Sunday, 3 April 2016

Feast of the Annunciation (transferred)

The Matins readings in the Benedictine Office for the feast of the Annunciation are set out below.

Nocturn I: Isaiah 7: 10-15; 11: 1-5; 35: 1-3, 4-7

Reading 1: The Lord sent, besides, this message to Achaz, 11 Ask the Lord thy God to give thee a sign, in the depths beneath thee, or in the height above thee. 12 But Achaz said, Nay, I will not ask for a sign; I will not put the Lord to the test. 13 Why then, said Isaias, listen to me, you that are of David’s race. Cannot you be content with trying the patience of men? Must you try my God’s patience too? 14 Sign you ask none, but sign the Lord will give you. Maid shall be with child, and shall bear a son, that shall be called Emmanuel. 15 On butter and honey shall be his thriving, till he is of age to know good from harm;

R. The angel Gabriel was sent to Mary, a Virgin espoused to Joseph, to bring unto her the word of the Lord and when the Virgin saw the light she was afraid. Fear not, Mary, for thou hast found grace from the Lord.
* Behold, thou shalt conceive and bring forth a son, and He shall be called the Son of the Highest. Alleluia.
V. The Lord God shall give unto Him the throne of His father David, and He shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever.
R. Behold, thou shalt conceive and bring forth a son, and He shall be called the Son of the Highest. Alleluia.

Reading 2: From the stock of Jesse a scion shall burgeon yet; out of his roots a flower shall spring. 2 One shall be born, on whom the spirit of the Lord will rest; a spirit wise and discerning, a spirit prudent and strong, a spirit of knowledge and of piety, 3 and ever fear of the Lord shall fill his heart. Not his to judge by appearances, listen to rumours when he makes award; 4 here is judgement will give the poor redress, here is award will right the wrongs of the defenceless. Word of him shall smite the earth like a rod, breath of him destroy the ill-doer; 5 love of right shall be the baldric he wears, faithfulness the strength that girds him.

R. Hail, Mary, full of grace; the Lord is with thee
* The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee therefore also that Holy Thing Which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God. Alleluia.
V. How shall this be, seeing I know not a man? And the Angel answered and said unto her,
R. The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee; therefore also that Holy Thing Which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God. Alleluia.

Reading 3: Thrills the barren desert with rejoicing; the wilderness takes heart, and blossoms, fair as the lily. 2 Blossom on blossom, it will rejoice and sing for joy; all the majesty of Lebanon is bestowed on it, all the grace of Carmel and of Saron. All alike shall see the glory of the Lord, the majesty of our God. 3 Stiffen, then, the sinews of drooping hand and flagging knee

R. Receive, O Virgin Mary, receive the word of the Lord, which is sent thee by His Angel thou shalt conceive, and shalt bring forth God and Man together.
* And thou shalt be called blessed among all women. Alleluia.
V. Thou shalt bring forth a son, and remain a maiden undefiled thou shalt conceive and be a Mother, still Virgin unspotted.
R. And thou shalt be called blessed among all women. Alleluia.

Reading 4: give word to the faint-hearted, Take courage, and have no fear; see where your Lord is bringing redress for your wrongs, God himself, coming to deliver you! 5 Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and deaf ears unsealed; 6 the lame man, then, shall leap as the deer leap, the speechless tongue cry aloud. Springs will gush out in the wilderness, streams flow through the desert; 7 ground that was dried up will give place to pools, barren land to wells of clear water; where the serpent had its lair once, reed and bulrush will show their green.

Nocturn II: Sermon 22 of St Leo

Reading 5: The Almighty and merciful God, Whose nature is goodness, Whose will is power, and Whose work is mercy, did, at the very beginning of the world, as soon as the devil's hatred had mortally poisoned us with the venom of his envy, foretell those remedies which His mercy had foreordained for our healing. He bade the serpent know that there was to be a Seed of the woman Who should yet bruise the swelling of his pestilential head; this Seed was none other than the Christ to come in the flesh, that God and Man in one Person, Who, being born of a Virgin, should, by His undefiled birth, damn the seducer of man.

R. Behold, the Virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, saith the Lord
* And His name shall be called Wonderful, the Mighty God. Alleluia.
V. He shall sit upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom for ever.
R. And His name shall be called Wonderful, the Mighty God. Alleluia.

Reading 6: The devil rejoiced that by his fraud he had so deceived man as to make him lose the gifts of God, forfeit his privilege of eternal life, bring himself under the hard sentence of death, and find in his misery a certain comfort in the accomplice of his guilt; he rejoiced also that God, in His just anger, was changed towards man, whom He had made in such honour. But, dearly beloved brethren, that Unchangeable God, Whose Will cannot be divorced from His goodness, by His own secret counsel carried out in a mysterious way His original purpose of goodness, and man, who had been led into sin by the wicked craft of the devil, perished not to disappoint that gracious purpose of God.

R. There shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Flower shall grow out of his roots.
* And righteousness shall be the girdle of his loins, and faithfulness the girdle of his reins. Alleluia.
V. And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might.
R. And righteousness shall be the girdle of his loins, and faithfulness the girdle of his reins. Alleluia.

Reading 7: Then therefore, dearly beloved brethren, the fulness of that time came, which God had appointed for our Redemption, our Lord Jesus Christ entered this lower world, came down from His heavenly throne, and, while He left not that glory which He hath with the Father before the world was, was incarnate by a new order and a new birth new, in that He Who is Invisible among His own, was made visible among us; He Who is Incomprehensible, willed to be comprehended; He Who is before the ages, began to be in time; the Lord of all shadowed the glory of His Majesty, and took upon Him the form of a servant; the Impassible God vouchsafed to become a man subject to suffering; and the Immortal laid Himself under the laws of death.

