Saturday, 2 April 2016

Matins readings for the Octave Day of Easter (Low Sunday)

Nocturn I: Colossians 3: 1-4; 5-8; 9-13; 14-17

Reading 1: Risen, then, with Christ, you must lift your thoughts above, where Christ now sits at the right hand of God. You must be heavenly-minded, not earthly-minded;  you have undergone death, and your life is hidden away now with Christ in God. 4 Christ is your life, and when he is made manifest, you too will be made manifest in glory with him.

R. The Angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone, and sat upon it, and said unto the women
* Fear not ye; for I know that ye seek Him That was crucified : He is risen already. Come, see the place where the Lord was laid. Alleluia.
V. And entering into the sepulchre, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, clothed in a long white garment, and they were affrighted; and he saith unto them :
R. Fear not ye : for I know that ye seek Him That was crucified : He is risen already; come, see the place where the Lord was laid. Alleluia.

Reading 2: You must deaden, then, those passions in you which belong to earth, fornication and impurity, lust and evil desire, and that love of money which is an idolatry.  These are what bring down God’s vengeance on the unbelievers, and such was your own behaviour, too, while you lived among them. Now it is your turn to have done with it all, resentment, anger, spite, insults, foul-mouthed utterance

R. The Angel of the Lord spake unto the woman, saying : Whom seek ye? Seek ye Jesus? He is risen now :
* Come and see. Alleluia, Alleluia.
V. Seek ye Jesus of Nazareth, Which was crucified? He is risen, He is not here.
R. Come and see. Alleluia, Alleluia.

Reading 3: and do not tell lies at one another’s expense. You must be quit of the old self, and the habits that went with it; you must be clothed in the new self, that is being refitted all the time for closer knowledge, so that the image of the God who created it is its pattern. Here is no more Gentile and Jew, no more circumcised and uncircumcised; no one is barbarian, or Scythian, no one is slave or free man; there is nothing but Christ in any of us.  You are God’s chosen people, holy and well beloved; the livery you wear must be tender compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience;  you must bear with one another’s faults, be generous to each other, where somebody has given grounds for complaint; the Lord’s generosity to you must be the model of yours.

When the Sabbath was passed, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, had bought sweet spices
* That they might come and anoint Jesus. Alleluia, Alleluia.
V. And very early in the morning, the first day of the week, they came unto the sepulchre, at the rising of the sun.
R. That they might come and anoint Jesus. Alleluia, Alleluia.
V. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, * and to the Holy Ghost.
R. That they might come iand anoint Jesus. Alleluia, Alleluia.

Reading 4: And, to crown all this, charity; that is the bond which makes us perfect.  So may the peace of Christ, the very condition of your calling as members of a single body, reign in your hearts. Learn, too, to be grateful. May all the wealth of Christ’s inspiration have its shrine among you: now you will have instruction and advice for one another, full of wisdom, now there will be psalms, and hymns, and spiritual music, as you sing with gratitude in your hearts to God. Whatever you are about, in word and action alike, invoke always the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, offering your thanks to God the Father through him.

R. Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went very early to the sepulchre.
* That Jesus whom ye seek, is not here : for He is risen, as He said : He goeth before you into Galilee; there shall ye see Him. Alleluia, Alleluia.
V. And very early in the morning, the first day of the week, they came unto the sepulchre, at the rising of the sun; and, entering into the sepulchre, they saw a young man sitting upon the right side, who saith unto them :
R Gloria Patri et Filio et Spirituui Sancto
V. That Jesus Whom ye seek is not here : for He is risen, as He said : He goeth before you into Galilee : there shall ye see Him. Alleluia, Alleluia.

Nocturn II: Sermon on the Octave of Easter of St Augustine 

Reading 5: The Feast of this day is the end of the Paschal solemnity, and therefore it is to-day that the Newly-Baptized put off their white garments : but, though they lay aside the outward mark of washing in their raiment, the mark of that washing in their souls remaineth to eternity. Now are the days of the Pass-over, that is, of God's Passing-over our iniquity by His pardon and remission; and therefore our first duty is so to sanctify the mirth of these holy days, that our bodily recreation may be taken without defilement to our spiritual cleanness. Let us strive that our relaxation may be sober and our freedom holy, holding ourselves carefully aloof from anything like excess, drunkenness or lechery. Let us try so to keep in our souls their Lenten cleansing, that if our Fasting hath left us aught yet unwon, we may still be able to seek it.

R. With great power gave the Apostles* Witness of the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, alleluia, alleluia.
V. They were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the Word of God with boldness.

R. Witness of the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, alleluia, alleluia.

Reading 6: At discourse concerneth all them which are committed unto my spiritual charge; but, nevertheless, since the first happy week of your Sacramental life draweth this day to a close, I address myself in especial to you who are the new olive-plants of holiness round about the Table of the Lord,  to you, who have but a little while been born again of water and the Holy Ghost, to you, O holy generation to you, O new creation, to you, the excellency of my dignity, and the fruit of my labour, my brethren dearly beloved and longed for, my joy and my crown, all ye who now stand so fast in the Lord.

