Saturday, 20 February 2016

Matins readings for the Second Sunday of Lent

The Matins readings in the Benedictine Office for the Second Sunday of Lent are set out below.

Nocturn I: Genesis 27

Reading 1: And now Isaac was old, and his eyes had grown so dim that he saw nothing. One day he called to his elder son Esau, My son! and when he answered, I am here, at thy command, 2 See, his father said, how old a man I have grown; there is no telling how soon I may be overtaken by death. 3 Come, fetch that armoury of thine, thy quiver and thy bow, and go out hunting; when thou hast slain thy quarry, 4 make me a roast dish, such as I love well, and bring it me to eat. And so thou shalt have my blessing, against the time of my death.

R. Take thy weapons, thy quiver and thy bow, and bring me some of thy venison, that I may eat,
* and my soul may bless thee.
V. And when thou hast taken somewhat, make me thereof savoury meat, that I may eat.
R. And my soul may bless thee.

Reading 2: To all this, Rebecca listened; and when Esau had gone out hunting, to do as his father had bidden him, 6 she said to her son Jacob, I heard thy father talking to thy brother Esau, and thus he spoke to him; 7 Bring my venison from the chase, and make me a dish of meat; so thou shalt have my blessing, with the Lord to witness it, against the time of my death. 8 Nothing remains for thee, my son, but to fall in with this plan of mine. 9 Make thy way to the herd, and bring me two choice kids; of these I will make such a dish as thy father loves to eat, 10 and thou shalt take it in to him; so, when he has eaten it, his dying benediction shall be thine instead. 11 Bethink thee, answered Jacob, how hairy my brother Esau’s skin is, and mine how smooth! 12 What if my father should feel it? He will think that I have been trying to make game of him, and it is a curse, not a blessing, I shall win. 

R. See the smell of my son is as the smell of a field which the Lord hath blessed may my God multiply thee as the sand of the sea
* and give thee a blessing of the dew of heaven
V. And God Almighty bless thee, and multiply thee
R. And give thee a blessing of the dew of heaven.

Reading 3: A curse, my son? said his mother. Let it fall on me; do but attend to my bidding, and fetch me what I ask for. 14 So he went and brought them to his mother, and she made a dish of meat, such as she knew his father loved. 15 She had fine clothes of Esau’s by her in the house, and she dressed Jacob in these; 16 enclosed his hands, too in skin he had taken from the kids, and covered his bare neck with it; 17 then she gave him the dish, and some loaves which she had cooked, to carry with him.18 So he brought them in, and said, Father. Yes, my son, he said; who is it? 19 I am Esau, said Jacob, Esau, thy first-born; I have done thy bidding. Rise up, I pray thee, sit at table, and eat this venison of mine, and give me a father’s blessing. 20 Why, answered Isaac, how didst thou come to find thy quarry in so short a time, my son? It was God’s pleasure, said he, to send it in my way.

R. God give thee of the dew of heaven and the fatness of the earth. Let people and nations serve thee.
* Be lord over thy brethren.
V. And let thy mother's sons bow down to thee.
R. Be lord over thy brethren.

Reading 4:Then Isaac said, Come near, and let me feel thee, to make sure whether thou art my son Esau or not. 22 So he went close to his father; and he, upon feeling the touch of him, said, The voice is Jacob’s voice, but the hands are the hands of Esau. 23 There was no recognizing Jacob, since his hands were hairy like Esau’s hands, and he must needs give his blessing. 24 Thou art my son, he said, my son Esau? Yes, he answered, I am. 25 Why then, said he, bring it here; let me eat my son’s venison, and give him a father’s blessing. So he ate what was brought him, and Jacob offered him wine too, and he drank.26 Then he said to Jacob, Come here, my son, and kiss me. 27 And when he came near, and kissed him, all at once Isaac caught the smell of his garments, and this was the blessing he gave him: How it breathes about this son of mine, the fragrance of earth when the Lord’s blessing is on it! 28 God give thee dew from heaven and fruitful soil, corn and wine in plenty. 29 Let nations serve thee, and peoples bow before thee; mayst thou be lord over thy brethren, receive obeisance from thy own mother’s sons; a curse on those who curse, a blessing on those who bless thee! 

Nocturn II: St Augustine, Against Liars

Reading 5: If we consider faithfully and carefully what it was that Jacob did by the advice of his mother, and wherein he seemeth to have deceived his father, it will appear that (it hath an aspect in which) it is not a lie, but an allegory. If we denounce this (its mystic sense) as a lie, then must we also give the name of lies to even all parable, and to every figure devised to set forth the nature of anything, which is not to be taken in its literal sense, but in which one thing is to be understood under the name of another. And this be far from us. 

R. As Jacob went out from his own land, he saw the glory of God, and said How dreadful is this place
* This is none other but the house of God and this is the gate of heaven.
V. Surely God is in this place, and I knew it not.
R. This is none other but the house of God and this is the gate of heaven.

Reading 6: Whoso should do this, would bring the charge of falsehood against very many figures of speech, including that one called metaphor (in which a word is transferred from that meaning which belongeth to it, to some other) to which would, by such reasoning, be given the name of a lie. The deep meaning is given; but what is considered is the lie because men do not understand the way in which that signification, which is a truth, is set forth but the falsehood is plainly expressed, and believed.

R. If the Lord my God will be with me, in this way that I go, and will keep me, and will give me bread to eat, and raiment to put on, and will bring me again safely
* The Lord shall be my refuge, and this stone shall be a sign.
V. So Jacob rose up early in the morning, and took the stone that he had put for his pillow, and set it up for a pillar, and poured oil upon the top of it, and said
R. The Lord shall be my refuge, and this shall be a sign.

