Saturday, 10 December 2016

Matins readings for the Third Sunday of Advent


Nocturn I: Isaiah 26:1-14


Reading 1: In that day shall this canticle be sung the land of Juda. Sion the city of our strength a saviour, a wall and a bulwark shall be set therein. Open ye the gates, and let the just nation, that keepeth the truth, enter in. The old error is passed away: thou wilt keep peace: peace, because we have hoped in thee.

R. Behold, the Lord shall appear upon a white cloud,* And ten thousand of His saints with Him; and He shall have on His vesture, and on His thigh a name written King of kings, and Lord of lords.
V. He shall appear and not lie; though He tarry, wait for Him, because He will surely come.
R. And ten thousand of His saints with Him; and He shall have on His vesture, and on His thigh a name written King of kings, and Lord of lords.

Reading 2: You have hoped in the Lord for evermore, in the Lord God mighty for ever.  For he shall bring down them that dwell on high, the high city he shall lay low. He shall bring it down even to the ground, he shall pull it down even to the dust. The foot shall tread it down, the feet of the poor, the steps of the needy.

R. Thou, Bethlehem, art the city of the Most High God, out of thee shall He come forth That is to be Ruler in Israel; Whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting, and now shall He be great unto the ends of the earth.* And this Man shall be the peace in our land, when He shall come.
V. He shall speak peace unto the Gentiles, and shall have dominion from sea to sea.
R. And this Man shall be the peace in our land, when He shall come.

Reading 3: The way of the just is right, the path of the just is right to walk in. And in the way of thy judgments, O Lord, we have patiently waited for thee: thy name, and thy remembrance are the desire of the soul. My soul hath desired thee in the night: yea, and with my spirit within me in the morning early I will watch to thee. When thou shalt do thy judgments on the earth, the inhabitants of the world shall learn justice. Let us have pity on the wicked, but he will not learn justice: in the land of the saints he hath done wicked things, and he shall not see the glory of the Lord.

R. He That shall come, will come, and will not tarry; and there shall no more be fear in our borders.* For He is our Saviour.
V. He shall tread down all our iniquities, and cast all our sins into the depths of the sea.
R. For He is our Saviour.

Reading 4:  Lord, let thy hand be exalted, and let them not see: let the envious people see, and be confounded: and let fire devour thy enemies. Lord, thou wilt give us peace: for thou hast wrought all our works for us. O Lord our God, other lords besides thee have had dominion over us, only in thee let us remember thy name. Let not the dead live, let not the giants rise again: therefore hast thou visited and destroyed them, and best destroyed all their memory.

R: Behold the Lord, the Prince of the kings of the earth, shall come. * Blessed are they who are ready to meet him, they shall have their portion in the city of Jerusalem.
V The Lord cometh quickly and will not tarry.
R Blessed are they who are ready to meet him, they shall have their portion in the city of Jerusalem.
V. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son,  and to the Holy Ghost.
R Blessed are they who are ready to meet him, they shall have their portion in the city of Jerusalem.

Nocturn II: Sermon 13 of St Leo the Great

Reading 5: Dearly beloved brethren, with the care which becometh us as the shepherd of your souls, we urge upon you the rigid observance of this December Fast. The month of December hath come round again, and with it this devout custom of the Church. The fruits of the year, which is drawing to a close, are now all gathered in, and we most meetly offer our abstinence to God as a sacrifice of thanksgiving.

R. Weep not, O Egypt, for the Ruler cometh unto thee, and the depths shall be moved at His presence.
* To deliver His people out of the hand of the mighty.
V. Behold, the Lord of hosts, thy God, cometh with great power.
R. To deliver His people out of the hand of the mighty.

Reading 6: And what can be more useful than fasting, that exercise by which we draw nigh to God, make a stand against the devil, and overcome the softer enticements of sin? Fasting hath ever been the bread of strength. From abstinence proceed pure thoughts, reasonable desires, and healthy counsels. By voluntary mortifications the flesh dieth to lust, and the soul is renewed in might.

R. Her time is near to come, and her days shall not be prolonged. For the they not see but they shall see, with confusion,* Lord shall have mercy on Jacob, and Israel shall be saved.
V. Turn again, O Virgin of Israel, turn again to thy cities.
R. For the Lord shall have mercy on Judah, and Israel shall be saved.

Reading 7: But since fasting is not the only mean whereby we get health for our souls, let us add to our fasting works of mercy. Let us spend in good deeds what we take from indulgence. Let our fast become the banquet of the poor. Let us defend the widow and serve the orphan; let us comfort the afflicted and reconcile the estranged; let us take in the wanderer and succour the oppressed; let us clothe the naked and cherish the sick. And may every one of us that shall offer to the God of all goodness this Advent sacrifice of fasting and alms be by Him fitted to receive an eternal reward in His heavenly kingdom!

