Saturday, 12 November 2016

Matins readings for the fourth Sunday of November

Nocturn I: Hosea 1:1-11

Reading 1: The word of the Lord, that came to Osee the son of Beeri, in the days of Ozias, Joathan, Achaz, and Ezechias kings of Juda, and in the days of Jeroboam the son of Joas king of Israel.  The beginning of the Lord's speaking by Osee: and the Lord said to Osee: Go, take thee a wife of fornications, and have of her children of fornications: for the land by fornication shall depart from the Lord. So he went, and took Gomer the daughter of Debelaim: and she conceived and bore him a son.

R. I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and the whole earth was full of His glory;
* And His train filled the temple.
V. Above it stood the Seraphim each one had six wings.
R. And His train filled the temple.

Reading 2: And the Lord said to him: Call his name Jezrahel: for yet a little while, and I will visit the blood of Jezrahel upon the house of Jehu, and I will cause to cease the kingdom of the house of Israel. And in that day I will break in pieces the bow of Israel in the valley of Jezrahel. And she conceived again, and bore a daughter, and he said to him: Call her name, Without mercy: for I will not add any more to have mercy on the house of Israel, but I will utterly forget them.

R. Consider, O Lord, how that the city sitteth solitary that was full of riches; how is she become as a widow, she that was great among the nations;
* She hath none to comfort her, save thee, O our God.
V. She weepeth sore in the night, and her tears are on her cheeks.
R. She hath none to comfort her, save thee, O our God.

Reading 3: And I will have mercy on the house of Juda, and I will save them by the Lord their God: and I will not save them by bow, nor by sword, nor by battle, nor by horses, nor by horsemen. And she weaned her that was called Without mercy. And she conceived, and bore a son. And he said: Call his name, Not my people: for you are not my people, and I will not be yours.

R. Consider, O Lord, how that the city sitteth solitary that was full of riches; how is she become as a widow, she that was great among the nations;* She hath none to comfort her, save thee, O our God.
V. She weepeth sore in the night, and her tears are on her cheeks.
R. She hath none to comfort her, save thee, O our God.

Reading 4: And the number of the children of Israel shall be as the sand of the sea, that is without measure, and shall not be numbered. And it shall be in the place where it shall be said to them: You are not my people: it shall be said to them: Ye are the sons of the living God. And the children of Juda, and the children of Israel shall be gathered together: and they shall appoint themselves one head, and shall come up out of the land: for great is the day of Jezrahel.

Nocturn II: St Augustine, City of God Book 18 ch 28

Reading 5: As to the Prophet Hosea, the deeper his meaning, the harder to pierce. But somewhat may be gotten out of him, and, as I promised, I will give it here. He saith And it shall come to pass that, in the place where it shall be said unto them, Ye are not My people, there it shall be said unto them Ye are the sons of the living God. This was understood even by the Apostles as a Prophetic witness to the call of the Gentiles, who erst had not been God's people.

R. I have set watchmen upon thy walls, O Jerusalem;* Which shall never hold their peace day nor night, to praise the name of the Lord.
V. They shall proclaim My might unto the nations, and declare My glory unto the Gentiles.
R. Which shall never hold their peace day nor night, to praise the name of the Lord.

Reading 6: And since the converted Gentiles are the spiritual children of Abraham, and are therefore rightly called Israelites, therefore he goeth on, and saith: Then shall the children of Judah and the children of Israel be gathered together, and appoint themselves one head, and they shall come up out of the land.

R. Hedge us about with thy wall that cannot be broken down, O Lord, and shield us continually with the arms of thy might.* O Lord God of Israel, deliver them that cry unto thee.
V. Deliver us also according to thy marvellous works, and give glory to thy Name.
R. O Lord God of Israel, deliver them that cry unto thee.

Reading 7: If we went on expounding this, we should water down the flavour of the prophetic draught. Let there be remembered, however, that Corner Stone, and let there be acknowledged those twain walls, (which It bindeth in one,) the Jews and the Gentiles, one called the children of Judah and the other the children of Israel, bound together under One Head, and coming up out of the land.

