Monday, 22 May 2017

Rogation Day (May 22)

Today is a Rogation Day, traditionally a day of extra prayer and fasting.

In the 1962 calendar, the prayers and readings for the rogation day have been removed from the Office for reasons that I don't understand, so the only formal celebration of it is to say the litany of the saints.  Still the readings are rather good, so here they are anyway.  On Tuesday, the readings revert to normal, but the Vigil of the Ascension (on Wednesday) does have its own readings.

Reading 1: Continuation of the Holy Gospel according to Luke - At that time Jesus said unto His disciples Which of you shall have a friend, and shall go unto him at midnight, and say unto him: Friend, lend me three loaves. And so on.

Homily by St. Ambrose, Bishop of Milan - We gather from this commandment, among other things, that we ought to pray, not only by day, but also by night. Thou seest how that he which arose at midnight to ask three loaves of his friend, and endured in supplication, was not disappointed of that which he sought. Of what are these three loaves a figure, but of that our Mysterious Bread Which cometh down from heaven Thou seest that if thou lovest the Lord thy God, thou mayest win His bounty, not only for thyself, but for others likewise. And who can deserve more to be called our "Friend" than He Which gave His Own Body for us.

Reading 2: From this Friend it was that David asked bread at midnight, and received it, as he saith "At midnight I rise to give thanks unto thee."  Even thus did he obtain those loaves of spiritual nourishment which he still setteth before us for our refreshment. How he asked it, we know from that he saith " Every night wash I my bed." He knew that there was no fear of waking Him Who sleepeth not.  Therefore let us keep in mind the things which are written for our learning, and be instant in prayer both by day and by night, to ask pardon of our sins.

Reading 3: If David, who was such a Saint, and whose time was so taken up by the cares of a kingdom, praised the Lord seven times a day, and was always present with godly zeal at the morning and evening sacrifice, what ought we to do, (who have so much the more need to pray, as the weakness of our body and mind doth so much oftener make us to fall, ) that we, wearied with this pilgrimage, and worn out by the gradual waning of our earthly day, and the changes of life, that we, I say, may not be starved of that life-giving Bread Which strengtheneth man's heart. The Lord teacheth us to be watchful, all of us, and that, not at midnight only, but always. "And if He shall come in the second watch, or come in the third watch, and find them so blessed are those servants whom the Lord, when He cometh, shall find: watching.

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