Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Vigil of SS Peter and Paul

The three readings of the Vigil are from St Augustine's Tractate 123 on John.

Reading 1: Continuation of the Holy Gospel according to John: At that time: Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? And so on, and that which followeth.

To the threefold denial there is now appended a threefold confession, that his tongue may not yield a feebler service to love than to fear, and imminent death may not appear to have elicited more from his lips than present life. Let it be the office of love to feed the Lord's flock, if it was the signal of fear to deny the Shepherd. Those who have this purpose in feeding the flock of Christ, that they may have them as their own, and not as Christ's, are convicted of loving themselves, and not Christ, from the desire either of boasting, or wielding power, or acquiring gain, and not from the love of obeying, serving and pleasing God.

Reading 2: Against such, therefore, there standeth as a wakeful sentinel this thrice inculcated utterance of Christ, of whom the Apostle complaineth that they seek their own, not the things that are of Christ Jesus. For what else signifieth the words: Lovest thou me? Feed my sheep: than if it were said: If thou lovest me, think not of feeding thyself, but feed my sheep as mine, and not as thine own; seek my glory in them, and not thine own; my dominion, and not thine; my gain, and not thine; lest thou be found in the fellowship of them that belong to the perilous times, lovers of their own selves, and all else that is joined on to this beginning of evils.

Reading 3: With great propriety, therefore, is Peter addressed: Lovest thou me? and found replying: I love thee; and the command applied to him: Feed my lambs, and this a second and a third time. We have it also demonstrated here that love (amor) and liking (dilectio) are one and the same thing; for the Lord also in the last question said not: Dost thou like me? (Diligis me?): but: Dost thou love me? (Amas me?) Let us, then, love not ourselves but him; and in feeding his sheep, let us be seeking the things which are his, not the things which are our own. For in some inexplicable way, I know not what, every one that loveth himself, and not God, loveth not himself; and whoever loveth God, and not himself, he it is that loveth himself. For he that cannot live by himself will certainly die by loving himself; he therefore loveth not himself that loveth himself to his own loss of life.

(Note the responsories used are those from the first Nocturn of the previous Sunday.)

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