Saturday, 19 March 2016

Palm Sunday

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

Nocturn I (Jeremiah 2:12-22; 29-32)

Reading 1: Be astonished, O ye heavens, at this, and ye gates thereof, be very desolate, saith the Lord. For my people have done two evils. They have forsaken me, the fountain of living water, and have digged to themselves cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water.  Is Israel a bondman, or a homeborn slave? why then is he become prey? The lions have roared upon him, and have made a noise, they have made his land a wilderness: his cities are burnt down and there is none to dwell in them.

R. O Lord, in the day that I called upon thee, Thou saidst Fear not.
* Thou hast pleaded my cause, and hast redeemed me, O Lord my God.
V. In the day of my trouble I called upon thee, for Thou hast heard me.
R. Thou hast pleaded my cause, and hast redeemed me, O Lord my God.

Reading 2: The children also of Memphis, and of Taphnes have deflowered thee, even to the crown of the head.  Hath not this been done to thee, because thou hast forsaken the Lord thy God at that time, when he led thee by the way? And now what hast thou to do in the way of Egypt, to drink the troubled water? And what hast thou to do with the way of the Assyrians, to drink the water of the river? Thy own wickedness shall reprove thee, and thy apostasy shall rebuke thee. Know thou, and see that it is an evil and a bitter thing for thee, to have left the Lord thy God, and that my fear is not with thee, saith the Lord the God of hosts.

R. O Lord, in the day that I called upon thee, Thou saidst Fear not.
* Thou hast pleaded my cause, and hast redeemed me, O Lord my God.
V. In the day of my trouble I called upon thee, for Thou hast heard me.
R. Thou hast pleaded my cause, and hast redeemed me, O Lord my God.

Reading 3: Of old time thou hast broken my yoke, thou hast burst my bands, and thou saidst: I will not serve. For on every high hill, and under every green tree thou didst prostitute thyself.  Yet I planted thee a chosen vineyard, all true seed: how then art thou turned unto me into that which is good for nothing, O strange vineyard? Though thou wash thyself with nitre, and multiply to thyself the herb borith, thou art stained in thy iniquity before me, saith the Lord God.

R. Give heed to me, O Lord, and hearken to the v'oice of them that contend with me.
* Shall evil be recompensed for good? for they have digged a pit for my soul.
V. Remember that I stood before thee to speak good for them, and to turn away thy wrath from them.
R. Shall evil be recompensed for good? for they have digged a pit for my soul.

Reading 4: Why will you contend with me in judgement? you have all forsaken me, saith the Lord. In vain have I struck your children, they have not received correction: your sword hath devoured your prophets, your generation is like a ravaging lion.  See ye the word of the Lord: Am I become a wilderness to Israel, or a lateward springing land? why then have my people said: We are revolted, we will come to thee no more.  Will a virgin forget her ornament, or a bride her stomacher? but my people hath forgotten me days without number.

R. The ungodly said Let us oppress the righteous man without cause, and swallow him up alive, as the grave let us make his memorial to perish from the earth, and cast lots among us for his spoils and those murderers laid by store for themselves, but of evil.
* Fools and haters loathe wisdom, and are guilty in their thoughts.
V. Such things they did imagine, and were deceived, for their own wickedness blinded them.
R. Fools and haters loathe wisdom, and are guilty in their thoughts.

Nocturn II (Sermon 62 of St Leo)

Reading 5: Dearly beloved brethren, the jubilant and triumphal day which ushereth in the commemoration of the Lord's Passion is come; even that day for which we have longed so much, and for whose yearly coming the whole world may well look. Shouts of spiritual exultation are ringing, and suffer not that we should be silent. It is indeed hard to preach often on the same Festival, and that always meetly and rightly, but a Priest is not free, when we celebrate so great and mysterious an out-pouring of God's mercy, to leave his faithful people without the service of a discourse. Nay, that his subject-matter is unspeakable should in itself make him eloquent, since where enough can never be said, there must needs ever be somewhat to say.

