Saturday, 10 December 2016

Matins readings for the Third Sunday of Advent


Nocturn I: Isaiah 26:1-14


Reading 1: In that day shall this canticle be sung the land of Juda. Sion the city of our strength a saviour, a wall and a bulwark shall be set therein. Open ye the gates, and let the just nation, that keepeth the truth, enter in. The old error is passed away: thou wilt keep peace: peace, because we have hoped in thee.

R. Behold, the Lord shall appear upon a white cloud,* And ten thousand of His saints with Him; and He shall have on His vesture, and on His thigh a name written King of kings, and Lord of lords.
V. He shall appear and not lie; though He tarry, wait for Him, because He will surely come.
R. And ten thousand of His saints with Him; and He shall have on His vesture, and on His thigh a name written King of kings, and Lord of lords.

Reading 2: You have hoped in the Lord for evermore, in the Lord God mighty for ever.  For he shall bring down them that dwell on high, the high city he shall lay low. He shall bring it down even to the ground, he shall pull it down even to the dust. The foot shall tread it down, the feet of the poor, the steps of the needy.

R. Thou, Bethlehem, art the city of the Most High God, out of thee shall He come forth That is to be Ruler in Israel; Whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting, and now shall He be great unto the ends of the earth.* And this Man shall be the peace in our land, when He shall come.
V. He shall speak peace unto the Gentiles, and shall have dominion from sea to sea.
R. And this Man shall be the peace in our land, when He shall come.

Reading 3: The way of the just is right, the path of the just is right to walk in. And in the way of thy judgments, O Lord, we have patiently waited for thee: thy name, and thy remembrance are the desire of the soul. My soul hath desired thee in the night: yea, and with my spirit within me in the morning early I will watch to thee. When thou shalt do thy judgments on the earth, the inhabitants of the world shall learn justice. Let us have pity on the wicked, but he will not learn justice: in the land of the saints he hath done wicked things, and he shall not see the glory of the Lord.

R. He That shall come, will come, and will not tarry; and there shall no more be fear in our borders.* For He is our Saviour.
V. He shall tread down all our iniquities, and cast all our sins into the depths of the sea.
R. For He is our Saviour.

Reading 4:  Lord, let thy hand be exalted, and let them not see: let the envious people see, and be confounded: and let fire devour thy enemies. Lord, thou wilt give us peace: for thou hast wrought all our works for us. O Lord our God, other lords besides thee have had dominion over us, only in thee let us remember thy name. Let not the dead live, let not the giants rise again: therefore hast thou visited and destroyed them, and best destroyed all their memory.

R: Behold the Lord, the Prince of the kings of the earth, shall come. * Blessed are they who are ready to meet him, they shall have their portion in the city of Jerusalem.
V The Lord cometh quickly and will not tarry.
R Blessed are they who are ready to meet him, they shall have their portion in the city of Jerusalem.
V. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son,  and to the Holy Ghost.
R Blessed are they who are ready to meet him, they shall have their portion in the city of Jerusalem.

Nocturn II: Sermon 13 of St Leo the Great

Reading 5: Dearly beloved brethren, with the care which becometh us as the shepherd of your souls, we urge upon you the rigid observance of this December Fast. The month of December hath come round again, and with it this devout custom of the Church. The fruits of the year, which is drawing to a close, are now all gathered in, and we most meetly offer our abstinence to God as a sacrifice of thanksgiving.

R. Weep not, O Egypt, for the Ruler cometh unto thee, and the depths shall be moved at His presence.
* To deliver His people out of the hand of the mighty.
V. Behold, the Lord of hosts, thy God, cometh with great power.
R. To deliver His people out of the hand of the mighty.

Reading 6: And what can be more useful than fasting, that exercise by which we draw nigh to God, make a stand against the devil, and overcome the softer enticements of sin? Fasting hath ever been the bread of strength. From abstinence proceed pure thoughts, reasonable desires, and healthy counsels. By voluntary mortifications the flesh dieth to lust, and the soul is renewed in might.

R. Her time is near to come, and her days shall not be prolonged. For the they not see but they shall see, with confusion,* Lord shall have mercy on Jacob, and Israel shall be saved.
V. Turn again, O Virgin of Israel, turn again to thy cities.
R. For the Lord shall have mercy on Judah, and Israel shall be saved.

Reading 7: But since fasting is not the only mean whereby we get health for our souls, let us add to our fasting works of mercy. Let us spend in good deeds what we take from indulgence. Let our fast become the banquet of the poor. Let us defend the widow and serve the orphan; let us comfort the afflicted and reconcile the estranged; let us take in the wanderer and succour the oppressed; let us clothe the naked and cherish the sick. And may every one of us that shall offer to the God of all goodness this Advent sacrifice of fasting and alms be by Him fitted to receive an eternal reward in His heavenly kingdom!

R. The Lord shall come down like rain upon a fleece.
* In His days shall righteousness flourish, and abundance of peace.
V. All the kings of the earth shall fall down before Him, all nations shall serve Him.
R. In His days shall righteousness flourish, and abundance of peace.

Reading 8: We fast on Wednesday and Friday; and there is likewise a Vigil on Saturday at the Church of St Peter, that by his good prayers we may the more effectually obtain what we ask for, through our Lord Jesus Christ, Who with the Father and the Holy Ghost, liveth and reigneth, one God, world without end. Amen.

R There shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse and a branch shall grow out of his roots.  *And righteousness shall be the girdle of his loins and faithfulness the girdle of his reins.
V: And the spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding
R And righteousness shall be the girdle of his loins and faithfulness the girdle of his reins.
V. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost.
R And righteousness shall be the girdle of his loins and faithfulness the girdle of his reins.

