Saturday, 24 December 2016

Readings for Matins of Christmas






from the Hortus Deliciarum of Herrad of Landsberg, c12th
Merry Christmas!

The Matins readings and responsories  for Christmas the Benedictine Office are as follows:

 Nocturn I (Isaiah 9:1-6; 40: 1-3, 4-8; 52: 1-6)

[Psalms: 2, 18, 23, 44, 47, 71]

Reading 1: At the first time the land of Zabulon, and the land of Nephtali was lightly touched: and at the last the way of the sea beyond the Jordan of the Galilee of the Gentiles was heavily loaded.  The people that walked in darkness, have seen a great light: to them that dwelt in the region of the shadow of death, light is risen.  Thou hast multiplied the nation, and hast not increased the joy. They shall rejoice before thee, as they that rejoice in the harvest, as conquerors rejoice after taking a prey, when they divide the spoils.  For the yoke of their burden, and the rod of their shoulder, and the sceptre of their oppressor thou hast overcome, as in the day of Median. For every violent taking of spoils, with tumult, and garment mingled with blood, shall be burnt, and be fuel for the fire.  For a CHILD IS BORN to us, and a son is given to us, and the government is upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called, Wonderful, Counsellor, God the Mighty, the Father of the world to come, the Prince of Peace.

R. This is the day whereon the King of heaven was pleased to be born of a Virgin, that He might bring back to heaven man who was lost. * There is joy among the hosts of Angels, because eternal salvation hath appeared unto men.
V. Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, to men of goodwill.
R. There is joy among the hosts of Angels, because eternal salvation hath appeared unto men.

Reading 2: Be comforted, be comforted, my people, saith your God. Speak ye to the heart of Jerusalem, and call to her: for her evil is come to an end, her iniquity is forgiven: she hath received of the hand of the Lord double for all her sins.  The voice of one crying in the desert: Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the wilderness the paths of our God.

R. This day is the true peace come down unto us from heaven.* This day throughout the whole world the skies drop down sweetness.
V. This day is the daybreak of our new redemption, of the restoring of the old, of everlasting joy.
R. This day throughout the whole world the skies drop down sweetness.

Reading 3: Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low, and the crooked shall become straight, and the rough ways plain.  And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh together shall see, that the mouth of the Lord hath spoken. The voice of one, saying: Cry. And I said: What shall I cry? All flesh is grass, and all the glory thereof as the flower of the held. The grass is withered, and the dower is fallen, because the spirit of the Lord hath blown upon it. Indeed the people is grass: The grass is withered, and the flower is fallen: but the word of our Lord endureth for ever.

R. O ye shepherds, speak, and tell us what ye have seen; who is appeared in the earth? * We saw the new-born Child, and Angels singing praise to the Lord.
V. Speak; what have ye seen? And tell us of the Birth of Christ.
R. We saw the new-born Child, and Angels singing praise to the Lord.

Reading 4:  Arise, arise, put on thy strength, O Sion, put on the garments of thy glory, O Jerusalem, the city of the Holy One: for henceforth the uncircumcised, and unclean shall no more pass through thee. Shake thyself from the dust, arise, sit up, O Jerusalem: loose the bonds from off thy neck, O captive daughter of Sion.  For thus saith the Lord: You were sold gratis, and you shall be redeemed without money.  For thus saith the Lord God: My people went down into Egypt at the beginning to sojourn there: and the Assyrian hath oppressed them without any cause at all.  And now what have I here, saith the Lord: for my people is taken away gratis. They that rule over them treat them unjustly, saith the Lord, and my name is continually blasphemed all the day long. Therefore my people shall know my name in that day: for I myself that spoke, behold I am here.

R. How great is this mystery, how wonderful is the teaching of the faith! The beasts saw the new-born Lord lying in a manger. * Blessed is that Virgin whose womb was made meet to bear our Lord Christ.
V. Hail, Mary, full of grace the Lord is with thee.
R. Blessed is that Virgin whose womb was made meet to bear our Lord Christ.
V. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, * and to the Holy Ghost.
R. Blessed is that Virgin whose womb was made meet to bear our Lord Christ.