R. The enemy hath enclosed my ways he lay in wait for me as a lion in secret places he hath filled me and made me drunken with bitterness they have cut off my life in the dungeon, and cast a stone upon me.
* O Lord, behold all their iniquity, and plead the cause of my soul, Thou That art the Redeemer of my life!
V. I was a derision to all my people, and their song all the day.
R. O Lord, behold all their iniquity, and plead the cause of my soul, Thou That art the Redeemer of my life!

Reading 6: Let man's weakness, then, fall down before the glory of God, and acknowledge herself ever too feeble to unfold all the works of His mercy. We may jade our emotions, break down in our understanding, and fail in our speech it is good for us, that even what we truly feel in presence of the Divine Majesty is but little, (compared to the vastness of the subject.)  For when the Prophet saith Seek the Lord and be strong; seek His face evermore, let no man thence conclude that he will ever have found all that he seeketh, lest he which hath ceased to come near should cease to be near.

R. Save me, O God, for the waters are come in unto my soul hide not thy face from me;
* For I am in trouble. Hear me speedily, O Lord my God.
V. Draw nigh unto my soul, and redeem it deliver me because of mine enemies.
R. For I am in trouble. Hear me speedily, O Lord my God.

Reading 7: But among all the works of God which foil and weary the steadfast gaze of man's wonder, what is there that doth at once so ravish and so exceed the power of our mind's eye as do the sufferings of the Saviour? He it was Who, to loose man from the bands wherewith he had bound himself by the first death-dealing transgression, spared to bring against the rage of the devil the power of the Divine Majesty, and met him with the weakness of our lowly nature. For if our proud and cruel enemy had been able to know the counsel of God's mercy, it had been his task rather to have softened the minds of the Jews into gentleness, than to have inflamed them with unrighteous hatred; and so lost the service of all his slaves, by pursuing for his Debtor One That owed him nothing.

R. O Lord, be not Thou far from me spare me in the day of evil let them be confounded that persecute me;
* But let not me be confounded.
V. Let all mine enemies which seek after my soul be confounded.
R. But let not me be confounded.

Reading 8: But his own hate dug a pit-fall for him he brought upon the Son of God that death which is become life to all the sons of men. He shed that innocent Blood, Which hath reconciled the world unto God, and become at once the price of our redemption and the cup of our salvation. The Lord hath received that which according to the purpose of His Own good pleasure He hath chosen. He hath let fall on Him the hands of bloody men but while they were bent only on their own sin, they were servants ministering to the Redeemer's work. And such was His tenderness even for His murderers that His prayer to His Father from the Cross, as touching them, was, not that He might be avenged upon them, but that they might be forgiven.

R. became a reproach unto mine enemies they looked upon me and shaked their heads.
* Help me, O Lord my God!
V. They have spoken against me with a lying tongue they compassed me about also with words of hatred.
R. Help me, O Lord my God!

Nocturn III (St Ambrose)

Reading 9: Beautiful is the type, when the Lord, about to leave the Jews, and to take up His abode in the hearts of the Gentiles, goeth up into the Temple; a figure of His going to the true Temple wherein He is worshipped, not in the deadness of the letter, but in spirit and in truth, even that Temple of God whereof the foundations are laid, not in buildings of stone, but in faith. He leaveth behind Him such as hate Him, and getteth Him to such as will love Him. And therefore cometh He unto the Mount of Olives that He may plant upon the heights of grace those young olive-branches, whose Mother is the Jerusalem which is above.

R. The Lord is with me as a Mighty Terrible One; therefore have they persecuted me, and have not been able to understand. O Lord, Thou triest the reins and the heart
* Unto thee have I opened my cause.
V.O Lord, Thou hast seen my wrong that they do me; judge Thou my cause.
R. Unto thee have I opened my cause.

Reading 10: Upon this mountain standeth He, the Heavenly Husbandman, that all they which be planted in the House of the Lord may be able each one to say: "But I am like a fruitful olive-tree in the House of God.And perchance that mountain doth signify Christ Himself. For what other is there that beareth such fruit of olives as He doth, not rich with store of loaded branches, but spiritually fruitful with the fulness of the Gentiles? He also it is on Whom we go up, and unto Whom we go up; He is the Door; He is the Way; He is He Which is opened and Which openeth; He is He upon Whom knocketh whosoever entereth in, and to Whom they that have entered in, do worship.