R. From the mouth of the wise doth proceed honey, Alleluia : the sweetness of honey is under his tongue. Alleluia.
* His lips drop as the honey-comb. Alleluia, Alleluia.
V. Wisdom doth abide in his heart, and out of his mouth cometh understanding.
R. His lips drop as the honey-comb. Alleluia, Alleluia.

Reading 7: To you I address the words of the Apostle. Behold! the night is past! the day is come! Cast off therefore the works of darkness, and put on the armour of light. Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying : but put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ.We have, saith Peter,  a more sure word of Prophecy, whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day-star arise in your hearts.

R. Behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the Book, and to loose the seven seals thereof.* Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia.
V. Worthy is the Lamb That was slain to receive power, and riches, in wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing.
R. Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia.

Reading 8: Let your loins therefore be girded about, and your lights burning in your hands, and ye yourselves like unto men that wait for their lord, when he will return from the wedding.  Behold, the days come, whereof the Lord saith,  A little while, and ye shall not see Me, and again a little while and ye shall see Me. Now is the hour whereof He said, Ye shall weep and lament, but the work shall rejoice that is to say, this present life, wherein we walk as strangers and pilgrims, far away from Him Who is our Home, this present life is very full of trials. But, saith Jesus,  but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man taketh from you.

R. I am the True Vine, and ye are the branches;
* He that abideth in Me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit, alleluia, alleluia.
V. As the Father hath loved Me, so have I loved you.
R. Gloria Patri et Filio et Spiritui Sancto
V. He that abideth in Me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit, alleluia, alleluia.

Nocturn III (from St Gregory the Great)

Reading 9: When we hear this passage of the Gospel read, a question straightway knocketh at the door of our mind. How was it that the Body of the Risen Lord was a real Body, if It was able to pass through closed doors into the assembly of His disciples? But we ought to know that the works of God are no more wonderful when they can be understood by man's reason, and faith has lost her worth when her subject-matter is the subject-matter of human demonstration. Nevertheless, those very works of our Redeemer which are in themselves impossible to be understood, must be thought over in connection with other of His works, that we may be led to believe in things wonderful, by mean of things more wonderful still. 

R. They have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid Him. The Angels say unto her: Woman, why weepest thou? He is risen, as He said.
* He goeth before you into Galilee; there shall ye see Him, alleluia, alleluia.
V. And as she wept, she stooped down and looked into the Sepulchre, and saw two Angels in white, sitting; and they say unto her:
R. He goeth before you into Galilee; there shall ye see Him, alleluia, alleluia.

Reading 10: That Body of the Lord, Which came into the assembly of the disciples through closed doors, was the Same, Which at Its birth, had become manifest to the eyes of men by passing out of the cloister of the Virgin's womb without breaking the seal thereof. What wonder is it if that Body Which had come out of the Virgin's womb, without opening the matrix, albeit It was then on Its way to die, now that It was risen again from the dead and instinct for ever with undying life, what wonder is it, I say, if that Body passed through closed doors?  But since the beholders doubted of the reality of that Body Which they saw, He showed unto them His Hands and His Side, and allowed them to handle that Same Flesh Which had just passed through the closed doors. 

R. Rejoice with me, all ye that love the Lord: for I sought Him and He hath appeared unto me;
* And while as I was weeping at the Sepulchre, I saw the Lord, alleluia, alleluia.
V. When His disciples were gone away, I tarried still; and the fire of love in mine heart glowed for Him.
R. And while as I was weeping at the Sepulchre, I saw the Lord, alleluia, alleluia.

Reading 11: In this there were two strange things manifested, yea, things which according to our understanding are contrary the one to the other. His Risen Body was incorruptible and yet palpable. For whatever can be touched, must needs be subject to corruption; and whatever is not subject to corruption, cannot be touched. But, in a way altogether wonderful and incomprehensible, our Redeemer after His Resurrection revealed Himself in a Body at once palpable and incorruptible : revealed Himself in an incorruptible Body, that we might learn to seek a like glorification; and in a palpable Body, for the strengthening of our faith. He revealed Himself in a Body at once incorruptible and palpable, that He might thereby make manifest the fact that His Risen Body was unaltered in nature, albeit transfigured in glory.

R. After that our Lord Jesus was risen again, He came and stood in the midst of His disciples, and said unto them:
* Peace be unto you, alleluia. Then were the disciples glad, when they saw the Lord, alleluia.
V. The first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled, came Jesus, and stood in the midst, and said unto them:
R. Peace be unto you, alleluia. Then were the disciples glad, when they saw the Lord, alleluia.