Nocturn II - Sermon of St Leo

Reading 5 - Dearly beloved brethren, Unto us is born this day a Saviour, Let us rejoice. It would be unlawful to be sad to-day, for to - day is Life's Birthday the Birthday of that Life, Which, for us dying creatures, taketh away the sting of death, and bringeth the bright promise of the eternal gladness hereafter. It would be unlawful for any man to refuse to partake in our rejoicing. All men have an equal share in the great cause of our joy, for, since our Lord, Who is the destroyer of sin and of death, findeth that all are bound under the condemnation, He is come to make all free.

R. How great is this mystery, how wonderful is the teaching of the faith! The beasts saw the new-born Lord lying in a manger.* Blessed is that Virgin whose womb was made meet to bear our Lord Christ.
V. Hail, Mary, full of grace the Lord is with thee.
R. Blessed is that Virgin whose womb was made meet to bear our Lord Christ.

Reading 6 - Rejoice, O thou that art holy, thou drawest nearer to thy crown! Rejoice, O thou that art sinful, thy Saviour offereth thee pardon! Rejoice also, O thou Gentile, God calleth thee to life! For the Son of God, when the fulness of the time was come, which had been fixed by the unsearchable counsel of God, took upon Him the nature of man, that He might reconcile that nature to Him Who made it, and so the devil, the inventor of death, is met and beaten in that very flesh which hath been the field of his victory.

R. Blessed is God's holy Mother, Mary, maiden undefiled.* This day hath she brought forth the Saviour of the world.
V. Blessed is she that believed; for there is a performance of all those things which were told her from the Lord.
R. This day hath she brought forth the Saviour of the world.

Reading 7 - When our Lord entered the field of battle against the devil, He did so with a great and wonderful fairness. Being Himself the Almighty, He laid aside His uncreated Majesty to fight with our cruel enemy in our weak flesh. He brought against him the very shape, the very nature of our mortality, yet without sin. His birth however was not a birth like other births for no other is born pure, nay, not the little child whose life endureth but a day on the earth. To His birth alone the throes of human passion had not contributed, in His alone no consequence of sin had had -part. For His Mother was chosen a Virgin of the kingly lineage of David, and when she was to grow heavy with the sacred Child, her soul had already conceived Him before her body. She knew the counsel of God announced to her by the Angel, lest the unwonted events should alarm her. The future Mother of God knew what was to be wrought in her by the Holy Ghost, and that her modesty was absolutely safe.

R. O Mary, how holy and how spotless is thy virginity I am too dull to praise thee!* For thou hast borne in thy breast Him Whom the heavens cannot contain.
V. Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb.
R. For thou hast borne in thy breast Him Whom the heavens cannot contain.

Reading 8 - Therefore, dearly beloved brethren, let us give thanks to God the Father, through His Son, in the Holy Ghost: Who, for His great love wherewith He loved us, hath had mercy on us and, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, that in Him we might be a new creature, and a new workmanship. Let us then put off the old man with his deeds and, having obtained a share in the Sonship of Christ, let us renounce the deeds of the flesh. Learn, O Christian, how great thou art, who hast been made partaker of the Divine nature, and fall not again by corrupt conversation into the beggarly elements above which thou art lifted. Remember Whose Body it is Whereof thou art made a member, and Who is its Head. Remember that it is He That hath delivered thee from the power of darkness hath translated thee into God's light, and God's kingdom.

Nocturn III

Reading 9 - (Mt 1: 1-16; Homily of St Jerome on Matthew 1, 1)

[not available online]

Reading 10 - Luke 2:1-14:

In that time Jesus said to his disciples: And it came to pass, that in those days there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that the whole world should be enrolled. This enrolling was first made by Cyrinus, the governor of Syria. And so on.

Homily by Pope St Gregory the Great: By God's mercy we are to say three Masses to-day, so that there is not much time left for preaching; but at the same time the occasion of the Lord's Birth-day itself obliges me to speak a few words. I will first ask why, when the Lord was to be born, the world was enrolled? Was it not to herald the appearing of Him by Whom the elect are enrolled in the book of life? Whereas the Prophet saith of the reprobate Let them be blotted out of the book of the living, and not be written with the righteous. Ps. lxviii. 29. Then, the Lord is born in Bethlehem. Now the name Bethlehem signifieth the House of Bread, and thus it is the birth-place of Him Who hath said, I am the Living Bread, Which came down from heaven. John vi. 51. We see then that this name of Bethlehem was prophetically given to the place where Christ was born,.because it was there that He was to appear in the flesh by Whom the souls of the faithful are fed unto life eternal. He was born, not in His Mother's house, but away from home. And this is a mystery, showing that this our mortality into which He was born was not the home of Him Who is begotten of the Father before the worlds.