R. We looked for peace, and it came not we asked for good, and behold trouble. We acknowledge, O Lord, our wickedness.* Forget us not for ever.
V. O Lord (our God) we have sinned, we have done ungodly, we have dealt unrighteously in all thine ordinances.

R. Forget us not for ever.

Reading 8: Concerning them that are now Israelites according to the flesh, that will not now believe in Christ, but shall believe hereafter, (that is, their children shall believe, for these shall die, and go to their own place,) this same Prophet giveth witness, where he saith The children of Israel shall abide many days without a King, and without a Prince, and without a sacrifice, and without an Altar, and without a Priest, and without oracles. To whom is it not manifest that such is the state of the Jews now.

R. I am straitened on every side, and know not what to choose.* It is better for me to fall into the hands of men, than to sin against the law of my God.
V. For if I do this thing, it is death unto me and if I do it not, I cannot escape your hands.
R. It is better for me to fall into the hands of men, than to sin against the law of my God.

Matins readings for the Sixth Sunday remaining after Epiphany (Nocturn III and Gospel)

Nocturn III: Homily of St Jerome

Reading 9: From the Holy Gospel according to Matthew - At that time, Jesus said to to the people a parable: The kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of mustard seed, which a man took and sowed in his field. And so on.

The kingdom of heaven is the proclamation of the Gospel, and that knowledge of the Scriptures, which leadeth unto life, and whereof it is said to the Jews: The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof. Therefore is this kingdom like to a grain of mustard-seed, which a man took and sowed in his field.

R. Blessed is the people* Whom the Lord of hosts hath blessed, saying O Israel thou art the work of Mine own hands, thou art Mine own inheritance.
V. Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, and the people whom He hath chosen for His own inheritance.
R. Whom the Lord of hosts hath blessed, saying O Israel thou art the work of Mine own hands, thou art Mine own inheritance.

Reading 10: By the man that sowed it in his field, many understand to be meant the Saviour, because He is the Sower That soweth in the souls of believers; others understand every man that soweth good seed in his own field, that is, in himself and in his own heart.  Who is he that soweth, but our own mind and soul, which take the grain from preaching, and by nourishing it in the soil, cause it to sprout in the field of our own breast?

R. The Lord hath sent His angel, and hath shut the lions' mouths, that * They have not hurt me forasmuch as before Him innocency was found in me.
V. God hath sent forth His mercy and His truth, (and delivered) my soul from among the lions' whelps.
R. They have not hurt me forasmuch as before Him innocency was found in me.

Reading 11: The preaching of the Gospel is the least of all doctrines. He that preacheth, for his first lesson, God made man, Christ dead, and the stumbling-block of the Cross, receiveth at first but little credit. Compare such teaching as this with the doctrines of the Philosophers, with their books, their magnificent eloquence, and their rounded sentences, and thou shalt see how the grain of the Gospel, when it is sown, is the humblest of all seeds.

R. I will show thee, O man, what is good, and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to * Do justice and judgment, and to walk humbly with thy God.
V. Trust in the Lord, and do good, and dwell in the land.
R. Do justice and judgment, and walk humbly with thy God.

Reading 12: But when the doctrines of men grow up, there is therein nothing piercing, nothing healthy, nothing life-giving. The plant is drooping, and delicate, and soft. There are herbs and grass whereof it may truly be said that the grass withereth and the flower fadeth. . But the grain of Gospel seed, though, when it was sown, it seemed to be the least of all seeds, when once it is rooted in the soul of man, or in the whole world, groweth not into an herb, but becometh a tree so that the birds of the air (whereby we may understand, either the souls of believers, or the (angelic) powers bound to the service of God,) come and lodge in the branches thereof. I consider that the branches of the Gospel tree, which groweth from the grain of mustard-seed, are the divers developments of doctrine, on which the birds above mentioned find resting-places.

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 13:31-35

Another parable he proposed unto them, saying: The kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of mustard seed, which a man took and sowed in his field. Which is the least indeed of all seeds; but when it is grown up, it is greater than all herbs, and becometh a tree, so that the birds of the air come, and dwell in the branches thereof.  Another parable he spoke to them: The kingdom of heaven is like to leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal, until the whole was leavened.  All these things Jesus spoke in parables to the multitudes: and without parables he did not speak to them.  That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying: I will open my mouth in parables, I will utter things hidden from the foundation of the world.