Reading 12: Then said Jesus to them again : Peace be unto you. As My Father hath sent Me, even so send I you that is, as My Father, Who is God, hath sent Me, Who am God, even so do I, Who am Man, send you, who are men. The Father sent the Son, Whom He appointed to be made Man for the redemption of man. Him He willed to send into the world to suffer, albeit He Whom He sent to suffer was the Son of His love. The Lord sendeth His chosen Apostles into the world, not to be happy in the world, but, as He had been Himself sent, to suffer. As the Father loveth the Son and yet sendeth Him to suffer, even so doth the Lord love His disciples, albeit He sendeth them into the world, to suffer therein; and therefore it is well said: As My Father hath sent Me, even so send I you that is, while I send you into the wild storm of persecution, I love you all the same, I love you, yea, I love you with a love like that wherewith the Father loveth Me, Who sent Me into the world to bear agony therein.

R. Purge out the old leaven, that ye may be new dough : for even Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us :
* Therefore let us keep the Feast, in the Lord. Alleluia.
V. He died for our offences, and rose again for our justification.
R. Therefore let us keep the Feast, in the Lord. Alleluia.
V. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, * and to the Holy Ghost.
R. Therefore let us keep the Feast, in the Lord. Alleluia.

Today's Gospel is St John 20:19-31:

19 Cum ergo sero esset die illo, una sabbatorum, et fores essent clausæ, ubi erant discipuli congregati propter metum Judæorum: venit Jesus, et stetit in medio, et dixit eis: Pax vobis. 20 Et cum hoc dixisset, ostendit eis manus et latus. Gavisi sunt ergo discipuli, viso Domino. 21 Dixit ergo eis iterum: Pax vobis. Sicut misit me Pater, et ego mitto vos. 22 Hæc cum dixisset, insufflavit, et dixit eis: Accipite Spiritum Sanctum: 23 quorum remiseritis peccata, remittuntur eis: et quorum retinueritis, retenta sunt.24 Thomas autem unus ex duodecim, qui dicitur Didymus, non erat cum eis quando venit Jesus. 25 Dixerunt ergo ei alii discipuli: Vidimus Dominum. Ille autem dixit eis: Nisi videro in manibus ejus fixuram clavorum, et mittam digitum meum in locum clavorum, et mittam manum meam in latus ejus, non credam. 26 Et post dies octo, iterum erant discipuli ejus intus, et Thomas cum eis. Venit Jesus januis clausis, et stetit in medio, et dixit: Pax vobis. 27 Deinde dicit Thomæ: Infer digitum tuum huc, et vide manus meas, et affer manum tuam, et mitte in latus meum: et noli esse incredulus, sed fidelis. 28 Respondit Thomas, et dixit ei: Dominus meus et Deus meus. 29 Dixit ei Jesus: Quia vidisti me, Thoma, credidisti: beati qui non viderunt, et crediderunt.30 Multa quidem et alia signa fecit Jesus in conspectu discipulorum suorum, quæ non sunt scripta in libro hoc. 31 Hæc autem scripta sunt ut credatis, quia Jesus est Christus Filius Dei: et ut credentes, vitam habeatis in nomine ejus.

[19] Now when it was late that same day, the first of the week, and the doors were shut, where the disciples were gathered together, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in the midst, and said to them: Peace be to you. [20] And when he had said this, he shewed them his hands and his side. The disciples therefore were glad, when they saw the Lord.[21] He said therefore to them again: Peace be to you. As the Father hath sent me, I also send you. [22] When he had said this, he breathed on them; and he said to them: Receive ye the Holy Ghost. [23] Whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven them; and whose sins you shall retain, they are retained. [24] Now Thomas, one of the twelve, who is called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came. [25] The other disciples therefore said to him: We have seen the Lord. But he said to them: Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the place of the nails, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.[23] Whose sins: See here the commission, stamped by the broad seal of heaven, by virtue of which the pastors of Christ's church absolve repenting sinners upon their confession.[26] And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them. Jesus cometh, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said: Peace be to you. [27] Then he saith to Thomas: Put in thy finger hither, and see my hands; and bring hither thy hand, and put it into my side; and be not faithless, but believing. [28] Thomas answered, and said to him: My Lord, and my God. [29] Jesus saith to him: Because thou hast seen me, Thomas, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and have believed. [30] Many other signs also did Jesus in the sight of his disciples, which are not written in this book.[31] But these are written, that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God: and that believing, you may have life in his name.

Friday, 1 April 2016

Saturday in the Easter Octave

Today's Gospel is St John 20:1-9:

Una autem sabbati, Maria Magdalene venit mane, cum adhuc tenebræ essent, ad monumentum: et vidit lapidem sublatum a monumento. 2 Cucurrit ergo, et venit ad Simonem Petrum, et ad alium discipulum, quem amabat Jesus, et dicit illis: Tulerunt Dominum de monumento, et nescimus ubi posuerunt eum. 3 Exiit ergo Petrus, et ille alius discipulus, et venerunt ad monumentum. 4 Currebant autem duo simul, et ille alius discipulus præcucurrit citius Petro, et venit primus ad monumentum. 5 Et cum se inclinasset, vidit posita linteamina: non tamen introivit. 6 Venit ergo Simon Petrus sequens eum, et introivit in monumentum, et vidit linteamina posita, 7 et sudarium, quod fuerat super caput ejus, non cum linteaminibus positum, sed separatim involutum in unum locum. 8 Tunc ergo introivit et ille discipulus qui venerat primus ad monumentum: et vidit, et credidit: 9 nondum enim sciebant Scripturam, quia oportebat eum a mortuis resurgere. 

