Saturday, 1 April 2017

Matins readings for first Passion Sunday

The Matins readings in the Benedictine Office for First Passion Sunday are set out below.

Nocturn I: Jeremiah 1: 1-19

Reading 1: The words of Jeremias the son of Helcias, of the priests that were in Anathoth, in the land of Benjamin. The word of the Lord which came to him in the days of Josias the son of Amon king of Juda, in the thirteenth year of his reign.  And which came to him in the days of Joakim the son of Josias king of Juda, unto the end of the eleventh year of Sedecias the son of Josias king of Juda, even unto the carrying away of Jerusalem captive, in the fifth month.  And the word of the Lord came to me, saying:  Before I formed thee in the bowels of thy mother, I knew thee: and before thou camest forth out of the womb, I sanctified thee, and made thee a prophet unto the nations. And I said: Ah, ah, ah, Lord God: behold, I cannot speak, for I am a child.

R. These are the days to be observed of you in their seasons. * In the fourteenth day at even is the Lord's Passover, and on the fifteenth day ye shall keep a Feast unto the Lord, the Most High.
V. The Lord spake unto Moses, saying Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them
R. In the fourteenth day at even is the Lord's Passover, and on the fifteenth day ye shall keep a Feast unto the Lord, the Most High.

Reading 2: And the Lord said to me: Say not: I am a child: for thou shalt go to all that I shall send thee: and whatsoever I shall command thee, thou shalt speak. Be not afraid at their presence: for I am with thee to deliver thee, saith the Lord. And the Lord put forth his hand, and touched my mouth: and the Lord said to me: Behold I have given my words in thy mouth: Lo, I have set thee this day over the nations, and over the kingdoms, to root up, and pull down, and to waste, and to destroy, and to build, and to plant. And the word of the Lord came to me, saying: What seest thou, Jeremias? And I said: I see a rod watching.  And the Lord said to me: Thou hast seen well: for I will watch over my word to perform it.  And the word of the Lord came to me a second time, saying: What seest thou? I see a boiling caldron, and the face thereof from the face of the north.

R. They be increased that trouble me, and that say There is no help for him in his God. * Arise, O Lord! Save me, O my God!
V. Lest mine enemy say I have prevailed against him.
R. Arise, O Lord! Save me, O my God!

Reading 3: And the Lord said to me: from the north shall an evil break forth upon all the inhabitants of the land.  For behold I will call together all the families of the kingdoms of the north: saith the Lord: and they shall come, and shall set every one his throne in the entrance of the gates of Jerusalem, and upon all the walls thereof round about, and upon all the cities of Juda, And I will pronounce my judgements against them, touching all their wickedness, who have forsaken me, and have sacrificed to strange gods, and have adored the work of their own hands.

R. How long shall mine enemy be exalted over me? * Consider, and hear me, O Lord my God!
V. Those that trouble me will rejoice when I am moved but I have trusted in thy mercy.
R. Consider and hear me, O Lord my God!
R. How long shall mine enemy be exalted over me? * Consider and hear me, O Lord my God!

Reading 4: Thou therefore gird up thy loins, and arise, and speak to them all that I command thee. Be not afraid at their presence: for I will make thee not to fear their countenance.  For behold I have made thee this day a fortified city, and a pillar of iron, and a wall of brass, over all the land, to the kings of Juda, to the princes thereof, and to the priests, and to the people of the land.  And they shall fight against thee, and shall not prevail: for I am with thee, saith the Lord, to deliver thee.

R. Deliver me, O my God, out of the hand of the wicked, and out of the hand of the unrighteous and cruel man. * For Thou art my hope.
V. O my God, be not far from me O my God, make haste for my help.
R. For Thou art my hope.

Nocturn II: Sermon 47 of St Leo

Reading 5: Dearly beloved brethren, we know that of all the solemn Feasts which are kept by Christians the Passover is the chief. The ordinances of the whole rest of the year are ordered to the end of preparing us to come to this one in worthy and meet manner. But these days, which now are, are they which ought most especially to stir up a godly mind in us, seeing that they are they which are nearest to that most glorious mystery of God's mercy. In these days the holy Apostles, taught by the Holy Ghost, ordered the chiefest store of Fasting, that we, sharing His Cross with Christ, might, albeit we are what we are, in Him, do some of the same things which He did for our sakes, and so realise the saying of the Apostle If we suffer with Him, we shall be also glorified together.'' He that is partaker of the sufferings of the Lord hath a sure and certain hope of that blessedness which He hath promised unto us.

