Saturday, 3 June 2017

Readings and responsories for the Feast of Pentecost


Nocturn I: Acts 2:1-21

Reading 1: Lesson from the Acts of Apostles - And when the days of the Pentecost were accomplished, they were all together in one place: And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a mighty wind coming, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them parted tongues as it were of fire, and it sat upon every one of them: And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they began to speak with divers tongues, according as the Holy Ghost gave them to speak. Now there were dwelling at Jerusalem, Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven.

R. Cum complerentur dies Pentecostes, erant omnes pariter in eodem loco, alleluia: et subito factus est sonus de caelo, alleluia,
* Tamquam spiritus vehementi, et replevit totam domum, alleluia, alleluia.
V. Dum ergo essent in unum discipuli congregati propter metum Judaeorum, sonus repente de caelo venit super eos.
R. Tamquam spiritus vehementi, et replevit totam domum, alleluia, alleluia.
R. When the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place Alleluia and suddenly there came a sound from heaven Alleluia
* as of a mighty rushing wind, and it filled all the house Alleluia, Alleluia.
V. Where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, there suddenly came upon them a sound from heaven
R. As of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house Alleluia, Alleluia.

Reading 2: And when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded in mind, because that every man heard them speak in his own tongue. And they were all amazed, and wondered, saying: Behold, are not all these, that speak, Galileans? And how have we heard, every man our own tongue wherein we were born? Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and inhabitants of Mesopotamia, Judea, and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia, and Pamphylia, Egypt, and the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews also, and proselytes, Cretes, and Arabians: we have heard them speak in our own tongues the wonderful works of God.

R. Repleti sunt omnes Spiritu sancto: et coeperunt loqui, prout Spiritus Sanctus dabat eloqui illis:* Et convenit multitudo dicentium, alleluia.
V. Loquebantur variis linguis Apostoli magnalia Dei.
R. Et convenit multitudo dicentium, alleluia.
R. They were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak, as the Holy Ghost gave them utterance* And the multitude came together, saying: Alleluia.
V. The Apostle spake in divers tongues the wonderful works of God.
R. And the multitude came together, saying: Alleluia.
Reading 3: And they were all astonished, and wondered, saying one to another: What meaneth this?But others mocking, said: These men are full of new wine. But Peter standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and spoke to them: Ye men of Judea, and all you that dwell in Jerusalem, be this known to you, and with your ears receive my words.For these are not drunk, as you suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day.

R. Iam non dicam vos servos, sed amicos meos; quia omnia cognovistis, quae operatus sum in medio vestri, alleluia:* Accipite Spiritum Sanctum in vobis Paraclitum: ille est, quem Pater mittet vobis, alleluia.
V. Vos amici mei estis, si feceritis quae ego praecipio vobis.
R. Accipite Spiritum Sanctum in vobis Paraclitum: ille est, quem Pater mittet vobis, alleluia.
R. Henceforth I call you not servants, but I have called you My friends, because ye have known all things, whatsoever I have done among you. Alleluia.
* Receive ye the Holy Ghost, Who is your Comforter within you; the Same is He Whom the Father will send unto you. Alleluia.
V. Ye are My friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.
R. Receive ye the Holy Ghost Who is your Comforter within you; the Same is He Whom the Father will send unto you. Alleluia.

Reading 4: But this is that which was spoken of by the prophet Joel:  And it shall come to pass, in the last days, saith the Lord, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams.  And upon my servants indeed, and upon my handmaids will I pour out in those days of my spirit, and they shall prophesy.  And I will shew wonders in the heaven above, and signs on the earth beneath: blood and fire, and vapour of smoke.  The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and manifest day of the Lord come. And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord, shall be saved.

R. Spiritus Sanctus procedens a throno, Apostolorum pectora invisibiliter penetravit novo sanctificationis signo:* Ut in ore eorum omnium genera nascerentur linguarum, alleluia.
V. Advenit ignis divinus, non comburens, sed illuminans, et tribuit eis charismatum dona.
R. Ut in ore eorum omnium genera nascerentur linguarum, alleluia.
V. Glória Patri, et Fílio, * et Spirítui Sancto.
R. Ut in ore eorum omnium genera nascerentur linguarum, alleluia.
R. The Holy Ghost proceeding from the throne, entered unseen into the hearts of the Apostles with a new token of satisfaction:* Even that their mouths should give forth all manners of tongues, alleluia.
V. The fire of the Divinity fell, not to burn them, but to enlighten them, and gave them gifts of grace.
R. Even that their mouths should give forth all manners of tongues,alleluia.
V. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, * and to the Holy Ghost.
R. Even that their mouths should give forth all manners of tongues, alleluia.

Nocturn II

Reading 5: Homily of Pope St Leo - Dearly beloved, all Catholics know in their hearts that Pentecost is to be esteemed as one of the most important festivals. There is no question but that we owe great reverence to that day which the Holy Spirit has sanctified by his most excellent and wondrous Gift.

