Monday, 31 October 2016

Matins readings for the feast of All Saints



Nocturn I: Revelation 4:2-8;5:1-14

Reading 1: And immediately I was in the spirit: and behold there was a throne set in heaven, and upon the throne one sitting. And he that sat, was to the sight like the jasper and the sardine stone; and there was a rainbow round about the throne, in sight like unto an emerald. And round about the throne were four and twenty seats; and upon the seats, four and twenty ancients sitting, clothed in white garments, and on their heads were crowns of gold. And from the throne proceeded lightnings, and voices, and thunders; and there were seven lamps burning before the throne, which are the seven spirits of God. And in the sight of the throne was, as it were, a sea of glass like to crystal; and in the midst of the throne, and round about the throne, were four living creatures, full of eyes before and behind. And the first living creature was like a lion: and the second living creature like a calf: and the third living creature, having the face, as it were, of a man: and the fourth living creature was like an eagle flying.

R. I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up and the whole earth was full of His glory
* And His train filled the temple.
V. Above it stood the Seraphim each one had six wings.
R. And His train filled the temple.

Reading 2: And the four living creatures had each of them six wings; and round about and within they are full of eyes. And they rested not day and night, saying: Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, who was, and who is, and who is to come.And I saw in the right hand of him that sat on the throne, a book written within and without, sealed with seven seals. And I saw a strong angel, proclaiming with a loud voice: Who is worthy to open the book, and to loose the seals thereof? And no man was able, neither in heaven, nor on earth, nor under the earth, to open the book, nor to look on it.  And I wept much, because no man was found worthy to open the book, nor to see it. And one of the ancients said to me: Weep not; behold the lion of the tribe of Juda, the root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof.

R. Blessed art thou, O Virgin Mary, Mother of God, that didst believe the Lord. There hath been a performance in thee of those things which were told thee. Lo, thou hast been exalted above the choirs of Angels.* Pray for us unto the Lord our God.
V. Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee.
R. Pray for us unto the Lord our God.

Reading 3: And I saw: and behold in the midst of the throne and of the four living creatures, and in the midst of the ancients, a Lamb standing as it were slain, having seven horns and seven eyes: which are the seven Spirits of God, sent forth into all the earth. And he came and took the book out of the right hand of him that sat on the throne. And when he had opened the book, the four living creatures, and the four and twenty ancients fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints:And they sung a new canticle, saying: Thou art worthy, O Lord, to take the book, and to open the seals thereof; because thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God, in thy blood, out of every tribe, and tongue, and people, and nation. And hast made us to our God a kingdom and priests, and we shall reign on the earth.

R. Before the Angels will I sing praise unto thee, and will worship toward thy holy temple.
* And I will praise thy Name, O Lord.
V. For thy lovingkindness and for thy truth; for Thou hast glorified thine holy Name on us.
R. And I will praise thy Name, O Lord.

Reading 4: And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne, and the living creatures, and the ancients; and the number of them was thousands of thousands, Saying with a loud voice: The Lamb that was slain is worthy to receive power, and divinity, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and benediction. And every creature, which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them: I heard all saying: To him that sitteth on the throne, and to the Lamb, benediction, and honour, and glory, and power, for ever and ever. And the four living creatures said: Amen. And the four and twenty ancients fell down on their faces, and adored him that liveth for ever and ever.

R. The Fore-runner of the Lord cometh, to whom He Himself bare witness, saying:* Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist.
V. A Prophet? Yea, and much more than a Prophet. This is he of whom the Saviour saith
R. Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist.
V. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, * and to the Holy Ghost.
R. Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist.

Nocturn II: St Bede Homily 70

Reading 5: Dearly beloved brethren: This day we keep, with one great cry of joy, a Feast in memory of all God's holy children; His children, whose presence is a gladness to heaven; His children, whose prayers are a blessing to earth; His children, whose victories are the crown of the Holy Church; His chosen, whose testifying is the more glorious in honour, as the agony in which it was given was the sterner in intensity, for as the dreader grew the battle, so the grander grew the fighters, and the triumph of martyrdom waxed the more incisive by the multiplicity of suffering, and the heavier the torment the heavier the prize.

R. These are they who while yet they lived in the flesh, planted the Church in their own blood
* They drank of the Lord's cup, and became the friends of God.
V. Their sound is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the ends of the world.
R. They drank of the Lord's cup, and became the friends of God.

Reading 6: And it is our Mother, the Catholic Church, spread far and wide throughout all this planet, it is she that hath learnt, in Christ Jesus her Head, not to fear shame, nor cross, nor death, but hath waxed lealer and lealer, and, not by fighting, but by enduring, hath breathed into all that noble band who have come up to the bitter starting-post the hope of conquest and glory which hath warmed them manfully to accept the race.


R. O ye My Saints, who, being in the flesh, didst have striving* I will render unto you a reward of your labours.
V. Come, ye blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom!
R. I will render unto you a reward of your labours.

Reading 7: If a verity thou art blessed, O my Mother the Church! The blaze of God's mercy beateth full upon thee; thine adornment is the glorious blood of victorious Martyrs, and thy raiment the virgin whiteness of untarnished orthodoxy. thy garlands lack neither roses nor lilies. And now, dearly beloved brethren, let each one of us strive to gain the goodly crown of one sort or the other, either the glistening whiteness of purity, or the red dye of suffering. In the army in heaven peace and war have both chaplets of their own, to crown Christ's soldiers withal.

