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.

Friday, 31 March 2017

Saturday in the fourth week of Lent

Today's Gospel is St John 8:12-20:

Again therefore, Jesus spoke to them, saying: I am the light of the world: he that followeth me, walketh not in darkness, but shall have the light of life. The Pharisees therefore said to him: Thou givest testimony of thyself: thy testimony is not true.  Jesus answered, and said to them: Although I give testimony of myself, my testimony is true: for I know whence I came, and whither I go: but you know not whence I come, or whither I go.  You judge according to the flesh: I judge not any man.
 And if I do judge, my judgment is true: because I am not alone, but I and the Father that sent me.  And in your law it is written, that the testimony of two men is true.  I am one that give testimony of myself: and the Father that sent me giveth testimony of me.  They said therefore to him: Where is thy Father? Jesus answered: Neither me do you know, nor my Father: if you did know me, perhaps you would know my Father also.  These words Jesus spoke in the treasury, teaching in the temple: and no man laid hands on him, because his hour was not yet come.

Matins readings

Reading 1:  From the holy Gospel according to John - In that time Jesus spoke to the multitude of Jews saying: I am the light of the world: he that followeth me, walketh not in darkness, but shall have the light of life. And so on.

Homily by St Augustine -  I take it that these words of the Lord I am the Light of the world are sufficiently clear to all men who have eyes which see that Light. At the same time, such men as have no eyes except those which are in their bodies, are surprised to find our Lord Jesus Christ saying, I am the Light of the world. And that we might not want somebody to say, Is our Lord Jesus Christ, then, the same sun that riseth and setteth every day? There have actually been heretics who did say it. The Manicheans believed that that sun which we see with our bodily eyes, and to see which is plain and common to beasts as well as men, was the Lord Christ.

R. After that the Lord had looked upon him, the face of Moses shone. * And when the elders saw that his face shone, they marvelled and were sore afraid.
V. And when he came down from Mount Sinai with the two tables of testimony in his hand, he wist not that his face shone, because that God had spoken with him.
R. And when the elders saw that his face shone, they marvelled and were sore afraid.

Reading 2:  But the right faith of the Catholic Church damneth such comment, and recogniseth in it a doctrine of devils. And as it is her practice not only to brand errors by the difference of her own Creed, but also to remove them, if possible, by dint of argument, let us take up arms against this falsehood, which hath from the very beginning been the object of the curse of the Holy Church. God forbid that we should believe that our Lord Jesus Christ is this sun whose apparent movement is to rise every day in the East, and set every day in the West; which when we see no more, night cometh over us; and whose rays are sometimes intercepted by clouds and which hath some law of motion of its own whereby it describeth an orbit. The planet is not the same thing as our Lord Jesus Christ. Our Lord Jesus Christ is not that created sun, but He by Whom that sun was created; for all things were made by Him, and without Him was not anything made that was made.

R. Behold, I send My Angel before thee, to keep thee.* Beware, and obey My voice; then I will be an enemy unto thine enemies, and an adversary unto thine adversaries; for Mine Angel shall go before thee.
V. O Israel, if thou wilt hearken unto Me, there shall no strange god be in thee, neither shalt thou worship any strange god for am the Lord.
R. Beware, and obey My voice; then I will be an enemy unto thine enemies, and an adversary unto thine adversaries; for Mine Angel shall go before thee.

Reading 3: He is therefore the Light by Whom the material light was made. Him may we love, Him may we long to know, Him may we thirst after; to Him may His own beams one day lead us, and in Him may we so live that we shall never die! For He, even He, and none other, He is that Light, of Whom the Prophet that was given of old time sang in the Psalms, when he said For with thee is the fountain of life, and in thy Light shall we see light.  Remember ye likewise what the word of God's ancient saints saith of such Light O Lord, Thou preservest man and beast How excellent is thy loving-kindness, O God!

R. Give ear, O My people, to My law * Incline your ears to the words of My mouth.
V. I will open My mouth in parables I will utter dark sayings of old.
R. Incline your ears to the words of My mouth.
V. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, * and to the Holy Ghost.
R. Incline your ears to the words of My mouth.

