Saturday, 20 August 2016

Matins readings for the third Sunday of August (Nocturns I&II)

The readings at Matins in the Benedictine Office this Sunday for the first two Nocturns are of the third week of August.


Nocturn I: Wisdom 1: 1-13

Reading 1: Love justice, you that are the judges of the earth. Think of the Lord in goodness, and seek him in simplicity of heart. For he is found by them that tempt him not: and he showeth himself to them that have faith in him. For perverse thoughts separate from God: and his power, when it is tried, reproveth the unwise:  For wisdom will not enter into a malicious soul, nor dwell in a body subject to sins.

R. God possessed me in the beginning, before He made the earth, before He created the depths, before He caused the fountains of water to spring.* Before the mountains were settled, before there were any hills, did the Lord beget me.
V. When He prepared the heavens, I was there with Him, ordering all things.
R. Before the mountains were settled, before there were any hills, did the Lord beget me.

Reading 2: For the Holy Spirit of discipline will flee from the deceitful, and will withdraw himself from thoughts that are without understanding, and he shall not abide when iniquity cometh in. For the spirit of wisdom is benevolent, and will not acquit the evil speaker from his lips: for God is witness of his reins, and he is a true searcher of his heart, and a hearer of his tongue.  For the spirit of the Lord hath filled the whole world: and that, which containeth all things, hath knowledge of the voice.

R. I alone compassed the circuit of heaven, and walked on the waves of the sea. In every nation and in every people, I held the first place.* In the greatness of my strength have I trodden under my feet the necks of such as be haughty and proud.
V. I dwell in the highest places, and my throne is in a cloudy pillar.
R. In the greatness of my strength have I trodden under my feet the necks of such as be haughty and proud.

Reading 3: Therefore he that speaketh unjust things cannot be hid, neither shall the chastising judgment pass him by. For inquisition shall be made into the thoughts of the ungodly: and the hearing of his words shall come to God, to the chastising of his iniquities. For the ear of jealousy heareth all things, and the tumult of murmuring shall not be hid.

R. O send out wisdom from the throne of thy glory, O Lord, to be with me, and to labour with me,
* That I may know at all times what is pleasing unto thee.
V. Give me wisdom, O Lord, that sitteth by thy throne.
R. That I may know at all times what is pleasing unto thee.

Reading 4: Keep yourselves therefore from murmuring, which profiteth nothing, and refrain your tongue from detraction, for an obscure speech shall not go for nought: and the mouth that belieth, killeth the soul.  Seek not death in the error of your life, neither procure ye destruction by the works of your hands.  For God made not death, neither hath he pleasure in the destruction of the living.

R. O Lord, Father and Governor of my life, leave me not, lest I fall before mine adversaries,
* and mine enemy rejoice over me.
V. Take hold of shield and buckler, and stand up for mine help.
R. Lest mine enemy rejoice over me.
V. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, * and to the Holy Ghost.
R. Lest mine enemy rejoice over me.

Nocturn II (St Ambrose, On Offices)

Reading 5: Great is the glory of justice. She liveth for others rather than for herself. By her our commonwealth and fellowship are holpen. She holdeth such a pre-eminence that all things are subject unto her judgment. She helpeth others. She giveth wealth. She refuseth not to labour. She taketh upon her the dangers of others. Who would not desire to hold this castle of power and courage, if the covetousness of our first parents had not weakened and distorted the strength of our nerve But so it is, that, while we are fain to increase wealth, to put by money, to add lands to our possessions, or to make show of our abundance, we put off the image of justice, and lose charity toward our brethren.

R. Give me wisdom, O Lord, that sitteth by thy throne, and reject me not from among thy children.
* For I am thy servant and son of thine handmaid.
V. O send her out from the throne of thy glory, to be with me and to labour with me.
R. For I am thy servant and son of thine handmaid.

Reading 6: How far-spreading is the field of justice appeareth by this, that there is excepted therefrom no place, person, or time, nay, she hath to do even as regards enemies, for if one be agreed with his enemy of a certain place, or day for battle, it should be deemed unjust to fall on him beforehand, at some other place, or time. For it is a very different thing, whether one get the better of another in a hard fight, or by skill, or by accident.

R. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.* A good understanding have all they that do His commandments. His praise endureth for ever.
V. Love is the keeping of her laws, for all wisdom is the fear of the Lord.
R. A good understanding have all they that do His commandments. His praise endureth for ever.

Reading 7: If therefore in war justice hath place, how much more is she to be observed in time of peace.Honour is the foundation of justice. The thoughts in the hearts of just men are honourable thoughts and when the just man accuseth himself, it is honour that bringeth him to that just deed. Then is his justice made manifest by his honourable avowal. 

R. Lord, remove far from me vanity and lies.*Give me neither poverty nor riches, but feed me with food convenient for me.
V. Two things have I required of thee deny me them not before I die.
R. Give me neither poverty nor riches, but feed me with food convenient for me.

Reading 8: The Lord saith by Isaiah " Behold, I lay in Zion a foundation-stone" xxviii. 16, that is to say, He giveth Christ unto the Church to be her foundation. Christ is the true honour for all men, and the Church is as it were a figure of justice, being a commonwealth wherein all have rights, and which worketh as one, and suffereth as one. Whosoever denieth himself, the same is just, and worthy of Christ. Therefore also Paul saith " Other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ ", and upon that foundation is it, that every building of justice must be raised. For the spirit of Christ is the true spirit of honour which is the foundation whereon justice resteth.

R. Great are thy judgments, O Lord, and thy words cannot be expressed.* Thou didst make thy people mighty and honourable.
V. Thou broughtest them through the Red Sea, and leddest them through much water.
R. Thou didst make thy people mighty and honourable.





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