Thursday, 10 November 2016

Feast of St Martin of Tours

The readings for the feasts in the Benedictine Office are set out below.

Nocturn I: 1 Timothy 3:1-9; Titus 1:7-11, 2:1-8

(Psalms of the feast: 1, 2, 4, 5, 8, 10)

Reading 1: A faithful saying: if a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work.  It behoveth therefore a bishop to be blameless, the husband of one wife, sober, prudent, of good behaviour, chaste, given to hospitality, a teacher,  Not given to wine, no striker, but modest, not quarrelsome, not covetous, but One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all chastity.

R. This is that Martin whom God chose to be an High Priest unto Himself, he upon whom the Lord was pleased to bestow favour like as upon His Apostles* So that he prevailed gloriously in the power of the Divine Trinity three times to raise the dead to life.
V. Martin confessed the faith of the Holy Trinity.
R. So that he prevailed gloriously in the power of the Divine Trinity three times to raise the dead to life.

Reading 2: But if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God? Not a neophyte: lest being puffed up with pride, he fall into the judgment of the devil.  Moreover he must have a good testimony of them who are without: lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.  Deacons in like manner chaste, not double tongued, not given to much wine, not greedy of filthy lucre:  Holding the mystery of faith in a pure conscience.

R. Lord, if I be still needful to thy people, I refuse not to work for them.* Thy will be done.
V. With eyes and hands lifted up to heaven, he never let his mighty spirit slacken in prayer.
R. Thy will be done.

Reading 3: For a bishop must be without crime, as the steward of God: not proud, not subject to anger, not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre: But given to hospitality, gentle, sober, just, holy, continent:  Embracing that faithful word which is according to doctrine, that he may be able to exhort in sound doctrine, and to convince the gainsayers. For there are also many disobedient, vain talkers, and seducers: especially they who are of the circumcision: Who must be reproved, who subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought not, for filthy lucre's sake.

R. Oh, how blessed a man was Bishop Martin* He neither feared to die, nor refused to live.
V. Lord, if I be still needful to thy people, I refuse not to work for them. thy will be done.
R. He neither feared to die, nor refused to live.

Reading 4: But speak thou the things that become sound doctrine: That the aged men be sober, chaste, prudent, sound in faith, in love, in patience. The aged women, in like manner, in holy attire, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teaching well: That they may teach the young women to be wise, to love their husbands, to love their children, To be discreet, chaste, sober, having a care of the house, gentle, obedient to their husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.  Young men, in like manner, exhort that they be sober.  In all things shew thyself an example of good works, in doctrine, in integrity, in gravity, The sound word that can not be blamed: that he, who is on the contrary part, may be afraid, having no evil to say of us.

[Responsory: Dum sacramenta offerret beatus Martinus globus igneus apparuit super caput ejus...]

Nocturn II

(Psalms of the feast: 14, 20, 23, 95, 96, 97)

Reading 5: Martin was born at Sabaria in Pannonia. When he was ten years old he went to the Church, in the spite of his (heathen) father and mother, and by his own will was numbered among the Catechumens. At fifteen years of age he joined the army, and served as a soldier first under Constantius and then under Julian. Once at the gate of Amiens a poor man asked him for an alms for Christ's name's sake, and since he had nothing to his hand but his arms and his clothes, he gave him half of his cloak. In the night following Christ appeared to him clad in the half of his cloak, and saying (to the angels who bare Him company) While Martin is yet a Catechumen, he hath clad Me in this garment.

R. With eyes and hands lifted up to heaven* He never let his mighty spirit slacken in prayer.
V. While as blessed Martin was offering up the mysteries, a ball of fire appeared above his head.
R. He never let his mighty spirit slacken in prayer.

Reading 6: At eighteen years of age he was baptized. He gave up thereupon the life of a soldier, and betook himself to Hilary, Bishop of Poitiers, by whom he was placed in the order of Acolytes. Being afterwards made Bishop of Tours, he built a monastery wherein he lived in holiness for a while in company of four-score monks.