Reading 7: That we may understand this more plainly by taking some points in illustration, consider with me what Jacob did. It is certain that he covered his limbs with the skins of goats. If we consider his object in point of fact, we shall find that it was to lie, because he did this that he might be thought to be he who he was not. But if we consider this his deed in that deep typical sense which it undoubtedly possesseth, we find that by the goat-skins are represented sins, and by him who covered himself therewith Him Who bore not His own sins, but the sins of others.

R. The Lord shall be my God, and this stone, which I have set for a pillar, shall be called God's house, and of all that Thou shalt give me
* I will offer tithes and peace-offerings to thee.
V. If I come again to my father's house in peace.
R. I will offer tithes and peace-offerings unto thee.

Reading 8: It is impossible to apply the term a " lie " to that mystic aspect of this transaction in which it was true and such an aspect there is, not only in the acts, but in the words. When Isaac said to Jacob: "Who art thou, my son " and Jacob answered " I am Esau, thy first-born, if we take this in its sense relative to the two brothers, it will be apparent that it was a lie. If, however, we look at it relatively to that for the sake of which these words and deeds were written down, we shall see that Christ is here signified in His mystic body, the Church. Concerning her, (the younger covenant,) He saith (to them of the older covenant) " Ye shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the Prophets in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrust out. And they shall come from the east, and from the west, and from the north, and from the south, and shall sit down in the kingdom of God. And, behold, there are last which shall be first, and there are first which shall be last." Thus did the younger take away the title and inheritance from the elder, and acquire it to himself.

R. As Jacob went out from his own land, he saw the glory of God, and said How dreadful is this place
* This is none other but the house of God and this is the gate of heaven.
V. Surely God is in this place, and I knew it not.
R. This is none other but the house of God and this is the gate of heaven.

Nocturn III: Homily 51 by St Leo the Great 

Reading 9: Jesus took Peter, and James, and John his brother, and brought them up into an exceeding high mountain apart, and manifested forth the brightness of His glory. Hitherto, though they understood that there was in Him the Majesty of God, they knew not the power of that Body which veiled the Godhead. And therefore He had individually and markedly promised to some of the disciples that had stood by Him that they should "not taste of death till they had seen the Son of Man coming in His kingdom, that is, in the kingly splendour, which is the right of the Manhood taken into God, and which He willed to make visible to those three men.

R. The Angel said unto Jacob* Let me go, for the day breaketh. And he said I will not let thee go, except thou bless me. And he blessed him there.
V. And when Jacob arose, behold there wrestled a man with him, until the breaking of the day and, when he saw that he prevailed not, he said unto him

R. Let me go, for the day breaketh. And he said I will not let thee go, except thou bless me. And he blessed him there.

Reading 10: This it was that they saw, for the unspeakable and unapproachable vision of the Godhead Himself which will be the everlasting life of the pure in heart, can no man, who is still burdened with a dying body, see and live. When the Father saith "This is My beloved Son, in Whom I am well pleased hear ye Him did they not plainly hear Him say This is My Son, Whose it is to be of Me and with Me without all time " For neither is He That begetteth, before Him That is begotten, neither He That is begotten, after Him That begetteth Him. " This is My Son between Whom and Me, to be God is not a point of difference to be Almighty, a point of separation nor to be Eternal, a point of distinction. "

R. I have seen God face to face
* And my life is preserved.
V. And he said unto me thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel shall be thy name.

R. And my life is preserved.

Reading 11: This is My Son not by adoption, but My very Own not created from, or of another substance, or out of nothing, but begotten of Me not of another nature, and made like unto Me, but of Mine own Being, born of Me, equal unto Me.This is My Son by Whom all things were made, and without Whom was not anything made that was made, Who maketh likewise all things whatsoever I make and what things soever I do He doeth likewise, inseparably and indifferently."

R. When Jacob heard that Esau came to meet him, he divided his sons and his wives, saying If Esau smite the one company, then the other shall escape.
* Deliver me, O Lord, Which saidst unto me I will multiply thy seed as the stars of heaven, and as the sand of the sea, which cannot be numbered for multitude.
V. O Lord, Which saidst unto me Return unto thy country O Lord, Which feedest me still from my youth up
R. Deliver me, O Lord.

Reading 12: This is My Son Who thought it not robbery, nor hath taken it by violence, to be equal with Me, but, abiding still in the form of My glory, that He may fulfil Our common decree for the restoration of mankind, hath bowed the unchangeable Godhead even to the form of a servant. Him therefore in Whom I am in all things well pleased, by Whose preaching I am manifested, and by Whose lowliness I am glorified, Him instantly hear ye. For He is the Truth and the Life My Power, and My Wisdom.

Gospel:  St Matthew 17:1-9

1 Et post dies sex assumit Jesus Petrum, et Jacobum, et Joannem fratrem ejus, et ducit illos in montem excelsum seorsum: 2 et transfiguratus est ante eos. Et resplenduit facies ejus sicut sol: vestimenta autem ejus facta sunt alba sicut nix. 3 Et ecce apparuerunt illis Moyses et Elias cum eo loquentes. 4 Respondens autem Petrus, dixit ad Jesum: Domine, bonum est nos hic esse: si vis, faciamus tria tabernacula, tibi unum, Moysi unum, et Eliæ unum. 5 Adhuc eo loquente, ecce nubes lucida obumbravit eos. Et ecce vox de nube, dicens: Hic est Filius meus dilectus, in quo mihi bene complacui: ipsum audite. 6 Et audientes discipuli ceciderunt in faciem suam, et timuerunt valde. 7 Et accessit Jesus, et tetigit eos: dixitque eis: Surgite, et nolite timere. 8 Levantes autem oculos suos, neminem viderunt, nisi solum Jesum.9 Et descendentibus illis de monte, præcepit eis Jesus, dicens: Nemini dixeritis visionem, donec Filius hominis a mortuis resurgat.

