Friday, 5 August 2016

Feast of the Transfiguration (Aug 6)

Nocturn I (1 Peter 1)

Reading 1:  Wherefore, brethren, labour the more, that by good works you may make sure your calling and election. For doing these things, you shall not sin at any time. For so an entrance shall be ministered to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.  For which cause I will begin to put you always in remembrance of these things: though indeed you know them, and are confirmed in the present truth.

R. Arise, shine, O Jerusalem, for thy light is come:* And the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee.
V. And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising.
R. And the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee.

Reading 2: But I think it meet as long as I am in this tabernacle, to stir you up by putting you in remembrance. Being assured that the laying away of this my tabernacle is at hand, according as our Lord Jesus Christ also hath signified to me.  And I will endeavour, that you frequently have after my decease, whereby you may keep a memory of these things.

R. The Holy Ghost was manifested in the bright cloud and the Father was heard:* This is My beloved Son, in Whom I am well pleased; hear ye Him.
V. There was a cloud that overshadowed them, and the voice of the Father came out thereof in thunder.
R. This is My beloved Son, in Whom I am well pleased; hear ye Him.

Reading 3: For we have not by following artificial fables, made known to you the power, and presence of our Lord Jesus Christ; but we were eyewitnesses of his greatness. For he received from God the Father, honour and glory: this voice coming down to him from the excellent glory: This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him.  And this voice we heard brought from heaven, when we were with him in the holy mount.

R. Behold what manner of love God the Father hath bestowed upon us,* That we should be called, and should be, the sons of God.
V. We know that when He shall appear, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.
R. That we should be called, and should be, the Sons of God.

Reading 4: And we have the more firm prophetical word: whereunto you do well to attend, as to a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts: Understanding this first, that no prophecy of scripture is made by private interpretation. For prophecy came not by the will of man at any time: but the holy men of God spoke, inspired by the Holy Ghost.

Nocturn II:  Sermon of St Leo the Great

Reading 5: The Lord taketh chosen witnesses, and in their presence, revealeth His glory. That form of body which He had in common with other men, He so transfigured with light, that His Face did shine as the sun, and His raiment became exceeding white as snow. Of this metamorphosis the chief work was to remove from the hearts of the disciples the stumbling at the Cross. Before their eyes was unveiled the splendour of His hidden majesty, that the lowliness of His freely-chosen suffering might not confound their faith.

R. They were abundantly satisfied with the fatness of thy house, and* Thou madest them drink of the river of thy pleasures.
V. For with thee is the fountain of life, and in thy light shall we see light.
R. And Thou madest them drink of the river of thy pleasures.

Reading 6: But none the less was there here laid by the Providence of God a solid foundation for the hope of the Holy Church, whereby the whole body of Christ should know with what a change it is yet to be honoured. The members of that body whose Head hath already been transfigured in light may promise themselves a share in His glory. For the strengthening the Apostles and bringing them forward into all knowledge, there appeared unto them Moses and Elias that is, the Law and the Prophets talking with Him. Before five witnesses did His glorification take place, as though to fulfill that which is written: At the mouth of two witnesses, or at the mouth of three witnesses, shall the matter be established.

R. Master, it is good for us to be here.* Let us make here three tabernacles, one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias.
V. For he wist not what to say.
R. Let us make here three tabernacles, one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias.

Reading 7: What can be more certain, what can be better attested than this matter, which is proclaimed by the trumpets of both the Old and the New Testaments, and concerning which the witness of ancient testimony uniteth with the teaching of the Gospel. The pages of either Covenant strengthen one another, and the brightness of open glory maketh manifest and distinct Him Whom the former prophecies had promised under the veil of mysteries.

R. If the ministration of death, written and engraven on stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not steadfastly behold the face of Moses, for the glory of his countenance which is done away:* How shall not the ministration of the Spirit, which abideth, be rather glorious?
V. For Christ was counted worthy of more glory than Moses, inasmuch as he who hath builded the house hath more honour than the house.
R. How shall not the ministration of the Spirit, which abideth, be rather glorious?

