Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Feast of the Ascension

The readings for Matins of the Ascension in the Benedictine Office (1963):

Nocturn I (Acts 1: 1-3; 4-8; 9-11; 12-14)

Reading 1: The former treatise I made, O Theophilus, of all things which Jesus began to do and to teach,  Until the day on which, giving commandments by the Holy Ghost to the apostles whom he had chosen, he was taken up. To whom also he shewed himself alive after his passion, by many proofs, for forty days appearing to them, and speaking of the kingdom of God.

R. Post passionem suam per dies quadraginta apparens eis, et loquens de regno Dei, alleluia:
* Et videntibus illis elevatus est, alleluia: et nubes suscepit eum ab oculis eorum, alleluia.
V. Et convescens praecepit eis, ab Ierosolymis ne discederent, sed exspectarent promissionem Patris.
R. Et videntibus illis elevatus est, alleluia: et nubes suscepit eum ab oculis eorum, alleluia.
R. Being seen of them forty days after that He had suffered, and speaking of the kingdom of God. Alleluia. * And while they beheld, He was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. Alleluia.
V. And, eating together with them, He commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the Promise of the Father.
R. And while they beheld, He was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. Alleluia.

Reading 2: And eating together with them, he commanded them, that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but should wait for the promise of the Father, which you have heard (saith he) by my mouth.  For John indeed baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost, not many days hence.They therefore who were come together, asked him, saying: Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel? But he said to them: It is not for you to know the times or moments, which the Father hath put in his own power:  But you shall receive the power of the Holy Ghost coming upon you, and you shall be witnesses unto me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and Samaria, and even to the uttermost part of the earth.

R. Omnis pulchritudo Domini exaltata est super sidera:
* Species eius in nubibus caeli, et nomen eius in aeternum permanet, alleluia.
V. A summo caelo egressio eius, et occursus eius usque ad summum eius.
R. Species eius in nubibus caeli, et nomen eius in aeternum permanet, alleluia.
R. The Lord hath set His beauty above the stars; * His loveliness is in the clouds of heaven, and His Name endureth for ever. Alleluia.
V. His going forth is from the end of the heaven, and His circuit unto the ends of it.
R. His loveliness is in the clouds of heaven, and His Name endureth for ever. Alleluia.

Reading 3: And when he had said these things, while they looked on, he was raised up: and a cloud received him out of their sight. And while they were beholding him going up to heaven, behold two men stood by them in white garments. Who also said: Ye men of Galilee, why stand you looking up to heaven? This Jesus who is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come, as you have seen him going into heaven.

R. Exaltare, Domine, alleluia, * In virtute tua, alleluia.
V. Elevata est magnificentia tua super caelos, Deus.
R. In virtute tua, alleluia.
V. Glória Patri, et Fílio, * et Spirítui Sancto.
R. In virtute tua, alleluia.
R. Be Thou exalted, O Lord. Alleluia. * In thine Own strength. Alleluia.
V. O God, Thou hast set thy glory above the heavens.
R. In thine Own strength. Alleluia.

Reading 4: Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount that is called Olivet, which is nigh Jerusalem, within a sabbath day' s journey.  And when they were come in, they went up into an upper room, where abode Peter and John, James and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James of Alpheus, and Simon Zelotes, and Jude the brother of James. All these were persevering with one mind in prayer with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren.

R: Non vos relinquam orphanos. Alleluia.  Vado, et venio ad vos. Alleluia. * Et gaudebit, cor vestrum. Alleluia.
V: In illo die vos cognoscetis quia ego sum in Patre meo, et vos in me, et ego in vobis.
R: Et gaudebit, cor vestrum. Alleluia.
R: I will not leave you orphans, Alleluia.   I go, and I will come to you. Alleluia. * And your heart shall rejoice. Alleluia.
V: In that day you shall know, that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you.
R: And your heart shall rejoice. Alleluia.

Nocturn II (sermon 73 of St Leo)

Reading 5: After the blessed and glorious Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, wherein the Divine Power raised up in three days the true Temple of God Which the iniquity of the Jews had destroyed  God was pleased to ordain, by His Most Sacred Will, and in His Providence for our instruction and the profit of our souls, a season of forty days which season, dearly beloved brethren, doth end on this day. During that season the bodily Presence of the Lord still lingered on earth, that the reality of the fact of His having risen again from the dead might be armed with all needful proofs.