R. Blessed Martin knew of his own death of a long time before it came to pass, and he said unto the brethren* That the dissolution of his body was nigh at hand, for he deemed himself to be already breaking up.
V. His bodily strength gave way all of a sudden, and he called his disciples together, and said unto them
R. That the dissolution of his body was nigh at hand, for he deemed himself to be already breaking up.

Reading 7: At the last he fell sick of a grievous fever at Cande, a village in his diocese, and besought God in constant prayer to set him free from the prison of this dying body. His disciples heard him and said Father, why wilt thou go away from us? unto whom wilt thou bequeath us in our sorrow? Their words moved Martin, and he said Lord, if I be still needful to thy people, I refuse not to work.

R. His disciples said unto blessed Martin: Father, why wilt thou go away from us, and with whom wilt thou leave us orphans?* For ravening wolves will break in upon thy flock.
V. We know that thou wouldest fain be with Christ, but, sooner or later, thy reward is sure. Rather, then, have pity upon us, whom thou art leaving.
R. For ravening wolves will break in upon thy flock.

Reading 8: When his disciples saw him, in the height of the fever, lying upon his back and praying, they entreated him to turn over and take a little rest upon his side while the violence of his sickness would allow him. But Martin answered them Suffer me to look heavenward rather than earthward, that my spirit may see the way whereby it is so soon going to the Lord. At the moment of death he saw the enemy of mankind, and cried out: What are you come here for, you bloody brute? You murderer, you'll find nothing in me. With these words on his lips, he gave up his soul to God, being aged eighty years. He was received by a company of Angels, who were heard praising God by many persons, especially by holy Severinus, Bishop of Cologne.

[Responsory: O virum ineffabilem nec labore victum nec morte vincendum qui nec mori timuit nec vivere recusavit sed conversus ad dominum dixit...]

Nocturn III: Homily of St Ambrose

(Canticles: Sirach 14:22; 15:3-4, 6; Jeremiah 17:7-8; Sirach 31: 8-11)

Reading 9: From the Holy Gospel according to Luke - In that time: Jesus said to his discoples: No man lighteth a candle, and putteth it in a hidden place, nore under a bushel; but upon a candlestick, that they that come in, may see the light. And so on.

In that which goeth before, Christ hath set the Church before the synagogue, and He exhorteth us rather to trust in the Church. The candle is faith, even as it is written thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.  Our faith is the word of God. The word of God is light. Faith is the candle. It is written concerning the Word of God, that That was the true Light, Which lighteth every man that cometh into this world. But a candle cannot shine, unless it be lighted from some other fire.

R. Blessed indeed was this man, at the time of whose passing the Saints sang in company, a band of Angels shouted aloud for joy* And an army of all the Powers of heaven came out to meet him, singing praises.
V. His strength is a stay to the Church, his manifestation a glory to the Priests of God; Michael and his Angels took him away.
R. And an army of all the Powers of heaven came out to meet him, singing praises.

Reading 10: Also it is written What woman, having ten pieces of silver, if she lose one piece, doth not light a candle, and sweep the house, and seek diligently till she find it? And here the candle lighted to find the lost piece is the strength in our understandings and affections. Let no man therefore seek faith under the law. For the law is by measure, but grace without measure; the law overshadoweth, but grace enlighteneth. And therefore let no man shut up his faith within the measure of the law, but give it unto the Church, the Church, wherein shineth the sevenfold grace of the Spirit, and whereon the Divine glory of the Great High Priest doth strike from heaven, lest the shadow of the law should rest any more at all upon her.

R. Martin was carried joyfully into Abraham's bosom. Martin, who was poor here and of small estimation,* Etereth rich into heaven, and the songs of heaven are raised in his honour.
V. Bishop Martin, that jewel of Priests, goeth away from time, liveth in Christ.
R. Entereth rich into heaven, and the songs of heaven are raised in his honour.

Reading 11: Under the old law there was the sevenfold lamp which the Priest of the Jews lighted every morning and every evening, and this was as it were a candle put under a bushel. That Jerusalem which is upon earth, that Jerusalem which killed the Prophets, lieth hid, as it were, in a dark place in the valley of tears. 

[Responsory: Martinus sacerdos dei cui post apostolos tantam gratiam dominus contulit ut tres mortuos suscitaret et alias virtutes praeclaras ostendit et inter alios confessores et martyres et rosa fulget in Gallia...]

