Thursday, 10 November 2016

Feast of St Martin of Tours

The readings for the feasts in the Benedictine Office are set out below.

Nocturn I: 1 Timothy 3:1-9; Titus 1:7-11, 2:1-8

(Psalms of the feast: 1, 2, 4, 5, 8, 10)

Reading 1: A faithful saying: if a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work.  It behoveth therefore a bishop to be blameless, the husband of one wife, sober, prudent, of good behaviour, chaste, given to hospitality, a teacher,  Not given to wine, no striker, but modest, not quarrelsome, not covetous, but One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all chastity.

R. This is that Martin whom God chose to be an High Priest unto Himself, he upon whom the Lord was pleased to bestow favour like as upon His Apostles* So that he prevailed gloriously in the power of the Divine Trinity three times to raise the dead to life.
V. Martin confessed the faith of the Holy Trinity.
R. So that he prevailed gloriously in the power of the Divine Trinity three times to raise the dead to life.

Reading 2: But if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God? Not a neophyte: lest being puffed up with pride, he fall into the judgment of the devil.  Moreover he must have a good testimony of them who are without: lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.  Deacons in like manner chaste, not double tongued, not given to much wine, not greedy of filthy lucre:  Holding the mystery of faith in a pure conscience.

R. Lord, if I be still needful to thy people, I refuse not to work for them.* Thy will be done.
V. With eyes and hands lifted up to heaven, he never let his mighty spirit slacken in prayer.
R. Thy will be done.

Reading 3: For a bishop must be without crime, as the steward of God: not proud, not subject to anger, not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre: But given to hospitality, gentle, sober, just, holy, continent:  Embracing that faithful word which is according to doctrine, that he may be able to exhort in sound doctrine, and to convince the gainsayers. For there are also many disobedient, vain talkers, and seducers: especially they who are of the circumcision: Who must be reproved, who subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought not, for filthy lucre's sake.

R. Oh, how blessed a man was Bishop Martin* He neither feared to die, nor refused to live.
V. Lord, if I be still needful to thy people, I refuse not to work for them. thy will be done.
R. He neither feared to die, nor refused to live.

Reading 4: But speak thou the things that become sound doctrine: That the aged men be sober, chaste, prudent, sound in faith, in love, in patience. The aged women, in like manner, in holy attire, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teaching well: That they may teach the young women to be wise, to love their husbands, to love their children, To be discreet, chaste, sober, having a care of the house, gentle, obedient to their husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.  Young men, in like manner, exhort that they be sober.  In all things shew thyself an example of good works, in doctrine, in integrity, in gravity, The sound word that can not be blamed: that he, who is on the contrary part, may be afraid, having no evil to say of us.

[Responsory: Dum sacramenta offerret beatus Martinus globus igneus apparuit super caput ejus...]

Nocturn II

(Psalms of the feast: 14, 20, 23, 95, 96, 97)

Reading 5: Martin was born at Sabaria in Pannonia. When he was ten years old he went to the Church, in the spite of his (heathen) father and mother, and by his own will was numbered among the Catechumens. At fifteen years of age he joined the army, and served as a soldier first under Constantius and then under Julian. Once at the gate of Amiens a poor man asked him for an alms for Christ's name's sake, and since he had nothing to his hand but his arms and his clothes, he gave him half of his cloak. In the night following Christ appeared to him clad in the half of his cloak, and saying (to the angels who bare Him company) While Martin is yet a Catechumen, he hath clad Me in this garment.

R. With eyes and hands lifted up to heaven* He never let his mighty spirit slacken in prayer.
V. While as blessed Martin was offering up the mysteries, a ball of fire appeared above his head.
R. He never let his mighty spirit slacken in prayer.

Reading 6: At eighteen years of age he was baptized. He gave up thereupon the life of a soldier, and betook himself to Hilary, Bishop of Poitiers, by whom he was placed in the order of Acolytes. Being afterwards made Bishop of Tours, he built a monastery wherein he lived in holiness for a while in company of four-score monks.

R. Blessed Martin knew of his own death of a long time before it came to pass, and he said unto the brethren* That the dissolution of his body was nigh at hand, for he deemed himself to be already breaking up.
V. His bodily strength gave way all of a sudden, and he called his disciples together, and said unto them
R. That the dissolution of his body was nigh at hand, for he deemed himself to be already breaking up.

Reading 7: At the last he fell sick of a grievous fever at Cande, a village in his diocese, and besought God in constant prayer to set him free from the prison of this dying body. His disciples heard him and said Father, why wilt thou go away from us? unto whom wilt thou bequeath us in our sorrow? Their words moved Martin, and he said Lord, if I be still needful to thy people, I refuse not to work.