Reading 8: The unveiling of such mysteries roused the mind of the Apostle Peter to an outburst of longing for the things eternal, which despised and disdained the things worldly and earthly overflowing with gladness at the vision, he yearned to dwell with Jesus there, where the revelation of His glory had rejoiced him. And so he said Master, it is good for us to be here if Thou wilt, let us make here three tabernacles, one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias. To this proposal the Lord answered nothing, this signifying, that what Peter wished was not wrong, but out of place, since the world could not be saved but by the death of Christ. And the Lord's example was to call the faith of believers to this, that albeit we are behoven to have no doubts concerning the promise of eternal blessedness, yet we are to understand that, amid the trials of this life, we are to seek for endurance before glory.

Nocturn III (from St John Chrysostom)

Reading 9: Since the Lord had spoken much concerning dangers, much concerning His Own sufferings, much concerning death, and the killing of His disciples, and had laid upon them many hard and grievous things, and since all these were in this present life, and already hanging over them, whereas the good things were matter for hope and waiting as, for example, that whosoever should lose his life for His sake should find it, for that the Son of Man should come in the glory of His Father, and reward every man according to his works. Matth. xvi. 25, 27. Therefore, to assure them by their own eyes, and show them what the glory is wherein He will come, He manifested and unveiled it to them, as far as in this life they were able to grasp it, lest they and especially Peter should grieve over their own deaths, or the death of their Lord.

R. God hath called us with an holy calling, according to His own grace, which is now made manifest;
* By the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ.
V. Who hath abolished death, and brought life and immortality to light.
R. By the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ.

Reading 10: Behold what He doth, when He treateth of heaven and hell. Where He saith Whosoever will save his life shall lose it, and whosoever will lose his life for My sake shall find it. And again He shall reward every man according to his works in these words He pointeth at heaven and hell.

R. God, Who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts,
* To give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God, in the Face of Jesus Christ.
V. Unto the upright there ariseth light in the darkness he is gracious and full of compassion, and righteous.
R. To give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God, in the Face of Jesus Christ.

Reading 11: But although He speaketh concerning both, He giveth a glimpse of heaven only and not of hell. To see hell would have profited the brutish and stupid, but His disciples were upright and clear-sighted, and therefore for them it was enough to be strengthened by the better things. This was what suited Him the best. Yet He left not the other altogether undone. Sometimes He set the horrors of hell, as it were, before the eyes, as for instance in the parable of the rich man and Lazarus, and that of him who was fain to wring the hundred pence from his fellow-servant.

Reading 12: But mark well Matthew's good will, in not concealing the names of those who were preferred. John also likewise often recordeth the special praises of Peter with great truthfulness and care. For in this companionship of the Apostles, there was no envy, nor did vainglory find place. It was therefore the leaders of the Apostles whom Christ took apart from the others. And wherefore did he take these only? Because there were evidently superior to the rest. And why did he not do this straightway, and not until after six days? Evidently to spare the natural feelings of the other disciples; and for the same reason Christ did not for six days announce who were to go up.

St Matthew 17:1-9:

And after six days Jesus taketh unto him Peter and James, and John his brother, and bringeth them up into a high mountain apart: [2] And he was transfigured before them. And his face did shine as the sun: and his garments became white as snow. [3] And behold there appeared to them Moses and Elias talking with him. [4] And Peter answering, said to Jesus: Lord, it is good for us to be here: if thou wilt, let us make here three tabernacles, one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias. [5] And as he was yet speaking, behold a bright cloud overshadowed them. And lo, a voice out of the cloud, saying: This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased: hear ye him. [6] And the disciples hearing, fell upon their face, and were very much afraid. [7] And Jesus came and touched them: and said to them, Arise, and fear not. [8] And they lifting up their eyes saw no one but only Jesus. [9] And as they came down from the mountain, Jesus charged them, saying: Tell the vision to no man, till the Son of man be risen from the dead.

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