(Douay-Rheims):

1] And after six days Jesus taketh unto him Peter and James, and John his brother, and bringeth them up into a high mountain apart: [2] And he was transfigured before them. And his face did shine as the sun: and his garments became white as snow. [3] And behold there appeared to them Moses and Elias talking with him. [4] And Peter answering, said to Jesus: Lord, it is good for us to be here: if thou wilt, let us make here three tabernacles, one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias. [5] And as he was yet speaking, behold a bright cloud overshadowed them. And lo, a voice out of the cloud, saying: This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased: hear ye him. [6] And the disciples hearing, fell upon their face, and were very much afraid. [7] And Jesus came and touched them: and said to them, Arise, and fear not. [8] And they lifting up their eyes saw no one but only Jesus. [9] And as they came down from the mountain, Jesus charged them, saying: Tell the vision to no man, till the Son of man be risen from the dead. 

Friday, 19 February 2016

Ember Saturday in the first week of Lent

Today's Gospel is St Matthew 17:1-9, on the Transfiguration:

1 Et post dies sex assumit Jesus Petrum, et Jacobum, et Joannem fratrem ejus, et ducit illos in montem excelsum seorsum: 2 et transfiguratus est ante eos. Et resplenduit facies ejus sicut sol: vestimenta autem ejus facta sunt alba sicut nix. 3 Et ecce apparuerunt illis Moyses et Elias cum eo loquentes. 4 Respondens autem Petrus, dixit ad Jesum: Domine, bonum est nos hic esse: si vis, faciamus tria tabernacula, tibi unum, Moysi unum, et Eliæ unum. 5 Adhuc eo loquente, ecce nubes lucida obumbravit eos. Et ecce vox de nube, dicens: Hic est Filius meus dilectus, in quo mihi bene complacui: ipsum audite. 6 Et audientes discipuli ceciderunt in faciem suam, et timuerunt valde. 7 Et accessit Jesus, et tetigit eos: dixitque eis: Surgite, et nolite timere. 8 Levantes autem oculos suos, neminem viderunt, nisi solum Jesum.9 Et descendentibus illis de monte, præcepit eis Jesus, dicens: Nemini dixeritis visionem, donec Filius hominis a mortuis resurgat.

 And after six days Jesus taketh unto him Peter and James, and John his brother, and bringeth them up into a high mountain apart: [2] And he was transfigured before them. And his face did shine as the sun: and his garments became white as snow. [3] And behold there appeared to them Moses and Elias talking with him. [4] And Peter answering, said to Jesus: Lord, it is good for us to be here: if thou wilt, let us make here three tabernacles, one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias. [5] And as he was yet speaking, behold a bright cloud overshadowed them. And lo, a voice out of the cloud, saying: This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased: hear ye him.[6] And the disciples hearing, fell upon their face, and were very much afraid. [7] And Jesus came and touched them: and said to them, Arise, and fear not. [8] And they lifting up their eyes saw no one but only Jesus. [9] And as they came down from the mountain, Jesus charged them, saying: Tell the vision to no man, till the Son of man be risen from the dead.

Matins readings (from Divinum Officium):

Reading 1 (Homily by Pope St Leo the Great): Dearly beloved brethren, the Lesson from the Holy Gospel which, entering in by our bodily ears, hath knocked at the door of our inner mind, calleth us to understand a great mystery. This, by the grace of God, we shall the more readily do, if we return to consider what hath been told us just before. The Saviour of mankind, even Jesus Christ, laying the foundations of that faith whereby the ungodly are called to righteousness and the dead to life, instilled into the minds of His disciples, both by the voice of His teaching and the wonder of His works, that they should believe Him, the one Christ, to be both the Only-begotten Son of God and the Son of man. Had they believed Him one of these and not the other, it had availed them nothing to salvation; and the danger was equally great, of holding the Lord Jesus Christ to be God without the Manhood, or Man only without the Godhead, since we are constrained to acknowledge that He is perfect God and perfect Man, and that as there is in the Godhead perfect Manhood, so there is in the Manhood perfect Godhead.

R.br. Rend your hearts and not your garments, and turn unto the Lord your God;
* For He is gracious and merciful.
V. Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts, and let him return' unto the Lord, and He will have mercy upon him.

R. For He is gracious and merciful.

Reading 2: To strengthen, therefore, the saving knowledge of this faith, the Lord had asked His disciples what, among the differing opinions of men, it was their own belief and judgment as to Who He was. Then did the Apostle Peter, by the revelation of That Father Who is above all, rising above fleshly things, yea, outstripping the thoughts of men, then did he fix the eyes of his mind upon the Son of the living God, and confess the glory of the Godhead, for he looked not on the substance of the flesh and blood only. And in all the exaltation of this faith so well did he please God, that he was gifted with that joyous blessing, the hallowed establishment of that impregnable rock, whereon the Church being founded, should prevail against the gates of hell and the laws of death; neither, when anything is to be bound or loosed, is any bound or loosed in heaven, otherwise than as the judgment of Peter hath bound or loosed it upon earth.

R.br. Deal thy bread to the hungry, and bring the poor and the wanderer to thine house.
* Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thy righteousness shall go before thee.
V. When thou seest the naked, cover him; and hide not thyself from thine own flesh.
R. Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thy righteousness shall go before thee.

Reading 3: But, dearly beloved brethren, it behoved that the height of this understanding, which the Lord praised, should rest upon a foundation, and that foundation, the mystery of the lower nature, lest the faith of the Apostle, carried away by the glorious acknowledgment of the Godhead in Christ, should deem it unworthy and unnatural for the impassible God to take into Himself the frailty of our nature; and should thus believe that in Christ the Manhood had been so glorified as to be no longer able to suffer pain, or be dissolved in death. And therefore it was that, when the Lord said how that He must go up unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests, and scribes, and be killed, and rise again the third day, and the blessed Peter, bright with heavenly illumination, and still glowing from the passionate acknowledgment of the Divine Sonship, by a natural, and, as seemed to him, a godly shrinking, could not bear the mention of mockery and insult and a cruel death, he was corrected by the merciful rebuke of Jesus, and moved rather to desire to be a partaker in the sufferings of his Master.

