Thursday, 23 February 2017

Matins readings for the Feast of St Matthias


Nocturn I: Acts 1:15-26

[Psalms 18, 33, 44, 46, 60, 63]

Reading 1: In those days Peter rising up in the midst of the brethren, said: now the number of persons together was about an hundred and twenty: Men, brethren, the scripture must needs be fulfilled, which the Holy Ghost spoke before by the mouth of David concerning Judas, who was the leader of them that apprehended Jesus: Who was numbered with us, and had obtained part of this ministry.

R. Behold, I send you as sheep in the midst of wolves, said the Lord:* Be ye, therefore, wise as serpents and simple as doves.
V. Whilst you have the light, believe in the light, that you may be the children of light.
R. Be ye therefore wise as serpents and simple as doves.

Reading 2: And he indeed hath possessed a field of the reward of iniquity, and being hanged, burst asunder in the midst: and all his bowels gushed out. And it became known to all the inhabitants of Jerusalem: so that the same field was called in their tongue, Haceldama, that is to say, The field of blood.  For it is written in the book of Psalms: Let their habitation become desolate, and let there be none to dwell therein. And his bishopric let another take.

R. Take up my yoke upon you, said the Lord, and learn of me, because I am meek, and humble of heart.* For my yoke is sweet and my burden light.
V. And you shall find rest to your souls.
R. For my yoke is sweet and my burden light.

Reading 3: Wherefore of these men who have companied with us all the time that the Lord Jesus came in and went out among us,  Beginning from the baptism of John, until the day wherein he was taken up from us, one of these must be made a witness with us of his resurrection. And they appointed two, Joseph, called Barsabas, who was surnamed Justus, and Matthias.

R. But when they shall deliver you up to the judges, take no thought how or what to speak: * for it shall be given you in that hour what to speak:
V. For it is not you that speak, but the spirit of your Father that speaketh in you.
R. For it shall be given you in that hour what to speak.

Reading 4:  And praying, they said: Thou, Lord, who knowest the hearts of all men, shew whether of these two thou hast chosen, To take the place of this ministry and apostleship, from which Judas hath by transgression fallen, that he might go to his own place.  And they gave them lots, and the lot fell upon Matthias, and he was numbered with the eleven apostles.

R. They were found without blemish before the Lord, and from each other they were not divided. * They drank the chalice of the Lord, and were made friends of God.
V. They gave up their flesh to torment for God's sake; now they are crowned and receive palms.
R. They drank the chalice of the Lord, and were made friends of God.
V. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost
R. They drank the chalice of the Lord, and were made friends of God.

Nocturn II: St Augustine on Psalm 86

[Psalms 74, 95, 96, 97, 98, 100]

Reading 5: Her foundation is in the holy mountains the Lord loveth the gates of Zion. Wherefore hath the city twelve foundations, and in them the names of the Prophets and of the Apostles of the Lamb? Because their authority is the foundation whereon our weakness resteth. Wherefore are they the gates? Because through them we enter in unto the kingdom of God, since they have preached the same unto us, and when we enter in through their preaching, we enter in by Christ, Who is Himself The Door. And, whereas it is written that the city hath twelve gates, and, again, that Christ is the one Door, Christ is all the twelve, for He is in all the twelve and therefore were twelve Apostles chosen.

R. I saw men standing together, clad in shining raiment, and the Angel of the Lord spoke unto me, saying:* These men are holy, for they are the friends of God.
V. I saw a strong Angel of God fly into the midst of heaven, saying with a loud voice:
R. These men are holy, for they are the friends of God.

Reading 6: There lieth a great mystery in the signification of this number twelve: Ye shall sit, said the Lord upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. If then there be set there twelve thrones of judgment, Paul, in that he is the thirteenth Apostle, hath not where to sit, nor wherein to judge. Nevertheless, he hath said of himself that he will judge not men only, but angels. Know ye not, saith he, that we shall judge angels?, that is, the fallen angels. Then might they have answered him: Wherefore boastest thou thyself to be a judge? For where is thy seat? The Lord hath said that for the twelve Apostles there shall be twelve thrones one of the twelve, even Judas, is indeed fallen, but holy Matthias is chosen into his place; for the twelve thrones there are still twelve to sit thereon first find whereon thou shalt sit, and afterward give thyself out for a judge.

R. Blessed are ye when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for My sake; * Rejoice, and be exceeding glad, for great is your reward in heaven.
V. When men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of Man's sake.
R. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad, for great is your reward in heaven.