Thursday, 30 March 2017

Friday in the fourth week of Lent

Today's Gospel (EF/Benedictine 1962) is St John 11:1-45, on the raising of Lazarus:

Now there was a certain man sick, named Lazarus, of Bethania, of the town of Mary and Martha her sister. (And Mary was she that anointed the Lord with ointment, and wiped his feet with her hair: whose brother Lazarus was sick.) His sisters therefore sent to him, saying: Lord, behold, he whom thou lovest is sick.  And Jesus hearing it, said to them: This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God: that the Son of God may be glorified by it.  Now Jesus loved Martha, and her sister Mary, and Lazarus. When he had heard therefore that he was sick, he still remained in the same place two days. Then after that, he said to his disciples: Let us go into Judea again. The disciples say to him: Rabbi, the Jews but now sought to stone thee: and goest thou thither again? Jesus answered: Are there not twelve hours of the day? If a man walk in the day, he stumbleth not, because he seeth the light of this world:  But if he walk in the night, he stumbleth, because the light is not in him. These things he said; and after that he said to them: Lazarus our friend sleepeth; but I go that I may awake him out of sleep.  His disciples therefore said: Lord, if he sleep, he shall do well.  But Jesus spoke of his death; and they thought that he spoke of the repose of sleep. Then therefore Jesus said to them plainly: Lazarus is dead.  And I am glad, for your sakes, that I was not there, that you may believe: but let us go to him. Thomas therefore, who is called Didymus, said to his fellow disciples: Let us also go, that we may die with him.  Jesus therefore came, and found that he had been four days already in the grave.  (Now Bethania was near Jerusalem, about fifteen furlongs off.) And many of the Jews were come to Martha and Mary, to comfort them concerning their brother.  Martha therefore, as soon as she heard that Jesus had come, went to meet him: but Mary sat at home.  Martha therefore said to Jesus: Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died.  But now also I know that whatsoever thou wilt ask of God, God will give it thee.  Jesus saith to her: Thy brother shall rise again.  Martha saith to him: I know that he shall rise again, in the resurrection at the last day.  Jesus said to her: I am the resurrection and the life: he that believeth in me, although he be dead, shall live: And every one that liveth, and believeth in me, shall not die for ever. Believest thou this?  She saith to him: Yea, Lord, I have believed that thou art Christ the Son of the living God, who art come into this world.  And when she had said these things, she went, and called her sister Mary secretly, saying: The master is come, and calleth for thee.  She, as soon as she heard this, riseth quickly, and cometh to him.  For Jesus was not yet come into the town: but he was still in that place where Martha had met him. The Jews therefore, who were with her in the house, and comforted her, when they saw Mary that she rose up speedily and went out, followed her, saying: She goeth to the grave to weep there. When Mary therefore was come where Jesus was, seeing him, she fell down at his feet, and saith to him: Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died.  Jesus, therefore, when he saw her weeping, and the Jews that were come with her, weeping, groaned in the spirit, and troubled himself,  And said: Where have you laid him? They say to him: Lord, come and see.  And Jesus wept.  The Jews therefore said: Behold how he loved him.  But some of them said: Could not he that opened the eyes of the man born blind, have caused that this man should not die?  Jesus therefore again groaning in himself, cometh to the sepulchre. Now it was a cave; and a stone was laid over it. Jesus saith: Take away the stone. Martha, the sister of him that was dead, saith to him: Lord, by this time he stinketh, for he is now of four days.  Jesus saith to her: Did not I say to thee, that if thou believe, thou shalt see the glory of God? They took therefore the stone away. And Jesus lifting up his eyes said: Father, I give thee thanks that thou hast heard me. And I knew that thou hearest me always; but because of the people who stand about have I said it, that they may believe that thou hast sent me.  When he had said these things, he cried with a loud voice: Lazarus, come forth.  And presently he that had been dead came forth, bound feet and hands with winding bands; and his face was bound about with a napkin. Jesus said to them: Loose him, and let him go.  Many therefore of the Jews, who were come to Mary and Martha, and had seen the things that Jesus did, believed in him.

Matins readings

Reading 1  - From the holy Gospel according to John - In that time there was a certain man sick, named Lazarus, of Bethania, of the town of Mary and Martha her sister. And so on.

