Thursday, 5 January 2017

Matins readings for the feast of the Epiphany (Jan 6)

The Matins readings for the feast of the Epiphany in the Benedictine Office are set out below.

Nocturn I: Isaiah 55:1-4; 60:1-3; 4-6; 61:10-11, 62:1

Reading 1: All you that thirst, come to the waters: and you that have no money make haste, buy, and eat: come ye, buy wine and milk without money, and without any price. Why do you spend money for that which is not bread, and your labour for that which doth not satisfy you? Hearken diligently to me, and eat that which is good, and your soul shall be delighted in fatness. Incline your ear and come to me: hear and your soul shall live, and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, the faithful mercies of David. Behold I have given him for a witness to the people, for a leader and a master to the Gentiles.

R. (Hodie in Jordane) This day, when the Lord was baptized in Jordan, the heavens were opened, and the Spirit descended like a dove, and abode upon Him, and, lo, the voice of the Father was heard, like unto thunder, saying:* This is My beloved Son, in Whom I am well pleased.
V. The Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon Him, and a voice came from heaven
R. This is My beloved Son, in Whom I am well pleased.

Reading 2: Arise, be enlightened, O Jerusalem: for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee.  For behold darkness shall cover the earth, and a mist the people: but the Lord shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee. And the Gentiles shall walk in thy light, and kings in the brightness of thy rising.

R. (In columbae) The Holy Ghost appeared in a bodily shape like a dove, and the voice of the Father was heard:
* This is My beloved Son, in Whom I am well pleased.
V. The heavens were opened unto him, and, lo, the voice of the Father was heard, like unto thunder, saying:
R. This is My beloved Son, in Whom I am well pleased.

Reading 3:  Lift up thy eyes round about, and see: all these are gathered together, they are come to thee: thy sons shall come from afar, and thy daughters shall rise up at thy side. Then shalt thou see, and abound, and thy heart shall wonder and be enlarged, when the multitude of the sea shall be converted to thee, the strength of the Gentiles shall come to thee. The multitude of camels shall cover thee, the dromedaries of Madian and Epha: all they from Saba shall come, bringing gold and frankincense: and shewing forth praise to the Lord.

R. (Reges Tarsis) The kings of Tarshish and of the isles shall bring presents. * The kings of Arabia and Saba shall offer gifts unto the Lord God.
V. All they from Saba shall come, they shall bring gold and incense.
R. The kings of Arabia and Saba shall offer gifts unto the Lord God.

Reading 4: I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, and my soul shall be joyful in my God: for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation: and with the robe of justice he hath covered me, as a bridegroom decked with a crown, and as a bride adorned with her jewels. For as the earth bringeth forth her bud, and as the garden causeth her seed to shoot forth: so shall the Lord God make justice to spring forth, and praise before all the nations. For Sion's sake I will not hold my peace, and for the sake of Jerusalem, I will not rest till her just one come forth as brightness, and her saviour be lighted as a lamp.

R. (Dies sanctificatus) This day which is breaking is holy; O come, ye Gentiles, and worship the Lord.* For this day is much light come down unto us from heaven.
V Come let us adore him for he himself is our Lord God
R For this day is much light come down unto us from heaven.
V Glory be...
R For this day is much light come down unto us from heaven.

Nocturn II (Sermon 32 of St Leo)

Reading 5: Dearly beloved brethren, rejoice in the Lord; again I say, rejoice. But a few days are past since the solemnity of Christ's Birth, and now the glorious light of His Manifestation is breaking upon us. On that day the Virgin brought Him forth, and on this the world knew Him. The Word made Flesh was pleased to reveal Himself by degrees to those for whom He had come. When Jesus was born He was manifested indeed to the believing, but hidden from His enemies.

R. (Illuminare) Shine, shine, O Jerusalem, for thy light is come;* And the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee.
V. And the Gentiles shall walk in thy light, and kings in the brightness of thy rising.
R. And the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee.

Reading 6: Already indeed the heavens declared the glory of God, and their sound went out into all lands, when the Herald Angels appeared to tell to the shepherds the glad tidings of a Saviour's Birth; and now the guiding star leadeth the wise men to worship Him, that from the rising of the sun to the going down thereof, the Birth of the true King may be known abroad; that through those wise men the kingdoms of the east might learn the great truth, and the Roman empire remain no more in darkness.

R. (Omnes de Saba) All they from Saba shall come, they shall bring gold and incense, and they shall show forth the praises of the Lord.* Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia.
V. The kings of Tarshish and of the isles shall bring presents, the kings of Arabia and Saba shall offer gifts.
R. Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia.

Reading 7: The very cruelty of Herod, when he strove to crush at His birth this King Whom he alone feared, was made a blind means to carry out this dispensation of mercy. While the tyrant with horrid guilt sought to slay the little Child he did not know, amid an indiscriminate slaughter of innocents, his infamous act served to spread wider abroad the heaven-told news of the Birth of the Lord. Thus were these glad tidings loudly proclaimed, both by the novelty of their story, and the iniquity of their enemies. Then was the Saviour borne into Egypt, that nation, of a long time hardened in idolatry, might by the mysterious virtue which went out of Him, even when His presence was unknown, be prepared for the saving light so soon to dawn on them, and might receive the Truth as a wanderer even before they had banished falsehood.

R. (Magi veniunt) There came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, asking and saying: Where is He That is born King of the Jews? for we have seen His star in the east;* And are come to worship the Lord.
V. We have seen His star in the east.
R. And are come to worship the Lord.