Reading 12: But that Jerusalem which is in heaven, whereof by faith we are soldiers, is a city set upon the highest of all mountains, even upon Christ. Her the darkness and tempests of earth cannot hide, but she blazeth with the glory of the Eternal Sun, and maketh to fall upon us the light of spiritual grace.

[Responsory: Elegit te dominus sacerdotem sibi ad sacrificandum ei hostiam laudis...]

Gospel: Luke 11:33-36

Nobody lights a lamp, and then puts it away in a cellar or under a bushel measure; it is put on the lamp-stand, so that its light may be seen by all who come in.  Thy body has the eye for its lamp; and if thy eye is clear, the whole of thy body will be lit up; when it is diseased, the whole of thy body will be in darkness.  Take good care then, that this principle of light which is in thee is light, not darkness;  then, if thy whole body is in the light, with no part of it in darkness, it will all be lit up as if by a bright lamp enlightening thee.

Wednesday, 9 November 2016

Feast of the Dedication of St John Lateran

5,The first two Nocturns of today's readings at Matins are for the feast; the third is from the Common for the Dedication of a Church.

Nocturn I: Rev 21: 9-18

Psalms of the feast: 5, 10, 23, 28, 45, 47

Reading 1: And there came one of the seven angels, who had the vials full of the seven last plagues, and spoke with me, saying: Come, and I will shew thee the bride, the wife of the Lamb. And he took me up in spirit to a great and high mountain: and he shewed me the holy city Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God,  Having the glory of God, and the light thereof was like to a precious stone, as to the jasper stone, even as crystal.

R. When the Temple was dedicated the people sang praise;* And sweet in their mouths was the sound.
V. The Lord's house is established in the top of the mountains; and all nations shall flow unto it.
R. And sweet in their mouths was the sound.

Reading 2: And it had a wall great and high, having twelve gates, and in the gates twelve angels, and names written thereon, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel. On the east, three gates: and on the north, three gates: and on the south, three gates: and on the west, three gates. And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and in them, the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.

R. The Lord's house is established in the top of the mountains, and exalted above the hills;* And all nations shall flow unto it, and shall say: Glory be to thee, O Lord!
V. They shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing their sheaves with them.
R. And all nations shall flow unto it, and shall say: Glory be to thee, O Lord!

Reading 3: And he that spoke with me, had a measure of a reed of gold, to measure the city and the gates thereof, and the wall. And the city lieth in a foursquare, and the length thereof is as great as the breadth: and he measured the city with the golden reed for twelve thousand furlongs, and the length and the height and the breadth thereof are equal.

R. O Lord, bless this house which I have built unto thy name. whosoever shall come unto this place and pray, then* Hear thou from the excellent throne of thy glory.
V. O Lord, if thy people turn and pray toward thy sanctuary.
R. Hear thou from the excellent throne of thy glory.

Reading 4: And he measured the wall thereof an hundred and forty-four cubits, the measure of a man, which is of an angel.  And the building of the wall thereof was of jasper stone: but the city itself pure gold, like to clear glass.

[Terribilis est locus iste non est hic aliud nisi domus dei et porta caeli *vere etenim dominus est in loco isto et ego nesciebam...]

Nocturn II

Psalms of the feast: 83, 86, 87, 90,95, 98

Reading 5: The Rites whereof the Church of Rome maketh use for the hallowing of Churches and Altars were first instituted by the blessed Pope Sylvester. From the very time of the Apostles there had been places set apart for God, where assemblies took place upon the first day of every week, and where the Christians were used to pray, to hear the word of God, and to receive the Eucharist, which places were by some called Oratories and by others Churches. But these places were not dedicated with so solemn a form, nor did they set up therein an Altar for a pillar, and pour chrism thereon, for a figure of our Lord Jesus Christ, Who is Himself our Altar, our Victim, and our Priest.

R. If they pray toward this place,* Forgive the sin of thy people, O God, and teach them the good way wherein they should walk, and manifest forth thy glory in this place.
V. Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel, thou that leadest Joseph like a flock, thou that sittest upon the cherubim.
R. Forgive the sin of thy people, O God, and teach them the good way wherein they should walk, and manifest forth thy glory in this place.