Reading 7: Let us see, then, what is the meaning of these twelve thrones. By them is signified in a mystery the whole world, since the Church shall be through all the earth, whence this building is called to be built up together in Christ. Therefore is it said that there shall be twelve thrones, because from all quarters shall there come men to be judged; even as it is said that the city hath twelve gates, because from all quarters shall the nations of them which are saved, enter into it.

R. These are they which have conquered, and are become the friends of God, who recked not of the commandments of princes, and earned the everlasting reward. * And now have they crowns on their heads, and palms in their hands.
V. These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes in the blood of the Lamb.
R. And now have they crowns on their heads, and palms in their hands.

Reading 8: So, not the twelve only, and the Apostle Paul, but all, as many as shall judge, have part in these twelve thrones, this signifying, that they shall judge all men; even as all that enter into the city, have part in her twelve gates. For there are four quarters of the world, the East, and the West, and the North, and the South of which four quarters is mention often made in the Scriptures. From the four winds shall the elect be gathered together, as saith the Lord in the Gospel: And He shall send His Angels with a great sound of a trumpet; and they shall gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. From the four winds, therefore, is the Church called together; and how are they called? Everywhere are they called in the Trinity; for they are called no otherwise than by baptizing them in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Now four being multiplied by three is twelve.

R. Thou shalt make them princes in all the lands, they shall remember Thy name O Lord * Throughout all generations
V. Exceedingly honoured are they friends O God, firmly established is their princedom.
R. Throughout all generations
V. Glory be...
R Throughout all generations

Nocturn III: St Augustine Homily 69

[Canticles: Isaiah 61:6-9; Wisdom 3:7-9; Wisdom 10: 17-21]

Reading 9: From the holy Gospel according to Matthew - At that time, Jesus answered and said: I confess to thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them to the little ones. And so on.

Come unto Me, all ye that labour! And wherefore labour we all, but because we are frail, sickly, dying creatures, burdened with earthen vessels which distress us? But if these fleshly vessels be distressful, let the open expanse of love be free and wide. Come unto Me, all ye that labour! and why? That we may labour no more. His promise is an instant promise, for He calleth such as are labouring. Perchance they will ask Him what shall be their reward? And I, saith He, will give you rest.

R. These are they who while yet they lived in the flesh, planted the Church in their own blood; * They drank of the Lord's cup, and became the friends of God.
V. Their sound is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the ends of the world.
R. They drank of the Lord's cup, and became the friends of God.

Reading 10: Take My yoke upon you, and learn of me not how to make the world, not how to create all things visible and invisible, not to work wonders in the earth, nor to raise the dead but for I am meek and lowly in heart.  Wilt thou be great? Begin by being little. Dost thou think to raise up a lofty building? Then lay the foundations thereof in lowliness.

R. These are they who while yet they lived in the flesh, planted the Church in their own blood; * They drank of the Lord's cup, and became the friends of God.
V. Their sound is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the ends of the world.
R. They drank of the Lord's cup, and became the friends of God.

Reading 11: The greater soever, and the more mass, be that which any man thinketh to build, so much the deeper doth he dig his foundation. And when the house is built, it towereth heavenward; but he which layeth the foundation goeth down into the earth. The building, therefore, is low before it is high, and, after it is low, it riseth high to the roof.

R. Who are these that fly like a cloud * And as the doves to their windows?
V. Their sound has gone out into all lands and their words unto the ends of the earth.
R.  And as the doves...

Reading 12: What is the roof of the house on which we labour? Whither do its spires rise? I answer you at once; to the presence of God. You see how high it is, yea, what it is to see God. He that will, understandeth what I say, and he heareth. What is promised you is to see God, God, the True, God, the Supreme. Blessed is he who seeth Him by Whom he is seen. Such as worship false gods see them easily, but they see them who have eyes and see not. But unto us it is promised that we shall see that God Who liveth and seeth.

R.  There is neither speech, nor language, but their voices are heard among them.  * Their sound is gone out unto the ends of the earth.
V. Exceedingly honoured are thy friends, O God; firmly established is their princedom.
R. Their sound is gone out unto the ends of the earth.
V Glory be...
R. Their sound is gone out unto the ends of the earth.

Gospel: Matthew 11:25-30

At that time Jesus answered and said: I confess to thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them to little ones. Yea, Father; for so hath it seemed good in thy sight. All things are delivered to me by my Father. And no one knoweth the Son, but the Father: neither doth any one know the Father, but the Son, and he to whom it shall please the Son to reveal him. Come to me, all you that labor, and are burdened, and I will refresh you. Take up my yoke upon you, and learn of me, because I am meek, and humble of heart: and you shall find rest to your souls. For my yoke is sweet and my burden light.

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