R. Let your loins be girded about, and your lights burning;* And ye yourselves like unto men that wait for their lord, when he will return from the wedding.
V. Watch therefore, for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.
R. And ye yourselves like unto men that wait for their lord, when he will return from the wedding.

Reading 8: Moreover, to this also hath the unutterable and boundless goodness of God seen, that He spreadeth not the time of working and wrestling, neither maketh it long, nor everlasting, and, as it were, but for a moment, so that in this short and scanty life there is wrestling and working, but the crown and the prize is in a life which is eternal. So the work is soon over, but the wage is paid for ever. And when the night of this world is over, the Saints are to see the clearness of the essential light, and to receive a blessedness outweighing the pangs of any torment, as testifieth the Apostle Paul, where he saith: The sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.

R. Sanctissime confessor Christi Benedicte monachorum pater et dux * intercede pro nostra omniumque
V: Devotae plebi subveni sancta intercessione ut tuis adjuta precibus regna caelestia consequatur
R: intercede pro nostra omniumque
V Gloria Patri et Filio et Spiritui Sancto
R: intercede pro nostra omniumque

Nocturn III: St Augustine on the sermon on the mount

Reading 9: From the Holy Gospel according to Matthew - At that time: Jesus, seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain, and when he was set down, his disciples came unto him. And so on.

If it be asked what is signified by the mountain, the said mountain may well be understood to figure the higher and greater commandments of righteousness, since those that have been given to the Jews are the lesser. The one God, in an excellent order of times, gave, by His holy Prophets and servants, His lesser commandments unto the people whom it still behoved to be bound by fear, but by His Son He gave the greater unto the people whom it now beseemed to set free by love. But whether it be the lesser to the lesser, or the greater to the greater, all are alike the gift of Him Who alone knoweth what is in each epoch the seasonable medicine of mankind.

R. At midnight there was a cry made:
* Behold! the Bridegroom cometh! go ye out to meet him!
V. Trim your lamps, O ye wise virgins.
R. Behold! the Bridegroom cometh! go ye out to meet Him!

Reading 10: Neither is it marvel that the greater commandments be given touching the kingdom of heaven, and the lesser touching a commonwealth upon earth, since both are alike the gifts of that one God Who is the Maker alike of heaven and of earth. The higher and greater righteousness, then, is that whereof the Prophet saith: Thy righteousness is like the mountains of God.  Thus is that Teacher, Who alone can give such teaching, mystically represented as teaching upon a mountain.

R: Beata vere mater ecclesia quam sic honor divinae dignationis illuminat quam victoriosorum gloriosus martyrum sanguis exornat * quam inviolata confessionis candida induit virginitas
V: Floribus ejus nec rosae nec lilia desunt
R: quam inviolata confessionis candida induit virginitas

Reading 11: And when He was set. The attitude of sitting while teaching appertaineth to the majesty of His instruction. His disciples came unto Him nearer in the body, to hear those precepts, by the fulfillment of which they should be nearer in spirit. And He opened His Mouth, and taught them, saying These words And He opened His Mouth, appear redundant to the sense. It may possibly be that this more pompous introduction is adopted on account of the exceptional length of the discourse to follow. But it may also be that these words are not really redundant, but the pointed declaration that He now opened His Own Mouth, Who, under the Old Law, had been used to open the mouths of the Prophets.

R: Beati estis sancti dei omnes qui meruistis consortes fieri caelestium virtutum et perfrui aeternae claritatis gloria * ideoque precamur ut memores nostri intercedere dignemini pro nobis ad dominum deum nostrum
V: gaudete et exultate quoniam merces vestra copiosa est in caelis
R: ideoque precamur ut memores nostri intercedere dignemini pro nobis ad dominum deum nostrum

Reading 12: And now, what saith He? Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. We have read where it is written concerning the lusting after temporal things: The wandering of the desire is vanity and presumption of spirit. Eccl. vi. 9. Presumption of spirit signifieth rashness and pride. We are used to say of proud people that they are men of high spirit, and we say well, since spirit is only one of the Latin names for wind. (It is so used, for instance, in Ps. cxlviii. 8, Fire, hail, snow, ice, stormy wind). Who hath not heard the proud spoken of as puffed up, as if they were blown out with wind? Hence, alas, the Apostle saith: Knowledge puffeth up, but charity edifieth. ( 1 Cor. viii. 1.) By the poor in spirit, who are here called blessed, are rightly to be understood such as are lowly and fear God, that is, have not got minds puffed up with windy vanity.

R: And I saw another angel ascending from the rising of the sun, having the sign of the living God; and he cried with a loud voice to the four angels, to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea, Saying: Hurt not the earth, nor the sea, nor the trees, till we sign the servants of our God in their foreheads.  *And I heard the number of them that were signed, an hundred forty-four thousand were signed, of every tribe of the children of Israel.
V And they shall see his face: and his name shall be on their foreheads
R: And I heard the number of them that were signed, an hundred forty-four thousand were signed, of every tribe of the children of Israel.
V: Glory be...
R: And I heard the number of them that were signed, an hundred forty-four thousand were signed, of every tribe of the children of Israel.

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