And on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalen cometh early, when it was yet dark, unto the sepulchre; and she saw the stone taken away from the sepulchre. [2] She ran, therefore, and cometh to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and saith to them: They have taken away the Lord out of the sepulchre, and we know not where they have laid him. [3] Peter therefore went out, and that other disciple, and they came to the sepulchre. [4] And they both ran together, and that other disciple did outrun Peter, and came first to the sepulchre. [5] And when he stooped down, he saw the linen cloths lying; but yet he went not in. [6] Then cometh Simon Peter, following him, and went into the sepulchre, and saw the linen cloths lying, [7] And the napkin that had been about his head, not lying with the linen cloths, but apart, wrapped up into one place. [8] Then that other disciple also went in, who came first to the sepulchre: and he saw, and believed. [9] For as yet they knew not the scripture, that he must rise again from the dead.

The Matins readings (from St Gregory)

Reading 1: Dearly beloved brethren, the portion of the Holy Gospel which hath just now been read in your ears, is exceeding simple on the face of it, which is its historical sense; but the mystic sense, which underlieth that other, requireth from us a little searching. Mary Magdalene came unto the Sepulchre when it was yet dark. The historic sense telleth us what was the hour of day; the mystic sense, the state of her understanding who sought. Mary Magdalene sought for Him, by Whom all things were made, and Whom she had seen die, as concerning the flesh; she sought for Him, I say, in the grave, and finding Him not, she believed that He had been stolen away. Yea, it was yet dark, when she came unto the sepulchre. Then she ran and told the disciples, but they who had loved Him most, namely Peter and John, did outrun the others.

Reading 2: So they ran both together, but John did outrun Peter, and came first to the Sepulchre, but yet took he not upon himself to go in first. Then cometh Peter following him, and went in. What, my brethren, what did the racing of these Apostles signify? Can we believe that the description given by the deepest of the Evangelists is without a mystic interpretation? By no means. John had never told how that he did outrun Peter, and yet went not into the Sepulchre, if he had not believed that his hesitation veiled some mystery. What signifieth John but the Synagogue? or Peter, but the Church?

Reading 3: Neither must ye take it as strange that the elder Apostle should represent the Church, and the younger the Synagogue : for although the Synagogue was first to worship God, yet the herd of Gentiles is in the world older than the Synagogue, as witnesseth Paul where he saith : That was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural. i Cor. xv. 46. By Peter, then, who was the elder, is signified the Church of the Gentiles; and by John, who was the younger, the Synagogue of the Jews. They run both of them together, for from the time of her birth until now, and so will it be until the end, the Church of the Gentiles hath run in a parallel road and manywise a common road with the Synagogue, albeit not with equal understandings. The Synagogue came first to the Sepulchre, but she hath not yet entered in; for, though she hath received the commandments of the law, and hath heard the Prophets tell of the Incarnation and Passion of the Lord, she will not believe in Him Who died for her.

Thursday, 31 March 2016

Friday in the Easter Octave

Today's Gospel is St Matthew 28:16-20:

16 Undecim autem discipuli abierunt in Galilæam in montem ubi constituerat illis Jesus. 17 Et videntes eum adoraverunt: quidam autem dubitaverunt. 18 Et accedens Jesus locutus est eis, dicens: Data est mihi omnis potestas in cælo et in terra: 19 euntes ergo docete omnes gentes: baptizantes eos in nomine Patris, et Filii, et Spiritus Sancti: 20 docentes eos servare omnia quæcumque mandavi vobis: et ecce ego vobiscum sum omnibus diebus, usque ad consummationem sæculi.

And the eleven disciples went into Galilee, unto the mountain where Jesus had appointed them. [17] And seeing him they adored: but some doubted. [18] And Jesus coming, spoke to them, saying: All power is given to me in heaven and in earth. [19] Going therefore, teach ye all nations; baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. [20] Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and behold I am with you all days, even to the consummation of the world.

The Matins readings (from St Jerome)

Reading 1: After His Resurrection Jesus was seen on a mountain in Galilee, and there He was worshipped; and, albeit some doubted, their doubts have led to a further establishing of our faith. Then He showed Himself more openly unto Thomas, and made him handle the Side That was pierced with the spear, and the Hands wherein were the holes of the nails. And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying : All power is given unto Me in heaven and in earth. Yea, all power is given unto Him Who but a little while before had been crucified, and buried in the grave, and had lain among the dead, but Who also had risen again. Power is given unto Him in heaven and in earth, that He Who of everlasting had been King of heaven, might have a Monarchy on earth also, through the faith of them which believe in Him.