Reading 6: But when the Emperor Constantine had by the Sacrament of Baptism received health both of body and soul, then first in a law by him published was it allowed to the Christians throughout the whole world to build Churches, to the which holy building he exhorted them by his example as well as by his decree. He dedicated in his own Lateran Palace a Church to the Saviour, and built hard by it a Cathedral in the name of St John the Baptist, upon the place where he had been baptized by holy Sylvester and cleansed from his leprosy. This Cathedral was hallowed by the said Pope upon the 9th day of November. It is this consecration, the memory whereof is still celebrated upon this day, the first whereon the public consecration of a Church ever took place in Rome, and the image of the Saviour was seen by the Roman people painted upon the wall.
V. But thou, O Lord, have mercy upon us.
R. Thanks be to God.

R. How dreadful is this place! * Surely this is none other but the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven.
V. This is the house of God, stoutly builded, well founded upon a sure rock.
R. Surely this is none other but the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven.

Reading 7: The Blessed Sylvester afterwards decreed, when he was consecrating the Altar of the Prince of the Apostles, that Altars were thenceforward to be made of stone only, but notwithstanding this the Lateran Cathedral hath the altar made of wood. This is not surprising. From St. Peter to Sylvester the Popes had not been able, by reason of persecutions, to abide fixedly in one place, and they celebrated the Holy Liturgy in cellars, in burying-places, in the houses of godly persons, or wherever need drove them, upon a wooden altar made like an empty box.

R. Jacob rose up early in the morning, and set up the stone for a pillar, and poured oil upon the top of it, and vowed a vow unto the Lord.
* Surely this place is holy, and I knew it not.
V. And Jacob awaked out of his sleep, and he said
R. Surely this place is holy, and I knew it not.

Reading 8: When peace was given to the Church, holy Sylvester took this box, and to do honour to the Prince of the Apostles, who is said to have offered sacrifice thereon, and to the other Popes who thereon had been used to execute the mystery even unto that time, set it in the first Church, even the Lateran, and ordained that no one but the Bishop of Rome should celebrate the Liturgy thereon for all time coming. The original Lateran Cathedral, cast down and destroyed by fires, pillage, and earthquakes, and renewed by the constant care of the Popes, was at last rebuilt afresh, and solemnly consecrated by Pope Benedict XIII, a Friar Preacher, upon the 28th day of April, in the year 1726, the memory of which Festival he ordained to be kept upon this day. In the year 1884 Leo XIII took in hand a work which had received the sanction of his predecessor Pius IX. The great sanctuary, the walls of which were giving way with age, was lengthened and widened, a task of immense labour. The ancient mosaic had been renewed previously in several places; it was now restored according to the original design, and transferred to the new apse, the embellishment of which was carried out with great magnificence. The transept was redecorated, and its ceiling and woodwork repaired. A sacristy, a residence for the canons, and a portico connecting with the baptistery of Constantine, were added to the existing buildings.

[Quam dilecta...]

Nocturn III: Homily of St Ambrose

Canticles: Tobit 13:1-17; Isaiah 2:2-3; Jeremiah 7:2-7

Reading 9: From the Holy Gospel according to Luke - At that time: Jesus entered and passed through Jericho. And, behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus, which was the chief among the publicans, and he was rich. And so on.

Zacchaeus was little of stature, that is, he was not raised aloft among men by nobility of birth, and, like the most of the world, he possessed few merits. When he heard that the Lord and Saviour, Who had come unto His Own, and Whom His Own had not received, was coming, he desired to see Him. But the sight of Jesus is not easy; to any on the earth it is impossible. And since Zacchaeus had neither the Prophets, nor yet the Law, as a gracious help to his nature, he climbed up into a sycamore tree, raising his feet above the vanity of the Jews, and straightening the crooked branches of his former life, and therefore he received Jesus to lodge within his house.

R. My house shall be called the house of prayer, saith the Lord. Therein, he that asketh, receiveth; he that seeketh, findeth;* And to him that knocketh, it shall be opened.
V. Ask, and ye shall receive; seek, and ye shall find.
R. And to him that knocketh, it shall be opened.