R. The ungodly said, reasoning with themselves, but not aright; Let us lie in wait for the righteous, because he is clean contrary to our doings he professeth to have the knowledge of God, he calleth himself the Son of God, and boasteth that he hath God to his Father.
* Let us see if his words be true; and, if he be indeed the Son of God, let Him deliver him from our hand; let us condemn him with a shameful death.
V. We are esteemed of him as counterfeits, and he abstaineth from our ways as from filthiness, and commendeth the end of the just.
R. Let us see if his words be true; and, if he be indeed the Son of God, let Him deliver him from our hand; let us condemn him with a shameful death.

Reading 11: A figure also was it that the disciples went into a village, and that there they found an ass tied and a colt with her neither could they be loosed, save at the command of the Lord. It was the hand of His Apostles which loosed them. He whose work and life are like theirs will have such grace as was theirs. Be thou also such as they, if thou wouldest loose them that are bound.Now, let us consider who they were, who, being convicted of transgression, were banished from their home in the Garden of Eden into a village, and in this thou wilt see how Life called back again them whom death had cast out.

R. Liars are come round about me, they have fallen upon me with scourges without a cause.
* But do Thou, O Lord my Redeemer, avenge me!
V. For trouble is near, and there is none to help.
R. But do Thou, O Lord my Redeemer, avenge me!

Reading 12: For this reason, we read in Matthew that there were tied both an ass and her colt; thus, as man was banished from Eden in a member of either sex, so is it in animals of both sexes that his re-call is figured. The she-ass is a type of our sinful Mother Eve, and the colt of the multitude of the Gentiles; and it was upon the colt that Christ took His seat. And thus it is well written of the colt, Luke xix. 30, that thereon never yet had man sat, for no man before Christ ever called the Gentiles into the Church which statement thou hast in Mark also: Whereon never man sat.


Gospel (St Matthew 21:1-9):

Et cum appropinquassent Jerosolymis, et venissent Bethphage ad montem Oliveti: tunc Jesus misit duos discipulos, 2 dicens eis: Ite in castellum, quod contra vos est, et statim invenietis asinam alligatam, et pullum cum ea: solvite, et adducite mihi: 3 et si quis vobis aliquid dixerit, dicite quia Dominus his opus habet: et confestim dimittet eos. 4 Hoc autem totum factum est, ut adimpleretur quod dictum est per prophetam dicentem: 5 Dicite filiæ Sion: Ecce rex tuus venit tibi mansuetus, sedens super asinam, et pullum filium subjugalis. 6 Euntes autem discipuli fecerunt sicut præcepit illis Jesus. 7 Et adduxerunt asinam, et pullum: et imposuerunt super eos vestimenta sua, et eum desuper sedere fecerunt. 8 Plurima autem turba straverunt vestimenta sua in via: alii autem cædebant ramos de arboribus, et sternebant in via: 9 turbæ autem, quæ præcedebant, et quæ sequebantur, clamabant, dicentes: Hosanna filio David: benedictus, qui venit in nomine Domini: hosanna in altissimis.

And when they drew nigh to Jerusalem, and were come to Bethphage, unto mount Olivet, then Jesus sent two disciples, [2] Saying to them: Go ye into the village that is over against you, and immediately you shall find an ass tied, and a colt with her: loose them and bring them to me. [3] And if any man shall say anything to you, say ye, that the Lord hath need of them: and forthwith he will let them go. [4] Now all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying: [5] Tell ye the daughter of Sion: Behold thy king cometh to thee, meek, and sitting upon an ass, and a colt the foal of her that is used to the yoke.[6] And the disciples going, did as Jesus commanded them. [7] And they brought the ass and the colt, and laid their garments upon them, and made him sit thereon. [8] And a very great multitude spread their garments in the way: and others cut boughs from the trees, and strewed them in the way: [9] And the multitudes that went before and that followed, cried, saying: Hosanna to the son of David: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord: Hosanna in the highest.


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