R. Thou art my God be not far from me for trouble is near; * For there is none to help.
V. But be not thy strength far from me; O Lord, haste thee to help me.
R. For trouble is near; for there is none to help.

Reading 6: Dearly beloved brethren, there is no man to whom the state of the age in which he liveth denieth a share in this glory of partaking, first the sufferings, and then the triumph and joy, of Christ. It is not as though this time of peace were barren in occasions of valour. The Apostle giveth us this warning All that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. And therefore, as long as godliness is watchful, persecution will never be asleep. The Lord Himself saith in one of His own exhortations He that taketh not his cross, and followeth after Me, is not worthy of Me.

R. I was cast upon thee from the womb; Thou art my God from my mother's belly; be not far from me. * For trouble is near, and there is none to help.
V. Save me from the lion's mouth, and mine affliction from the horns of the unicorns.
R. For trouble is near, and there is none to help.

Reading 7: And we must not doubt that these words of Christ apply not only to His immediate disciples, to whom He spoke them, but belong to all the faithful and to the whole Church, who, whosoever be the believers of whom she is for the time composed on earth, heareth in these words the way to be saved which her Lord hath appointed for them.As then, it is the duty of the whole body of the Church to live godly, so is it her right at all times to be a-bearing of her Master's Cross, and that not only in her general body, but individually in the person of each one of her members, who differ every one from another in the way in which they have to carry it, and the shape in which it is laid upon them. The one common name for all their carrying of the Cross is persecution, but the manner of his wrestling is special to each; and there is often more danger in the ambush than in the pitched field of battle.

R. O Lord, my trouble is near, and there is none to help me; or ever they pierce my hands and my feet, save me from the lion's mouth! * That I may declare thy Name unto my brethren.
V. O God, deliver my soul from the sword, and my darling from the power of the dog.
R. That I may declare thy Name unto my brethren.

Reading 8: Blessed Job, who had tried both the goods and the ills of this world, said Is not the life of man upon earth a warfare? The attack upon the faithful soul arrayeth itself not alone in bodily torture and punishment; yea, when the limbs are sound enough, fearful is the ravage that threateneth us when the lusts of the flesh unman us. But when the flesh lusteth against the spirit, and the spirit against the flesh the reasonable mind findeth her reinforcement in the helpful Cross of Christ, and though she be lured by foul cravings, yet refuseth to give her consent, for God maketh her pure thoughts to tremble for fear of Him.

R. They that lay wait for my soul take counsel together, saying God hath forsaken him; * Persecute and take him, for there is none to deliver him. O my God, be not far from me O my God, make haste for my help.
V. All that hate me whispered together against me; against me did they devise my hurt, saying
R. Persecute and take him, for there is none to deliver him. O my God, be not far from me O my God, make haste for my help.

Nocturn III: The Matins readings (from St Gregory)

Reading 9: From the holy Gospel according to John - In that time Jesus said to the multitude of Jews: Which of you shall convince me of sin? If I say the truth to you, why do you not believe me? And so on.

Homily by Pope St Gregory - Dearly beloved brethren, consider the gentleness of God. He came to take away sins, and He saith Which of you convinceth Me of sin? He Who, through the might of His Godhead, was able to justify sinners, was contented to show by argument that He was not Himself a sinner. But exceeding dread is that which followeth. He that is of God heareth God's words; ye, therefore, hear them not, because ye are not of God. If, then, whosoever is of God heareth God's words, and whosoever is not of Him cannot hear His words, let each one ask himself if he, in the ear of his heart, heareth God's words, and understandeth Whose words they are?

R. O Lord, I go mourning all the day long, for my soul is filled with a loathsome disease * They also that sought after my life have used violence against me.
V. My friends and my neighbours draw near, and stand over against me; and they that are nearest to me stand afar off.
R. They also that sought after my life have used violence against me.