Homily by St Augustine - Ye remember that in our last reading we learnt how that the Lord escaped out of the hands of them which took up stones to stone Him, and went away again beyond Jordan, into the place where John at first baptized. While, then, the Lord still tarried there, Lazarus was sick at Bethany, which was a town near to Jerusalem. It was that Mary which anointed the Lord with ointment, and wiped His Feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick. Therefore his sisters sent unto Him. We know already whither it was that they sent, for we know where Jesus was He was gone away again beyond Jordan. His sisters sent unto Him, saying Lord, behold, he whom Thou lovest is sick in order that, if He so pleased, He might come and free him from his sickness. But Jesus healed not, that He might afterward quicken.

R. Thy way is in the sea, and thy paths in the great waters. * Thou leddest thy people like a flock, by the hand of Moses and Aaron.
V. Thou broughtest them through the Red Sea, and leddest them through much water.
R. Thou leddest thy people like a flock by the hand of Moses and Aaron.

Reading 2: What therefore sent his sisters to say? Lord, behold, he whom Thou lovest is sick and no more. They said not Come for Jesus loved him; and to tell Him that he was sick was enough. They dared not to say Come, and heal him they dared not to say Speak the word where Thou art, and it shall be done here. And wherefore should they not have said this if they had the faith which won the Centurion so much praise? He had said Lord, I am not worthy that Thou shouldest come under my roof; but speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed. But they said none of these things, only Lord, behold, he whom Thou lovest is sick. It is enough that Thou shouldest know it. Thou art not one that lovest and leavest.

R. O Lord, Thou hast overwhelmed in the deep of the sea them which persecuted thy people
* Even thy people which Thou leddest in the pillar of the cloud.
V. Thou leddest thy people like a flock, by the hand of Moses and Aaron.
R. Even thy people, which Thou leddest in the pillar of the cloud.

Reading 3: But some man will say How shall Lazarus be a type of the sinner, and yet the Lord so love him? Let such an one hear the words of the same Lord, which He said I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners. For if God had not loved sinners, He had not come down from heaven to earth. When Jesus heard that, He said This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby. Such a glorification is no increase of majesty for Him, but of profit for us. He therefore meaneth to say This sickness is not unto death, but for the working of a miracle, the which being wrought, if men will thereby believe in Christ, they shall escape the real death. Note especially how the Lord doth in this place declare Himself to be God, as it were by implication, for the sake of some which say that He is not the Son of God.

R. Moses, the servant of God, fasted forty days and forty nights * To make him meet to receive the Law of God.
V. Moses gat him up unto the Lord into Mount Sinai, and he was in the Mount forty days and forty nights.
R. To make him meet to receive the Law of God.
V. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, * and to the Holy Ghost.
R. To make him meet to receive the Law of God.

Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Thursday in the fourth week of Lent

Today's Gospel reading is Luke 7:11-16:

And it came to pass afterwards, that he went into a city that is called Naim; and there went with him his disciples, and a great multitude.  And when he came nigh to the gate of the city, behold a dead man was carried out, the only son of his mother; and she was a widow: and a great multitude of the city was with her.  Whom when the Lord had seen, being moved with mercy towards her, he said to her: Weep not. And he came near and touched the bier. And they that carried it, stood still. And he said: Young man, I say to thee, arise.  And he that was dead, sat up, and began to speak. And he gave him to his mother. And there came a fear on them all: and they glorified God, saying: A great prophet is risen up among us: and, God hath visited his people.

Matins readings

Reading 1  - From the holy Gospel according to Luke - In that time Jesus went into a city that is called Naim; and there went with him his disciples, and a great multitude. And so on.

Homily by St Ambrose - The history which we here read in the Holy Gospel hath for us specially two gracious lessons, the one from the literal, the other from the mystic interpretation thereof. According to the letter then, we see how quickly the compassion of God was aroused by the sorrow of this mother, who was a widow, a widow broken down by nursing her only son, or by the bitterness of her grief for his death. She was a widow also whose worshipful conversation is borne witness to by this, that, much people of the city was with her. Mystically however, this widow encompassed by the multitude was something more than a poor woman whose tears won from the Lord the resurrection of her young and only son; for she is a type of our holy Mother the Church, who calleth back her young children to life from the pursuit of deathly vanities, and soul-slaying honours, by bidding them look on those tears which she sheddeth for such as they, and which it is unlawful for her to shed for them of whom she knoweth that they will rise again.

