Saturday, 3 September 2016

Matins readings for the first Sunday of September

The Matins readings for the first Sunday of September in the Benedictine office are set out below.

Nocturn I (Job 1:1-11)

Reading 1: There was a man in the land of Hus, whose name was Job, and that man was simple and upright, and fearing God, and avoiding evil.  And there were born to him seven sons and three daughters.  And his possession was seven thousand sheep, and three thousand camels, and five hundred yoke of oxen, and five hundred she asses, and a family exceeding great: and this man was great among all the people of the east.

R. What shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil?* The Lord gave and the Lord hath taken away. As the Lord hath pleased, so hath it befallen. Blessed be the Name of the Lord.
V. Naked came I out of my mother's womb, and naked shall I return thither.
R. The Lord gave and the Lord hath taken away. As the Lord hath pleased, so hath it befallen. Blessed be the Name of the Lord.

Reading 2: And his sons went, and made a feast by houses every one in his day. And sending they called their three sisters to eat and drink with them.  And when the days of their feasting were gone about, Job sent to them, and sanctified them: and rising up early offered holocausts for every one of them. For he said: Lest perhaps my sons have sinned, and have blessed God in their hearts. So did Job all days.

R. My sighing cometh before I eat, and my roarings are poured out like the waters, for the thing which I greatly feared is come upon me, and that which I was afraid of is come unto me. Was not I silent Held not I my peace Was not I at rest* And trouble came.
V. Behold, I cannot help myself, and they that were needful unto me have forsaken me.
R. And trouble came.

Reading 3: Now on a certain day when the sons of God came to stand before the Lord, Satan also was present among them.  And the Lord said to him: Whence comest thou? And he answered and said: I have gone round about the earth, and walked through it. And the Lord said to him: Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a simple and upright man, and fearing God, and avoiding evil?

R. Why do ye argue against the words of truth? Do ye imagine words to reprove me and strive to confound one that is your friend* Nevertheless, finish that ye have in mind.
V. Judge that which is just, and ye shall find no iniquity in my tongue.
R. Nevertheless, finish that ye have in mind.

Reading 4:And Satan answering, said: Doth Job fear God in vain? Hast not thou made a fence for him, and his house, and all his substance round about, blessed the works of his hands, and his possession hath increased on the earth? But stretch forth thy hand a little, and touch all that he hath, and see if he blesseth thee not to thy face.

R. My harp is turned to mourning, and my organ into the voice of them that weep.* Let me alone, O Lord, for my days are vanity.
V. My skin is black upon me, and my bones are burned with heat.
R. Let me alone, O Lord, for my days are vanity.
V. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, * and to the Holy Ghost.
R. Let me alone, O Lord, for my days are vanity.

Nocturn II (Book of Morals of St Gregory the Great)

Reading 5:The Holy Scripture is put before the eyes of our mind somewhat after the fashion of a looking-glass, that we may see therein the aspect of our inward man. Therein we see what are our unsightly, and what our comely traits thereby we judge how we are growing, and how far yet we are from fullness of stature. The Holy Scripture telleth of the doings of the Saints, and stirreth up the heart of us weaklings to follow them. While it maketh memorial of their victorious deeds, it strengtheneth our frailty to strive against sin. And so by the words of the Scripture it cometh to pass that the soul trembleth less at the battle, for that she seeth how many times the enemies before her have been beaten by brave men.

R. My flesh is clothed with worms and clods of dust. My skin is dry and drawn together.* Remember me, O Lord, for my life is wind.
V. My days are swifter than a weaver's shuttle, and are spent without hope.
R. Remember me, Lord, for my life is wind.

Reading 6: And some while the Scripture showeth unto us, not only how the Saints fought bravely, but also how they fell, that we may see by the example of the mighty, not only what weapons we must take, if we would conquer, but also what snares we must keep clear of, if we would avoid falling. For example, here is Job on the one hand, waxing nobler under trial, and on the other hand, David, tried, and failing utterly. And so the glory of the great strengtheneth our hope, and the backsliding of the same doth stir us up to be watchful and lowly the one cheering us with gladness, and the other putting us on our guard through fear, so that the soul of him which heareth of these things may by the one gain sure and certain hope, and by the other fearfulness and watchfulness, and so neither be rashly puffed up, nor hopelessly cast down, nor may faint under the weight of dread, forasmuch as she is stirred up to trustfulness by the example of him who triumphed.

R. My days are few, and in a short while they will be ended. Let me alone, then, O Lord, that I may bewail my sorrow a little;
* Before I go to the land of darkness and of the shadow of death.
V. Thine hands, O Lord, have made me, and fashioned me together round about, and yet dost Thou forthwith destroy me.
R. Before I go to the land of darkness and of the shadow of death.

Reading 7: There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job. We are told where this holy man lived, that thereby we may gauge the worth of his bravery. Who knoweth not that Uz is a place in the countries of the Gentiles The Gentile world had been so degraded and corrupted by sin, that they had ceased to know that they had a Maker.

R. Hide not thy face from me, O Lord. Withdraw not thine hand far from me,
* And let not thy dread make me afraid.
V. O Lord, correct me but in mercy not in thine anger, lest Thou bring me to nothing.
R. And let not thy dread make me afraid.

Reading 8:Therefore is it told us where Job dwelt, that it may redound to his praise that he was good in the midst of the wicked. It is not very praiseworthy to be good among the good, but to be good among the bad. For even as it is more grievous to be bad among the good, so is it right praiseworthy to have remained good among the bad.

R. O that my sins, whereby I have deserved wrath
* And the calamity whereunder I suffer, were laid in the balances together.
V. For now it would appear heavier than the sand of the sea, therefore also my words are full of sorrow.
R. And the calamity, whereunder I suffer, were laid in the balances together.

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