R. Apparuerunt Apostolis dispertitae linguae tamquam ignis, alleluia:
* Seditque supra singulos eorum Spiritus Sanctus, alleluia, alleluia.
V. Et coeperunt loqui variis linguis, prout Spiritus Sanctus dabat eloqui illis.
R. Seditque supra singulos eorum Spiritus Sanctus, alleluia, alleluia.
R. There appeared  unto the Apostles cloven tongues like as of fire, alleluia:* And the Holy Ghost rested upon each one of them, alleluia, alleluia.
V. And they began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.
R. And the Holy Ghost rested upon each one of them, alleluia, alleluia.

Reading 6: For this is the tenth day since the Lord ascended high above all heavens to sit down at the right hand of God the Father, and it is the fiftieth since his Resurrection, whereon the Lord initiated and made manifest mighty mysteries, binding together the old and the new covenants: thereby plainly revealing that grace was foreshadowed by the law, and that law has been perfected by grace.

R. Loquebantur variis linguis Apostoli magnalia Dei,* Prout Spiritus Sanctus dabat eloqui illis, alleluia.
V. Repleti sunt omnes Spiritu sancto, et coeperunt loqui.
R. Prout Spiritus Sanctus dabat eloqui illis, alleluia.
R. The Apostles did speak with other tongues the wonderful works of God,* As the Spirit gave them utterance, alleluia.
V. They were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak.
R. As the Spirit gave them utterance, alleluia.

Reading 7:  For as of old, when the Hebrews had been freed from the yoke of the Egyptians, the Law was given on Mount Sinai on the fiftieth day after the scacrifice of the Passover Lamb; so after the Passion when the true Lamb of god was slain, the Holy Spirit descended upon the Apostles and upon the company of believers on the fiftieth day after his resurrection, in order that the faithful Christian might truly perceive that the mysteries of the Old Testament provide the foundations of the Gospel, and that the second Covenant was established by the same Spirit which had instituted the first.

R. Disciplinam et sapientiam docuit eos Dominus, alleluia: firmavit in illis gratiam Spiritus sui, * Et intellectu implevit corda eorum, alleluia.
V. Repentino namque sonitu Spiritus Sanctus super eos venit.
R. Et intellectu implevit corda eorum, alleluia.
R. The Lord taught them good judgment and knowledge Alleluia. He established in them the grace of His Spirit * And filled their hearts with understanding. Alleluia.
V. For with a sudden sound the Holy Ghost came upon them
R. And filled their hearts with understanding. Alleluia.

Reading 8: From this day, therefore the preaching of the Gospel hath sounded forth like a trumpet; from this day the gentle rain of the gifts of the Spirit, the rivers of blessings, have watered all the dry and thirsty desert: for the Spirit of the Lord moved upon the face of the waters, that he might renew the face of the earth.; the new flames shone forth to chase away the old darkness with the brilliancy of fiery tongues and the clarity of the Word of God; flaming eloquence is conceived, from which proceeds understanding and the doing away of sins, through the Spirit's power of consuming and enlightening as by fire.

R. Ite in universum orbem, et praedicate Evangelium, alleluia:
* Qui crediderit, et baptizatus fuerit, salus erit, alleluia, alleluia, alleluia.
V. In nomine meo daemonia ejicient. linguis loquentur novis, serpentes tollent.
R. Qui crediderit, et baptizatus fuerit, salus erit, alleluia, alleluia, alleluia.
V. Glória Patri, et Fílio, * et Spirítui Sancto.
R. Qui crediderit, et baptizatus fuerit, salus erit, alleluia, alleluia, alleluia.
R. Go ye into the whole world and preach the Gospel, alleluia: * He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved, alleluia,alleluia, alleluia.
V. In my name shallt hey cast out devils; they shall speak with tongues" they shall take up serpents.
R. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved, alleluia,alleluia, alleluia.
V. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, * and to the Holy Ghost.
R. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved, alleluia,alleluia, alleluia.

Nocturn III 

Reading 9: From the Holy Gospel according to John - At that time Jesus said unto His disciples If a man love Me. He will keep My word, and My Father will love him, and We will come unto him, and make Our abode with him. And so on.

Dearly beloved brethren, our best way will be to run briefly through the words which have been read from the Holy Gospel, and thereafter rest for a while quietly gazing upon the solemn subject of this great Festival. This is the day whereon "suddenly there came a sound from heaven," and the Holy Ghost descended upon the Apostles, and, for fleshly minds, gave them minds wherein the love of God was shed abroad and, while without "there appeared unto them cloven tongues, like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them," within, their hearts were enkindled. While they received the visible presence of God in the form of fire, the flames of His love enwrapped them. The Holy Ghost Himself is love whence it is that John saith "God is love."