Nocturn III:  Homily 7 of St Gregory the Great

Reading 9: From the holy Gospel according to John - In that time sent from Jerusalem priests and Levites to John, to ask him: Who art thou? And so on.

Dearly beloved brethren, the first thing which striketh us in to - day's Gospel is the lowly - mindedness of John. He was so great that it was thought he might be the Christ; yet he soberly chose rather to seem only what he really was, than to let the belief of men invest him with a dignity which did not belong to him; for he confessed, and denied not, but confessed, I am not the Christ, at the same time he would not deny what he was in reality; and thus his very truth - speaking made him a member of Him Whose title he would not by falsehood take.

R. O Lord, come and make no tarrying; loosen the bonds of thy people.
* And gather again into their own land them that are scattered abroad.
V. O Lord, stir up thy strength, and come and save us.
R. And gather again into their own land them that are scattered abroad.

Reading 10: In that he arrogated not to himself the name of Christ, he became a member of Christ. While he humbly strove to confess his own weakness, he earned by his simplicity a part in the grandeur of his Master. In considering this subject we find an apparent contradiction between one of John's statements, and the saying of our Redeemer recorded in another part of the Gospel.  When His disciples asked our Lord regarding the coming of Elias, He answered Elias is come already, and they knew him not, but have done unto him whatsoever they listed. And if ye will receive it, this that is, John is Elias.

R. Behold, there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall come for salvation unto the people, to it shall the Gentiles seek * And His name shall be glorious.
V. The Lord God shall give unto Him the throne of His father David, and He shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever.
R. And His name shall be glorious.

Reading 11: But when John was asked if he was Elias, he answered, I am not. How comes it then, dearly beloved brethren, that we find the Truth Itself asserting what the prophet of the Truth denied? It must evidently be that our Lord meant one thing and John another, when the Lord said, This is, and John, I am not. For how can he be the prophet of truth, if he speak not according to the word of Him Who is the Eternal Truth? Let us then more minutely examine these words, and we shall find that there is no real contradiction.

R. The Lord will teach us of His ways, and we will walk in His paths. * For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.
V. Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, and to the house of the God of Jacob.
R. For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.

Reading 12: When the Angel announced to Zacharias the coming birth of John he said He shall go before Him in the spirit and power of Elias,  As the old Elias will come again before the Second Advent of the Lord, so did John, as the new Elias, go before the First Advent, in the spirit and power of Elias. As the old Elias will be the Fore-runner of the Judge, so the new Elias was the Fore-runner of the Saviour. John then was Elias in spirit, but not in person; and our Lord asserteth of the spirit what John denieth of the person.

R: Receive the Word, O Virgin Mary, which is brought thee from the Lord by his angel: conceive and bear him who is both God and man * That though mayest be called blessed among all women.
V: For thou shalt bear a Son, yet shalt thou remain unspotted in thy virginity, thou shalt bring to pass great things, and thou shalt be a Mother-ever-Virgin
R That though mayest be called blessed among all women.
V. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost.
R That though mayest be called blessed among all women.

Gospel: John 1:19-28

And this is the testimony of John, when the Jews sent from Jerusalem priests and Levites to him, to ask him: Who art thou? And he confessed, and did not deny: and he confessed: I am not the Christ.  And they asked him: What then? Art thou Elias? And he said: I am not. Art thou the prophet? And he answered: No.  They said therefore unto him: Who art thou, that we may give an answer to them that sent us? What sayest thou of thyself?  He said: I am the voice of one crying out in the wilderness, make straight the way of the Lord, as said the prophet Isaias. And they that were sent, were of the Pharisees. And they asked him, and said to him: Why then dost thou baptize, if thou be not Christ, nor Elias, nor the prophet?  John answered them, saying: I baptize with water; but there hath stood one in the midst of you, whom you know not.  The same is he that shall come after me, who is preferred before me: the latchet of whose shoe I am not worthy to loose. These things were done in Bethania, beyond the Jordan, where John was baptizing.

Saturday in the second week of Advent (Isaiah 25)

Reading 1: O Lord, thou art my God, I will exalt thee, and give glory to thy name: for thou hast done wonderful things, thy designs of old faithful, amen. For thou hast reduced the city to a heap, the strong city to ruin, the house of strangers, to be no city, and to be no more built up for ever. Therefore shall a strong people praise thee, the city of mighty nations shall fear thee. Because thou hast been a strength to the poor, a strength to the needy in his distress: a refuge from the whirlwind, a shadow from the heat.

 [Domine, Deus meus es tu; exaltabo te, et confitebor nomini tuo: quoniam fecisti mirabilia, cogitationes antiquas fideles. Amen. Quia posuisti civitatem in tumulum, urbem fortem in ruinam, domum alienorum: ut non sit civitas, et in sempiternum non aedificetur. Super hoc laudabit te populus fortis; civitas gentium robustarum timebit te: Quia factus es fortitudo pauperi, fortitudo egeno in tribulatione sua, spes a turbine, umbraculum ab aestu.]

R. The Lord shall go forth out of Samaria unto the gate that looketh toward the East; and He shall come into Bethlehem, walking upon the waters of the redemption of Judah.* Then shall every one be saved for, behold, He cometh.
V. And in mercy shall His throne be established, and He shall sit upon it in truth.
R. Then shall every one be saved for, behold, He cometh.