Thursday, 18 February 2016

Ember Friday in the first week of Lent

Today's Gospel is from St John 5:1-15:

1 Post hæc erat dies festus Judæorum, et ascendit Jesus Jerosolymam. 2 Est autem Jerosolymis probatica piscina, quæ cognominatur hebraice Bethsaida, quinque porticus habens. 3 In his jacebat multitudo magna languentium, cæcorum, claudorum, aridorum, exspectantium aquæ motum. 4 Angelus autem Domini descendebat secundum tempus in piscinam, et movebatur aqua. Et qui prior descendisset in piscinam post motionem aquæ, sanus fiebat a quacumque detinebatur infirmitate. 5 Erat autem quidam homo ibi triginta et octo annos habens in infirmitate sua. 6 Hunc autem cum vidisset Jesus jacentem, et cognovisset quia jam multum tempus haberet, dicit ei: Vis sanus fieri? 7 Respondit ei languidus: Domine, hominem non habeo, ut, cum turbata fuerit aqua, mittat me in piscinam: dum venio enim ego, alius ante me descendit. 8 Dicit ei Jesus: Surge, tolle grabatum tuum et ambula. 9 Et statim sanus factus est homo ille: et sustulit grabatum suum, et ambulabat. Erat autem sabbatum in die illo. 10 Dicebant ergo Judæi illi qui sanatus fuerat: Sabbatum est, non licet tibi tollere grabatum tuum. 11 Respondit eis: Qui me sanum fecit, ille mihi dixit: Tolle grabatum tuum et ambula. 12 Interrogaverunt ergo eum: Quis est ille homo qui dixit tibi: Tolle grabatum tuum et ambula? 13 Is autem qui sanus fuerat effectus, nesciebat quis esset. Jesus enim declinavit a turba constituta in loco. 14 Postea invenit eum Jesus in templo, et dixit illi: Ecce sanus factus es; jam noli peccare, ne deterius tibi aliquid contingat. 15 Abiit ille homo, et nuntiavit Judæis quia Jesus esset, qui fecit eum sanum.

In English:

After these things was a festival day of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. [2] Now there is at Jerusalem a pond, called Probatica, which in Hebrew is named Bethsaida, having five porches. [3] In these lay a great multitude of sick, of blind, of lame, of withered; waiting for the moving of the water. [4] And an angel of the Lord descended at certain times into the pond; and the water was moved. And he that went down first into the pond after the motion of the water, was made whole, of whatsoever infirmity he lay under. [5] And there was a certain man there, that had been eight and thirty years under his infirmity.[6] Him when Jesus had seen lying, and knew that he had been now a long time, he saith to him: Wilt thou be made whole? [7] The infirm man answered him: Sir, I have no man, when the water is troubled, to put me into the pond. For whilst I am coming, another goeth down before me. [8] Jesus saith to him: Arise, take up thy bed, and walk. [9] And immediately the man was made whole: and he took up his bed, and walked. And it was the sabbath that day. [10] The Jews therefore said to him that was healed: It is the sabbath; it is not lawful for thee to take up thy bed.[11] He answered them: He that made me whole, he said to me, Take up thy bed, and walk. [12] They asked him therefore: Who is that man who said to thee, Take up thy bed, and walk? [13] But he who was healed, knew not who it was; for Jesus went aside from the multitude standing in the place. [14] Afterwards, Jesus findeth him in the temple, and saith to him: Behold thou art made whole: sin no more, lest some worse thing happen to thee. [15] The man went his way, and told the Jews, that it was Jesus who had made him whole.

Matins readings (St Augustine, via Divinum Officium):

Reading 1: Let us see what is mystically signified by that one infirm man whom alone the Lord, keeping to a mysterious unity, chose out of so many sufferers, to be the subject of His healing power. He found in him a certain number of years of sickness. He had had an infirmity thirty and eight years. How this number is proper rather to weakness than to health, will now be the subject of a few careful remarks. I bespeak your attention; the Lord will be present, that I may speak fitly, and you may understand. The number forty is put before us as hallowed, and, in a way, perfect. I think that your love knoweth this God's Scriptures often and; often witness it. Ye well know that a Fast of this number of days is hallowed. Moses fasted forty days. Elias did the same. And our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ Himself fasted this number of days complete. Moses representeth the Law, Elias the Prophets, and the Lord the Gospel. And therefore these three appeared on the Mount of the Transfiguration. There the Lord showed Himself to His disciples with His Face shining as the sun, and His raiment glistering; and He stood between Moses and Elias; as it were, the Gospel receiving testimony, on the one hand from the Law, and, on the other, from the Prophets.

R.br. Let us amend for the better in that wherein we have sinned unknowingly, or ever the day of death suddenly prevent us, and we seek a place of repentance, and find none.
* Give heed, O Lord, and have mercy upon us, for we have sinned against thee.
V. Help us, O God of our salvation, and for the glory of thy Name deliver us, O Lord.
R. Give heed, O Lord, and have mercy upon us, for we have sinned against thee.

Reading 2: Whether, therefore, it be in the Law, or in the Prophets, or in the Gospel, the number of forty is recommended to us for Fast-days. The great and general Fast is this to abstain from the iniquity of the world, and her forbidden pleasures. This is the perfect Fast, that, denying ungodliness, and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world. After such a Fast, what is the Feast that followeth? Hear what the Apostle saith in continuation Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of our great God and Saviour Jesus Christ. Titus ii. 12, 13. We, then, make our pilgrimage in this world a Lent, by living good lives, and abstaining from her iniquities and her forbidden pleasures. But at the end of this life-long Lent there will be an Easter indeed. We look for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of our great God and Saviour Jesus Christ When that hope is realised, when that faith is swallowed up in knowledge, then indeed shall we receive every man a penny. In good sooth, it is true that every labourer in the vineyard will get his wages witness that Gospel which I believe ye have not forgotten, and which it is not my business to quote again as if ye were ignorant children. Now, the word used in the original for this penny which the labourers received is denarion. And the derivation of the word denarion is the numeral decem, ten. There are forty days in Lent, and if we add ten, we get fifty. So do we toil in fasting for the forty days of Lent before Easter, and, then, when we have, as it were, received our reward, we keep holiday for the fifty days of Easter- tide.