R. The Lord spake unto Moses, saying: Go down now into Egypt, and say unto Pharaoh * Let My people go. And the heart of Pharaoh shall be hardened, that he will not let My people go but by a mighty hand.
V. The cry of the children of Israel is come unto Me, and I have seen their affliction come now, therefore, and I will send thee unto Pharaoh, and thou shalt say unto him
R. Let My people go. And the heart of Pharaoh shall be hardened, that he will not let My people go but by a mighty hand.

Reading 2: This man, then, being dead, was carried out on a bier to the grave by four bearers, even as the sinner is borne to destruction by the four elements of which he is composed. But there was hope in his latter end, from this, that that whereon he was carried was of wood, and wood, albeit it had profited us little before, is become everything to us now since Jesus touched it, being a figure of that gibbet, the Cross, which was made thereof, and wherefrom salvation floweth unto all people. When, therefore, the horrid bearers of the corpse heard the commandment of God, they stood still, and carried no farther him who was dead through the fatal course of a material nature. And is not our case even as that of the widow's son, when we lie, as it were, lifeless, in our spiritual coffin, that is, in the last bed of our soul's death, consumed by the fever of unbridled lust, or frozen by cold-heartedness, or with our whole manliness sapped by some degrading habit of this earthly body, or starved by a spiritual lockjaw that shutteth our mouth to the bright food of our soul? These, and such as these, are they which carry us out to burial.

R. Moses stood before Pharaoh, and said Thus saith the Lord * Let My people go, that they may hold a feast unto Me in the wilderness.
V. The Lord God of the Hebrews hath sent me unto thee, saying
R. Let My people go, that they may hold a feast unto Me in the wilderness.

Reading 3: But even at the last hour, when the hope of life hath been utterly extinguished, and the bodies of the dead are lying by the side of the grave, by the word of God those carcases live again, yea, arise and speak. Then doth Jesus deliver the son to his mother, for Jesus calleth him out of the grave, and delivereth him from death. O, what is the grave of the soul but a bad life? Sinner! thy grave is unbelief, and thy throat is a sepulchre! Even so is it written Their throat is an open sepulchre, Ps. v. ii, whereout breathe their pestilential words. Lo! Christ maketh thee free from that grave! If only thou wilt hear the word of God, thou shalt yet arise from that sepulchre! Yea, though thy sin be exceeding weighty, so that the tears of thine own sorrow cannot wash it away, let thy Mother the Church weep for thee, that longing Mother who weepeth for every one of her children as though he were the only son of his mother, and she was a widow. Believe me, her spiritual anguish is keen like the anguish of nature, when she seeth her children dead in sin, and carried out to be buried for ever.

R. Let us sing unto the Lord, for He hath triumphed gloriously; the horse and his rider hath He thrown into the sea. * The Lord is my strength and song, and He is become my salvation.
V. The Lord is a man of war; Almighty is His Name.
R. The Lord is my strength and song, and He is become my salvation.
V. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, * and to the Holy Ghost.
R. The Lord is my strength, and my song, and He is become my salvation.

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Wednesday in the fourth week of Lent

Today's Gospel is St John 9:1-38, the healing of a man blind from birth:

And Jesus passing by, saw a man, who was blind from his birth: And his disciples asked him: Rabbi, who hath sinned, this man, or his parents, that he should be born blind?  Jesus answered: Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents; but that the works of God should be made manifest in him.  I must work the works of him that sent me, whilst it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work.  As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world. When he had said these things, he spat on the ground, and made clay of the spittle, and spread the clay on his eyes,  And said to him: Go, wash in the pool of Siloe, which is interpreted, Sent. He went therefore, and washed, and he came seeing.  The neighbours therefore, and they who had seen him before that he was a beggar, said: Is not this he that sat and begged? Some said: This is he.  But others said: No, but he is like him. But he said: I am he.  They said therefore to him: How were thy eyes opened? He answered: That man that is called Jesus made clay, and anointed my eyes, and said to me: Go to the pool of Siloe, and wash. And I went, I washed, and I see.  And they said to him: Where is he? He saith: I know not.  They bring him that had been blind to the Pharisees.  Now it was the sabbath, when Jesus made the clay, and opened his eyes. Again therefore the Pharisees asked him, how he had received his sight. But he said to them: He put clay upon my eyes, and I washed, and I see. Some therefore of the Pharisees said: This man is not of God, who keepeth not the sabbath. But others said: How can a man that is a sinner do such miracles? And there was a division among them.  They say therefore to the blind man again: What sayest thou of him that hath opened thy eyes? And he said: He is a prophet.  The Jews then did not believe concerning him, that he had been blind, and had received his sight, until they called the parents of him that had received his sight, And asked them, saying: Is this your son, who you say was born blind? How then doth he now see?  His parents answered them, and said: We know that this is our son, and that he was born blind: But how he now seeth, we know not; or who hath opened his eyes, we know not: ask himself: he is of age, let him speak for himself.  These things his parents said, because they feared the Jews: for the Jews had already agreed among themselves, that if any man should confess him to be Christ, he should be put out of the synagogue.  Therefore did his parents say: He is of age, ask himself.  They therefore called the man again that had been blind, and said to him: Give glory to God. We know that this man is a sinner. He said therefore to them: If he be a sinner, I know not: one thing I know, that whereas I was blind, now I see.They said then to him: What did he to thee? How did he open thy eyes?  He answered them: I have told you already, and you have heard: why would you hear it again? will you also become his disciples?  They reviled him therefore, and said: Be thou his disciple; but we are the disciples of Moses.  We know that God spoke to Moses: but as to this man, we know not from whence he is.  The man answered, and said to them: Why, herein is a wonderful thing, that you know not from whence he is, and he hath opened my eyes. Now we know that God doth not hear sinners: but if a man be a server of God, and doth his will, him he heareth. From the beginning of the world it hath not been heard, that any man hath opened the eyes of one born blind.  Unless this man were of God, he could not do any thing.  They answered, and said to him: Thou wast wholly born in sins, and dost thou teach us? And they cast him out.  Jesus heard that they had cast him out: and when he had found him, he said to him: Dost thou believe in the Son of God? He answered, and said: Who is he, Lord, that I may believe in him?  And Jesus said to him: Thou hast both seen him; and it is he that talketh with thee.  And he said: I believe, Lord. And falling down, he adored him.

Matins readings

Reading 1 Continuation of the Holy Gospel according to John - In that time Jesus passing by, saw a man, who was blind from his birth. And so on.

Homily by St Augustine - Dread and wondrous are all the things which our Lord Jesus Christ did, both His works and His words; the works, because He wrought them; the words, because they are deep. If, therefore, we consider the meaning of this work of His, we see that that man which was blind from his birth was a figure of mankind. This spiritual blindness was the consequence of the sin of the first man, from whom we all inherit by birth, not death only, but depravity also. For if blindness be unbelief, and faith, light, whom, when Christ came, did He find faithful? May, the Apostle who had himself been born of the race of which the Prophets came, saith We also were by nature children of wrath, even as others. And if children of wrath, then children also of vengeance, children of damnation, children of hell. And wherefore so by nature, unless it were that the sin of the first man had made all his descendants to be born in sin, in that they partook of his nature? If, then, our nature bring sin with it, all men, according to the spirit, are born blind.

R. After that the Lord had looked upon him, the face of Moses shone. * And when the elders saw that his face shone, they marvelled and were sore afraid.
V. And when he came down from Mount Sinai with the two tables of testimony in his hand, he wist not that his face shone, because that God had spoken with him.
R. And when the elders saw that his face shone, they marvelled and were sore afraid.

Reading 2: The Lord came; and what did He? He set before us a great mystery. Jesus spat on the ground, and made clay of the Spittle for the Word was made flesh. And He anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay but yet that man saw not. He was anointed, indeed, but yet still he saw not. And He said unto him Go, wash in the Pool of Siloam. Now, it was the duty of the Evangelist to impress upon us the name of this Pool, and therefore he saith Siloam, which is, by interpretation, Sent. Ye, my brethren, know Who is signified where it is written: (The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a law-giver from his loins, until) He that shall be Sent cometh. Yea, He it is, Who, if He had not been sent, we had never been sent loose out of the prison-house of sin. The blind man went his way therefore, and washed his eyes in that Pool, which is, by interpretation, Sent in other words, he was baptized in Christ. When, therefore, he had figuratively been baptized in Him Whom the Father hath Sent into the world he came seeing. When he was anointed, he was perchance made a figure of a Catechumen.

R. Behold, I send My Angel before thee, to keep thee. * Beware, and obey My voice; then I will be an enemy unto thine enemies, and an adversary unto thine adversaries; for Mine Angel shall go before thee.
V. O Israel, if thou wilt hearken unto Me, there shall no strange god be in thee, neither shalt thou worship any strange god for am the Lord.
R. Beware, and obey My voice; then I will be an enemy unto thine enemies, and an adversary unto thine adversaries; for Mine Angel shall go before thee.