Reading 2:  For the blast of the mighty is like a whirlwind beating against a wall.  Thou shalt bring down the tumult of strangers, as heat in thirst: and as with heat under a burning cloud, thou shalt make the branch of the mighty to wither away. And the Lord of hosts shall make unto all people in this mountain, a feast of fat things, a feast of wine, of fat things full of marrow, of wine purified from the lees. And he shall destroy in this mountain the face of the bond with which all people were tied, and the web that he began over all nations.

[Spiritus enim robustorum quasi turbo impellens parietem.  Sicut aestus in siti, tumultum alienorum humiliabis; et quasi calore sub nube torrente, propaginem fortium marcescere facies. Et faciet Dominus exercituum omnibus populis in monte hoc convivium pinguium, convivium vindemiae, pinguium medullatorum, vindemiae defaecatae.  Et praecipitabit in monte isto faciem vinculi colligati super omnes populos, et telam quam orditus est super omnes nationes.]

R. Make haste, O Lord, make no tarrying.* And deliver thy people.
V. O Lord, come and make no tarrying loose the bonds of thy people.
R. And deliver thy people.

Reading 3: He shall cast death down headlong forever: and the Lord God shall wipe away tears from every face, and the reproach of his people he shall take away from off the whole earth: for the Lord hath spoken it.  And they shall say in that day: Lo, this is our God, we have waited for him, and he will save us: this is the Lord, we have patiently waited for him, we shall rejoice and be joyful in his salvation. For the hand of the Lord shall rest in this mountain: and Moab shall be trodden down under him, as straw is broken in pieces with the wain. And he shall stretch forth his hands under him, as he that swimmeth stretcheth forth his hands to swim: and he shall bring down his glory with the dashing of his hands. And the bulwarks of thy high walls shall fall, and be brought low, and shall be pulled down to the ground, even to the dust.

[Praecipitabit mortem in sempiternum; et auferet Dominus Deus lacrimam ab omni facie, et opprobrium populi sui auferet de universa terra: quia Dominus locutus est. Et dicet in die illa: Ecce Deus noster iste; exspectavimus eum, et salvabit nos; iste Dominus, sustinuimus eum: exsultabimus, et laetabimur in salutari ejus. Quia requiescet manus Domini in monte isto; et triturabitur Moab sub eo, sicuti teruntur paleae in plaustro. Et extendet manus suas sub eo sicut extendit natans ad natandum; et humiliabit gloriam ejus cum allisione manuum ejus. Et munimenta sublimium murorum tuorum concident, et humiliabuntur, et detrahentur in terram usque ad pulverem.]

R. Behold, the Lord cometh down with glory, and His host is with Him.* To visit His people in peace, and to establish them in life everlasting.
V. Behold, our Lord cometh with an host.
R. To visit His people in peace, and to establish them in life everlasting.
V. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, * and to the Holy Ghost.
R. To visit His people in peace, and to establish them in life everlasting.

Friday, 9 December 2016

Friday in the Second Week of Advent (Isaiah 24)



Reading 1: Behold the Lord shall lay waste the earth, and shall strip it, and shall afflict the face thereof, and scatter abroad the inhabitants thereof. And it shall be as with the people, so with the priest: and as with the servant, so with his master: as with the handmaid, so with her mistress: as with the buyer, so with the seller: as with the lender, so with the borrower: as with him that calleth for his money, so with him that oweth. With desolation shall the earth be laid waste, and it shall be utterly spoiled: for the Lord hath spoken this word.

[Ecce Dominus dissipabit terram: et nudabit eam, et affliget faciem ejus, et disperget habitatores ejus.
 Et erit sicut populus, sic sacerdos; et sicut servus, sic dominus ejus; sicut ancilla, sic domina ejus; sicut emens, sic ille qui vendit; sicut fœnerator, sic is qui mutuum accipit; sicut qui repetit, sic qui debet. Dissipatione dissipabitur terra, et direptione praedabitur; Dominus enim locutus est verbum hoc.]

R. Behold, there cometh the Lord, our defender, the Holy One of Israel,
* Wearing a royal crown upon His head.
V. And His dominion shall be from sea even to sea, and from the river even to the ends of the earth.
R. Wearing a royal crown upon His head.

Reading 2: The earth mourned, and faded away, and is weakened: the world faded away, the height of the people of the earth is weakened. And the earth is infected by the inhabitants thereof: because they have transgressed the laws, they have changed the ordinance, they have broken the everlasting covenant. Therefore shall a curse devour the earth, and the inhabitants thereof shall sin: and therefore they that dwell therein shall be mad, and few men shall be left.

[Luxit, et defluxit terra, et infirmata est; defluxit orbis, infirmata est altitudo populi terrae.  Et terra infecta est ab habitatoribus suis, quia transgressi sunt leges, mutaverunt jus, dissipaverunt fœdus sempiternum. Propter hoc maledictio vorabit terram, et peccabunt habitatores ejus; ideoque insanient cultores ejus, et relinquentur homines pauci.]

R. As a mother comforteth her children, so will I comfort you, saith the Lord; My help also cometh unto you out of Jerusalem, the city which I have chosen.* And when ye see this, your heart shall rejoice.
V. I will place salvation in Zion and in Jerusalem My glory.
R. And when ye shall see this, your heart shall rejoice.

Reading 3: The vintage hath mourned, the vine hath languished away, all the merry-hearted have sighed. The mirth of timbrels hath ceased, the noise of them that rejoice is ended, the melody of the harp is silent. They shall not drink wine with a song: the drink shall be bitter to them that drink it.  The city of vanity is broken down, every house is shut up, no man cometh in. There shall be a crying for wine in the streets: all mirth is forsaken: the joy of the earth is gone away.  Desolation is left in the city, and calamity shall oppress the gates. For it shall be thus in the midst of the earth, in the midst of the people, as if a few olives, that remain, should be shaken out of the olive tree: or grapes, when the vintage is ended. These shall lift up their voice, and shall give praise: when the Lord shall be glorified, they shall make a joyful noise from the sea.  Therefore glorify ye the Lord in instruction: the name of the Lord God of Israel in the islands of the sea.  From the ends of the earth we have heard praises, the glory of the Just one.