R. Tempus est, ut revertar ad eum, qui me misit, dicit Dominus; nolite contristari, nec turbetur cor vestrum:
* Rogo pro vobis Patrem, ut ipse vos custodiat, alleluia, alleluia.
V. Nisi ego abiero, Paraclitus non veniet: cum assumptus fuero, mittam vobis eum.
R. Rogo pro vobis Patrem, ut ipse vos custodiat, alleluia, alleluia.
R. My time is come that I should return unto Him That sent Me, saith the Lord. Be not sorrowful, neither let your heart be troubled. * I pray the Father for you, that He may keep you. Alleluia, Alleluia.
V. If I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you where I am ascended, I will send Him unto you.
R. I pray the Father for you, that He may keep you. Alleluia, Alleluia.

Reading 6: The death of Christ had troubled the hearts of many of His disciples their thoughts were sad when they remembered His agony upon the Cross, His giving up of the Ghost, and the laying in the grave of His lifeless Body, and a sort of hesitation had begun to weigh on them.Hence the most blessed Apostles and all the disciples, who had been fearful at the finishing on the Cross, and doubtful of the trustworthiness of the rising again, were so strengthened by the clear demonstration of the fact, that, when they saw the Lord going up into the height of heaven, they sorrowed not, nay they were even filled with great joy.

R. Non turbetur cor vestrum: ego vado ad Patrem; et cum assumptus fuero a vobis, mittam vobis, alleluia, * Spiritum veritatis, et gaudebit cor vestrum, alleluia.
V. Ego rogabo Patrem, et alium Paraclitum dabit vobis.
R. Spiritum veritatis, et gaudebit cor vestrum, alleluia
R. Let not your heart be troubled I go unto the Father, and when I am taken from you, I will send unto you, alleluia, * The Spirit of truth and your heart shall rejoice. Alleluia.
V. I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter.
R. The Spirit of truth and your heart shall rejoice. Alleluia.

Reading 7: And, in all verity, it was a great an unspeakable cause for joy to see the Manhood, in the presence of that the multitude of believers, exalted above all creatures even heavenly, rising above the ranks of the angelic armies and speeding Its glorious way where the most noble of the Archangels lie far behind, to rest no lower than that place where high above all principality and power, It taketh Its seat at the right hand of the Eternal Father, Sharer of His throne, and Partaker of His glory, and still of the very man's nature which the Son hath taken upon Him.

R. Ascendens Christus in altum, captivam duxit captivitatem, * Dedit dona hominibus, alleluia, alleluia, alleluia.
V. Ascendit Deus in iubilatione, et Dominus in voce tubae.
R. Dedit dona hominibus, alleluia, alleluia, alleluia.
R. When Christ ascended up on high, He led captivity captive * He gave gifts unto men. Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia.
V. God is gone up with a shout, and the Lord with the sound of a trumpet.
R. He gave gifts unto men. Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia.

Reading 8: Therefore, dearly beloved brethren, let us also rejoice with worthy joy, for the Ascension of Christ is exaltation for us, and whither the glory of the Head of the Church is passed in, thither is the hope of the body of the Church called on to follow. Let us rejoice with exceeding great joy, and give God glad thanks. This day is not only the possession of Paradise made sure unto us, but in the Person of our Head we are actually begun to enter into the heavenly mansions above. Through the unspeakable goodness of Christ we have gained more than ever we lost by the envy of the devil. We, whom our venomous enemy thrust from our first happy home, we, being made of one body with the Son of God, have by Him been given a place at the right hand of the Father with Whom He liveth and reigneth, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, one God, world without end. Amen.

R: Ascendit Deus in jubilo, alleluia *  et Dominus in voce tubæ, alleluia, alleluia
V: Ascendens Christus in altum, captivam duxit captivitatem
R: Et Dominus in voce tubæ, alleluia, alleluia
V: Gloria Patri...
R: Et Dominus in voce tubæ, alleluia, alleluia
R: God is ascended with jubilee, alleluia *and the Lord with the sound of trumpet, alleluia, alleluia
V: Christ ascending on high, he led captivity captive
R: And the Lord with the sound of trumpet, alleluia, alleluia
V: Glory be…
R: And the Lord with the sound of trumpet, alleluia, alleluia

Nocturn III  (from St Gregory the Great)

Reading 9: From the Holy Gospel according to Mark - At that time, Jesus appeared unto the eleven disciples as they sat at meat, and upbraided them with their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they believed not them which had seen Him after He was risen. And so on.

Homily by Pope St. Gregory the Great - I may be allowed to say that the disciples' slowness to believe that the Lord had indeed risen from the dead, was not so much their weakness as our strength. In consequence of their doubts, the fact of the Resurrection was demonstrated by many infallible proofs. These proofs we read and acknowledge. What then assureth our faith, if not their doubt For my part, I put my trust in Thomas, who doubted long, much more than in Mary Magdalene, who believed at once. Through his doubting, he came actually to handle the holes of the Wounds, and thereby closed up any wound of doubt in our hearts.

