Saturday, 2 July 2016

Seventh Sunday after Pentecost

The Matins readings in the traditional Benedictine Office for the Seventh Sunday after Pentecost are set out below.

Nocturn I (III=I Kings:1-1-15)

Reading 1: And now David had grown old, and so chilled with age that there was no warming him by heaping coverlets on his bed; so his attendants asked leave of him to go and find a young maid, who should be brought to the court and cherish him by sleeping in his bosom, to give their royal master warmth. And of all the fair maids in Israel they chose out one, Abisag from Sunam, who was brought into the king’s presence

R. Prepare your hearts unto the Lord, and serve Him Only * And He will deliver you out of the hand of your enemies.
V. Return unto Him with all your hearts, and put away the strange gods from among you.
R. And He will deliver you out of the hand of your enemies.

Reading 2: a fair maid indeed, who now shared the king’s bed and waited on him, yet never did the king mate with her. Meanwhile Adonias, David’s son by Haggith, aspired to win the throne; he must drive in state, with chariots and outriders, and fifty men to run before him;  and never a word did his father say to check or challenge him.

R. God, Which heareth all, even He sent His Angel, and took me from keeping my father's sheep, and * Anointed me with the oil of His mercy.
V. The Lord That delivered me out of the mouth of the lion, and out of the paw of the bear
R. And anointed me with the oil of His mercy.

Reading 3: he came next to Absalom in birth, and was like Absalom for beauty. Joab, son of Sarvia, and the priest Abiathar were in his confidence; but, while these favoured Adonias’s cause, he could not win over the priest Sadoc, and Banaias son of Joiada, and the prophet Nathan, Semei and Rei and the picked men of David’s army.

R. The Lord That delivered me out of the mouth of the lion, and out of the paw of the bear * He will deliver me out of the hand of mine enemies.
V. God hath sent forth His mercy and His truth, and delivered my soul from among the lion's whelps.
R. He will deliver me out of the hand of mine enemies.

Reading 4: Thereupon Nathan said to Solomon’s mother Bethsabee, Hast thou heard the news that Haggith’s son Adonias has come to the throne, and our lord king David none the wiser? Act quickly, following the advice I now give thee, if thou wouldst protect thyself, and thy son Solomon, from mortal peril. Go and demand access to king David’s presence; ask him openly, My lord King, didst thou not promise me, thy handmaid, upon oath, to let my son Solomon be thy heir, and succeed to thy throne? How comes it that Adonias is king? And while thou art still speaking, I will come in after thee, and lend weight to these words of thine. So Bethsabee gained access to the king’s own room, where he sat, an old, old man, with Abisag the Sunamite in attendance on him.

R. Remember, O Lord, thy covenant, and say unto the destroying Angel: Stay now thine hand * That the land be not utterly laid waste, and that thou destroy not every living soul.
V. Even I it is that have sinned, and done evil indeed but these sheep what have they done? Let thine anger, I pray thee, O Lord, be turned away from thy people.
R. That the land be not utterly laid waste, and that Thou destroy not every living soul.

Nocturn II (St Jerome, Letter 52)

Reading 5: Then David, who had once been a man of war, was seventy years old, the chill of old age came upon him, and he could get no heat. So they sought out for him throughout all the coasts of Israel Abishag the Shunamite, to sleep with the king and to warm his aged body. Who is this Shunamite, wife and yet virgin, so hot, that she could heat the chilly, so holy, that her warmth provoked him not to lust.

R. Saul hath slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands.* Because the hand of the Lord was with him, he smote the Philistine, and took away the reproach from Israel.
V. Is not this David? Did they not sing one to another of him in dances, saying Saul hath slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands?
R. Because the hand of the Lord was with him, he smote the Philistine, and took away the reproach from Israel.

Reading 6: Let Solomon the Wise explain his father's enjoyment, and the "Peaceful One" tell of the warrior's embraces. "Get wisdom, get understanding forget it not, neither decline from the words of my mouth forsake her not, and she shall preserve thee love her, and she shall keep thee. Wisdom is the principal thing therefore get wisdom and with all thy getting, get understanding. Exalt her, and she shall promote thee. Honour her, and she shall embrace thee, and shall give to thine head an ornament of grace. She shall compass thee like a crown of delights."

R. Ye mountains of Gilboa, let there be no dew, neither let there be rain upon you * For there are the mighty of Israel fallen
V. All ye mountains that stand round about, the Lord look upon you but let Him pass by Gilboa
R. For there are the mighty of Israel fallen

Reading 7: In old men almost all the powers of the body become weakened, and while wisdom only is increasing, all things else beside wisdom fail. Then faileth strength for fasting, for watching, for "chameuniae," (that is, sleeping on the floor,) for wandering hither and thither, for receiving strangers, for defending the poor, for instance and constancy in prayer, for visiting the sick, for that work with the hands whence alms are given. I need not treat of this with long talk, but, in short, when the body is broken down, all the works of the body wax enfeebled.

R. Thus saith the Lord I took thee out of thy father's house, and appointed thee to be ruler over My people, over Israel * And I was with thee whithersoever thou wentest, to establish thy kingdom for ever.
V. And I have made thee a great name, like unto the name of the great men that are in the earth and have caused thee to rest from all thine enemies.
R. And I was with thee whithersoever thou wentest, to establish thy kingdom for ever.

