Saturday, 15 October 2016

Matins readings for the third Sunday of October

Nocturn I: 1 Maccabees 9:1-20

Reading 1: In the mean time when Demetrius heard that Nicanor and his army were fallen in battle, he sent again Bacchides and Alcimus into Judea; and the right wing of his army with them.
And they took the road that leadeth to Galgal, and they camped in Masaloth, which is in Arabella: and they made themselves masters of it, and slew many people. In the first month of the hundred and fifty-second year they brought the army to Jerusalem: And they arose, and went to Berea with twenty thousand men, and two thousand horsemen.

R. The Lord open your hearts in His law and commandments, and send peace in your days.
* May He grant you salvation and redeem you out of all evil.
V. The Lord hear your prayers, and be at one with you, and never forsake you in the time of trouble.
R. May He grant you salvation and redeem you out of all evil.

Reading 2:  Now Judas had pitched his tents in Laisa, and three thousand chosen men with him:
And they saw the multitude of the army that they were many, and they were seized with great fear: and many withdrew themselves out of the camp, and there remained of them no more than eight hundred men.  And Judas saw that his army slipped away, and the battle pressed upon him, and his heart was cast down: because he had not time to gather them together, and he was discouraged.  Then he said to them that remained: Let us arise, and go against our enemies, if we may be able to fight against them. But they dissuaded him, saying: We shall not be able, but let us save our lives now, and return to our brethren, and then we will fight against them: for we are but few.

R. The Lord hear your prayers, and be at one with you, and never forsake you in the time of trouble
* Even He, the Lord our God.
V. Give you all an heart to serve Him, and to do His will.
R. Even He, the Lord our God.

Reading 3: Then Judas said: God forbid we should do this thing, and flee away from them: but if our time be come, let us die manfully for our brethren, and let us not stain our glory. And the army removed out of the camp, and they stood over against them: and the horsemen were divided into two troops, and the slingers, and the archers went before the army, and they that were in the front were all men of valour. And Bacchides was in the right wing, and the legion drew near on two sides, and they sounded the trumpets: And they also were on Judas' side, even they also cried out, and the earth shook at the noise of the armies: and the battle was fought from morning even unto the evening.

R. Our enemies are gathered together, and make their boast of their own strength. O Lord, break their power, and scatter them
* That they may know that there is none other that fighteth for us, but only Thou, O our God!
V. Scatter them in thy strength, and destroy them, O Lord our Shield
R. That they may know that there is none other that fighteth for us, but only Thou, O our God

Reading 4:  And Judas perceived that the stronger part of the army of Bacchides was on the right side, and all the stout of heart came together with him: And the right wing was discomfited by them, and he pursued them even to the mount Azotus. And they that were in the left wing saw that the right wing was discomfited, and they followed after Judas, and them that were with him, at their back: And the battle was hard fought, and there fell many wounded of the one side and of the other. And Judas was slain, and the rest fled away. And Jonathan and Simon took Judas their brother, and buried him in the sepulchre of their fathers in the city of Modin.  And all the people of Israel bewailed him with great lamentation, and they mourned for him many days.

R. Dixit Judas Simoni fratri suo: Elige tibi viros, et vade, libera fratres tuos in Galilaeam: ego autem, et Jonathas frater tuus, ibimus in Galaaditim: * Sicut fuerit voluntas in caelo, sic fiat.
V. Accingimini filii potentes, et estote parati: quoniam melius est nobis mori in bello, quam videre mala gentis nostrae, et sanctorum.
R. Sicut fuerit voluntas in caelo, sic fiat.
V. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, * and to the Holy Ghost.
R. Sicut fuerit voluntas in caelo, sic fiat.

Nocturn II: From St Ambrose, On the Duties of the Clergy

Reading 5: But as fortitude is proved not only by prosperity but also in adversity, let us now consider the death of Judas Maccabæus. For he, after Nicanor, the general of King Demetrius, was defeated, boldly engaged 20,000 of the king's army with 900 men who were anxious to retire for fear of being overcome by so great a multitude, but whom he persuaded to endure a glorious death rather than to retire in disgraceful flight. Let us not leave, he says, any stain upon our glory.

R. Be ye not afraid of the assault of the enemy remember how our fathers were delivered.
* Now, therefore, let us cry unto heaven, and our God will have mercy upon us.
V.Remember His marvellous works that He hath done unto Pharaoh and his host in the Red Sea.
R. Now, therefore, let us cry unto heaven, and our God will have mercy upon us.

Reading 6: Thus, then, engaging in battle after having fought from sunrise till evening, he attacks and quickly drives back the right wing, where he sees the strongest troop of the enemy to be. But while pursuing the fugitives from the rear he gave a chance for a wound to be inflicted. Thus he found the spot of death more full of glory for himself than any triumph.Why need I further mention his brother Jonathan, who fought against the king's force, with but a small troop. Though forsaken by his men, and left with only two, he retrieved the battle, drove back the enemy, and recalled his own men, who were flying in every direction, to share in his triumph.

R. The heathen are assembled together to fight against us, and we know not what we should do.
* Our eyes look unto thee, O Lord our God, that we should not perish.
V. What things they imagine against us, Thou knowest. How shall we be able to stand against them, except Thou be our help
R. Our eyes look unto thee, O Lord our God, that we should not perish.

