Nocturn I (1 John 1:1-10; 2:1-5)
[Psalms 18, 33, 44, 46, 60, 63]
Reading 1: 1 That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the word of life: For the life was manifested; and we have seen and do bear witness, and declare unto you the life eternal, which was with the Father, and hath appeared to us: That which we have seen and have heard, we declare unto you, that you also may have fellowship with us, and our fellowship may be with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.
R. Very worshipful is blessed John, which leaned on the Lord's Breast at supper. * To Him did Christ upon the Cross commit His mother, maiden to maiden.
V. The Lord chose him for his clean maidenhood, and loved him more than all the rest.
R. To him did Christ upon the Cross commit His mother, maiden to maiden.
Reading 2: And these things we write to you, that you may rejoice, and your joy may be full. And this is the declaration which we have heard from him, and declare unto you: That God is light, and in him there is no darkness. If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he also is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.
R. This is the disciple which testifieth of these things, and wrote these things.
* And we know that his testimony is true.
V. He drank in the rivers of the Gospel from the Lord's Breast as from an holy fountain.
R. And we know that his testimony is true.
Reading 3: If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just, to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all iniquity. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.
R. This is that most blessed Evangelist and Apostle John. * Who was found worthy that the Lord should honour him more than all the rest, by a special privilege of love.
V. This is the disciple whom Jesus loved, which also leaned on the Lord's Breast at supper.
R. Who was found worthy that the Lord should honour him more than all the rest, by a special privilege of love.
Reading 4: My little children, these things I write to you, that you may not sin. But if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the just: And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world. And by this we know that we have known him, if we keep his commandments. He who saith that he knoweth him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But he that keepeth his word, in him in very deed the charity of God is perfected; and by this we know that we are in him.
Nocturn II: (From St jerome)
[Psalms 74, 95, 96, 97, 98, 100]
Reading 5: The Apostle John whom Jesus loved was a son of Zebedee, and brother of the Apostle James, who was beheaded by Herod soon after our Lord suffered. He was the last of the Evangelists to write his Gospel, which he published at the request of the Bishops of Asia, against Cerinthus and other heretics, and particularly against the then spreading doctrine of the Ebionites, who asserted that Christ had had no existence before Mary. It was therefore needful for the Evangelist to declare His Eternal and Divine Generation.
R. Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in My temple, saith the Lord, * And I will write My name upon him, and the name of the city, which is New Jerusalem.
V. To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of My God.
R. And I will write My name upon him, and the name of the city, which is New Jerusalem.
Reading 6: In the fourteenth year after Nero, Domitian stirred up the second persecution, and John was exiled to the island of Patmos, where he wrote his Apocalypse, which hath been explained by Justin the Martyr and Irenaeus.
R. Jesus loved him, because his singular gift of purity made him more worthy of love.
* He chose him for a virgin unto Himself, and he remaineth a virgin for ever.
V. At the end, when He was dying upon the Cross, to him did He commit His mother, maiden to maiden.
R. He chose him for a virgin unto Himself, and he remaineth a virgin for ever.
Reading 7: When Domitian was killed, the Senate annulled all his acts, on account of his savage cruelty, and the Apostle returned to Ephesus, during the reign of Nerva. He remained at Ephesus until the time of Trajan, and founded and governed all the Churches of Asia. There, in an extreme old age, he died, in the sixty-eighth year after the Lord's passion, and was buried near the city.
R. In the midst of the congregation did the Lord open his mouth. * And filled him with the spirit of wisdom and understanding.
V. He made him rich with joy and gladness.
R. And filled him with the spirit of wisdom and understanding.
Reading 8: The Blessed Evangelist John lived at Ephesus down to an extreme old age, and, at length, when he was with difficulty carried to the Church, and was not able to exhort the congregation at length, he was used simply to say at each meeting, My little children, love one another. At last the disciples and brethren were weary with hearing these words continually, and asked him, Master, wherefore ever sayest thou this only? Whereto he replied to them, worthy of John, It is the commandment of the Lord, and if this only be done, it is enough.
Nocturn III: St Augustine, Tract 124 on John
[Canticles: Isaiah 61:6-9; Wisdom 3:7-9; Wisdom 10: 17-21]
Reading 9: From the holy Gospel according to John - In that time Jesus said to Peter: Follow me. Peter turning about, saw that disciple whom Jesus loved following. And so on.
The Church knoweth of two different lives which God hath revealed and blessed one is the life of faith, the other the life of knowledge one the life of this pilgrimage, the other the life of the eternal mansions; one the life of work, the other the life of rest one the life of the journey, the other the life of home; one the life of action, the other the life of contemplation.
R. In that day will I take thee, O My servant, and will make thee as a signet before Me. * For I have chosen thee, saith the Lord.
V. Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.
R. For I have chosen thee, saith the Lord.
Reading 10: The one escheweth evil and doeth good; the other hath no evil to eschew, and only an exceeding good to enjoy. The one striveth with the enemy, the other hath no enemies, and reigneth. The succoureth the needy; the other is where there are no needy to succour. The one forgiveth them that trespass against it, that its own trespasses may be forgiven; the other neither hath trespasses to forgive nor to be forgiven.
R. This is that John which leaned on the Lord's Breast at supper * Even that blessed Apostle unto whom were made known the secret things of heaven.
V. He drank in the rivers of the Gospel from the Lord's Breast, as from an holy fountain.
R. Even that blessed Apostle unto whom were made known the secret things of heaven.
Reading 11: The one is chastened with evil, lest it be exalted above measure by good; the other enjoyeth such a fulness of grace that it feeleth no evil, and cleaveth so firmly unto the Highest Good, that it hath no temptation to pride. Therefore the one is good, but still sorrowful; the other is better and perfectly blessed. And of these two lives there are types, of the one in the Apostle Peter, of the other in John.
Reading 12: The one laboureth here even unto the end, and findeth its end hereafter; the other stretcheth out into the hereafter, and in eternity findeth no end. Therefore is it said unto the one, Follow Me; but of the other, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? Follow thou Me. What is the meaning of these words? who can know? who can understand? what is it? is it Follow thou Me, imitating Me in the bearing of earthly sorrow; let him tarry till I come again, bringing the everlasting reward?
R. So I will have him to remain till I come, * What is it to thee? follow thou me.
V. Him therefore when Peter had seen, he saith to Jesus: Lord, and what shall this man do?
R. What is it to thee? follow thou me.
V. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, * and to the Holy Ghost.
R. What is it to thee? follow thou me.
Gospel: John 21:19-24
And this he said, signifying by what death he should glorify God. And when he had said this, he saith to him: Follow me. Peter turning about, saw that disciple whom Jesus loved following, who also leaned on his breast at supper, and said: Lord, who is he that shall betray thee? Him therefore when Peter had seen, he saith to Jesus: Lord, and what shall this man do? Jesus saith to him: So I will have him to remain till I come, what is it to thee? follow thou me. This saying therefore went abroad among the brethren, that that disciple should not die. And Jesus did not say to him: He should not die; but, So I will have him to remain till I come, what is it to thee? This is that disciple who giveth testimony of these things, and hath written these things; and we know that his testimony is true.