 Luxit vindemia, infirmata est vitis, ingemuerunt omnes qui laetabantur corde; Cessavit gaudium tympanorum, quievit sonitus laetantium, conticuit dulcedo citharae. Cum cantico non bibent vinum; amara erit potio bibentibus illam. Attrita est civitas vanitatis, clausa est omnis domus, nullo introëunte. Clamor erit super vino in plateis, deserta est omnia laetitia, translatum est gaudium terrae. Relicta est in urbe solitudo, et calamitas opprimet portas. Quia haec erunt in medio terrae in medio populorum, quomodo si paucae olivae quae remanserunt excutiantur ex olea et racemi, cum fuerit finita vindemia. Hi levabunt vocem suam, atque laudabunt: cum glorificatus fuerit Dominus, hinnient de mari. Propter hoc in doctrinis glorificate Dominum; in insulis maris nomen Domini Dei Israël.  A finibus terrae laudes audivimus, gloriam Justi.

R. Thou shalt yet plant vines upon thy mountains, O Jerusalem thou shalt sing for joy, for the day of the Lord cometh; arise, O Zion, and turn unto the Lord thy God; rejoice and be glad, O Jacob.* For thy Saviour cometh from the midst of the nations.
V. Sing aloud for joy, O daughter of Zion; shout with gladness, O daughter of Jerusalem.
R. For thy Saviour cometh from the midst of the nations.
V. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, * and to the Holy Ghost.
R. For thy Saviour cometh from the midst of the nations.

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Matins readings for the Feast of the Immaculate Conception



Nocturn I: Genesis 3:1-15

(Psalms of the Common of the BVM, viz: 8,18, 23, 44, 45, 47)

Reading 1: Now the serpent was more subtle than any of the beasts of the earth which the Lord God made. And he said to the woman: Why hath God commanded you, that you should not eat of every tree of paradise? And the woman answered him, saying: Of the fruit of the trees that are in paradise we do eat: But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of paradise, God hath commanded us that we should not eat; and that we should not touch it, lest perhaps we die. And the serpent said to the woman: No, you shall not die the death.  For God doth know that in what day soever you shall eat thereof, your eyes shall be opened: and you shall be as Gods, knowing good and evil.

R. By one man sin entered into the world, in whom all have sinned.* Fear not, Mary, for thou hast found grace with God.
V. The Lord hath delivered thy soul from death, yea, the Lord was thy stay.
R. Fear not, Mary, for thou hast found grace with God.

Reading 2: And the woman saw that the tree was good to eat, and fair to the eyes, and delightful to behold: and she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave to her husband who did eat. And the eyes of them both were opened: and when they perceived themselves to be naked, they sewed together fig leaves, and made themselves aprons.  And when they heard the voice of the Lord God walking in paradise at the afternoon air, Adam and his wife hid themselves from the face of the Lord God, amidst the trees of paradise.

R. Come unto me all ye that be desirous of me * And I will declare what God hath done for my soul.
V. As the Lord liveth, by me He hath fulfilled His mercy.
R. And I will declare what God hath done for my soul.

Reading 3: And the Lord God called Adam, and said to him: Where art thou? And he said: I heard thy voice in paradise; and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself.  And he said to him: And who hath told thee that thou wast naked, but that thou hast eaten of the tree whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldst not eat?  And Adam said: The woman, whom thou gavest me to be my companion, gave me of the tree, and I did eat.  And the Lord God said to the woman: Why hast thou done this? And she answered: The serpent deceived me, and I did eat.

R. My beloved is white like snow in Lebanon, her lips drop as the honeycomb.* Honey and milk are under her tongue.
V. Come from Lebanon, My Spouse, thou shalt be crowned with a crown of grace.
R. Honey and milk are under her tongue.

Reading 4: And the Lord God said to the serpent: Because thou hast done this thing, thou art cursed among all cattle, and the beasts of the earth: upon thy breast shalt thou go, and earth shalt thou eat all the days of thy life. I will put enmities between thee and the woman, and thy seed and her seed: she shall crush thy head, and thou shalt lie in wait for her heel.

R: God chose Mary and forechose her, and created her in the Holy Ghost.  Therefore no defilement touched her.
V: The Lord gave mary the defence of his salvation, and upheld her with his right hand.
R Therefore no defilement touched her.
V. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost.
R Therefore no defilement touched her.

Nocturn II: (Letter of St Jerome to Paul and Eustochium on the Assumption of the BVM, n5-9; from the Acts of Pope Pius X)

(Ps 84, 86, 95, 96, 97, 98)

Reading 5: Who and what was the blessed and glorious Mary, always a Virgin, hath been revealed by God by the message of an Angel, in these words, Hail, thou that art full of grace, the Lord is with thee blessed art thou among women. It was fitting that a fulness of grace should be poured into that Virgin who hath given to God glory and to man a Saviour, who hath brought peace to earth, who hath given faith to the Gentiles, who hath killed sin, who hath given law to life, who hath made the crooked ways straight. Verily, she is full of grace. To others grace cometh measure by measure; in Mary grace dwelleth at once in all fulness. Verily, she is full of grace. We believe that the holy Fathers and Prophets had grace; but they were not full of grace. But into Mary came a fulness of all the grace which is in Christ, albeit otherwise (than as it is in Him.) Therefore is it said Blessed art thou among women, that is, Blessed art thou above all women. The fulness of blessing in Mary utterly neutralized in her any effects of the curse of Eve. In her praise Solomon writeth in the Song of Songs, Rise up, my dove, my fair one, for the winter is past, the rain is over and gone. And again, Come from Lebanon, my Spouse, come, thou shalt be crowned.