Reading 7: Here, then, is fortitude in war, which bears no light impress of what is virtuous and seemly upon it, for it prefers death to slavery and disgrace. But what am I to say of the sufferings of the martyrs? Not to go too far abroad, did not the children of Maccabæus gain triumphs over the proud King Antiochus, as great as those of their fathers? The latter in truth were armed, but they conquered without arms.

R. thine, O Lord, is the power, thine is the kingdom, O Lord, and Thou art exalted above all the heathen.
* Give peace in our time, O Lord.
V. O Lord God, Creator of all things, Who art fearful and strong, righteous and merciful.
R. Give peace in our time, O Lord.

Reading 8: The company of the seven brothers stood unconquered, though surrounded by the legions of the king — tortures failed, tormentors ceased; but the martyrs failed not. One, having had the skin of his head pulled off, though changed in appearance, grew in courage. Another, bidden to put forth his tongue, so that it might be cut off, answered: The Lord hears not only those who speak, for He heard Moses when silent. He hears better the silent thoughts of His own than the voice of all others. Do you fear the scourge of my tongue— and do you not fear the scourge of blood spilt upon the ground? Blood, too, has a voice whereby it cries aloud to God— as it did in the case of Abel.

R. They decked the fore-front of the Temple with crowns of gold, and dedicated the Altar unto the Lord. * And there was very great gladness among the people.
V. They praised the Lord with Psalms and thanksgiving.
R. And there was very great gladness among the people.
V. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, * and to the Holy Ghost.
R. And there was very great gladness among the people.


Matins readings for the 22nd Sunday after Pentecost (Nocturn III)


Nocturn III: (St Hilary on Matt 23)

Reading 9: At that time The Pharisees went and took counsel how they might entangle Jesus in His talk. And so on.

The Pharisees had oftentimes been put to confusion, and were not able to find any ground to accuse Him out of anything that He had hitherto said or done. His words and works are, of necessity, faultless, but still,from spite, they set themselves to seek in every direction for. some cause to accuse Him. He was calling all to turn away from the corruptions of the world, and the superstitious practices of devotion invented by men, and to fix their hopes upon the kingdom of heaven.

R. The sun shone upon the shields of gold, and the mountains glistered therewith
* And the army of the heathens was spread abroad.
V. For the army was very great and mighty then Judas and his host drew near and entered into battle.
R. And the army of the heathens was spread abroad.

Reading 10: They therefore arranged a question calculated to entrap Him into an offence against civil government, namely " Is it lawful to give tribute unto Caesar or not ". But Jesus perceived their wickedness, for in sooth there is nothing hidden in the heart of man, but what God seeth it, " and said Why tempt ye Me, ye hypocrites Show Me the tribute-money. And they brought unto Him a penny. And He saith unto them Whose is this image and superscription.

R. They praised the Lord with psalms and thanksgiving
* Who had done so great things in Israel, and given them the victory the Lord Almighty.
V. They decked the fore-front of the Temple with crowns of gold, and dedicated the Altar unto the Lord.
R. Who had done so great things for Israel, and given them the victory the Lord Almighty.

Reading 11: They say unto Him Caesar's. Then saith He unto them Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's, and unto God the things that are God's." How wonderful is this answer How perfect the fulfilment of the Divine Law herein prescribed So beautifully doth He here strike the balance between caring not for the things of the world, on the one hand, and the offence of injuring Caesar, on the other, that He proveth the perfect freedom of minds, however devoted to God, to discharge all human cares and duties, by commanding them to render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's.If we have nothing which is Caesar's, then we have nothing which we are bound to render unto him.

R. This is a lover of the brethren, and of the people of Israel * This is one who prayeth much for the people, and for all the Holy City, Jerusalem.
V. There appeared a man most gentle toward all his people.
R. This is one who prayeth much for the people, and for all the Holy City, Jerusalem.

Reading 12: But if we are concerned with the things which are his, if we are entrusted by him with the use of delegated power, if we are subject to him as paid servants to take care of property which is not our own, there can be no dispute but that it is our duty to render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's. But unto God all of us are bound always to render the things that are God's, that is to say, our body, soul, and will. These are things which we hold from Him, and whereof He is the Author and Maker. It is therefore simply just that they, who acknowledge that they owe to Him their being and creation, should render to Him all that they are.

R. One Seraph cried unto another * Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord God of hosts the whole earth is full of His glory.
V. There are Three That bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost and these Three are One.
R. Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord God of hosts
V. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, * and to the Holy Ghost.
R. The whole earth is full of His glory.

Gospel: Matt 22:15-21

Then the Pharisees going, consulted among themselves how to insnare him in his speech.  And they sent to him their disciples with the Herodians, saying: Master, we know that thou art a true speaker, and teachest the way of God in truth, neither carest thou for any man: for thou dost not regard the person of men. Tell us therefore what dost thou think, is it lawful to give tribute to Caesar, or not? But Jesus knowing their wickedness, said: Why do you tempt me, ye hypocrites? Shew me the coin of the tribute. And they offered him a penny. And Jesus saith to them: Whose image and inscription is this? They say to him: Caesar's. Then he saith to them: Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar's; and to God, the things that are God's.