Monday, 20 March 2017

Feast of the transitus of St Benedict

The readings for the feast of St Benedict are set out below.  You can find notes on where to find the other texts for Matins here.

Nocturn I (Sirach 44:1-15)

Reading 1: Let us now praise men of renown, and our fathers in their generation. The Lord hath wrought great glory through his magnificence from the beginning. Such as have borne rule in their dominions, men of great power, and endued with their wisdom, shewing forth in the prophets the dignity of prophets, And ruling over the present people, and by the strength of wisdom instructing the people in most holy words.

R: Fuit vir vitae venerabilis gratia Benedictus et nomine ab ipso pueritae suae tempore cor gerens senile * aetatem quippe moribus transiens nulli animum voluptati dedit
V: Recessit igitur scienter nescius et sapienter indoctus
R: aetatem quippe moribus transiens nulli animum voluptati dedit

V: There was a man of venerable life, blessed by grace, and blessed in name, for he was called Benedict. From his younger years, he always had the mind of an old man * for his age was inferior to his virtue.
R: In this way he departed, instructed with learned ignorance, and furnished with unlearned wisdom.
V: For his age was inferior to his virtue.

Reading 2: Such as by their skill sought out musical tunes, and published canticles of the scriptures.  Rich men in virtue, studying beautifulness: living at peace in their houses. All these have gained glory in their generations, and were praised in their days.

R: Sanctus Benedictus plus appetiit mala mundi  perpeti quam laudes pro Deo laboribus fatigari * Quam vitae hujus favoribus extolli
V: Divina namque praeventus gratia magis ac magis ad superna animo suspirabat
R: Quam vitae hujus favoribus extolli
R St Benedict desiring rather the miseries of the world than the praises of men: rather to be wearied with labor for God's sake * than to be exalted with transitory commendation
V: For filled greatly with divine grace, his soul aspired to even higher things
R: Than to be exalted with transitory commendation 

Reading 3: They that were born of them have left a name behind them, that their praises might be related: And there are some, of whom there is no memorial: who are perished, as if they had never been: and are become as if they had never been born, and their children with them. But these were men of mercy, whose godly deeds have not failed: Good things continue with their seed,

R: Inito consilio venenum vino miscuere quo oblato ex more ad benedicendum patri vir dei signo crucis edidit et vas pestiferi potus ita confractum est * Ac si pro signo lapidem dedisset
V: Intellexit protinus vir dei quia potum mortis habuerat quod portare non potuit signum vitae
R:  Ac si pro signo lapidem dedisset
R: Taking counsel together, they agreed to poison his wine: according to the custom, offered to the Abbot to bless, he made the sign of the cross, and straightway the glass broke in pieces * as though the sign of the cross had been a stone thrown against it
R: The man of God by and by perceived that the glass had in it the drink of death, which could not endure the sign of life.
V: As though the sign of the cross had been a stone thrown against it

Reading 4: Their posterity are a holy inheritance, and their seed hath stood in the covenants. And their children for their sakes remain for ever: their seed and their glory shall not be forsaken. Their bodies are buried in peace, and their name liveth unto generation and generation.  Let the people shew forth their wisdom, and the church declare their praise.

R: Domine non aspicias peccata mea sed fidem hujus hominis qui rogat resuscitari filium suum et redde in hoc corpusculum animam quam tulisti et completa oratione revixit  * et sanum reddidit patri suo
V: Et regrediente anima corpusculum omne contremuit et sub oculis omnium qui aderant vivus apparuit
R: Et sanum reddidit patri suo
V: Gloria Patri...
R: Et sanum reddidit patri suo
R:  Behold not, O Lord, my sins, but the faith of this man, that desires to have his son raised to life, and restore that soul to the body, which you have made.  And when the prayer was ended he revived.  * And he gave him back to his father healthy.
V: And the soul returned again, and therewith the child's body began to tremble in such sort that all which were present beheld it
R: And he gave him back to his father healthy.
V: Glory be...
R: And he gave him back to his father healthy.