R. I came out of the mouth of the Most High, the first-begotten before every creature. I made the unfading light to arise in the heavens.* When there were no depths I was conceived.
V. For the Lord hath created me in righteousness, and hath held mine hand, and hath kept me.
R. When there were no depths I was conceived.

Reading 6:  Not unjustly then is she bidden to come from' Lebanon, for Lebanon is so named on account of its stainless and glistening whiteness. The earthly Lebanon is white with snow, but the lonely heights of Mary's holiness are white with purity and grace, brilliantly fair, whiter far than snow, sparkling with the gifts of the Holy Ghost she is undefiled like a dove, all clean, all upright, full of grace and truth. She is full of mercy, and of the righteousness that hath looked down from heaven, and therefore is she without stain because in her hath never been any corruption. She hath compassed a man in her womb, saith holy Jeremiah, but she conceived not by the will of fallen man. The Lord, saith the Prophet, hath created a new thing in the earth; a woman shall compass a man.

R. No defiled thing can fall into her;* She is the brightness of the everlasting light, and the unspotted mirror of the power of God.
V. For she is more beautiful than the sun, and being compared with the light, she is found before it.
R. She is the brightness of the everlasting light, and the unspotted mirror of the power of God.

Reading 7: Verily, it is a new thing. Verily, it was a new work of power, greater than all other works, when God, Whom the world cannot bear, and Whom no man shall see and live, entered the lodging of her womb, breaking not the blissful cloister of her virgin flesh. And in her body He was borne, the Infinite inclosed within her womb. And from her womb He came forth, so that it was fulfilled which was spoken of the Prophet Ezekiel, saying, This gate shall be shut, it shall not be opened, and no man shall enter in by it; because the Lord, the God of Israel, hath entered in by it, therefore it shall be shut. xliv. 2. Hence also in the Song of Songs it is said of her, iv. 12, A garden enclosed is my sister, my spouse, a garden enclosed, a fountain sealed, thy perfumes are a garden of delights. Verily a garden of delights, filled with the perfumes of all flowers, rich with the sweet savour of grace. And the most holy Virgin herself is a garden enclosed, whereinto sin and Satan have never entered to sully the blossoms, a fountain sealed, sealed with the seal of the Trinity.

R. There appeared a great wonder in heaven; a Woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet * And upon her head a crown of twelve stars.
V. The Lord hath clothed her with the garments of salvation, and hath covered her with the robe of righteousness, yea, as a bride He hath adorned her with jewels.
R. And upon her head a crown of twelve stars.

Reading 8: The fact that the Virgin Mother of God had at the moment of her conception triumphed over the foul enemy of man, hath ever been borne out by the Holy Scriptures, by the venerable tradition of the Church, and by her unceasing belief, as well as by the common conviction of all Bishops and faithful Catholics, and by marked acts and constitutions of the Holy See. At length the Supreme Pontiff Pius IX., in compliance with the wishes of the Universal Church, determined to publish it as a truth of faith, on his own absolute and unerring authority, and accordingly, on the 8th day of December, 1854, in the Vatican Basilica, in presence of a great multitude composed of the Fathers Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church, and Bishops from all parts of the earth, he, with the consent and jubilation of the whole world, declared and defined as follows That doctrine which declareth that the most blessed Virgin Mary was in the first instant of her Conception preserved, by a special privilege granted unto her by God, from any stain of original sin, is a doctrine taught and revealed by God, and therefore is to be held by all faithful Christians firmly and constantly.

R O Magnify the Lord with me  * For the mercy of the Lord is great upon me
V: The prince of this world have nothing in me
R For the mercy of the Lord is great upon me
V. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost.
R: For the mercy of the Lord is great upon me

Nocturn III (Homily of St Germanus)

(Canticles: Ecclesiasticus 39:17-21; Is 61:10-11&62:1-3; Is 62: 4-7)

Reading 9: From the Holy Gospel according to Luke: Luke 1:26-28: In that time, the angel Gabriel was sent from God into a city of Galilee, called Nazareth, to a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin's name was Mary. And so on.

Hail, Mary, full of grace, holier than the Saints, higher than the heavens, more glorious than the Cherubim, more honourable than the Seraphim, and the most worshipful thing that the hands of God have made. Hail, O dove, bearing in thy beak the olive-branch of peace that telleth us of salvation from the spiritual flood, dove, blessed omen of a safe harbour, whose wings are of silver, and thy feathers of gold, shining in the bright beams of the Most Holy and Light-giving Spirit. Hail, thou living garden of Eden, planted towards the East by the right hand of the Most Merciful and Mighty God, wherein do grow to His glory rich lilies and unfading roses, for the healing of them that have drunk in death from the blighting and pestilential breezes of the bitter West, Eden, wherein hath sprung that Tree of life, Whereof if any man eat he shall live for ever.

R. A garden enclosed is my sister, my spouse, a garden enclosed, a fountain sealed.* O Mary, thy perfumes are a garden of delights.
V. Open to me, my sister, my love, my dove, my undefiled.
R. O Mary, thy perfumes are a garden of delights.