Reading 3: We have heard this great mystery. Ask of a man: Art thou a Christian? He answereth thee I am not. Then, if thou ask him: Art thou a pagan then, or a Jew? And he still saith unto thee Nay and thou say Art thou then a Catechumen, though not yet one of the faithful? and he saith Yea, a Catechumen then there thou seest a man anointed, but not yet washed. With what hath he been anointed? Ask of him, and he will tell thee. Ask of him in Whom he believeth, and, being a Catechumen, he will say: In Christ. But, behold, I speak before both Faithful and Catechumens. What said I touching the. Spittle and the clay? I said for 'the Word was made flesh.' This the Catechumens hear, but it is not enough for them to be anointed; they must make haste to the washing, if they would have their eyes opened.

R. Give ear, O My people, to My law * Incline your ears to the words of My mouth.
V. I will open My mouth in parables I will utter dark sayings of old.
R. Incline your ears to the words of My mouth.
V. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, * and to the Holy Ghost.
R. Incline your ears to the words of My mouth.

Monday, 27 March 2017

Tuesday in the fourth week of Lent

Today's Gospel is John 7:14-21:

Now about the midst of the feast, Jesus went up into the temple, and taught.  And the Jews wondered, saying: How doth this man know letters, having never learned? Jesus answered them, and said: My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me.  If any man do the will of him; he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself.  He that speaketh of himself, seeketh his own glory: but he that seeketh the glory of him that sent him, he is true, and there is no injustice in him.  Did Moses not give you the law, and yet none of you keepeth the law?  Why seek you to kill me? The multitude answered, and said: Thou hast a devil; who seeketh to kill thee?  Jesus answered, and said to them: One work I have done; and you all wonder:

The Matins readings in the Benedictine and traditional Roman Office:

Reading 1 (Homily by St Augustine): He Who had gone up unto the Feast, not openly, but as it were in secret, the Same taught, and spake openly, and no man laid hands upon Him. That He had hid Himself, was for example's sake; that He manifested Himself, was to show His power. And when He taught, the Jews marvelled. As seemeth to my mind, they all marvelled, but were not all converted. And wherefore marvelled they? Because many of them knew where He was born, and how He had been brought up. They had never seen Him learn letters; but they heard Him dispute concerning the law, and allege the testimony of the same, as no man could do who had not read it; and no man can read unless he learn; and therefore they marvelled. But their marvelling was unto the Teacher an occasion for the revealing of higher truth.

R. Why go ye about to kill Me, a Man That hath l told you the truth? * If I have spoken evil, bear witness of the evil; but if well, why smitest thou Me?
V. Many good works have I wrought among you; for which of those works go ye about to kill Me?
R. If I have spoken evil, bear witness of the evil; but if well, why smitest thou Me?

Reading 2: For when they marvelled and whispered, the Lord said a certain deep thing, yea, a thing worthy of very careful thought and discussion. And what was this thing which the Lord gave for an answer to such as marvelled that He knew letters, having never learned? Jesus answered them and said My doctrine is not Mine, but His That sent Me. Here is the first depth, for He seemeth in these few words to enunciate a contradiction. He saith not This doctrine is not Mine but My doctrine is not Mine. O how is it thine? If it be thine, wherefore sayest Thou that it is not thine? For Thou sayest My doctrine is not Mine.

R. I, even I, the Lord, have led you forty years in the wilderness, and your clothes are not waxen old upon you. * I rained down manna upon you from heaven, and ye have forgotten Me, saith the Lord.
V. I led you forth out of the land of Egypt, and delivered you from the house of bondage.

R. I rained down manna upon you from heaven, and ye have forgotten Me, saith the Lord.

Reading 3: Let us then carefully regard what this same holy Evangelist saith in the beginning of his Gospel, and we shall find there wherewith to loose the knot of this difficulty. There it is written In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  What is the doctrine of the Father but the Word of the Father? If Christ therefore be the Word of the Father, He is the doctrine of the Father. But a Word cannot be of no one, but must needs, if it be a Word, have some one whose word it is. Christ therefore saith that His doctrine is Himself, and therefore not His, forasmuch as He is the Word of the Father. And what hast thou that is so much thine own as thy self? Or what is there that is so little thine own as thyself, if that which thou art is another's?