R.br. Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts, and let him return unto the Lord, and He will have mercy upon him;
* For the Lord our God is gracious, and merciful, and repenteth Him of the evil.
V. The Lord hath no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that he turn from his way and live.

R. For the Lord our God is gracious, and merciful, and repenteth Him of the evil.

Reading 3: Remember how I remarked, that the man healed by our Lord at the pool of Bethesda had had an infirmity thirty and eight years. I wish to explain why this number of thirty-eight is proper rather to weakness than to health. Love is the fulfilling of the law Rom. xiii. 10; to the fulfilling of the law belongeth in every work the number forty. But in love we have given us two precepts Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets. Matth. xxii. 37-40. When the widow gave all she had for an offering to God she gave two mites Mark xii. 42; the inn-keeper received two pence wherewith to cure him that had fallen among thieves (Luke x. 35;) Jesus abode for two days among the Samaritans John iv. 40, that He might establish them in love. When, then, anything good is spoken of as two, the two great divisions of love are the chief mystic interpretation. If, then, the law is fulfilled in the number forty, and it is not fulfilled if there be lacking the two precepts of love, what wonder is it that he was infirm who lacked two of forty?

R.br. The season of the Fast openeth unto us the gates of heaven; let us enter thereon in prayer and supplication,
* that on the day when the Lord riseth again we may rejoice with Him
V. In all things let us approve ourselves the ministers of God, in much patience.
R. That on the day when the Lord riseth again we may rejoice with Him.
V. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, * and to the Holy Ghost.
R. That on the day when the Lord riseth again we may rejoice with Him.

Wednesday, 17 February 2016

Thursday in the first week of Lent

St Matthew 15:21-28:

21 Et egressus inde Jesus secessit in partes Tyri et Sidonis. 22 Et ecce mulier chananæa a finibus illis egressa clamavit, dicens ei: Miserere mei, Domine fili David: filia mea male a dæmonio vexatur. 23 Qui non respondit ei verbum. Et accedentes discipuli ejus rogabant eum dicentes: Dimitte eam: quia clamat post nos. 24 Ipse autem respondens ait: Non sum missus nisi ad oves, quæ perierunt domus Israël. 25 At illa venit, et adoravit eum, dicens: Domine, adjuva me. 26 Qui respondens ait: Non est bonum sumere panem filiorum, et mittere canibus. 27 At illa dixit: Etiam Domine: nam et catelli edunt de micis quæ cadunt de mensa dominorum suorum. 28 Tunc respondens Jesus, ait illi: O mulier, magna est fides tua: fiat tibi sicut vis. Et sanata est filia ejus ex illa hora.

21] And Jesus went from thence, and retired into the coasts of Tyre and Sidon. [22] And behold a woman of Canaan who came out of those coasts, crying out, said to him: Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou son of David: my daughter is grieviously troubled by the devil. [23] Who answered her not a word. And his disciples came and besought him, saying: Send her away, for she crieth after us: [24] And he answering, said: I was not sent but to the sheep that are lost of the house of Israel. [25] But she came and adored him, saying: Lord, help me.[26] Who answering, said: It is not good to take the bread of the children, and to cast it to the dogs. [27] But she said: Yea, Lord; for the whelps also eat of the crumbs that fall from the table of their masters. [28] Then Jesus answering, said to her: O woman, great is thy faith: be it done to thee as thou wilt: and her daughter was cured from that hour.

Matins readings (from Divinum Officium):

Reading 1 (from St Jerome): Christ leaveth the Scribes and Pharisees who had spoken falsely against Him, and goeth into the coasts of Tyre and Sidon, that He may heal the Tyrians and Sidonians. But a woman of Canaan cometh to Him out of the land He had left, and crieth to Him to give health to her daughter. Remark that the case of the daughter of this woman of Canaan is the fifteenth case of healing. Have mercy on me, O Lord, Thou Son of David! She knew that He was to be called Son of David because she was come out of His own country, and had left the errors of the Tyrians and Sidonians when she changed her home and her faith.

R. I had been troubled, but that I knew thy mercy, O Lord Thou hast said I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that he turn from his way and live.
* O Thou, Who didst call the Canaanitish woman and the Publican unto repentance!
V. In the multitude of the sorrows within my heart, thy comforts delight my soul.
R. O Thou Who didst call the Canaanitish woman and the Publican unto repentance!


Reading 2: My daughter is grievously vexed with a devil. I think that the daughter of this woman of Canaan, (whom the Lord at length delivered,) was a figure of the souls of such as now believe, but were once grievously vexed by the devil, knowing not Him Who made them, and bowing down to stocks and stones. But He answered not a word not because He was puffed up with the pride of the Pharisees, or shared the high looks of the Scribes, but that He might fulfil His own word that He had spoken, saying Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not. He would not give an occasion to such as spoke falsely against Him, and He kept back perfect salvation from the Gentiles until such time as He should have suffered and risen again.

R.br. In all things let us approve ourselves as the ministers of God, in much patience;
* That our ministry be not blamed.
V. Behold, now is the acceptable time; behold, now is' the day of salvation let us approve ourselves in much patience.