Nocturn II

Reading 5: Benedict was born of a noble family at Norcia, about the year of our Lord 480, and studied letters at Rome. Desiring to give himself altogether to Christ Jesus, he betook himself to a very deep cave at the place now called Subiaco. In this place he lay hid for three years, unknown to all except the monk Romanus, by means of whom he received the necessaries of life. While he was in the cave at Subiaco, the devil one day assailed him with an extraordinary storm of impure temptation, and to get it under, he rolled himself in brambles till his whole body was lacerated, and the sting of pain drove out the sallies of lust.
  
R: O laudanda sancti Benedicti merita gloriosa qui dum pro Christo patriam mundique sprevit pompam adeptus omnium contubernium beatorum * Et particeps factus praemiorum aeternorum
V: Inter choros confessorum splendidum possidet locum ubi ipsum fontem omnium intuetur bonorum
R: Et particeps factus praemiorum aeternorum
O praise the glorious merits of St Benedict who for Christ left his fatherland and the pomp of the world, and arrived at the companionship of all the blessed * And was made a partaker of eternal rewards
 V: He holds a splendid place among the chorus of confessors, where he gazes upon the font of all good
R: And was made a partaker of eternal rewards

Reading 6: At last the fame of his holiness spread itself abroad from the desert, and some monks came to him for guidance, but the looseness of their lives was such that they could not bear his exhortations, and they plotted together to poison him in his drink. When they gave him the cup, he made the sign of the Cross over it, whereupon it immediately broke, and Benedict left that monastery, and retired to a desert place alone.  Nevertheless his disciples followed him daily, and for them he built twelve monasteries, and set holy laws to govern them.

R: Dum sanctus Benedictus in cella consisteret elevatis sursum oculis vidit sororis suae animam de corpore ejus egressam * In columbae specie caeli secreta penetrare
V: Qui tantae ejus gloriae congaudens omnipotenti deo gratias retulit ejusque obitum fratribus denuntiavit
R: * In columbae specie caeli secreta penetrare
R: When St Benedict was standing in his cell, lifted his eyes he saw the soul of his sister which was departed from her body * Ascend into heaven in the likeness of a dove.
V: Rejoicing much to see her great glory, with hymns and praise he gave thanks to almighty God, and imparted the news of her death to his monks.
R: Ascend into heaven in the likeness of a dove.

Reading 7: Afterwards he went to Cassino, and brake the image of Apollo which was still worshipped there, overturned the altar, and burnt the groves. There, in the year 529, he built the Church of St Martin and the little chapel of St John; and instilled Christianity into the townspeople and inhabitants. He grew in the grace of God day by day, so that being endowed with the spirit of prophecy he foretold things to come. When Totila, King of the Goths, heard of it, and would see whether it really were so, he sent his Spatharius before him, with the kingly ensigns and attendance, and feigning himself to be Totila. But as soon as Benedict saw him he said: My son, put off that which thou wearest, for it is not thine. To Totila himself he foretold that he would go to Rome, would cross the sea, and would die after nine years.

R: Intempesta noctis hora vir dei instans vigiliis assiduae orationi velut sub uno solis radio * Omnem mundum collectum conspexit
V:  Videnti enim creatorem angusta est omnis creatura
R Omnem mundum collectum conspexit
R: The man of God, keeping vigil in the dark hours of the night with assiduous prayer, under one beam of the sun * Saw the whole world gathered together
 V: For he who sees the creator all created things seems small
R: saw the whole world gathered together

Reading 8: Some months before he departed this life, Benedict forewarned his disciples on what day he was to die; and he ordered his grave to be opened six days before he was carried to it. On the sixth day, being the 21st of March, in the year 543, he would be carried into the Church, where he received the Eucharist, and then, in the arms of his disciples, with his eyes lifted up to heaven, and wrapt in prayer, he gave up the ghost. Two monks saw his soul rising to heaven, clothed in a most precious garment, and surrounded with lights, and One of a most glorious and awful aspect standing above, Whom they heard saying This is the way whereby Benedict, the beloved of the Lord, goeth up to heaven.