R. His disciples said unto blessed Martin: Father, why wilt thou go away from us, and with whom wilt thou leave us orphans?* For ravening wolves will break in upon thy flock.
V. We know that thou wouldest fain be with Christ, but, sooner or later, thy reward is sure. Rather, then, have pity upon us, whom thou art leaving.
R. For ravening wolves will break in upon thy flock.

Reading 8: When his disciples saw him, in the height of the fever, lying upon his back and praying, they entreated him to turn over and take a little rest upon his side while the violence of his sickness would allow him. But Martin answered them Suffer me to look heavenward rather than earthward, that my spirit may see the way whereby it is so soon going to the Lord. At the moment of death he saw the enemy of mankind, and cried out: What are you come here for, you bloody brute? You murderer, you'll find nothing in me. With these words on his lips, he gave up his soul to God, being aged eighty years. He was received by a company of Angels, who were heard praising God by many persons, especially by holy Severinus, Bishop of Cologne.

[Responsory: O virum ineffabilem nec labore victum nec morte vincendum qui nec mori timuit nec vivere recusavit sed conversus ad dominum dixit...]

Nocturn III: Homily of St Ambrose

(Canticles: Sirach 14:22; 15:3-4, 6; Jeremiah 17:7-8; Sirach 31: 8-11)

Reading 9: From the Holy Gospel according to Luke - In that time: Jesus said to his discoples: No man lighteth a candle, and putteth it in a hidden place, nore under a bushel; but upon a candlestick, that they that come in, may see the light. And so on.

In that which goeth before, Christ hath set the Church before the synagogue, and He exhorteth us rather to trust in the Church. The candle is faith, even as it is written thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.  Our faith is the word of God. The word of God is light. Faith is the candle. It is written concerning the Word of God, that That was the true Light, Which lighteth every man that cometh into this world. But a candle cannot shine, unless it be lighted from some other fire.

R. Blessed indeed was this man, at the time of whose passing the Saints sang in company, a band of Angels shouted aloud for joy* And an army of all the Powers of heaven came out to meet him, singing praises.
V. His strength is a stay to the Church, his manifestation a glory to the Priests of God; Michael and his Angels took him away.
R. And an army of all the Powers of heaven came out to meet him, singing praises.

Reading 10: Also it is written What woman, having ten pieces of silver, if she lose one piece, doth not light a candle, and sweep the house, and seek diligently till she find it? And here the candle lighted to find the lost piece is the strength in our understandings and affections. Let no man therefore seek faith under the law. For the law is by measure, but grace without measure; the law overshadoweth, but grace enlighteneth. And therefore let no man shut up his faith within the measure of the law, but give it unto the Church, the Church, wherein shineth the sevenfold grace of the Spirit, and whereon the Divine glory of the Great High Priest doth strike from heaven, lest the shadow of the law should rest any more at all upon her.

R. Martin was carried joyfully into Abraham's bosom. Martin, who was poor here and of small estimation,* Etereth rich into heaven, and the songs of heaven are raised in his honour.
V. Bishop Martin, that jewel of Priests, goeth away from time, liveth in Christ.
R. Entereth rich into heaven, and the songs of heaven are raised in his honour.

Reading 11: Under the old law there was the sevenfold lamp which the Priest of the Jews lighted every morning and every evening, and this was as it were a candle put under a bushel. That Jerusalem which is upon earth, that Jerusalem which killed the Prophets, lieth hid, as it were, in a dark place in the valley of tears. 

[Responsory: Martinus sacerdos dei cui post apostolos tantam gratiam dominus contulit ut tres mortuos suscitaret et alias virtutes praeclaras ostendit et inter alios confessores et martyres et rosa fulget in Gallia...]

Reading 12: But that Jerusalem which is in heaven, whereof by faith we are soldiers, is a city set upon the highest of all mountains, even upon Christ. Her the darkness and tempests of earth cannot hide, but she blazeth with the glory of the Eternal Sun, and maketh to fall upon us the light of spiritual grace.

[Responsory: Elegit te dominus sacerdotem sibi ad sacrificandum ei hostiam laudis...]

Gospel: Luke 11:33-36

Nobody lights a lamp, and then puts it away in a cellar or under a bushel measure; it is put on the lamp-stand, so that its light may be seen by all who come in.  Thy body has the eye for its lamp; and if thy eye is clear, the whole of thy body will be lit up; when it is diseased, the whole of thy body will be in darkness.  Take good care then, that this principle of light which is in thee is light, not darkness;  then, if thy whole body is in the light, with no part of it in darkness, it will all be lit up as if by a bright lamp enlightening thee.

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