R. Blessed be the womb of the Virgin Mary, which bore the Son of the Eternal Father, and blessed be the paps which give suck to Christ our Lord.* This day hath He been pleased for the salvation of the world to be born of a Virgin.
V. This day which is breaking is holy O come, ye Gentiles, and worship the Lord.
R. This day hath He been pleased for the salvation of the world to be born of a Virgin.

Reading 11 - Luke 2:15-20: In that time the shepherds said one to another: Let us go over to Bethlehem, and let us see this word that is come to pass, which the Lord hath showed to us. And so on

Behold the beginning of the Church. Christ is born, and the shepherds watch; shepherds, to gather together the scattered sheep of the Gentiles, and to lead them into the fold of Christ, that they might no longer be a prey to the ravages of spiritual wolves in the night of this world's darkness. And that shepherd is wide awake, whom the Good Shepherd stirreth up. The flock then is the people, the night is the world, and the shepherds are the Priests. And perhaps he is a shepherd to whom it is said, Be watchful and strengthen, for God hath ordained as the shepherds of His flock not Bishops only, but also Angels.

R. In principio erat Verbum, et Verbum erat apud Deum, et Deus erat Verbum.* Hoc erat in principio apud Deum
V. Omnia per ipsum facta sunt, et sine ipso factum est nihil
R. Hoc erat in principio apud Deum

Reading 12 -  In that time Jesus said to his disciples: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. And so on.

Homily by St Augustine: Lest thou shouldest think all things mean, as thou art accustomed to think of things human, hear and digest this The Word was God. Now perhaps there will come forward some Arian unbeliever, and say that the Word of God was a creature. How can the Word of God be a creature, when it was by the Word that all creatures were made? If He be a creature, then there must have been some other Word, not a creature, by which He was made. And what Word is that? If thou sayest that it was by the word of the Word Himself that He was made, I tell thee that God had no other, but One Only begotten Son. But if thou say not that it was by the word of the Word Himself that He was made, thou art forced to confess that. He by Whom all things were made was not Himself made at all. Believe the Gospel.

R. The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us.* And we beheld His glory, the glory as of the Only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.
V. All things were made by Him, and without Him was not anything made.
R. And we beheld His glory, the glory as of the Only -begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.
V. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, * and to the Holy Ghost.
R. And we beheld His glory, the glory as of the Only -begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.

Gospel: St Matthew 1:1-6

The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham:  Abraham begot Isaac. And Isaac begot Jacob. And Jacob begot Judas and his brethren.  And Judas begot Phares and Zara of Thamar. And Phares begot Esron. And Esron begot Aram.  And Aram begot Aminadab. And Aminadab begot Naasson. And Naasson begot Salmon.  And Salmon begot Booz of Rahab. And Booz begot Obed of Ruth. And Obed begot Jesse. And Jesse begot David the king. And David the king begot Solomon, of her that had been the wife of Urias. And Solomon begot Roboam. And Roboam begot Abia. And Abia begot Asa.  And Asa begot Josaphat. And Josaphat begot Joram. And Joram begot Ozias.  And Ozias begot Joatham. And Joatham begot Achaz. And Achaz begot Ezechias.  And Ezechias begot Manasses. And Manasses begot Amon. And Amon begot Josias. And Josias begot Jechonias and his brethren in the transmigration of Babylon.  And after the transmigration of Babylon, Jechonias begot Salathiel. And Salathiel begot Zorobabel.  And Zorobabel begot Abiud. And Abiud begot Eliacim. And Eliacim begot Azor.  And Azor begot Sadoc. And Sadoc begot Achim. And Achim begot Eliud.  And Eliud begot Eleazar. And Eleazar begot Mathan. And Mathan begot Jacob. And Jacob begot Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ.

2 comments:

  1. Thank you very much for this blog: it's really useful and well done!
    It would be great if you added also the latin version of "responsoria".
    Thank you again!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Gabriele - You can generally find the Latin over at Divinum Officium...

    ReplyDelete