R: Pater sanctus dum intentam oculorum aciem in splendore coruscae lucis habere videretur vidit Germani animam Capuani episcopi * In sphaera ignea ab angelis in caelum deferri
V: Factumque est ut reverendissimum virum Germanum episcopum is qui missus fuerat jam defunctum reperit
R: In sphaera ignea ab angelis in caelum deferri
V: Gloria Patri...
R: Pater sanctus dum intentam oculorum aciem in splendore coruscae lucis habere videretur vidit Germani animam Capuani episcopi * In sphaera ignea ab angelis in caelum deferri
V: Factumque est ut reverendissimum virum Germanum episcopum is qui missus fuerat jam defunctum reperit
R: In sphaera ignea ab angelis in caelum deferri
R: While the venerable father stood attentively beholding the brightness of that glittering light, he saw the soul of Germanus, Bishop of Capua,* In a fiery globe, carried up by Angels into heaven.
V: It was discovered that the reverent man Germanus had departed this life at that very instant
R: In a fiery globe, carried up by Angels into heaven.
V: Glory be…
R: In a fiery globe, carried up by Angels into heaven.

Nocturn III (Sermon of St Peter Damian on St Benedict)

Reading 9: 'Behold, we have forsaken all and followed thee.Solemn word, mighty undertaking, a holy work and one worthy of blessing, to leave all things and follow Christ. These are the persuasive words of voluntary poverty, which have brought forth monasteries, and filled the cloister with monks and the woods with anchorites. These are the words of which  the Church sings: 'By the word of thy lips I have kept me from the paths of the destroyer.'  We shall receive rest for our  labour, riches for our poverty, a reward for our tribulation. It  is a great thing to forsake all, but to follow Christ is a greater;  for we read of many who have left all but who have not followed Christ. This is our task, this our labour; in this lies the essence of human salvation; nor can we follow Christ unless we forsake all, for He rejoices as a strong man to run a race, and he who bears a load cannot follow.


R: Sanctissime confessor Christi Benedicte monachorum pater et dux *  Intercede pro nostra omniumque salute
V: Devotae plebi subveni sancta intercessione ut tuis adjuta precibus regna caelestia consequatur
R: Intercede pro nostra omniumque salute
R: O Benedict, Most holy confessor of Christ, father and leader of monks, * Intercede for us and the salvation of all
V: Assist your devoted people with holy intercession so that with the help of your prayers they may reach the heavenly kingdom
R: Intercede for us and the salvation of all

Reading 10: 'Behold' he says, 'we have forsaken all' not only the riches  of this world but the desires of the soul too; for he who holds on to the self has not forsaken all. And it is useless to abandon other things if we do not abandon ourselves, since man's heaviest burden is man himself. What tyrant is more cruel to man, what power more savage, than his own will ? Under its sway you can never rest or sit at your ease, and the more it wearies you in enforcing obedience to itself, the more it goads and stings and weighs you down, being unmindful of kindness and a stranger to mercy. This is the nature of self-will: the more obedient its subject, the more cruelly is he bound in its chains.  'What shall we have therefore?' Peter has forsaken all; not only is he following, he has followed for a long time; and now for the first time he asks what he will receive. What, Peter ? Did you not promise obedience to the voice? You made no contract with the Lord. But listen to what the Lord God says, and await that hope in which, in this uncertain world, we must confide. ' 'You shall sit', says the Lord who is Truth. Splendid sitting, welcome rest, full sufficiency.