R. Moses, the servant of God, fasted forty days and forty nights * To make him meet to receive the Law of God.
V. Moses gat him up unto the Lord into Mount Sinai, and he was in the Mount forty days and forty nights.
R. To make him meet to receive the Law of God.
V. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, * and to the Holy Ghost.
R. To make him meet to receive the Law of God.

Sunday, 26 March 2017

Monday in the fourth week of Lent

The Gospel is St John 2:13-25:

 And the pasch of the Jews was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. And he found in the temple them that sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the changers of money sitting.  And when he had made, as it were, a scourge of little cords, he drove them all out of the temple, the sheep also and the oxen, and the money of the changers he poured out, and the tables he overthrew. And to them that sold doves he said: Take these things hence, and make not the house of my Father a house of traffic. And his disciples remembered, that it was written: The zeal of thy house hath eaten me up.  The Jews, therefore, answered, and said to him: What sign dost thou shew unto us, seeing thou dost these things?  Jesus answered, and said to them: Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up. The Jews then said: Six and forty years was this temple in building; and wilt thou raise it up in three days? But he spoke of the temple of his body.  When therefore he was risen again from the dead, his disciples remembered, that he had said this, and they believed the scripture, and the word that Jesus had said.  Now when he was at Jerusalem, at the pasch, upon the festival day, many believed in his name, seeing his signs which he did.  But Jesus did not trust himself unto them, for that he knew all men, And because he needed not that any should give testimony of man: for he knew what was in man.

The Matins readings:

Reading 1: What hear we now, my brethren? Behold, that temple was still but a figure, and the Lord drove out therefrom all them that sought their own, even them that were come to deal in merchandise. And what was it that they sold there? Only such things as were needful to men for the sacrifices that then were. For your love knoweth that, because of that people's carnal-mindedness and the stoniness of their heart, there were commanded unto them such sacrifices as these, thereby to hold them back from idolatry and there, according, they offered up oxen, and sheep, and doves. This ye have read, and know.

R. When ye be gone over Jordan, there shall ye build an altar unto the Lord * Of whole stones; ye shall not lift up any iron tool upon them; and ye shall offer burnt-offerings thereon, and peace-offerings, unto your God.
V. When ye shall pass over (Jordan) unto the land which the Lord giveth you, there shall ye build an altar unto the Lord.
R. Of whole stones; ye shall not lift up any iron tool upon them; and ye shall offer burnt-offerings thereon, and peace-offerings, unto your God.

Reading 2: It was no great sin, therefore, if they sold in the temple that which was bought to be offered in the temple and yet He drove them out. If, then, the Lord drove out of His temple them which sold such things as are lawful and right (for to buy and sell is lawful, if only it be done honestly,) and suffered not the house of prayer to be made an house of merchandise, what would He have done if He had found there men drunken?

R. Hear, O Israel, the law of the Lord, and write it in thine heart as in a book * And I will give unto thee a land flowing with milk and honey.
V. Take heed therefore, and hearken unto My voice and I will be an enemy unto thine enemies.
R. And I will give unto thee a land flowing with milk and honey.

Reading 3: If the house of God must not be a house of merchandise, must it be an house to drink in? And yet, when we say this, men gnash upon us with their teeth. But we find consolation in remembering that so far we are even as the Psalmist, who saith: They gnashed upon me with their teeth. Yea, we have also learnt to listen to words that heal us, though, of a verity, the lashes that are made at His word are really made at Christ. Lashes, saith He, were heaped upon Me; and they knew not what they did. He was lashed by the scourges of the Jews, and He is lashed still by the blasphemies of false Christians; they heap lashes upon the Lord their God; and know not what they do. As for us, we will do that which He hath holpen us to do; But as for me, when they troubled me, my clothing was sackcloth, and I humbled my soul with fasting

R. As I was with Moses, so I will be with thee, saith the Lord. * Be strong and of a good courage, and thou shalt bring My people into a land flowing with milk and honey.
V. Fear not, for I am with thee whithersoever thou goest I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.
R. Be strong and of a good courage, and thou shalt bring My people into a land flowing with milk and honey.
V. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, * and to the Holy Ghost.
R. Be strong and of a good courage, and thou shalt bring My people into a land flowing with milk and honey.