Reading 2: Go ye therefore and teach all nations, baptizing them in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. First, they teach all nations; then, they wash with water them whom they have taught. For it is impossible for the body to receive the Sacrament of Baptism, unless the mind first receive the truth of the faith. And they are baptized In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost for, even as the Godhead of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, is all One, so is the one grace of Baptism the gift of all the Three Divine Persons : and the Name of the Trinity is the Name of One God.

Reading 3: Preaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you. The order of the Lord's commands to the Apostles is markedly this. First, to teach all nations; secondly, to make them partake in the Sacrament of the faith; thirdly, when they had believed and been baptized, to teach them what to observe. And lest we should think that He commanded things light and few, He hath said: All things whatsoever I have commanded you, so that all, who have believed and been baptized in the Name of the Trinity, are bound to observe all things whatsoever He hath commanded. And, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. He Who promiseth that He will be with His disciples even unto the end of the world, doth give them thereby to know that they will be alway conquerors, and that He will never fail any which believe in Him.

Wednesday, 30 March 2016

Thursday in the Easter Octave

Today's Gospel is St John 20: 11-18:

11 Maria autem stabat ad monumentum foris, plorans. Dum ergo fleret, inclinavit se, et prospexit in monumentum: 12 et vidit duos angelos in albis sedentes, unum ad caput, et unum ad pedes, ubi positum fuerat corpus Jesu. 13 Dicunt ei illi: Mulier, quid ploras? Dicit eis: Quia tulerunt Dominum meum: et nescio ubi posuerunt eum. 14 Hæc cum dixisset, conversa est retrorsum, et vidit Jesum stantem: et non sciebat quia Jesus est. 15 Dicit ei Jesus: Mulier, quid ploras? quem quæris? Illa existimans quia hortulanus esset, dicit ei: Domine, si tu sustulisti eum, dicito mihi ubi posuisti eum, et ego eum tollam. 16 Dicit ei Jesus: Maria. Conversa illa, dicit ei: Rabboni (quod dicitur Magister). 17 Dicit ei Jesus: Noli me tangere, nondum enim ascendi ad Patrem meum: vade autem ad fratres meos, et dic eis: Ascendo ad Patrem meum, et Patrem vestrum, Deum meum, et Deum vestrum.18 Venit Maria Magdalene annuntians discipulis: Quia vidi Dominum, et hæc dixit mihi.

11] But Mary stood at the sepulchre without, weeping. Now as she was weeping, she stooped down, and looked into the sepulchre, [12] And she saw two angels in white, sitting, one at the head, and one at the feet, where the body of Jesus had been laid. [13] They say to her: Woman, why weepest thou? She saith to them: Because they have taken away my Lord; and I know not where they have laid him. [14] When she had thus said, she turned herself back, and saw Jesus standing; and she knew not that it was Jesus. [15] Jesus saith to her: Woman, why weepest thou? whom seekest thou? She, thinking it was the gardener, saith to him: Sir, if thou hast taken him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away. [16] Jesus saith to her: Mary. She turning, saith to him: Rabboni (which is to say, Master). [17] Jesus saith to her: Do not touch me, for I am not yet ascended to my Father. But go to my brethren, and say to them: I ascend to my Father and to your Father, to my God and your God. [18] Mary Magdalen cometh, and telleth the disciples: I have seen the Lord, and these things he said to me.

The Matins readings (from St Gregory)

Reading 1: Mary Magdalene, a woman in the city, who was a sinner, through love of the truth washed away by her tears the befoulment of her sin, and the word of the Truth was fulfilled which He spake : Her sins, which are many, are forgiven : for she loved much. Luke vii. 47. She that had remained cold while she sinned, became burning when she loved. For after that she had been to the Sepulchre, and had not found there the Body of the Lord, and had believed that It had been taken away, and had told His disciples, they came and saw, and thought it was even as the woman had said : and it is written Then the disciples went away again unto their own home but Mary stood without at the sepulchre, weeping.

Reading 2: In connection with this matter, we ought to ponder what great store of love there was in that woman's heart, who, when even His disciples were gone away, could not tear herself from the grave of the Lord. She sought Him Whom she had not found there, and as she sought, she wept, and the fire of love in her heart yearned after Him, Who she believed had been taken away. And so it came to pass that she, who had lingered to seek Him, was the only one who then saw Him, since the back-bone of a good work is endurance, and the voice of the Truth Himself hath said : He that endureth to the end shall be saved. Matth. x. 22; xxiv. 13.

Reading 3: As Mary wept there, she stooped down and looked into the Sepulchre. It was but a little while and she had seen how the Sepulchre was empty, and had told that the Lord was taken away. Why then should she stoop down and look in again? But she loved Him so well, that one look was not enough; the energy of her affection constrained her to search again and again. She began by searching and not finding; but she endured in her search, and, behold, it came to pass that she found. And this was done that our own longings for Christ's presence might be taught to expand, and know that as they expand they will meet with Him to Whom they aspire.