Reading 10: The Truth commandeth us to long for a Fatherland in heaven, to bridle the lusts of the flesh, to turn away from the glory of the world, to seek no man's goods, and to give away our own. Let each of you, therefore, think within himself if this voice of God is heard in the ear of his heart, and if he knoweth already if he is of God. For some there be, whom it pleaseth not to hear the commandments of God even with their bodily ears. And some there be, who receive the same with their bodily ears, but whose heart is far from them. And some also there be, who hear the words of God with joy, so that they are moved thereby even to tears; but when their fit of weeping is past they turn again to iniquity.

R. O Lord, hide not thy face from thy servant * For I am in trouble; hear me speedily.
V. Draw nigh unto my soul, and redeem it; deliver me, because of mine enemies.
R. For I am in trouble; hear me speedily.

Reading 11: They hear not the words of God, who despise to do them. Therefore, dearly beloved brethren, call up your own life before your mind's eye, and then ponder with trembling those awful words which the mouth of the Truth spake Ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God.The Truth speaketh these words concerning the reprobate; but the reprobate make manifest the same thing concerning themselves, by their evil works. Thus immediately followeth Then answered the Jews, and said unto Him Say we not well that Thou art a Samaritan, and hast a devil?

R. O that my head were waters, and mine eyes a fountain of tears, that I might weep day and night! for my nearest brother hath supplanted me, * And my neighbour hath walked with slanders against me.
V. Let their way be dark and slippery, and let the Angel of the Lord persecute them.
R. And my neighbour hath walked with slanders against me.

Reading 12: But let us hear what the Lord said to this insult. I have not a devil, but I honour My Father, and ye do dishonour Me. The Lord said I have not a devil, but He did not say I am not a Samaritan, for in a sense a Samaritan He was indeed, since the word Samaritan, in the Hebrew tongue, signifieth, being interpreted, a Watcher, and the Lord is that Watcher, of Whom the Psalmist saith that unless He keep the city, other watchman waketh but in vain. He also is that Watchman unto Whom crieth Isaiah: Watchman, what of the night? Watchman, what of the night? Therefore the Lord said I have not a devil, but not I am not a Samaritan. Of the two things brought against Him He denied one; but by His silence, admitted the other.

R. Mine enemies spoke to me peaceably, but in wrath they troubled me. * This Thou hast seen, O Lord; keep not silence be not far from me.
V. But as for me, when they troubled me my clothing was sackcloth, and I humbled my soul with fasting.
R. This Thou hast seen, O Lord; keep not silence be not far from me.
R. Mine enemies spoke to me peaceably, but in wrath they troubled me. * This Thou hast seen, O Lord; keep not silence be not far from me.

Gospel

The Gospel for Passion Sunday is St John 8: 46-59:

Which of you shall convince me of sin? If I say the truth to you, why do you not believe me?  He that is of God, heareth the words of God. Therefore you hear them not, because you are not of God.  The Jews therefore answered, and said to him: Do not we say well that thou art a Samaritan, and hast a devil?  Jesus answered: I have not a devil: but I honour my Father, and you have dishonoured me.  But I seek not my own glory: there is one that seeketh and judgeth.  Amen, amen I say to you: If any man keep my word, he shall not see death for ever. The Jews therefore said: Now we know that thou hast a devil. Abraham is dead, and the prophets; and thou sayest: If any man keep my word, he shall not taste death for ever.  Art thou greater than our father Abraham, who is dead? and the prophets are dead. Whom dost thou make thyself?  Jesus answered: If I glorify myself, my glory is nothing. It is my Father that glorifieth me, of whom you say that he is your God.  And you have not known him, but I know him. And if I shall say that I know him not, I shall be like to you, a liar. But I do know him, and do keep his word.  Abraham your father rejoiced that he might see my day: he saw it, and was glad.  The Jews therefore said to him: Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast thou seen Abraham?  Jesus said to them: Amen, amen I say to you, before Abraham was made, I am. They took up stones therefore to cast at him. But Jesus hid himself, and went out of the temple.

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