Reading 8: Dearly beloved brethren, we recognize in the wise men who came to worship Christ, the first-fruits of that dispensation to the Gentiles wherein we also are called and enlightened. Let us then keep this Feast with grateful hearts, in thanksgiving for our blessed hope, whereof it doth commemorate the dawn. From that worship paid to the new-born Christ is to be dated the entry of us Gentiles upon our heirship of God and co-heirship with Christ. Since that joyful day the Scriptures which testify of Christ have lain open for us as well as for the Jews. Yea, their blindness rejected that Truth, Which, since that day, hath shed Its bright beams upon all nations. Let all observance, then, be paid to this most sacred day, whereon the Author of our salvation was made manifest, and as the wise men fell down and worshipped Him in the manger, so let us fall down and worship Him enthroned Almighty in heaven. As they also opened their treasures and presented unto Him mystic and symbolic gifts, so let us strive to open our hearts to Him, and offer Him from thence some worthy offering.

R (Interrogabat Magos Herodes) Herod inquired of the wise men: What sign have you concerning him that is born king?We have seen a star shining, the brightness whereof enlightens the world. * And we have known, and are come to worship the Lord
V: There came wise men from the east, seeking the face of the Lord and saying
R: And we have known, and are come to worship the Lord
V: Glory be...
R: And we have known, and are come to worship the Lord

Nocturn III: Homily of St Gregory (10 on the Gospels)

Reading 9: Matt 2:1-12: When Jesus therefore was born in Bethlehem of Juda, in the days of king Herod, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, saying: Where is he that is born king of the Jews? And so on.

Dearly beloved brethren, hear ye from the Gospel lesson how, when the King of heaven was born, the king of earth was troubled? The heights of heaven are opened and the depths of earth are stirred. Let us now consider the question, why, when the Redeemer was born, an angel brought the news to the shepherds of Judea, but a star led the wise men of the East to worship Him.

R. The star which the wise men had seen in the East, went before them, till they came where the young Child was.* And when they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy.
V. And when they were come into the house, they found the young Child with Mary His Mother, and fell down and worshipped Him.
R. And when they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy.

Reading 10: It seemeth as if the Jews as reasonable creatures received a revelation from a reasonable being, that is, an angel, but the Gentiles without, being as brutes, are roused not by a voice, but by a sign, that is, a star. Hence Paul hath it: a sign, not to them that believe, but to them that believe not but prophesying serveth not for them that believe not, but for them which believe. So the prophesying, that is, of the angel was given to them that believed, and the sign to them that believed not.

R. When the wise men saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy.* And when they were come into the house, they found the young Child with Mary His Mother, and fell down and worshipped Him; * and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto Him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.
V. The star which the wise men had seen in the East, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young Child was.
R. And when they were come into the house, they found the young Child with Mary His Mother, and fell down and worshipped Him.

Reading 11: Thus also we remark that afterwards the Redeemer was preached among the Gentiles not by Himself, but by His Apostles, even as, when a little Child, He is shown to them, not by the voice of angels, but merely by the vision of a star. When He Himself had begun to speak He was made known to us by speakers, but when He lay silent in the manger, by that silent testimony in heaven. But whether we consider the signs which accompanied His birth or His death, this thing is wonderful, namely, the hardness of heart of the Jews, who would not believe in Him either for prophesying or for miracles.

R: (Venit lumen tuum)  Thy light is come O Jerusalem, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee. *And the gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of they rising
V: Thy sons shall come from afar, and thy daughters shall rise up at thy side
R: And the gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of they rising

Reading 12: All things which He had made, bore witness that their Maker was come. Let me reckon them after the manner of men. The heavens knew that He was God, and sent a star to shine over where He lay. The sea knew it, and bore Him up when He walked upon it. The earth knew it, and quaked when He died. The sun knew it, and was darkened. The rocks and walls knew it, and rent at the hour of His death. Hell knew it, and gave up the dead that were in it. And yet up to this very hour the hearts of the unbelieving Jews will not acknowledge that He to Whom all nature testified is their God, and, being more hardened than the rocks, refuse to be rent by repentance.

R (Hic est dies praeclarus)  This is the wondrous day on which the Saviour of the world was manifested, he whom Prophets foretold and Angels announced: * Whose star the wise men saw with exceeding  great joy and presented unto him gifts
V This is the sanctified day which has shone upon us, come ye peoples and the adore the Lord
R Whose star the wise men saw with exceeding  great joy and presented unto him gifts
V: Glory be...
R: Whose star the wise men saw with exceeding  great joy and presented unto him gifts

Gospel: St Matthew 2: 1-12

When Jesus therefore was born in Bethlehem of Juda, in the days of king Herod, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem. Saying, Where is he that is born king of the Jews? For we have seen his star in the east, and are come to adore him. And king Herod hearing this, was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. And assembling together all the chief priests and the scribes of the people, he inquired of them where Christ should be born.  But they said to him: In Bethlehem of Juda. For so it is written by the prophet: And thou Bethlehem the land of Juda art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come forth the captain that shall rule my people Israel.  Then Herod, privately calling the wise men, learned diligently of them the time of the star which appeared to them;  And sending them into Bethlehem, said: Go and diligently inquire after the child, and when you have found him, bring me word again, that I also may come to adore him.  Who having heard the king, went their way; and behold the star which they had seen in the east, went before them, until it came and stood over where the child was.  And seeing the star they rejoiced with exceeding great joy. And entering into the house, they found the child with Mary his mother, and falling down they adored him; and opening their treasures, they offered him gifts; gold, frankincense, and myrrh.  And having received an answer in sleep that they should not return to Herod, they went back another way into their country.

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