Tuesday, 29 March 2016

Wednesday in the Easter Octave

Today's Gospel is St John 21:1-14:

1 Postea manifestavit se iterum Jesus discipulis ad mare Tiberiadis. Manifestavit autem sic: 2 erant simul Simon Petrus, et Thomas, qui dicitur Didymus, et Nathanaël, qui erat a Cana Galilææ, et filii Zebedæi, et alii ex discipulis ejus duo. 3 Dicit eis Simon Petrus: Vado piscari. Dicunt ei: Venimus et nos tecum. Et exierunt, et ascenderunt in navim: et illa nocte nihil prendiderunt. 4 Mane autem facto stetit Jesus in littore: non tamen cognoverunt discipuli quia Jesus est. 5 Dixit ergo eis Jesus: Pueri, numquid pulmentarium habetis? Responderunt ei: Non. 6 Dicit eis: Mittite in dexteram navigii rete, et invenietis. Miserunt ergo: et jam non valebant illud trahere præ multitudine piscium. 7 Dixit ergo discipulus ille, quem diligebat Jesus, Petro: Dominus est. Simon Petrus cum audisset quia Dominus est, tunica succinxit se (erat enim nudus) et misit se in mare. 8 Alii autem discipuli navigio venerunt (non enim longe erant a terra, sed quasi cubitis ducentis), trahentes rete piscium. 9 Ut ergo descenderunt in terram, viderunt prunas positas, et piscem superpositum, et panem. 10 Dicit eis Jesus: Afferte de piscibus, quos prendidistis nunc. 11 Ascendit Simon Petrus et traxit rete in terram, plenum magnis piscibus centum quinquaginta tribus. Et cum tanti essent, non est scissum rete. 12 Dicit eis Jesus: Venite, prandete. Et nemo audebat discumbentium interrogare eum: Tu quis es? scientes, quia Dominus est. 13 Et venit Jesus, et accipit panem, et dat eis, et piscem similiter. 14 Hoc jam tertio manifestatus est Jesus discipulis suis cum resurrexisset a mortuis.

1] After this, Jesus shewed himself again to the disciples at the sea of Tiberias. And he shewed himself after this manner. [2] There were together Simon Peter, and Thomas, who is called Didymus, and Nathanael, who was of Cana of Galilee, and the sons of Zebedee, and two others of his disciples. [3] Simon Peter saith to them: I go a fishing. They say to him: We also come with thee. And they went forth, and entered into the ship: and that night they caught nothing. [4] But when the morning was come, Jesus stood on the shore: yet the disciples knew not that it was Jesus. [5] Jesus therefore said to them: Children, have you any meat? They answered him: No. [6] He saith to them: Cast the net on the right side of the ship, and you shall find. They cast therefore; and now they were not able to draw it, for the multitude of fishes. [7] That disciple therefore whom Jesus loved, said to Peter: It is the Lord. Simon Peter, when he heard that it was the Lord, girt his coat about him, (for he was naked,) and cast himself into the sea. [8] But the other disciples came in the ship, (for they were not far from the land, but as it were two hundred cubits,) dragging the net with fishes. [9] As soon then as they came to land, they saw hot coals lying, and a fish laid thereon, and bread. [10] Jesus saith to them: Bring hither of the fishes which you have now caught. [11] Simon Peter went up, and drew the net to land, full of great fishes, one hundred and fifty-three. And although there were so many, the net was not broken. [12] Jesus saith to them: Come, and dine. And none of them who were at meat, durst ask him: Who art thou? knowing that it was the Lord. [13] And Jesus cometh and taketh bread, and giveth them, and fish in like manner. [14] This is now the third time that Jesus was manifested to his disciples, after he was risen from the dead. 

The Matins readings (from St Gregory)

Reading 1: Dearly beloved brethren, the portion of the Holy Gospel which hath but now been read in your ears, knocketh loudly at the door of your heart, with a certain question, the answer whereto calleth for thought. This same question is : Wherefore did Peter, who had before his conversion been a fisher, wherefore did he, after his conversion, again go a-fishing? since the Truth hath said : No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God? Luke ix. 62. Wherefore did Peter return to that which he had left? But we thought we see the answer to his question. The trade which was harmless before his conversion, did not become harmful because he had been inverted.

Reading 2: We know that Peter had been a fisherman, and Matthew a publican, and that Peter after his conversion went back to his fishing, but Matthew did not return to the receipt of custom. It is one thing to seek a livelihood by fishing, and another to amass money by farming of taxes. There are many kinds of business in which it is difficult or impossible to be engaged without committing sin, and to such kinds of business as these, he which hath once been converted must not again betake himself.

Reading 3: It may likewise be asked why, when the disciples were toiling in the sea, the Lord, after His Resurrection, stood on the shore, whereas, before His Resurrection, He had walked on the waves before them all. The reason of this is quickly known if we will think of the end which it then served. The sea is a figure of this present world, tossed to and fro by changing fortune, and continually ebbing and flowing with the divers tides of life. The stableness of the shore is an image of the never-ending rest of the eternal home. The disciples therefore, for that they were yet tossed to and fro upon the waves of a dying life, were toiling in the sea, but He our Redeemer, Who had already laid aside that which in this body is subject to corruption, and had risen again from the dead, He stood upon the shore.