R. The Lord shall come down like rain upon a fleece.
* In His days shall righteousness flourish, and abundance of peace.
V. All the kings of the earth shall fall down before Him, all nations shall serve Him.
R. In His days shall righteousness flourish, and abundance of peace.

Reading 8: We fast on Wednesday and Friday; and there is likewise a Vigil on Saturday at the Church of St Peter, that by his good prayers we may the more effectually obtain what we ask for, through our Lord Jesus Christ, Who with the Father and the Holy Ghost, liveth and reigneth, one God, world without end. Amen.

R There shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse and a branch shall grow out of his roots.  *And righteousness shall be the girdle of his loins and faithfulness the girdle of his reins.
V: And the spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding
R And righteousness shall be the girdle of his loins and faithfulness the girdle of his reins.
V. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost.
R And righteousness shall be the girdle of his loins and faithfulness the girdle of his reins.

Nocturn III:  Homily 7 of St Gregory the Great

Reading 9: From the holy Gospel according to John - In that time sent from Jerusalem priests and Levites to John, to ask him: Who art thou? And so on.

Dearly beloved brethren, the first thing which striketh us in to - day's Gospel is the lowly - mindedness of John. He was so great that it was thought he might be the Christ; yet he soberly chose rather to seem only what he really was, than to let the belief of men invest him with a dignity which did not belong to him; for he confessed, and denied not, but confessed, I am not the Christ, at the same time he would not deny what he was in reality; and thus his very truth - speaking made him a member of Him Whose title he would not by falsehood take.

R. O Lord, come and make no tarrying; loosen the bonds of thy people.
* And gather again into their own land them that are scattered abroad.
V. O Lord, stir up thy strength, and come and save us.
R. And gather again into their own land them that are scattered abroad.

Reading 10: In that he arrogated not to himself the name of Christ, he became a member of Christ. While he humbly strove to confess his own weakness, he earned by his simplicity a part in the grandeur of his Master. In considering this subject we find an apparent contradiction between one of John's statements, and the saying of our Redeemer recorded in another part of the Gospel.  When His disciples asked our Lord regarding the coming of Elias, He answered Elias is come already, and they knew him not, but have done unto him whatsoever they listed. And if ye will receive it, this that is, John is Elias.

R. Behold, there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall come for salvation unto the people, to it shall the Gentiles seek * And His name shall be glorious.
V. The Lord God shall give unto Him the throne of His father David, and He shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever.
R. And His name shall be glorious.

Reading 11: But when John was asked if he was Elias, he answered, I am not. How comes it then, dearly beloved brethren, that we find the Truth Itself asserting what the prophet of the Truth denied? It must evidently be that our Lord meant one thing and John another, when the Lord said, This is, and John, I am not. For how can he be the prophet of truth, if he speak not according to the word of Him Who is the Eternal Truth? Let us then more minutely examine these words, and we shall find that there is no real contradiction.

R. The Lord will teach us of His ways, and we will walk in His paths. * For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.
V. Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, and to the house of the God of Jacob.
R. For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.

Reading 12: When the Angel announced to Zacharias the coming birth of John he said He shall go before Him in the spirit and power of Elias,  As the old Elias will come again before the Second Advent of the Lord, so did John, as the new Elias, go before the First Advent, in the spirit and power of Elias. As the old Elias will be the Fore-runner of the Judge, so the new Elias was the Fore-runner of the Saviour. John then was Elias in spirit, but not in person; and our Lord asserteth of the spirit what John denieth of the person.

R: Receive the Word, O Virgin Mary, which is brought thee from the Lord by his angel: conceive and bear him who is both God and man * That though mayest be called blessed among all women.
V: For thou shalt bear a Son, yet shalt thou remain unspotted in thy virginity, thou shalt bring to pass great things, and thou shalt be a Mother-ever-Virgin
R That though mayest be called blessed among all women.
V. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost.
R That though mayest be called blessed among all women.

Gospel: John 1:19-28

And this is the testimony of John, when the Jews sent from Jerusalem priests and Levites to him, to ask him: Who art thou? And he confessed, and did not deny: and he confessed: I am not the Christ.  And they asked him: What then? Art thou Elias? And he said: I am not. Art thou the prophet? And he answered: No.  They said therefore unto him: Who art thou, that we may give an answer to them that sent us? What sayest thou of thyself?  He said: I am the voice of one crying out in the wilderness, make straight the way of the Lord, as said the prophet Isaias. And they that were sent, were of the Pharisees. And they asked him, and said to him: Why then dost thou baptize, if thou be not Christ, nor Elias, nor the prophet?  John answered them, saying: I baptize with water; but there hath stood one in the midst of you, whom you know not.  The same is he that shall come after me, who is preferred before me: the latchet of whose shoe I am not worthy to loose. These things were done in Bethania, beyond the Jordan, where John was baptizing.

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