Saturday, 24 December 2016

Vigil of the Nativity

From St Jerome.

Reading 1: Continuation of the Holy Gospel according to Matthew - When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child, of the Holy Ghost. And so on.

Why was the Lord conceived of an espoused virgin rather than of a free? First, for the sake of the genealogy of Mary, which we have obtained by that of Joseph. Secondly, because she was thus saved from being stoned by the Jews as an adulteress. Thirdly, that Himself and His mother might have a guardian on their journey into Egypt. To these, Ignatius, the martyr of Antioch, has added a fourth reason namely, that the birth might take place unknown to the devil, who would naturally suppose that Mary had conceived by Joseph.

R. Sanctify yourselves today, and be ready for on the morrow ye shall see * The majesty of God upon you.
V. This day ye shall know that the Lord cometh, and in the morning, then ye shall see
R. The majesty of God upon you.

Reading 2: Before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost. She was found, that is, by Joseph, but by no one else. He had already almost an husband's privilege to know all that concerned her. Before they came together. This doth not imply that they ever did come together the Scripture merely showeth the absolute fact that up to this time they had not done so.

R. Stand still, and ye shall see the help of the Lord with you O Judah and Jerusalem, fear not.
* Tomorrow ye shall go out, and the Lord will be with you.
V. Sanctify yourselves, O ye children of Israel, and be ready.
R. Tomorrow ye shall go out, and the Lord will be with you.

Reading 3: Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away privily. If any man be joined to a fornicatress they become one body; and according to the law they that are privy to a crime are thereby guilty. How then can it be that Joseph is described as a just man, at the very time he was compounding the criminality of his espoused? It must have been that he knew her to be pure, and yet understood not the mystery of her pregnancy, but, while he wondered at that which had happened, was willing to hold his peace.

R. Sanctify yourselves, O ye children of Israel, saith the Lord, for on the morrow the Lord will come down. * And will take away from you all sickness.
V. On the morrow the sins of the earth shall be washed away, and the Saviour of the world will be our King.
R. And will take away from you all sickness.
V. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, * and to the Holy Ghost.
R. And will take away from you all sickness.

Nocturn II

Chapter verse: Who was predestinated the Son of God in power, according to the spirit of sanctification, by the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ from the dead.

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