Reading 10: Hail, stately Palace of the King, most holy, stainless, purest, House of the Most High God, adorned with His Royal splendour, open to all, filled with Kingly dainties; Palace wherein is that spiritual bridal chamber, not made with hands, nor hung with divers colours, in the which the Eternal Word, when He would raise up fallen man, wedded flesh unto Himself, that He might reconcile unto the Father them who had cast themselves away. Hail, O rich and shady Mountain of God, whereon pastured the True Lamb, Who hath taken away our sins and infirmities, mountain, whereout hath been cut without hands that Stone which hath smitten the altars of the idols, and become the head-stone of the corner, marvellous in our eyes. Hail, thou holy Throne of God, thou divinest store-house, thou temple of glory, thou bright crown, thou chosen treasure, thou mercy-seat for the whole world, thou heaven declaring the glory of God. Hail, thou vessel of pure gold, made to hold the manna that came down from heaven, the sweet food of our souls, even Christ.

R. My soul doth magnify the Lord; * For He That is mighty hath done to me great things, and holy is His name.
V. For, behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.
R. For He That is mighty hath done to me great things, and holy is His name.

Reading 11: Hail, O purest Virgin, most praiseworthy and most worshipful, hallowed treasury for the wants of all creatures; thou art the untitled earth, the unploughed field; thou art the vine full of flowers, the well overflowing with waters, Maiden and Mother; thou art the Mother that knew not a man, the hidden treasure of guilelessness, and the clear, bright star of holiness; by thy most acceptable prayers, strong from thy motherly mouth, obtain for all estates of men in the Church that they may continually tend unto Him Who is the Lord, and God, and Maker of thee, and of them, and of all, but of thee the Son also, conceived without man's intervention; obtain this, O Mother, pilot them to the harbour of peace.

R: Who is so great a God as our God? * God forechose me, and made my way stainless.
V: My spirit hath rejoiced in God my saviour
R: God forechose me, and made my way stainless.

Reading 12: Be it thine to clothe God's priests with righteousness, and to make them shout aloud for joy in approved and stainless, and upright and glorious faith. thine be it to guide in peace the sceptres of orthodox princes, even of princes who put their trust in thee to be the crown of their Majesty, and the Royal Robe of their greatness, and the firm foundation of their dominion, more than in purple, or fine gold, or pearls, or precious stones; thine be it to put under their feet the unfaithful nations, nations that blaspheme thee, and the God That was born of thee; thine be it to keep in meek obedience the people that are under them, according to the commandment of God. Behold, this is thine own city, which hath thee for her towers and her foundations, crown her with victory, gird the house of God with strength, keep undefiled the loveliness of His tabernacles, as for them that praise thy name, be thou their deliverer from strife and bitterness of spirit. Free thou the prisoner, protect the wanderer, and if there be any that hath no refuge, be thou to him a consolation. Stretch forth thine hand and help the whole earth so shall we year by year keep this and all thy feasts, and at last be found with thee in Christ Jesus, Who is Lord of all, and verily our God. To Him, with the Holy Father, Who is the Fountain of Life, and the coeternal Spirit, Three Persons and One Substance, even as there is one Kingdom, be glory and strength, now and for ever. Amen.

R: The Lord shows us the holy city Jerusalem, having the brightness of God * and her light is like a stone most precious, as clear as crystal.
V: The Lord hath desired the daughter of Jerusalem, adorned with her jewels.
R: And her light is like a stone most precious, as clear as crystal.
V. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost.
R: And her light is like a stone most precious, as clear as crystal.

Gospel: Luke 1:26-28

The angel Gabriel was sent from God into a city of Galilee, called Nazareth, To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin' s name was Mary. And the angel being come in, said unto her: Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women. 

Wednesday in the second week of Advent (Isaiah 16 and Feast of St Ambrose)

The Matins readings for today are as follows:

Reading 1: Send forth, O Lord, the lamb, the ruler of the earth, from the rock of the desert, to the mount of the daughter of Sion. And it shall come to pass, that as a bird fleeing away, and as young ones flying out of the nest, so shall the daughters of Moab be in the passage of Arnon. Take counsel, gather a council: make thy shadow as the night in the midday: hide them that flee, and betray not them that wander about.  My fugitives shall dwell with thee: O Moab, be thou a covert to them from the face of the destroyer.

 Emitte Agnum, Domine, Dominatorem terrae, de Petra deserti ad montem filiae Sion. Et erit: sicut avis fugiens, et pulli de nido avolantes, sic erunt filiae Moab in transcensu Arnon. Ini consilium, coge concilium; pone quasi noctem umbram tuam in meridie; absconde fugientes, et vagos ne prodas. Habitabunt apud te profugi mei; Moab, esto latibulum eorum a facie vastatoris.

R. Christ our King cometh.* And John hath testified of Him, that He is the Lamb that should come!
V. The kings shall shut their mouths at Him, all nations shall serve Him.
R. And John hath testified of Him, that He is the Lamb that should come!

Reading 2: For the dust is at an end, the wretch is consumed: he hath failed, that trod the earth under foot.  And a throne shall be prepared in mercy, and one shall sit upon it in truth in the tabernacle of David, judging and seeking judgment and quickly rendering that which is just. We have heard of the pride of Moab, he is exceeding proud: his pride and his arrogancy, and his indignation is more than his strength. Therefore shall Moab howl to Moab, every one shall howl: to them that rejoice upon the brick walls, tell ye their stripes. For the suburbs of Hesebon are desolate, and the lords of the nations have destroyed the vineyard of Sabama: the branches thereof have reached even to Jazer: they have wandered in the wilderness, the branches thereof are left, they are gone over the sea.