R. Ego rogabo Patrem, et alium Paraclitum dabit vobis,* Ut maneat vobiscum in aeternum, Spiritum veritatis, alleluia.
V. Si enim non abiero, Paraclitus non veniet ad vos; si autem abiero, mittam eum ad vos.
R. Ut maneat vobiscum in aeternum, Spiritum veritatis, alleluia.
R. I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, * That he may abide with you for ever, even the Spirit of Truth, alleluia.
V. For if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you: but if I depart, I will send him unto you.
R. That he may abide with you for ever, even the Spirit of Truth, alleluia.

Reading 10: Now confirm to our minds the trustworthiness of the fact that our Lord did indeed rise again from the dead, it is well for us to remark one of the statements of Luke. "Eating together with them, He commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem and a little afterward: "While they beheld, He was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight." Consider these words, note well these mysteries. After "eating together with them He was taken up." He ate and ascended: that the fact of His eating might show the reality of the Body in Which He went up. 


R. Ponis nubem ascensum tuum, Domine: * Qui ambulas super pennas ventorum, alleluia.
V. Confessionem et decorem induisti, amictus lumen sicut vestimentum.
R. Qui ambulas super pennas ventorum, alleluia.

R. Thou makest the clouds the chariot, O Lord, * Thou walkest upon the wings of the wind. Alleluia.
V. Thou art clothed with honour and majesty, covering thyself with light as with a garment;
R. Thou walkest upon the wings of the wind. Alleluia.

Reading 11: But Mark telleth us that before the Lord ascended into heaven He upbraided His disciples; with their unbelief and hardness of heart. From this I know not why we should gather, but that the Lord then upbraided His disciples, for whom He was about to be parted in the body, to the end that the words which He spoke unto them as He left them might be the deeper imprinted on their hearts.


R: Viri Galilæi, quid admiramini aspicientes in cælum? alleluia * quemadmodum vidistis eum ascendentem in cælum, ita veniet, alleuia, alleluia
V: Cumque intuerentur in cælum euntem illum, ecce duo viri astiterunt juxta illos in vestibus albis,qui et dixerunt
R: Quemadmodum vidistis eum ascendentem in cælum, ita veniet, alleuia, alleluia
R. Ye men of Galilee, why stand you looking up to heaven? Alleluia. * As you have seen him going into heaven, so shall he come, alleuia, alleluia, alleluia.
V.  And while they were beholding him going up to heaven, behold two men stood by them in white garments.who also said:
R. As you have seen him going into heaven, shall so come, alleuia, alleluia, alleluia.

Reading 12: When then, He had rebuked the hardness of their heart, who command did He give them Let us hear. "Go ye into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature." Was the Holy Gospel, then my brethren, to be preached to thing insensate, or to brute beasts, that the Lord said to His disciples "Preach the Gospel to every creature." Nay but by the words "every creature" we must understand man, in whom are combined qualities of all creatures. Being he hath in common with stones, life in common with trees, feeling in common with beasts, understanding in common with angels. If, then, man hath something in common with every creature, man is to a certain extent every creature. The Gospel, then, if it be preached to man only, is preached to every creature.



R. Si enim non abiero, Paraclitus non veniet ad vos: si autem abiero, mittam eum ad vos.
* Cum autem venerit ille, docebit vos omnem veritatem, alleluia.
V. Non enim loquetur a semetipso: sed quaecumque audiet, loquetur: et quae ventura sunt, annuntiabit vobis.
R. Cum autem venerit ille, docebit vos omnem veritatem, alleluia.
V. Glória Patri, et Fílio, * et Spirítui Sancto.
R. Cum autem venerit ille, docebit vos omnem veritatem, alleluia.
R. For if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart I will send him unto you: * And when he is come, he will guide you into all truth, alleluia.
V. For he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear that shall he speak, and he will shew you things to come.
R. And when he is come, he will guide you into all truth, alleluia.
V. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, * and to the Holy Ghost.
R. And when he is come, he will guide you into all truth, alleluia.

The Gospel for the feast of the Ascension is from St Mark 16:

At length he appeared to the eleven as they were at table: and he upbraided them with their incredulity and hardness of heart, because they did not believe them who had seen him after he was risen again.  And he said to them: Go ye into the whole world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized, shall be saved: but he that believeth not shall be condemned.  And these signs shall follow them that believe: In my name they shall cast out devils: they shall speak with new tongues.  They shall take up serpents; and if they shall drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them: they shall lay their hands upon the sick, and they shall recover.  And the Lord Jesus, after he had spoken to them, was taken up into heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of God.  But they going forth preached everywhere: the Lord working withal, and confirming the word with signs that followed.

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