R. That our ministry be not blamed.

Reading 3: And His disciples came and besought Him, saying Send her away; for she crieth after us. The disciples, knowing not as yet the mysterious things of the Lord, said this, either because they were moved with compassion and so interceded for this Canaanitish woman, whom another Evangelist calleth a Syrophoenician, Mark vii. 26, or because she was crying out that the Lord was an hard, instead of a merciful physician, and they desired to be rid of her clamour. But He answered and said I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel, not that He was not sent unto the Gentiles, but because it was to Israel in the first instance that He was sent, whom refusing the Gospel, He might justly pass away from, and go to the Gentiles.

R.br. The Priests shall pray, with fasting and with weeping, and shall say Spare, O Lord,
* Spare thy people; and give not thine heritage to destruction.
V. The Priests shall weep between the porch and the altar, and shall say
R. Spare, O Lord, spare thy people; and give not thine heritage to destruction.
V. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, * and to the Holy Ghost.
R. Spare, O Lord, spare thy people and give not thine heritage to destruction.

Tuesday, 16 February 2016

Ember Wednesday in the first week of Lent

Today's Gospel in the Roman Office is St Matthew 12:38-50.  In the Benedictine calendar it is the feast of St Gregory the Great, for which the Gospel is St Matthew 16: 13-19, with the readings from a sermon of Pope St Leo..

Here is the Latin of the Gospel for the Lent day, from New Advent:

38 Tunc responderunt ei quidam de scribis et pharisæis, dicentes: Magister, volumus a te signum videre. 39 Qui respondens ait illis: Generatio mala et adultera signum quærit: et signum non dabitur ei, nisi signum Jonæ prophetæ. 40 Sicut enim fuit Jonas in ventre ceti tribus diebus, et tribus noctibus, sic erit Filius hominis in corde terræ tribus diebus et tribus noctibus. 41 Viri Ninivitæ surgent in judicio cum generatione ista, et condemnabunt eam: quia pœnitentiam egerunt in prædicatione Jonæ, et ecce plus quam Jonas hic. 42 Regina austri surget in judicio cum generatione ista, et condemnabit eam: quia venit a finibus terræ audire sapientiam Salomonis, et ecce plus quam Salomon hic.43 Cum autem immundus spiritus exierit ab homine, ambulat per loca arida, quærens requiem, et non invenit. 44 Tunc dicit: Revertar in domum meam, unde exivi. Et veniens invenit eam vacantem, scopis mundatam, et ornatam. 45 Tunc vadit, et assumit septem alios spiritus secum nequiores se, et intrantes habitant ibi: et fiunt novissima hominis illius pejora prioribus. Sic erit et generationi huic pessimæ. 46 Adhuc eo loquente ad turbas, ecce mater ejus et fratres stabant foris, quærentes loqui ei. 47 Dixit autem ei quidam: Ecce mater tua, et fratres tui foris stant quærentes te. 48 At ipse respondens dicenti sibi, ait: Quæ est mater mea, et qui sunt fratres mei? 49 Et extendens manum in discipulos suos, dixit: Ecce mater mea, et fratres mei. 50 Quicumque enim fecerit voluntatem Patris mei, qui in cælis est, ipse meus frater, et soror, et mater est.

And the Douay-Rheims:

[38] Then some of the scribes and Pharisees answered him, saying: Master we would see a sign from thee. [39] Who answering said to them: An evil and adulterous generation seeketh a sign: and a sign shall not be given it, but the sign of Jonas the prophet. [40] For as Jonas was in the whale' s belly three days and three nights: so shall the Son of man be in the heart of the earth three days and three nights.[41] The men of Ninive shall rise in judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: because they did penance at the preaching of Jonas. And behold a greater than Jonas here. [42] The queen of the south shall rise in judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: because she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon, and behold a greater than Solomon here. [43] And when an unclean spirit is gone out of a man he walketh through dry places seeking rest, and findeth none. [44] Then he saith: I will return into my house from whence I came out. And coming he findeth it empty, swept, and garnished. [45] Then he goeth, and taketh with him seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter in and dwell there: and the last state of that man is made worse than the first. So shall it be also to this wicked generation. [46] As he was yet speaking to the multitudes, behold his mother and his brethren stood without, seeking to speak to him. [47] And one said unto him: Behold thy mother and thy brethren stand without, seeking thee. [48] But he answering him that told him, said: Who is my mother, and who are my brethren? [49] And stretching forth his hand towards his disciples, he said: Behold my mother and my brethren. [50] For whosoever shall do the will of my Father, that is in heaven, he is my brother, and sister, and mother.

The Matins readings, from a Homily of St Ambrose, via the Divinum Officium website:

Reading 1: After the condemnation of the Jewish people, the mystery of the Church is plainly declared in the figures of the repentant Ninevites, and of the Queen of the South. Like that Queen, the Church cometh from the uttermost parts of the earth, to hear the wisdom of the true Solomon, the Prince of Peace. A Queen she is, and a Queen of one indivisible realm, wrought into one body out of all nations, however divers and distant.

R.br. Rend your hearts and not your garments, and turn unto the Lord your God;
* For He is gracious and merciful.
V. Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts, and let him return' unto the Lord, and He will have mercy upon him.
R. For He is gracious and merciful.

Reading 2: And thus cometh that great mystery of Christ and the Church, a mystery more excellent now in the fulness of truth, than in the ancient type. For there they had in Solomon only a type of that which Christ is now in His own Person. And the Church is of two classes, whereof the one knoweth not how to sin, and the other sinneth no more. To wash away sin is the work of repentance, to eschew it that of wisdom.

R.br. Deal thy bread to the hungry, and bring the poor and the wanderer to thine house.
* Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thy righteousness shall go before thee.
V. When thou seest the naked, cover him; and hide not thyself from thine own flesh.
R. Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thy righteousness shall go before thee.