[Finitus est enim pulvis, consummatus est miser, defecit qui conculcabat terram. Et praeparabitur in misericordia solium, et sedebit super illud in veritate in tabernaculo David, iudicans et quaerens iudicium, et velociter reddens quod iustum est. Audivimus superbiam Moab: superbus est valde; superbia eius, et arrogantia eius, et indignatio eius plus quam fortitudo eius.  Idcirco ululabit Moab ad Moab; universus ululabit: his qui laetantur super muros cocti lateris, loquimini plagas suas. Quoniam suburbana Hesebon deserta sunt, et vineam Sabama domini Gentium exciderunt: flagella eius usque ad Iazer pervenerunt, erraverunt in deserto; propagines eius relictae sunt, transierunt mare.]

R. There shall no strangers pass through Jerusalem any more * For in that day the mountains shall drop down sweet wine, and the hills shall flow with milk and honey, saith the Lord.
V. God shall come from Lebanon, and the Holy One from the thick and shady mountain.
R. For in that day the mountains shall drop down sweet wine, and the hills shall flow with milk and honey, saith the Lord.

Reading 3: Ambrose, bishop of Milan, son of Ambrose, who was a Roman citizen, was educated in the City in the liberal arts. Appointed by the prefect Probus to govern Liguria and Aemilia at his order and with his authority. Ambrose went to Milan, where Auxentius, the Arian bishop, had died and the people were quarreling about the choice of a successor. In the exercise of his official duty, Ambrose went into the church to quell the riot that had arisen and, when he had spoken at length and eloquently on the peace and tranquility of the state, suddenly a boy's voice exclaimed, "Ambrose bishop!" Then the whole populace with one voice demanded that he be elected. And so he received baptism (for he had been only a catechumen), the other sacraments of the Christian initiation, all the degrees of orders according to the custom of the Church, and was raised to the dignity of the episcopate. In carrying of his office, he courageously defended the Catholic faith and the discipline of the Church both in speech and in writing, and converted many Arians and other heretics to the faith, among whom was St. Augustine, whom he begot to Christ Jesus as his spiritual child. Worn out by all his labors and cares for the Church of God, he died on April 4 in the year 397.

R. In the midst of the congregation did the Lord open his mouth.* And filled him with the spirit of wisdom and understanding.
V. He made him rich with joy and gladness.
R. And filled him with the spirit of wisdom and understanding.
V. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, * and to the Holy Ghost.
R. And filled him with the spirit of wisdom and understanding.

Tuesday, 6 December 2016

Matins readings for Tuesday in the second week of Advent (Isaiah 14)

Reading 1: Prope est ut veniat tempus eius, et dies eius non elongabuntur. Miserebitur enim Dominus Iacob, et eliget adhuc de Israël, et requiescere eos faciet super humum suam; adiungetur advena ad eos, et adhaerebit domui Iacob. Et tenebunt eos populi, et adducent eos in locum suum; et possidebit eos domus Israël super terram Domini in servos et ancillas: et erunt capientes eos qui se ceperant, et subiicient exactores suos.

Her time is near at hand, and her days shall not be prolonged. For the Lord will have mercy on Jacob, and will yet choose out of Israel, and will make them rest upon their own ground: and the stranger shall be joined with them, and shall adhere to the house of Jacob. And the people shall take them, and bring them into their place: and the house of Israel shall possess them in the land of the Lord for servants and handmaids: and they shall make them captives that had taken them, and shall subdue their oppressors.

R. O ye mountains of Israel, shoot forth your branches and blossom and bring forth fruit.
* The day of the Lord is at hand to come.
V. Drop down, ye heavens, from above, and let the skies pour down the Righteous One let the earth open, and let her bring forth the Saviour.
R. The day of the Lord is at hand to come.

Reading 2: Et erit in die illa: cum requiem dederit tibi Deus a labore tuo, et a concussione tua, et a servitute dura qua ante servisti,  Sumes parabolam istam contra regem Babylonis, et dices: Quomodo cessavit exactor; quievit tributum? Contrivit Dominus baculum impiorum, virgam dominantium, Caedentem populos in indignatione plaga insanabili, subiicientem in furore gentes, persequentem crudeliter.

 And it shall come to pass in that day, that when God shall give thee rest from thy labour, and from thy vexation, and from the hard bondage, wherewith thou didst serve before, Thou shalt take up this parable against the king of Babylon, and shalt say: How is the oppressor come to nothing, the tribute hath ceased? The Lord hath broken the staff of the wicked, the rod of the rulers,  That struck the people in wrath with an incurable wound, that brought nations under in fury, that persecuted in a cruel manner.

R. Let the mountains break forth into singing, and the hills bring forth righteousness * For the Lord, the Light of the world, cometh with power.
V. Out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.
R. For the Lord, the Light of the world, cometh with power.

Reading 3: Quomodo cecidisti de caelo, lucifer, qui mane oriebaris? corruisti in terram, qui vulnerabas gentes? Qui dicebas in corde tuo: In caelum conscendam, super astra Dei exaltabo solium meum; sedebo in monte testamenti, in lateribus Aquilonis. Ascendam super altitudinem nubium, similis ero Altissimo? Verumtamen ad infernum detraheris, in profundum laci.

How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, who didst rise in the morning? how art thou fallen to the earth, that didst wound the nations? And thou saidst in thy heart: I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God, I will sit in the mountain of the covenant, in the sides of the north.  I will ascend above the height of the clouds, I will be like the most High.  But yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, into the depth of the pit.

