose and trimmed their lamps. [8] And the foolish said to the wise: Give us of your oil, for our lamps are gone out. [9] The wise answered, saying: Lest perhaps there be not enough for us and for you, go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves. [10] Now whilst they went to buy, the bridegroom came: and they that were ready, went in with him to the marriage, and the door was shut. [11] But at last come also the other virgins, saying: Lord, Lord, open to us. [12] But he answering said: Amen I say to you, I know you not. [13] Watch ye therefore, because you know not the day nor the hour.

Commentary

Unfortunately the readings on the text in the Benedictine Office (by St Hilary) don't seem to be available online, so instead here are the readings on it fro the Roman Office of the day, by St Gregory:

Dearly beloved brethren oftentimes do I warn you to fly corrupt conversation, and to keep yourselves unspotted from the world. But the portion which is this day read from the Holy Gospel doth oblige me to say that even to these good things which ye do, ye must needs take all careful heed. Look ye well to it, that, when ye work righteousness, ye do it not as seeking the praise and admiration of men, for if the lust of praise do once creep in, that which seemeth so fair without, loseth its reward within. Behold how the Redeemer speaketh of these ten virgins. He calleth them all virgins, yet entered not all of them into the door of blessedness, for there were some of them who sought outwardly the honour of virginity, but would take no oil within their vessels with their lamps.

First of all, it is for us to ask What is the kingdom of Heaven? And wherefore shall the same be likened unto ten virgins, whereof, albeit five were wise, yet five were foolish For if the kingdom of heaven be such that there shall in no wise enter into it anything that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie, Apoc. xxi. 27, how can it be like unto five virgins which were foolish? But we must know that, in the word of God, the kingdom of heaven doth oftentimes signify the Church as she now is, touching the which the Lord saith in another place " The Son of Man shall send forth His Angels, and they shall gather out of His kingdom all things that offend." Matth. xiii. 41. In that kingdom of Blessedness, wherein peace shall have her perfect reign, there shall be nothing found that offendeth for the angels to gather out.

The body of every man doth consist of five senses, and five being doubled, is ten. Forasmuch, therefore, as the whole body of the faithful doth consist of two sexes, the Holy Church is likened unto ten virgins. And forasmuch as in the Church the good are for the present mingled with the bad, and the reprobate with the elect, it is rightly said that, of the ten virgins, five are wise and five are foolish. There are many who have self-control, which do keep themselves from lusting after things outward, whose hope beareth them to things inward, who chastise the flesh, who long with intense home-sickness for their Fatherland which is in heaven, who seek an eternal reward, and who will not to receive for their labours the praise of men. These are they who reckon their glory, not in the mouths of men, but in the testimony of their own conscience. And many there be likewise who afflict the body by self-control, and yet who seek for their self-control applause from men.

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