Reading 10: He did well to climb up into a tree, that a good tree might bring forth good fruits, and that the slip of the wild olive, grafted, contrary to nature, into the good olive, might bring forth the fruits of the law. For the root is holy, however unprofitable the branches. Their barren beauty hath now been overshadowed by the belief of the Gentiles in the Resurrection, as by a material upgrowth.

R. All thy walls are of stones most precious.* The towers of Jerusalem shall be built up with jewels.
V. The gates of Jerusalem shall be built up with the sapphire stone, and the emerald, and all her walls round about with stones most precious.
R. The towers of Jerusalem shall be built up with jewels.

Reading 11: Zacchaeus, then, was in the sycamore tree, and the blind man by the way-side. For the one, Jesus stood waiting to show mercy, and asked him before He healed him, what he would that He should do for him; being unbidden of the other, He bade Himself to be his Guest, knowing how rich was the reward of receiving Him. Nevertheless, albeit He had heard no words of invitation, yet had He seen how his heart went.

[Benedictus es...]

Reading 12: But lest we should seem haughtily to pass by the poor blind man, and to hurry on to the rich one, let us stand waiting for him, as the Lord stood and waited; let us ask of him, as Christ asked of him. Let us ask, because we are ignorant; Christ asked, because He knew. Let us ask, that we may know whence he received his cure; Christ asked, that all of us may know from one ensample where through we are to earn a sight of the Lord. Christ asked, that we might believe that none, save they that confess Him, can be saved.

[Vidi civitatem...]

Gospel: Luke 19:1-10

And entering in, he walked through Jericho. And behold, there was a man named Zacheus, who was the chief of the publicans, and he was rich.  And he sought to see Jesus who he was, and he could not for the crowd, because he was low of stature. And running before, he climbed up into a sycamore tree, that he might see him; for he was to pass that way.  And when Jesus was come to the place, looking up, he saw him, and said to him: Zacheus, make haste and come down; for this day I must abide in thy house.  And he made haste and came down; and received him with joy. And when all saw it, they murmured, saying, that he was gone to be a guest with a man that was a sinner. But Zacheus standing, said to the Lord: Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have wronged any man of any thing, I restore him fourfold.  Jesus said to him: This day is salvation come to this house, because he also is a son of Abraham.  For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.

Monday, 7 November 2016

Office of St Benedict on Tuesday - Readings for November

In November, the old Votive Office of St Benedict used the ferial readings of the Office for the first reading.  The current rubric is to combine the ferial readings when replacing the third with that of a saint, so I imagine that was done in previous versions of the breviary as well.

Accordingly, on Tuesday November 8 2016, the first reading would be Daniel 3:14-24, and on November 15, Joel 1:1-11.

Appropriately for the season, the votive Office then uses Chapter 37 of St Gregory's Life of the saint, which deals with St Benedict's death, for the second and third readings, as set out below:

Reading 2: In the year that was to be his last, the man of God foretold the day of his holy death to a number of his disciples. In mentioning it to some who were with him in the monastery, he bound them to strict secrecy. Some others, however, who were stationed elsewhere he only informed of the special sign they would receive at the time of his death.  Six days before he died, he gave orders for his tomb to be opened. Almost immediately he was seized with a violent fever that rapidly wasted his remaining energy. Each day his condition grew worse until finally, on the sixth day, he had his disciples carry him into the chapel where he received the Body and Blood of our Lord to gain strength for his approaching end. Then, supporting his weakend body on the arms of his brethren, he stood with his hands raised to heaven and, as he prayed, breathed his last.

Reading 3:That day two monks, one of them at the monastery, the other some distance away, received the very same revelation.  They both saw a magnificent road covered with rich carpeting and glittering with thousands of lights. From his monastery it stretched eastward in a straight line until it reached up into heaven. And there in the brightness stood a man of majestic appearance, who asked them, "Do you know who passed this way?" "No," they replied. "This, he told them, is the road taken by blessed Benedict, the Lord's beloved, when he went to heaven." Thus, while the brethren who were with Benedict witnessed his death, those who were absent knew about it through the sign he had promised them. His body was laid to rest in the Chapel of St. John the Baptist, which he had built to replace the altar of Apollo.