Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Matins readings for Ash Wednesday

Today's Gospel at Mass in the Extraordinary Form is St Matthew 6:16-21:

16 Cum autem jejunatis, nolite fieri sicut hypocritæ, tristes. Exterminant enim facies suas, ut appareant hominibus jejunantes. Amen dico vobis, quia receperunt mercedem suam. 17 Tu autem, cum jejunas, unge caput tuum, et faciem tuam lava, 18 ne videaris hominibus jejunans, sed Patri tuo, qui est in abscondito: et Pater tuus, qui videt in abscondito, reddet tibi.19 Nolite thesaurizare vobis thesauros in terra: ubi ærugo, et tinea demolitur: et ubi fures effodiunt, et furantur. 20 Thesaurizate autem vobis thesauros in cælo, ubi neque ærugo, neque tinea demolitur, et ubi fures non effodiunt, nec furantur. 21 Ubi enim est thesaurus tuus, ibi est et cor tuum.

[16] And when you fast, be not as the hypocrites, sad. For they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast. Amen I say to you, they have received their reward. [17] But thou, when thou fastest anoint thy head, and wash thy face; [18] That thou appear not to men to fast, but to thy Father who is in secret: and thy Father who seeth in secret, will repay thee. [19] Lay not up to yourselves treasures on earth: where the rust, and moth consume, and where thieves break through and steal. [20] But lay up to yourselves treasures in heaven: where neither the rust nor moth doth consume, and where thieves do not break through, nor steal.[21] For where thy treasure is, there is thy heart also.

Matins readings

Reading 1 (St Augustine from Bk. ii. on the Lord's Sermon on the Mounts ch. xii., torn. 4.): 
It is evident that by these precepts we are bidden to seek for inner gladness, lest, by running after that reward which is without, we should become conformed to the fashion of this world, and should so lose the promise of that blessing which is all the truer and more stable that it is inward, that blessing wherein God hath chosen us to be conformed to the likeness of His Son. In this chapter we will principally consider the fact that vain-glory findeth a ground for its exercise in struggling poverty as much as in worldly distinction and display; and this development is the most dangerous, because it entices under pretence of being the serving of God.

R. I came this day unto the well, and I besought the Lord, and said:
* O Lord God of Abraham, Thou hast prospered my way.
V. Therefore the virgin to whom I shall say: Give me water of thy pitcher to drink; and she shall say to me: Drink, my lord, and I will give thy camels drink also; let the same be the woman whom the Lord hath appointed out for my master's son.
R. O Lord God of Abraham, Thou hast prospered my way.

Reading 2: He that is characterised by unbridled indulgence in luxury or in dress, or any other display, is by these very things easily shown to be a follower of worldly vanities, and deceiveth no one by putting on an hypocritical mask of godliness. But those professors of Christianity, who turn all eyes on themselves by an eccentric show of grovelling and dirtiness, not suffered by necessity, but by their own choice, of them we must judge by their other works whether their conduct really proceedeth from the desire of mortification by giving up unnecessary comfort, or is only the mean of some ambition the Lord biddeth us beware of wolves in sheep's clothing, but by their fruits, saith He, ye shall know them.

R. The word of the Lord came unto Abram, saying:
* Fear not, Abram I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward.
V. For I am the Lord thy God That brought thee out of Ur of the Chaldees.
R. Fear not, Abram I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward.

Reading 3: The test is when, by divers trials, such persons lose those things which under the cover of seeming unworldliness they have either gained or sought to gain. Then must it needs appear whether they be wolves in sheep's clothing, or indeed sheep in their own. But that hypocrites do the contrary maketh it no duty of a Christian to shine before the eyes of men with a display of needless luxury the sheep need not to lay aside their own clothing because wolves sometimes falsely assume it.

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