Reading 3: Lastly, the sign of the Prophet Jonas, as it was a figure of the Lord's sufferings, was also a witness to the gravity of those sins which the Jews committed. At the same time, we see in these words of the Lord a declaration at once of His power, and of His love; for, by turning our eyes on the Ninevites, He showeth us a way of escape, while He setteth before us the horror of what will otherwise be our punishment. Even the Jews need not cease to hope for pardon, if only they would repent.

Monday, 15 February 2016

Tuesday in the first week of Lent

The Gospel for today in the EF is St Matthew 21:10-17.  You can find the Greek and Knox translation at the New Advent page; here is the Latin:

10 Et cum intrasset Jerosolymam, commota est universa civitas, dicens: Quis est hic? 11 Populi autem dicebant: Hic est Jesus propheta a Nazareth Galilææ.12 Et intravit Jesus in templum Dei, et ejiciebat omnes vendentes et ementes in templo, et mensas numulariorum, et cathedras vendentium columbas evertit: 13 et dicit eis: Scriptum est: Domus mea domus orationis vocabitur: vos autem fecistis illam speluncam latronum. 14 Et accesserunt ad eum cæci, et claudi in templo: et sanavit eos. 15 Videntes autem principes sacerdotum et scribæ mirabilia quæ fecit, et pueros clamantes in templo, et dicentes: Hosanna filio David: indignati sunt, 16 et dixerunt ei: Audis quid isti dicunt? Jesus autem dixit eis: Utique. Numquam legistis: Quia ex ore infantium et lactentium perfecisti laudem? 17 Et relictis illis, abiit foras extra civitatem in Bethaniam: ibique mansit.

Douay-Rheims:

[10] And when he was come into Jerusalem, the whole city was moved, saying: Who is this? [11] And the people said: This is Jesus the prophet, from Nazareth of Galilee. [12] And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the money changers, and the chairs of them that sold doves: [13] And he saith to them: It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but you have made it a den of thieves. [14] And there came to him the blind and the lame in the temple; and he healed them. [15] And the chief priests and scribes, seeing the wonderful things that he did, and the children crying in the temple, and saying: Hosanna to the son of David; were moved with indignation.[16] And said to him: Hearest thou what these say? And Jesus said to them: Yea, have you never read: Out of the mouth of infants and of sucklings thou hast perfected praise? [17] And leaving them, he went out of the city into Bethania, and remained there. 

The Matins readings are by St Bede:

Reading 1: The same thing which the Lord showed in a figure by cursing the barren fig-tree, He afterwards more plainly put before us by casting the desecrators out of the temple. The tree herself had not sinned by bearing no fruit when the Lord was hungry, for the time of figs was not yet come, but those Priests had sinned who were carrying on worldly business in the Lord's house, and who neglected to bring forth that fruit of godliness which they owed, and which the Lord was hungry to find in them. The Lord made the fig-tree to wither away under His curse, that all men who saw it, and all men who hear of it, might know that they will be condemned by the judgment of God, if they content themselves with the talk of godliness, without the solid fruit of good works, even as that barren figtree was clothed only with a rustling garb of green leaves.

R.br. Let us amend for the better in that wherein we have sinned unknowingly, or ever the day of death suddenly prevent us, and we seek a place of repentance, and find none.
* Give heed, O Lord, and have mercy upon us, for we have sinned against thee.
V. Help us, O God of our salvation, and for the glory of thy Name deliver us, O Lord.
R. Give heed, O Lord, and have mercy upon us, for we have sinned against thee.


Reading 2: But because the buyers and sellers understood not the parable of the barren fig-tree, the Lord brought upon them the stroke of the punishment that they had deserved, and cast out the traffickers in earthly things, from that house, wherein it had been commanded that nothing should be done save the work of God, sacrifices and prayers offered up to Him, and His word read, taught, and sung. And yet it may be believed that nothing was being sold or bought in the temple save such things as were needful for the service thereof, as we read in another place, John ii. 14, that when Jesus went into the temple He found those that sold oxen and sheep and doves, and all these things were doubtless there for no other end but to be offered to God in that His holy house, and were sold by the natives to those worshippers who came from a distance, to be so used.

R.br. Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts, and let him return unto the Lord, and He will have mercy upon him;
* For the Lord our God is gracious, and merciful, and repenteth Him of the evil.
V. The Lord hath no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that he turn from his way and live.

R. For the Lord our God is gracious, and merciful, and repenteth Him of the evil.

Reading 3: If, therefore, the Lord would not have to be sold in the temple, even such things as He willed should be offered therein, (On account, that is, of the greed or dishonesty which is often the stain of such transactions,) with what anger, suppose ye, would He visit such as He might find laughing or gossiping there, or yielding to any other sin. If the Lord suffer not to be carried on in His house such worldly business as may be freely done elsewhere, how much more shall such things as ought never to be done anywhere, draw down the anger of God if they be done in His own holy house Lastly the Holy Ghost came down upon the Lord in the shape of a dove, and by doves therefore may be signified the gifts of that Holy Spirit. They, then, to this day sell doves in the temple of God, who take money in the Church for the laying on of their hands, whereby the Holy Ghost is given from heaven.

R.br. The season of the Fast openeth unto us the gates of heaven; let us enter thereon in prayer and supplication,
* that on the day when the Lord riseth again we may rejoice with Him
V. In all things let us approve ourselves the ministers of God, in much patience.
R. That on the day when the Lord riseth again we may rejoice with Him.
V. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, * and to the Holy Ghost.
R. That on the day when the Lord riseth again we may rejoice with Him.