Reading 8:  For though the true mercy of God had infinitely many schemes to hand for the restoration of mankind, it chose that particular design which put in force for destroying the devil's work, not the efficacy of might but the dictates of justice. For the pride of the ancient foe not undeservedly made good its despotic rights over all men, and with no unwarrantable supremacy tyrannized over those who had been of their own accord lured away from God's commands to be the slaves of his will. And so there would be no justice in his losing the immemorial slavery of the human race, were he not conquered by that which he had subjugated.

Nocturn III: St Ambrose:

Reading 9: The mysteries of God are unsearchable, and it is especially declared by a Prophet, that a man can hardly know His counsels. Wisd. ix. 13. Nevertheless, some things have been revealed to us, and we may gather from some of the words and works of the Lord our Saviour, that there was a special purpose of God, in the fact that she who was chosen to be the mother of the Lord was espoused to a man. Why did not the power of the Highest overshadow her before she was so espoused? Perhaps it was lest any might blasphemously say that she had conceived in fornication the Holy One.

Reading 10: [not available online]

Reading 11: And the angel came in unto her. Let us learn from this Virgin how to bear ourselves, let us learn her modesty, let us learn by her devout utterance, above all let us learn by the holy mystery enacted. It is the part of a maiden to be timid, to avoid the advances of men, and to shrink from men's addresses. Would that our women would learn from the example of modesty here set before us. She upon whom the stare of men had never been fixed was alone in her chamber, and was found only by an angel. There was neither companion nor witness there, that what passed might not be debased in gossip and the angel saluted her.

R. Rejoice with me, all ye that love the Lord, for while I was yet a little one, I pleased the Most High.
* And I have brought forth from my bowels God and man. Alleluia.
V. All generations shall call me blessed, since the Lord hath regarded the lowliness of His handmaiden.
R. And I have brought forth from my bowels God and man. Alleluia.

Reading 12: Tanti namque mandati mysterium non hominis fuit, sed Angeli ore promendum. Hodie primum auditur: Spiritus Sanctus superveniet in te. Et auditur, et creditur. Denique, Ecce, inquit, ancilla Domini: contingat mihi secundum verbum tuum. Vide humilitatem, vide devotionem. Ancillam se dicit Domini, quae mater eligitur: nec repentino exaltata promisso est.


R. Rejoice, O Mary, by whose mighty hand the Church hath victory o'er her foes achieved, since thou to Gabriel's word of quickening power in lowliness hast listened, and believed;
* Thou, still a virgin, in thy blessed womb hast God Incarnate of thy flesh conceived, and, still of heaven, of that virginity remainest after childbirth unbereaved. Alleluia.
V. Blessed art thou that hast believed, for there is a performance of those things which were told thee from the Lord.
R. Thou, still a virgin, in thy blessed womb hast God Incarnate of thy flesh conceived, and, still of heaven, of that virginity remainest after childbirth unbereaved. Alleluia.
V. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, * and to the Holy Ghost.
R. Thou, still a virgin, in thy blessed womb hast God Incarnate of thy flesh conceived, and, still of heaven, of that virginity remainest after childbirth unbereaved. Alleluia.

The Gospel for the feast of the Annunciation is St Luke 1:26-38:

26 In mense autem sexto, missus est angelus Gabriel a Deo in civitatem Galilææ, cui nomen Nazareth, 27 ad virginem desponsatam viro, cui nomen erat Joseph, de domo David: et nomen virginis Maria. 28 Et ingressus angelus ad eam dixit: Ave gratia plena: Dominus tecum: benedicta tu in mulieribus. 29 Quæ cum audisset, turbata est in sermone ejus, et cogitabat qualis esset ista salutatio. 30 Et ait angelus ei: Ne timeas, Maria: invenisti enim gratiam apud Deum. 31 Ecce concipies in utero, et paries filium, et vocabis nomen ejus Jesum: 32 hic erit magnus, et Filius Altissimi vocabitur, et dabit illi Dominus Deus sedem David patris ejus: et regnabit in domo Jacob in æternum, 33 et regni ejus non erit finis. 34 Dixit autem Maria ad angelum: Quomodo fiet istud, quoniam virum non cognosco? 35 Et respondens angelus dixit ei: Spiritus Sanctus superveniet in te, et virtus Altissimi obumbrabit tibi. Ideoque et quod nascetur ex te sanctum, vocabitur Filius Dei. 36 Et ecce Elisabeth cognata tua, et ipsa concepit filium in senectute sua: et hic mensis sextus est illi, quæ vocatur sterilis: 37 quia non erit impossibile apud Deum omne verbum. 38 Dixit autem Maria: Ecce ancilla Domini: fiat mihi secundum verbum tuum. Et discessit ab illa angelus.

[26] And in the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent from God into a city of Galilee, called Nazareth, [27] To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin' s name was Mary. [28] And the angel being come in, said unto her: Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women. [29] Who having heard, was troubled at his saying, and thought with herself what manner of salutation this should be. [30] And the angel said to her: Fear not, Mary, for thou hast found grace with God. [31] Behold thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and shalt bring forth a son; and thou shalt call his name Jesus. [32] He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the most High; and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of David his father; and he shall reign in the house of Jacob for ever. [33] And of his kingdom there shall be no end. [34] And Mary said to the angel: How shall this be done, because I know not man? [35] And the angel answering, said to her: The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the most High shall overshadow thee. And therefore also the Holy which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God. [36] And behold thy cousin Elizabeth, she also hath conceived a son in her old age; and this is the sixth month with her that is called barren: [37] Because no word shall be impossible with God. [38] And Mary said: Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it done to me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her.

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