Nocturn I: Song of Songs 1:1-16
Reading 1: Let him kiss me with the kiss of his mouth: for thy breasts are better than wine,
Smelling sweet of the best ointments. thy name is as oil poured out: therefore young maidens have loved thee. Draw me: we will run after thee to the odour of thy ointments. The king hath brought me into his storerooms: we will be glad and rejoice in thee, remembering thy breasts more than wine: the righteous love thee.
R. This day was the Blessed Virgin Mary born of the lineage of David.
* The same is she through whom the salvation of the world hath been manifested before the eyes of all believers. This is she whose glorious life hath given light to the world.
V. Let us keep with rejoicing the Birth-day of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
R. The same is she through whom the salvation of the world hath been manifested before the eyes of all believers. This is she whose glorious life hath given light to the world.
Reading 2: I am black but beautiful, O ye daughters of Jerusalem, as the tents of Cedar, as the curtains of Solomon. Do not consider me that I am brown, because the sun hath altered my colour: the sons of my mother have fought against me, they have made me the keeper in the vineyards: my vineyard I have not kept. Show me, O thou whom my soul loveth, where thou feedest, where thou liest in the midday, lest I begin to wander after the flocks of thy companions.
R. Let us keep right heartily the Birthday of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary,
* That she may pray for us to our Lord Jesus Christ.
V. Let us keep with right hearty rejoicing the Birthday of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
R. That she may pray for us to our Lord Jesus Christ.
Reading 3: If thou know not thyself, O fairest among women, go forth, and follow after the steps of the flocks, and feed thy kids beside the tents of the shepherds.To my company of horsemen, in Pharao's chariots, have I likened thee, O my love.Thy cheeks are beautiful as the turtledove's, thy neck as jewels.We will make thee chains of gold, inlaid with silver.
R. Let us tell again of the right worthy Birth of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
* The same is she whose lowliness the Lord regarded, she who by the message of an Angel conceived the Saviour of the world.
V. Let us keep right earnestly the Birth-day of the most Blessed Virgin Mary.
R. The same is she whose lowliness the Lord regarded, she who by the message of an Angel conceived the Saviour of the world.
Reading 4: While the king was at his repose, my spikenard sent forth the odour thereof. A bundle of myrrh is my beloved to me, he shall abide between my breasts. A cluster of cypress my love is to me, in the vineyards of Engaddi. Behold thou art fair, O my love, behold thou art fair, thy eyes are as those of doves. Behold thou art fair, my beloved, and comely. Our bed is flourishing. The beams of our houses are of cedar, our rafters of cypress trees.
Nocturn II: Sermon of St Bernard (On the praises of the Virgin Mary 2:II, 17)
Not available online
Nocturn III: Sermon of St Jerome
Reading 9: From the Holy Gospel according to Matthew, The Book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the Son of David, the son of Abraham. Abraham begat Isaac, and Isaac begat Jacob. And so on.
In Isaiah we read: "Who shall declare His generation?" Let us not think that there is any contradiction between the Prophet and the Evangelist, because the Prophet saith that this thing cannot be done, and the Evangelist beginneth by doing it. The one speaketh of the generation of the Divine (Word by the Eternal Father,) the other of the (family in which the) Incarnation (took place.) Matthew beginneth with carnal things, that by learning of men we may go on to learn of God. pedigree properly.
R. All generations shall call me blessed,
* For the Lord that is mighty hath magnified me, and holy is his Name.
V. And his mercy is on them that fear him throughout all generations.
R. For the Lord that is mighty hath magnified me, and holy is his Name.
Reading 10: "The Son of David, the son of Abraham." The reversal of the order in these clauses is a needful change. If Abraham had been put first and David afterwards, Abraham would have had to be taken again, in order to marshal the the pedigree properly.
R. Blessed are thou, O holy Virgin Mary, and most worthy of all praise,
* For out of thee arose the Sun of Righteousness, even Christ our God.
V. Pray for the people, plead for the clergy, entreat for all women dedicated to God: let everyone that keepeth holy-day in honour of thy Birthday know the benefit of thine intercession.
R. For out of thee arose the Sun of Righteousness.
Reading 11: Matthew first calleth Christ the Son of these twain Abraham and David without making mention of the others, because unto these twain only was promise of Christ made unto Abraham, where it is said: "In thy seed" that is, in Christ "shall all the nations of the earth be blessed," and unto David, in the words "Of the fruit of thy body will I set upon thy throne."
Reading 12: "And Judas begat Phares and Zara of Thamar." It is to be remarked that in the genealogy of the Saviour none of the holy women are named, but those women only are named against whom the Scripture hath to say something amiss. He Who came to save sinners was born of sinners, that He might wash away all sin. Afterwards are named Ruth, who was a Moabitess, and Bathsheba, who had been the wife of Uriah.
Gospel: St Matthew 1:1-16
A record of the ancestry from which Jesus Christ, the son of David, son of Abraham, was born. Abraham was the father of Isaac, Isaac of Jacob, Jacob of Juda and his brethren; Juda of Phares and Zara, by Thamar; Phares of Esron, Esron of Aram, Aram of Aminadab, Aminadab of Naasson, Naasson of Salmon; Salmon of Booz, by Rahab; Booz of Obed, by Ruth; Obed of Jesse; and Jesse was the father of king David. And king David was the father of Solomon, by her that had been the wife of Urias. Solomon was the father of Roboam, Roboam of Abias, Abias of Asa, Asa of Josaphat, Josaphat of Joram, Joram of Ozias, Ozias of Joatham, Joatham of Achaz, Achaz of Ezechias, Ezechias of Manasses, Manasses of Amon, Amon of Josias; and Josias was the father of Jechonias and his brethren, at the time of the removal to Babylon. And after the removal to Babylon, Jechonias was the father of Salathiel, Salathiel of Zorobabel, Zorobabel of Abiud, Abiud of Eliacim, Eliacim of Azor, Azor of Sadoc, Sadoc of Achim, Achim of Eliud, Eliud of Eleazar, Eleazar of Mathan, Mathan of Jacob, and Jacob was the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary; it was of her that Jesus was born, who is called Christ.