Monday, 28 March 2016

Tuesday in the Easter Octave

Today's Gospel is St Luke 24:36-47:

36 Dum autem hæc loquuntur, stetit Jesus in medio eorum, et dicit eis: Pax vobis: ego sum, nolite timere. 37 Conturbati vero et conterriti, existimabant se spiritum videre. 38 Et dixit eis: Quid turbati estis, et cogitationes ascendunt in corda vestra? 39 videte manus meas, et pedes, quia ego ipse sum; palpate et videte, quia spiritus carnem et ossa non habet, sicut me videtis habere. 40 Et cum hoc dixisset, ostendit eis manus et pedes. 41 Adhuc autem illis non credentibus, et mirantibus præ gaudio, dixit: Habetis hic aliquid quod manducetur? 42 At illi obtulerunt ei partem piscis assi et favum mellis. 43 Et cum manducasset coram eis, sumens reliquias dedit eis. 44 Et dixit ad eos: Hæc sunt verba quæ locutus sum ad vos cum adhuc essem vobiscum, quoniam necesse est impleri omnia quæ scripta sunt in lege Moysi, et prophetis, et Psalmis de me. 45 Tunc aperuit illis sensum ut intelligerent Scripturas, 46 et dixit eis: Quoniam sic scriptum est, et sic oportebat Christum pati, et resurgere a mortuis tertia die: 47 et prædicari in nomine ejus pœnitentiam, et remissionem peccatorum in omnes gentes, incipientibus ab Jerosolyma.

[34] Saying: The Lord is risen indeed, and hath appeared to Simon. [35] And they told what things were done in the way; and how they knew him in the breaking of the bread.[36] Now whilst they were speaking these things, Jesus stood in the midst of them, and saith to them: Peace be to you; it is I, fear not. [37] But they being troubled and frightened, supposed that they saw a spirit. [38] And he said to them: Why are you troubled, and why do thoughts arise in your hearts? [39] See my hands and feet, that it is I myself; handle, and see: for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as you see me to have. [40] And when he had said this, he shewed them his hands and feet.[41] But while they yet believed not, and wondered for joy, he said: Have you any thing to eat? [42] And they offered him a piece of a broiled fish, and a honeycomb. [43] And when he had eaten before them, taking the remains, he gave to them. [44] And he said to them: These are the words which I spoke to you, while I was yet with you, that all things must needs be fulfilled, which are written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me. [45] Then he opened their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures.[46] And he said to them: Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise again from the dead, the third day: [47] And that penance and remission of sins should be preached in his name, unto all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.

Matins readings (from St Ambrose)

Reading 1: We see here the marvellous nature of the Lord's glorified Body. It could enter unseen, and then become seen. It could easily be touched, but Its nature is hard to understand. The disciples were affrighted, and supposed that they had seen a spirit. And therefore the Lord, that He might show us the evidence of His Resurrection, said: Handle Me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones as ye see Me have. Therefore it was not by being in a disembodied state, but by the peculiar qualities of the risen and glorified Body that He had passed through closed doors. John xx. 19. For that which is touched or handled is a body.

Reading 2: We shall all rise again with our bodies. But it is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. 1. Cor. xv. 44. The spiritual body is the finer, and the natural body is the grosser, besodden as yet by the corruption of earth. Was not That a real Body, wherein remained those marks of His Wounds, those holes of the nail -prints, which the Lord bade His disciples to handle? Hereby, also, He hath not only strengthened our faith, but also quickened our love, since we know that it has been His will to carry to heaven those Wounds which He bore for our sake, and wherewith He would not make away; but plainly showeth to His Eternal Father the price of our freedom. It is as marked with these Wounds and embracing the trophy of our salvation that the Father hath said to Him, Sit Thou at My right Hand : and it is, like Him, marked with their wounds, that He hath shown us that the Martyrs, whose Crown He is, are, and will be with Him there.

Reading 3: And now, since our Lesson from Luke here faileth, let us have recourse to John, and consider how that, according to him, xx. 20, then were the disciples glad when they saw the Lord, and received the grace of faith. According to Luke, He upbraided them with their unbelief, but according to John He said also, Receive ye the Holy Ghost. Luke, not John, hath, Tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high. Indeed, to me it seemeth as though the one Evangelist had busied himself with the greater and higher matters, and the other with the narrative, and such things as are more human : the one with the course, the other with the essence, of history. For as it is impossible to doubt the word of him who testifieth of these things, John xxi. 24, and who saw these things, and concerning whom we know that his testimony is true, xxi. 24, so is it sinful to think of negligence or falsehood as attaching to the other, even Luke, who earned to himself to be an Evangelist, albeit he was not an Apostle, and therefore we hold that both are truthful, neither are they at variance one with the other, either in the difference of the words they use, or in the sacredness of their characters as Evangelists. For though Luke saith that at the first the Apostles believed not, yet he showeth that afterward they believed : and although, if we regard only the first fact, the Evangelists seem divergent one from the other, yet, when we consider what cometh afterward, we see that they are at one.