R: Ipso anno quo de hac vita erat exiturus quibusdam discipulis secum conversationtibus, quibusdam longe manentibus, * Sanctissimi sui obitus denuntiavit diem
V: Praesentibus indicens ut audita per silentium tegerent abstenibus indicans, quod vel quale eis signum fieret quando eius anima de corpore exiret
R: Sanctissimi sui obitus denuntiavit diem
R: In the year that was to be the last of his life, while some of his disciples were talking with him and some remained further away, * the most holy man foretold the day of his death
V:  He bound them to strict secrecy, some others, he only informed of the special sign they would receive at the time of his death.
R: The most holy man foretold the day of his death

Reading 11: But lest our long awaiting should mar the sweetness of His promise, He controls the restlessness of our minds with a sweeter word. Tor he knoweth our frame; He knows that  our weakness cannot brook delays; in His loving kindness He meets this problem and counteracts it, saying: 'And everyone that hath forsaken house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands for my name's sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life.' "The mouth of them that speak lies shall be stopped'; now all they who transgress without cause are ashamed.  For we have promise of the life that now is, as well as of that which is to come;  and it is clear that the promise of receiving a hundred-fold applies to this life, since the words which follow are 'and shall inherit everlasting life'.



R: Sexto namque die portari se in oratorio a discipulis fecit ibique exitum suum dominicis sacramentis munivit * Atque inter discipulorum manus expiravit
V: Cumque per singulos dies languor ingravesceret, erectis in caelum manibus stetit
R: Atque inter discipulorum manus expiravit

R: On the sixth day, he had his disciples carry him into the oratory where he received the sacraments our Lord to gain strength for his approaching end * Then, in the arms of his disciples he breathed his last
V:  While for several days sickness had wasted his remaining energy, he stood with hands outstretched to heaven
R: Then, in the arms of his disciples he breathed his last

Reading 12:Those who have not yet received the hundredfold reward must scrutinize their hearts and diligently examine all the work of their hands; they will certainly find some corner or lodging-place unknown to the Saviour.And what is our hundredfold reward but the  consolations, the visitations and the first fruits of the Spirit, sweeter than honey; the witness of our consciences; the joyous and lovely expectation of the just, the memory of God's abundant sweetness, the great multitude of His delights, of which there is no need to tell those who have known them, just as it is impossible to describe them to those who have not known them.There is no one to whom all this exposition of our text
better applies than to our father and master St. Benedict. He forsook die world and all its flowers in boyhood to run with strong strides after the running Christ; and he did not rest until he had caught up with Him.

R: Via recto orientis tramite ab eius cella in caelum usque tendebatur cui venerando habitu vir desuper clarus assistens, cuius esset via, quam cernerent, inquisivit  * Illi autem se nescire professi sunt.
V: Quibus ipse ait: Haec est via qua dilictus Domini Benedictus caelos ascendit
R: Illi autem se nescire professi sunt
V: Gloria...
R: Illi autem se nescire professi sunt.
R: A straight road stretched eastwards from his cell 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? * They declared that they did not know
V: This, he told them, is the road taken by blessed Benedict, the Lord's beloved, when he ascended to heaven
R: They declared that they did not know
R: Glory be
R: They declared that they did not know

Gospel:

The Gospel for the feast is St Matthew 19:27-29:

Tunc respondens Petrus, dixit ei: Ecce nos reliquimus omnia, et secuti sumus te: quid ergo erit nobis?  Jesus autem dixit illis: Amen dico vobis, quod vos, qui secuti estis me, in regeneratione cum sederit Filius hominis in sede majestatis suæ, sedebitis et vos super sedes duodecim, judicantes duodecim tribus Israël. Et omnis qui reliquerit domum, vel fratres, aut sorores, aut patrem, aut matrem, aut uxorem, aut filios, aut agros propter nomen meum, centuplum accipiet, et vitam æternam possidebit.
Then Peter answering, said to him: Behold we have left all things, and have followed thee: what therefore shall we have?  And Jesus said to them: Amen, I say to you, that you, who have followed me, in the regeneration, when the Son of man shall sit on the seat of his majesty, you also shall sit on twelve seats judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And every one that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands for my name’s sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall possess life everlasting.


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