Sunday, 14 February 2016

Monday in the first week of Lent

The Gospel for Monday in the first week of Lent is from St Matthew 25:31-46:

31 Cum autem venerit Filius hominis in majestate sua, et omnes angeli cum eo, tunc sedebit super sedem majestatis suæ: 32 et congregabuntur ante eum omnes gentes, et separabit eos ab invicem, sicut pastor segregat oves ab hædis: 33 et statuet oves quidem a dextris suis, hædos autem a sinistris. 34 Tunc dicet rex his qui a dextris ejus erunt: Venite benedicti Patris mei, possidete paratum vobis regnum a constitutione mundi: 35 esurivi enim, et dedistis mihi manducare: sitivi, et dedistis mihi bibere: hospes eram, et collegistis me: 36 nudus, et cooperuistis me: infirmus, et visitastis me: in carcere eram, et venistis ad me. Tunc respondebunt ei justi, dicentes: Domine, quando te vidimus esurientem, et pavimus te: sitientem, et dedimus tibi potum? 38 quando autem te vidimus hospitem, et collegimus te: aut nudum, et cooperuimus te? 39 aut quando te vidimus infirmum, aut in carcere, et venimus ad te? 40 Et respondens rex, dicet illis: Amen dico vobis, quamdiu fecistis uni ex his fratribus meis minimis, mihi fecistis. 41 Tunc dicet et his qui a sinistris erunt: Discedite a me maledicti in ignem æternum, qui paratus est diabolo, et angelis ejus: 42 esurivi enim, et non dedistis mihi manducare: sitivi, et non desistis mihi potum: 43 hospes eram, et non collegistis me: nudus, et non cooperuistis me: infirmus, et in carcere, et non visitastis me. 44 Tunc respondebunt ei et ipsi, dicentes: Domine, quando te vidimus esurientem, aut sitientem, aut hospitem, aut nudum, aut infirmum, aut in carcere, et non ministravimus tibi? 45 Tunc respondebit illis, dicens: Amen dico vobis: Quamdiu non fecistis uni de minoribus his, nec mihi fecistis. 46 Et ibunt hi in supplicium æternum: justi autem in vitam æternam.

Or in the Douay-Rheims translation:

And when the Son of man shall come in his majesty, and all the angels with him, then shall he sit upon the seat of his majesty. [32] And all nations shall be gathered together before him, and he shall separate them one from another, as the shepherd separateth the sheep from the goats: [33] And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on his left. [34] Then shall the king say to them that shall be on his right hand: Come, ye blessed of my Father, possess you the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. [35] For I was hungry, and you gave me to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave me to drink; I was a stranger, and you took me in: [36] Naked, and you covered me: sick, and you visited me: I was in prison, and you came to me. [37] Then shall the just answer him, saying: Lord, when did we see thee hungry, and fed thee; thirsty, and gave thee drink? [38] And when did we see thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and covered thee? [39] Or when did we see thee sick or in prison, and came to thee? [40] And the king answering, shall say to them: Amen I say to you, as long as you did it to one of these my least brethren, you did it to me. [41] Then he shall say to them also that shall be on his left hand: Depart from me, you cursed, into everlasting fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels. [42] For I was hungry, and you gave me not to eat: I was thirsty, and you gave me not to drink. [43] I was a stranger, and you took me not in: naked, and you covered me not: sick and in prison, and you did not visit me. [44] Then they also shall answer him, saying: Lord, when did we see thee hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister to thee? [45] Then he shall answer them, saying: Amen I say to you, as long as you did it not to one of these least, neither did you do it to me. [46] And these shall go into everlasting punishment: but the just, into life everlasting.

Matins readings (from St Augustine)

Reading 1: If, without keeping the commandments, it be possible to attain unto life by faith only, and faith, if it hath not works, is dead, James ii. 17, how can it be true that the Lord will say to such as He shall have set on His left hand Depart from Me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels? He rebuketh them, not because they have not believed in Him, but because they have not wrought good works. Yea, lest any man should promise himself life eternal by faith only, (and faith, if it hath not works, is dead,) the Lord saith that He will gather together all nations, nations who have lived mingled together in the same countries, that we may seem to hear them which have believed indeed in Him, but have not wrought good works, (as though that their dead faith could, being alone, lead them into life eternal,) that we may seem to hear such crying unto Him, Lord, when saw we thee suffering such and such things, and did not minister unto thee?

R.br. Behold, now is the acceptable time; behold, now is the day of salvation let us approve ourselves in much patience, in much fasting;
* In the power of God, by the armour of righteousness.
V. In all things let us approve ourselves as the ministers of God, in much patience, in much fasting.

R. In the power of God, by the armour of righteousness.

Reading 2: If they shall go into everlasting fire who have not done works of mercy, shall not they go who have taken their neighbour's goods? Or shall not they go who have outraged the temple of God in their own selves, and so been merciless to themselves? As if works of mercy could avail anything without love, contrary to the words of the Apostle Though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing. And what manner of love to his neighbour hath he who loveth him as himself and loveth not himself? remembering that he that loveth iniquity hateth his own soul.

R.br. In all things let us approve ourselves as the ministers of God, in much patience;
* That our ministry be not blamed.
V. Behold, now is the acceptable time; behold, now is' the day of salvation let us approve ourselves in much patience.

R. That our ministry be not blamed.

Reading 3: Neither dare we say here that by which some delude themselves, namely, that the fire indeed is everlasting, but that they will not burn therein everlastingly. Such men say that they whose faith is dead, will pass through that everlasting fire, and that they are they to whom it is promised that they themselves shall be saved, yet so as by fire. 1 Cor. iii. 15. So that, though the fire itself be everlasting, the burning of the damned therein, that is, the work of the fire upon them, will not be everlasting. As though the Lord were answering this beforehand, the last words of His Sermon are And these shall go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into life eternal. As the fire, so shall the burning be; and the Truth biddeth us know that they shall burn therein, who have lacked, not faith, but good works.

R.br. The Priests shall pray, with fasting and with weeping, and shall say Spare, O Lord,
* Spare thy people; and give not thine heritage to destruction.
V. The Priests shall weep between the porch and the altar, and shall say
R. Spare, O Lord, spare thy people; and give not thine heritage to destruction.
V. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, * and to the Holy Ghost.

R. Spare, O Lord, spare thy people and give not thine heritage to destruction.