Saturday, 27 August 2016

Readings for the fourth Sunday of August

Nocturn I (Ecclesiasticus/Sirach 1:1-16a)

Reading 1: All wisdom is from the Lord God, and hath been always with him, and is before all time.
Who hath numbered the sand of the sea, and the drops of rain, and the days of the world? Who hath measured the height of heaven, and the breadth of the earth, and the depth of the abyss? Who hath searched out the wisdom of God that goeth before all things?

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: Wisdom hath been created before all things, and the understanding of prudence from everlasting. The word of God on high is the fountain of wisdom, and her ways are everlasting commandments.To whom hath the root of wisdom been revealed, and who hath known her wise counsels? To whom hath the discipline of wisdom been revealed and made manifest? and who hath understood the multiplicity of her steps?

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: There is one most high Creator Almighty, and a powerful king, and greatly to be feared, who sitteth upon his throne, and is the God of dominion. He created her in the Holy Ghost, and saw her, and numbered her, and measured her. And he poured her out upon all his works, and upon all flesh according to his gift, and hath given her to them that love him.

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: The fear of the Lord is honour, and glory, and gladness, and a crown of joy. The fear of the Lord shall delight the heart, and shall give joy, and gladness, and length of days. With him that feareth the Lord, it shall go well in the latter end, and in the day of his death he shall be blessed. The love of God is honourable wisdom. And they to whom she shall show herself love her by the sight, and by the knowledge of her great works. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and was created with the faithful in the womb, it walketh with chosen women, and is known with the just and faithful.

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: From the Book of Moral Reflections on Job, written by Pope St Gregory the Great.
Bk. i. 10 on Job i.

Reading 5: Come there are who are careless concerning their true life, greedy of the things which pass away, but as to the things which are eternal, either understand them not, or, understanding them, holding them to be but of little moment they feel no sorrow, nor know how to take wise advice and, in forgetfulness of the heavenly possessions which they have lost, they deem themselves alas, poor wretches happy in their goods. They lift not up their eyes to the light of truth for which they were created no keen desire ever maketh them to cast a longing look toward the everlasting Fatherland. Leaving alone the chief end for which they were made, they fix their affections upon the exile which they are enduring, instead of upon their home, and make merry in the blindness which they are suffering, as though it were glorious day-light.

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: But, on the other hand, the understandings of the elect, while they apprehend the things which pass away, perceive them to be indeed nothings, and work towards grasping the true end to which they were created, and since nothing outside God satisfieth them, their thought, wearied by the intensity of speculation, findeth rest in the hope for, and the contemplation of, their Maker. They are fain to take their place among the citizens above, and each one of them, although still placed in the world as concerns his body, doth yet in heart and mind ascend above the world. They bemoan the hardships of the exile which they are enduring, and rouse themselves by the constant pricking of their love, to look to their Fatherland above

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: When therefore such an one seeth with grief that by sin he hath lost an eternal inheritance, he findeth this healthy counsel, to reckon but lightly the things of time through which he is passing, and as the riper groweth his wise course that he hath chosen, to let be these perishing things, the deeper groweth his sorrow that he hath not yet attained unto the things which endure.We must also realise that they who are headlong in their courses, feel not sorrow of heart. They that live without thought, who leave themselves recklessly to the guidance of events, escape the weariness of thought.

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: He that ordereth his life by prudent consideration, looketh carefully around him before each thing that he doth, and, like a man, that before advancing on an uncertain way, trieth the ground with his foot, so he taketh thought beforehand, lest some sudden and evil thing should happen to him he considereth whether that which he hath a mind to do is not forbidden to him by caution, whether he be not too hasty about things which were better put off to another season, lest evil should overcome him by open attack upon his lusts, or even good undo him by the in-bringing of vain glory.

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.
V. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, * and to the Holy Ghost.
R. Thou didst make thy people mighty and honourable.

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