Reading 8: Don't either do I say, on the other hand, that wisdom, which in many old men drivelleth into second childhood, is weak, or wanting in such of the young and stout, as win knowledge by work and earnest study, by holiness of life and instancy of prayer to the Lord Jesus, but this I do say, that the more spiritual faculties have in youth many wrestlings with the body to go through, and that, what with violent provocations to vice, and what with the sensual ticklings of the flesh, they are apt to be smothered like fire among green wood, and not able to blaze forth in all their brightness. But when old age cometh upon them, who have spent their youth in acquiring sound knowledge, and have meditated in the law of the Lord day and night, it hath this effect on them, to make them more learned by their increased years, more experienced by constant use, more wise, through the advance of time and, in short, doth offer them the rich harvest of their past diligence.

R. O Lord, Thou hast hearkened unto the prayer of thy servant, that I might build a temple unto thy Name,* O God of Israel, bless Thou, and hallow this house for ever.
V. O Lord, Who keepest covenant with thy servants that walk before thee in all their heart.
R. O God of Israel, bless Thou, and hallow this house for ever.

Nocturn III (St Hilary)

Reading 9: The Lord here warneth us that we must rate the worth of soft words and seeming meekness, by the fruits which they that manifest such things bring forth in their works, and that we should look, in order to see what a man is, not at his professions, but at his deeds. For there are many in whom sheep's clothing is but a mask to hide wolfish ravening. But "Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so, every good tree bringeth forth good fruit, but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit." Thus, the Lord teacheth us, is it with men also evil men bring not forth good fruits, and hereby are we to know them.

R. My sins are many, yea, they are more in number than the sands of the sea; I am not worthy to look up toward heaven because of the multitude of my iniquities; for I have provoked thee to anger
* And done evil in thy sight.
V. For I acknowledge my transgression, and my sin is ever before me, for against thee only have I sinned
R. And done evil in thy sight.

Reading 10: Lip-service alone winneth not the kingdom of heaven, nor is every one that saith unto Christ, "Lord, Lord," an heir thereof.What use is there in calling the Lord, Lord? Would He not be Lord all the same, whether or not we called Him so What holiness is there in this ascription of a name, when the true way to enter into the kingdom of heaven is to do the will of our Father, Who is in heaven?

R. Hearken, O Lord, unto the cry and to the prayer which thy servant prayeth before thee today, that thine eyes may be open and thine ears attend;
* Toward this house day and night.
V. Look down from thine high and holy place, O Lord, even from heaven thy dwelling.
R. Toward this house, day and night.

Reading 11: "Many will say to Me in that day Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy Name?” Already here doth the Lord rebuke the deceit of the false prophets, and the feigning of the hypocrites, who take glory to themselves because of the power of their words, their prophesying in teaching, their casting out of devils, and such-like mighty works. Because of all these things they promised unto themselves that they shall enter into the kingdom of heaven as though in their words and works any good thing were their own, and not all the mighty working of that God upon Whom they call, since reading bringeth knowledge of doctrine, and the Name of Christ driveth out devils.

R. Lord, when thy people shall turn again to thee, and shall pray unto thee in this house
* then hear Thou in heaven, O Lord, and deliver them out of the hand of their enemies.
V. If thy people sin against thee, and turn again, and repent, and come and pray unto thee in this house.
R. Then hear Thou in heaven, O Lord, and deliver them out of the hand of their enemies.

Reading 12: That which is needed on our part to win that blessed eternity, that of our own which we must give, is to will to do right, to turn away from all evil, to obey with our whole heart the commandments laid on us from heaven, and so to become the friends of God. It should be ours rather to do God's will, than to boast of God's power. And we must put off from us and thrust away such as are by their wicked works already estranged from His friendship.

R. One Seraph cried unto another * Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord God of hosts the whole earth is full of His glory.
V. There are Three That bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost and these Three are One.
R. Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord God of hosts
V. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, * and to the Holy Ghost.
R. The whole earth is full of His glory.

This Sunday's Gospel is from St Matthew 7:

Attendite a falsis prophetis, qui veniunt ad vos in vestimentis ovium, intrinsecus autem sunt lupi rapaces: a fructibus eorum cognoscetis eos. Numquid colligunt de spinis uvas, aut de tribulis ficus? Sic omnis arbor bona fructus bonos facit: mala autem arbor malos fructus facit. Non potest arbor bona malos fructus facere: neque arbor mala bonos fructus facere. Omnis arbor, quæ non facit fructum bonum, excidetur, et in ignem mittetur. Igitur ex fructibus eorum cognoscetis eos. Non omnis qui dicit mihi, Domine, Domine, intrabit in regnum cælorum: sed qui facit voluntatem Patris mei, qui in cælis est, ipse intrabit in regnum cælorum.

 Beware of false prophets, who come to you in the clothing of sheep, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.By their fruits you shall know them. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit, and the evil tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can an evil tree bring forth good fruit.  Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit, shall be cut down, and shall be cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits you shall know them.  Not every one that saith to me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven: but he that doth the will of my Father who is in heaven, he shall enter into the kingdom of heaven.

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