R. Behold, I, the Lord your God, come from the South * To visit you in peace.
V. I will look again upon you and make you to increase ye shall be multiplied, and I will establish My covenant with you.
R. To visit you in peace.
V. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, * and to the Holy Ghost.
R. To visit you in peace.

Notes

Today's chapter prophesies the return from Exile in Babylon and fall of Satan, as a type of the Second Coming.  The story of the return is told in the books of Ezra and Nehemiah.

Times of exile and the need for restoration have not been infrequent in the history of the Church or for ourselves individually, who exile ourselves through sin.

So it is worth noting that not all returned at once; there were at least two waves of returnees.

Nor was the restoration process straightforward - those in neighbouring areas consistently opposed the restoration process, causing the rebuilding of Jerusalem to halt altogether for fifty years at one point, and then for a division of labour where half guarded while the other half of the labourers rebuilt the walls, swords strapped on at the ready.

There are lessons for us in this, as St Bede saw in his own time, asking the question, why was it so hard to rebuild the temple, when the first construction process went so smoothly?  The answer he gives is that it is much easier for the newly converted to maintain their fervour and stay on the path of righteousness than it is to recover from sin and the rejection of the sacraments, for:
The very habit of vices fights like a hostile crowd of Samaritans against the purification of such a person and is harder to conquer the longer it has occupied a land of heart empty of virtue. (On Ezra and Nehemiah, p;g 106)

Monday, 5 December 2016

Matins readings and notes for Monday in the second week of Advent (Isaiah 13)

Reading 1: Onus Babylonis, quod vidit Isaias, filius Amos.Super montem caliginosum levate signum:
exaltate vocem, levate manum, et ingrediantur portas duces.  Ego mandavi sanctificatis meis,
et vocavi fortes meos in ira mea, exsultantes in gloria mea. Vox multitudinis in montibus,
quasi populorum frequentium; vox sonitus regum, gentium congregatarum.

The burden of Babylon, which Isaias the son of Amos saw.  Upon the dark mountain lift ye up a banner, exalt the voice, lift up the hand, and let the rulers go into the gates.  I have commanded my sanctified ones, and have called my strong ones in my wrath, them that rejoice in my glory.  The noise of a multitude in the mountains, as it were of many people, the noise of the sound of kings, of nations gathered together:

R. Receive, O Virgin Mary, receive the word of the Lord, which is sent thee by His Angel; thou shalt conceive, and shalt bring forth God and Man together.* And thou shalt be called blessed among all women.
V. Thou shalt bring forth a son, and remain a maiden undefiled thou shalt conceive and be a Mother, still Virgin unspotted.
R. And thou shalt be called blessed among all women.

Reading 2: Dominus exercituum præcepit militiæ belli, venientibus de terra procul, a summitate cæli;
Dominus, et vasa furoris ejus, ut disperdat omnem terram. Ululate, quia prope est dies Domini;
quasi vastitas a Domino veniet. Propter hoc omnes manus dissolventur, et omne cor hominis contabescet, et conteretur. Torsiones et dolores tenebunt; quasi parturiens dolebunt: unusquisque ad proximum suum stupebit, facies combustæ vultus eorum.

the Lord of hosts hath given charge to the troops of war. To them that come from a country afar off, from the end of heaven: tile Lord and the instruments of his wrath, to destroy the whole land. Howl ye, for the day of the Lord is near: it shall come as a destruction from the Lord.  Therefore shall all hands be faint, and every heart of man shall melt,  And shall be broken. Gripings and pains shall take hold of them, they shall be in pain as a woman in labour. Every one shall be amazed at his neighbour, their countenances shall be as faces burnt.

R. Sing, O heavens; and be joyful, O earth; and break forth into singing, O mountains, for our Lord will come; * And will have mercy on His afflicted.
V. In His days shall righteousness flourish and abundance of peace.
R. And will have mercy upon His afflicted.

Reading 3: Ecce dies Domini veniet, crudelis, et indignationis plenus, et iræ, furorisque, ad ponendam terram in solitudinem, et peccatores ejus conterendos de ea. Quoniam stellæ cæli, et splendor earum, non expandent lumen suum; obtenebratus est sol in ortu suo, et luna non splendebit in lumine suo. Et visitabo super orbis mala, et contra impios iniquitatem eorum; et quiescere faciam superbiam infidelium, et arrogantiam fortium humiliabo.

Behold, the day of the Lord shall come, a cruel day, and full of indignation, and of wrath, and fury, to lay the land desolate, and to destroy the sinners thereof out of it.  For the stars of heaven, and their brightness shall not display their light: the sun shall be darkened in his rising, and the moon shall not shine with her light. And I will visit the evils of the world, and against the wicked for their iniquity: and I will make the pride of infidels to cease, and will bring down the arrogancy of the mighty.

R. There shall no strangers pass through Jerusalem any more * For in that day the mountains shall drop down sweet wine, and the hills shall flow with milk and honey, saith the Lord.
V. God shall come from Lebanon, and the Holy One from the thick and shady mountain.
R. For in that day the mountains shall drop down sweet wine, and the hills shall flow with milk and honey, saith the Lord.
V. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, * and to the Holy Ghost.
R. For in that day the mountains shall drop down sweet wine, and the hills shall flow with milk and honey, saith the Lord.

Notes

Today's readings focus mainly on the second coming, the 'day of the Lord'.

Babylon and the dark mountain stand for the darkness of apostasy and sin; the banner we are told to lift, St Gregory the Great instructs, is the virtue of the cross, which is above all humility, hence the condemnation of the proud and arrogant at the end of these verses.

Many failed to recognise the Lord at his first coming, or rejected his message.  The key message here is, there will be no warning, so we must always watch and be ready.