Saturday, 22 October 2016

Matins readings for the fourth Sunday of October

Nocturn I: 2 Maccabees I

Reading 1: To the brethren the Jews that are I throughout Egypt, the brethren, the Jews that are in Jerusalem, and in the land of Judea, send health, and good peace. May God be gracious to you, and remember his covenant that he made with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, his faithful servants: And give you all a heart to worship him, and to do his will with a great heart, and a willing mind. May he open your heart in his law, and in his commandments, and send you peace.  May he hear your prayers, and be reconciled unto you, and never forsake you in the evil time.  And now here we are praying for you.

R. The Lord open your hearts in His law and commandments, and send peace in your days.
* May He grant you salvation and redeem you out of all evil.
V. The Lord hear your prayers, and be at one with you, and never forsake you in the time of trouble.
R. May He grant you salvation and redeem you out of all evil.

Reading 2: Therefore whereas we purpose to keep the purification of the temple on the five and twentieth day of the month of Casleu, we thought it necessary to signify it to you: that you also may keep the day of Scenopegia, and the day of the fire, that was given when Nehemias offered sacrifice, after the temple and the altar was built.

R. The Lord hear your prayers, and be at one with you, and never forsake you in the time of trouble
* Even He, the Lord our God.
V. Give you all an heart to serve Him, and to do His will.
R. Even He, the Lord our God.

Reading 3: For when our fathers were led in Persia, the priests that then were worshippers of God took privately the fire from the altar, and hid it in a valley where there was a deep pit without water, and there they kept it safe,

R. Our enemies are gathered together, and make their boast of their own strength. O Lord, break their power, and scatter them
* That they may know that there is none other that fighteth for us, but only Thou, O our God!
V. Scatter them in thy strength, and destroy them, O Lord our Shield
R. That they may know that there is none other that fighteth for us, but only Thou, O our God

Reading 4: But when many years had passed, and it pleased God that Nehemias should be sent by the king of Persia, he sent some of the posterity of those priests that had hid it, to seek for the fire: and as they told us, they found no fire, but thick water. Then he bade them draw it up, and bring it to him: and the priest Nehemias commanded the sacrifices that were laid on, to be sprinkled with the same water, both the wood, and the things that were laid upon it. And when this was done, and the time came that the sun shone out, which before was in a cloud, there was a great fire kindled, so that all wondered.

R. Judas said unto Simon his brother: Choose thee out men, and go, and deliver thy brethren that are in Galilee and I, and Jonathan thy brother, will go into the country of Galaad.* As the Will is in heaven, so let it be.
V. Arm yourselves, ye valiant men, and be in readiness for it is better for us to die in battle, than to behold the calamities of our people, and our sanctuary.
R. As the Will is in heaven, so let it be.
V. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, * and to the Holy Ghost.
R. As the Will is in heaven, so let it be.

Nocturn II: St John Chrysostom on Psalm 43

Reading 5: We have heard with our ears, O God, our fathers have told us, what thou hast done in their time of old.”  The Prophet speaks thus in the Psalm, yet not in his own person, but in the person of the Maccabees, relating and foretelling what events were to happen at the time.  For such are the Prophets: they outrun all times, past, present, and future.  

R. Be ye not afraid of the assault of the enemy remember how our fathers were delivered.
* Now, therefore, let us cry unto heaven, and our God will have mercy upon us.
V.Remember His marvellous works that He hath done unto Pharaoh and his host in the Red Sea.
R. Now, therefore, let us cry unto heaven, and our God will have mercy upon us.

Reading 6: But in order that our discussion of the subject may be more intelligible, we must first state who were these Maccabees, and what they suffered, and what they did.  For when Antiochus, surnamed Epiphanes, had invaded Judaea, and laid everything waste, and had forced many who then dwelt there to fall away from the laws of their fathers, the Maccabees remained unsullied by these temptations.  And when a serious war broke out, and they could do nothing to help themselves, they hid themselves, as also in aftertimes the Apostles did.  For they did not always rush openly into the midst of dangers, but sometimes fled, withdrawing thus to hide.  

R. The heathen are assembled together to fight against us, and we know not what we should do.
* Our eyes look unto thee, O Lord our God, that we should not perish.
V. What things they imagine against us, Thou knowest. How shall we be able to stand against them, except Thou be our help
R. Our eyes look unto thee, O Lord our God, that we should not perish.

Reading 7: However, after one such short respite, they were like eager animals leaping out of their caves and coming forth from their lairs, and they thereupon resolved for the future, not to win safety for themselves only, but for others, whomsoever they could.  And going through all that city and country, they gathered together as many as they found who were still healthy and stedfast; and even many who were weak, and had been corrupted, they persuaded to return to the Law of their fathers.

R. thine, O Lord, is the power, thine is the kingdom, O Lord, and Thou art exalted above all the heathen.
* Give peace in our time, O Lord.
V. O Lord God, Creator of all things, Who art fearful and strong, righteous and merciful.
R. Give peace in our time, O Lord.

Reading 8: For they told them that God is merciful and gracious, and that he has never deprived men of that salvation which is obtained by penitence.  And, so saying, they raised a levy of the most valiant men.  For they fought not for their wives, their children and servants, or because of the ruin and captivity of their fatherland, but for the Law, and the religion of their fathers.  Now their leader was God.  Therefore, when they arrayed their battle line, and put their lives in jeopardy, they overthrew their adversaries because they trusted not in arms, but considered that the just cause of their war was in itself a good armour.  Moreover, when they went forth to the conflict, they uttered no bombast, nor sang battle songs, as some do; nor did they call together musicians, as is done in other armies; but they invoked the help of the Most High God, that he might be with them, and aid them, and strengthen their hand, because that war which they waged was for his glory.

R. They decked the fore-front of the Temple with crowns of gold, and dedicated the Altar unto the Lord.
* And there was very great gladness among the people.
V. They praised the Lord with Psalms and thanksgiving.
R. And there was very great gladness among the people.
V. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, * and to the Holy Ghost.
R. And there was very great gladness among the people.

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