Sunday, 27 March 2016

Monday in the Easter Octave

Today's Gospel is St Luke 24:13-35:

13 Et ecce duo ex illis ibant ipsa die in castellum, quod erat in spatio stadiorum sexaginta ab Jerusalem, nomine Emmaus. 14 Et ipsi loquebantur ad invicem de his omnibus quæ acciderant. 15 Et factum est, dum fabularentur, et secum quærerent: et ipse Jesus appropinquans ibat cum illis: 16 oculi autem illorum tenebantur ne eum agnoscerent. 17 Et ait ad illos: Qui sunt hi sermones, quos confertis ad invicem ambulantes, et estis tristes? 18 Et respondens unus, cui nomen Cleophas, dixit ei: Tu solus peregrinus es in Jerusalem, et non cognovisti quæ facta sunt in illa his diebus? 19 Quibus ille dixit: Quæ? Et dixerunt: De Jesu Nazareno, qui fuit vir propheta, potens in opere et sermone coram Deo et omni populo: 20 et quomodo eum tradiderunt summi sacerdotes et principes nostri in damnationem mortis, et crucifixerunt eum: 21 nos autem sperabamus quia ipse esset redempturus Israël: et nunc super hæc omnia, tertia dies est hodie quod hæc facta sunt. 22 Sed et mulieres quædam ex nostris terruerunt nos, quæ ante lucem fuerunt ad monumentum, 23 et non invento corpore ejus, venerunt, dicentes se etiam visionem angelorum vidisse, qui dicunt eum vivere. 24 Et abierunt quidam ex nostris ad monumentum: et ita invenerunt sicut mulieres dixerunt, ipsum vero non invenerunt.25 Et ipse dixit ad eos: O stulti, et tardi corde ad credendum in omnibus quæ locuti sunt prophetæ!

[13] And behold, two of them went, the same day, to a town which was sixty furlongs from Jerusalem, named Emmaus. [14] And they talked together of all these things which had happened. [15] And it came to pass, that while they talked and reasoned with themselves, Jesus himself also drawing near, went with them. [16] But their eyes were held, that they should not know him. [17] And he said to them: What are these discourses that you hold one with another as you walk, and are sad? [18] And the one of them, whose name was Cleophas, answering, said to him: Art thou only a stranger to Jerusalem, and hast not known the things that have been done there in these days? [19] To whom he said: What things? And they said: Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, who was a prophet, mighty in work and word before God and all the people; [20] And how our chief priests and princes delivered him to be condemned to death, and crucified him.[21] But we hoped, that it was he that should have redeemed Israel: and now besides all this, today is the third day since these things were done. [22] Yea and certain women also of our company affrighted us, who before it was light, were at the sepulchre, [23] And not finding his body, came, saying, that they had also seen a vision of angels, who say that he is alive. [24] And some of our people went to the sepulchre, and found it so as the women had said, but him they found not. [25] Then he said to them: O foolish, and slow of heart to believe in all things which the prophets have spoken.

Matins readings (from St Gregory the Great)

Reading 1: Dearly beloved brethren, ye hear, how that while two of His disciples walked together in the way, not believing in His Resurrection, but talking, together concerning Him, the Lord manifested Himself unto them, but yet held their eyes that they should not know Him. This holding of the eyes of their body, wrought by the Lord, was a figure of the spiritual veil which was yet upon the eyes of their heart. For in their heart they loved and yet doubted: even as the Lord drew near to them outwardly, but showed not Who He was. To them that talked together of Him, He revealed His immediate presence; but hid, from them that doubted, the knowledge of His Person.

Reading 2: He spoke to them; He rebuked the hardness of their heart; He expounded unto them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself: and, nevertheless, seeing that He was yet a stranger to faith in their hearts, He made as though He would have gone further. These words He made as though would here seem to mean He feigned, but He Who is simple Truth doth nothing with feigning: He only showed Himself to them in bodily manners, as He was towards them spiritually; but they were put to the proof whether, though they loved Him not yet as their God, they could love Him at least as a wayfarer.

Reading 3: But since it was impossible, that they with whom Truth walked, should be loveless, they asked Him as a wayfarer to take of their hospitality. But why say we that they asked Him, when it is written: And they constrained Him? From their example we learn that we ought not only to bid, but also to urge, wayfarers to our hospitable entertainment. They laid a table therefore, and set before Him bread and meat; and that God Whom they had not known in the expounding of the Holy Scripture, they knew in the breaking of bread. In hearing the commandments of God they were not enlightened, but they were enlightened in the doing of them: as it is written: Not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified. Rom. ii. 13. Whosoever therefore will understand that which he heareth, let him make haste to practise in his works that which he hath already been able to hear. Behold, the Lord was not known while He spake, but He was contented to be known when He brake bread.