Saturday, 6 August 2016

Readings for First Sunday of August (Nocturns I&II)

From the first week of August, the first and second Nocturn readings at Sunday Matins are of the week of the month.  Note that the Roman and Benedictine calendars are out of step with each other this year.

Nocturn I: Proverbs 1

Reading 1: The parables of Solomon, the son of David, king of Israel. To know wisdom, and instruction:  To understand the words of prudence: and to receive the instruction of doctrine, justice, and judgment, and equity: To give subtilty to little ones, to the young man knowledge and understanding. A wise man shall hear and shall be wiser: and he that understandeth, shall possess governments.He shall understand a parable, and the interpretation, the words of the wise, and their mysterious sayings.

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: The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. Fools despise wisdom and instruction. My son, hear the instruction of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother: That grace may be added to thy head, and a chain of gold to thy neck. My son, if sinners shall entice thee, consent not to them. If they shall say: Come with us, let us lie in wait for blood, let us hide snares for the innocent without cause: Let us swallow him up alive like hell, and whole as one that goeth down into the pit.

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: We shall find all precious substance, we shall fill our houses with spoils. Cast in thy lot with us, let us all have one purse. My son, walk not thou with them, restrain thy foot from their paths.
For their feet run to evil, and make haste to shed blood.

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: But a net is spread in vain before the eyes of them that have wings.  And they themselves lie in wait for their own blood, and practise deceits against their own souls.  So the wage of every covetous man destroy the souls of the possessors. Wisdom preacheth abroad, she uttereth her voice in the streets: At the head of multitudes she crieth out, in the entrance of the gates of the city she uttereth her words, saying: O children, how long will you love childishness, and fools covet those things which are hurtful to themselves, and the unwise hate knowledge?

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.


Nocturn II: St Ambrose (On Psalm 118)

Reading 5: The Prophet saith that "the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom." And what is the first act of wisdom but to renounce the world since to love the things of the world is folly. So indeed saith the Apostle "The wisdom of this world is foolishness with God."  But the very fear of the Lord itself is useless, nay, harmful, if it be not according to knowledge.

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: The Jews have a truly fervent zeal for God, but since they have not knowledge, their very zeal and fear do cause them to do things contrary to God's will. That they circumcise their children, that they keep holy the Sabbath-Day, showeth how they fear the Lord, but knowing not the spiritual meaning of the Law, they circumcise the body and not the heart.

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: But wherefore should I speak of Jews There are those among ourselves who have the fear of God, but not according to knowledge, and set up hard ordinances which the weakness of man is not able to bear. They fear God in this, that they seem to themselves to be looking to discipline, and to be enforcing the practice of godliness, but they lack knowledge, in that they feel not for the weakness of nature, nor consider whether a thing can, or cannot be done. Let not then the fear of God be unreasonable. True wisdom beginneth with the fear of God, neither is it spiritual wisdom without the fear of God, but neither ought the fear of God to be without wisdom.

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: Holy fear is the foundation of all good instruction. Just as a statue is set up upon a pedestal, and thereby receiveth both beauty and strength, even so doth it become the word of God to be set forth based upon an holy fear, and it is in the heart of him that feareth that it getteth the firmest root, even an home wherefrom it droppeth not, neither do the fowls of the air come and carry it away, as from the heart of him that is careless and deceiving.

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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