R. Advenit ignis divinus, non combirens, sed illuminans; non consumens, sed lucens: et invenit corda discipulorum receptacula munda:* Et tribuit eis charismatum dona, alleluia, alleluia.
V. Invenit eos concordes caritate, et collustravit eos inundans gratia Deitatis.
R. Et tribuit eis charismatum dona, alleluia, alleluia.
R. The Holy Ghost, Which proceedeth from the Throne, entered unseen into the hearts of the Apostles, with a new token of sanctification, even * That all manner of tongues should spring to their lips. Alleluia.
V. The fire of God fell, not to burn them, but to enlighten them, and gave them gifts of grace.
R. That all manner of tongues should spring to their lips. Alleluia.

Reading 10: Whosoever therefore loveth God with all his soul, already hath obtained Him Whom he loveth for no man is able to love God, if He have not gained Him Whom he loveth.  But, behold, now, if I shall ask any one of you whether he loveth God, he will answer with all boldness and quietness of spirit "I do love him." But at the very beginning of this day's Lesson from the Gospel, ye have heard what the Truth saith " If a man love Me, he will keep My word." The test, then, of love, is whether it is showed by works. Hence the same John hath said in his Epistle "If a man say, I love God, and keepeth not His commandments, He is a liar."

R. Spiritus Sanctus replevit totam domum, ubi erant Apostoli: et apparuerunt illis dispertitae linguae, tamquam ignis, seditque supra singulos eorum:
* Et repleti sunt omnes Spiritu sancto: et coeperunt loqui variis linguis, prout Spiritus Sanctus dabat eloqui illis, alleluia, alleluia, alleluia.
V. Dum ergo essent in unum discipuli congregati propter metum Judaeorum, sonus repente de caelo venit super eos.
R. Et repleti sunt omnes Spiritu sancto: et coeperunt loqui variis linguis, prout Spiritus Sanctus dabat eloqui illis, alleluia, alleluia, alleluia.
R. The Holy Ghost filled all the house where the Apostles were and there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. * And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak in divers tongues as the Holy Spirit gave them utterance. Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia.
V. When the disciples were all with one accord in one place, for fear of the Jews, suddenly there came a sound from heaven upon them.
R. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak in divers tongues as the Holy Spirit gave them utterance. Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia.

Reading 11: Then do we indeed love God, and keep His commandments, if we deny ourselves the gratification of our appetites. Whosoever still wandereth after unlawful desires, such an one plainly loveth not God, for he saith, Nay, to that which God willeth.And My Father will love him, and We will come unto him, and make Our abode with him." O my dearly beloved brethren, think what a dignity is that, to have God abiding as a guest in our heart Surely if some rich man or some powerful friend were to come into our house, we would hasten to have our whole house cleaned, lest, perchance, when he came in, he should see aught to displease his eye.

R. Non vos me elegistis, sed ego elegi vos, et posui vos:* Ut eatis, et fructum afferatis, et fructus vester maneat, alleluia, alleluia.
V. Sicut misit me Pater, et ego mitto vos.
R. Ut eatis, et fructum afferatis, et fructus vester maneat, alleluia, alleluia.
R. Ye have not chosen Me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you * That ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain. Alleluia, Alleluia.
V. As My Father hath sent Me, even so send I you.
R. That ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain. Alleluia, Alleluia.

Reading 12: So let him that would make his mind an abode for God, cleanse it from all the filth of works of iniquity. Lo, again, what saith the Truth " We will come unto him, and make Our abode with him." There are some hearts whereunto God cometh, but maketh not His abode therein with a certain pricking they feel His Presence, but in time of temptation they forget that which hath pricked them and so they turn again to work unrighteousness, even as though they had never repented.

R. Spiritus Domini * replevit orbem terrarum * Et hoc quod continet omnia, scientiam habet vocis, alleluia, alleluia.
V. Omnium est enim artifex, omnem habens virtutem omnia prospiciens
R. Et hoc quod continet omnia, scientiam habet vocis, alleluia, alleluia.
V. Glória Patri, et Fílio, * et Spirítui Sancto.
R. Et hoc quod continet omnia, scientiam habet vocis, alleluia, alleluia.
R. The Spirit of the Lord filleth the world. *. And That Which containeth all things hath knowledge of the voice. Alleluia, Alleluia.
V. For [Wisdom] is the worker of all things, having all power, overseeing all things.
R.. And That Which containeth all things hath knowledge of the voice. Alleluia, alleluia.
V. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, * and to the Holy Ghost.
R.. And That Which containeth all things hath knowledge of the voice. Alleluia, 

Today's Gospel is St John 14:23-31:

Jesus answered, and said to him: If any one love me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him, and will make our abode with him.  He that loveth me not, keepeth not my words. And the word which you have heard, is not mine; but the Father' s who sent me. These things have I spoken to you, abiding with you.  But the Paraclete, the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things, and bring all things to your mind, whatsoever I shall have said to you.  Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, do I give unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, nor let it be afraid.  You have heard that I said to you: I go away, and I come unto you. If you loved me, you would indeed be glad, because I go to the Father: for the Father is greater than I.  And now I have told you before it comes to pass: that when it shall come to pass, you may believe.  I will not now speak many things with you. For the prince of this world cometh, and in me he hath not any thing  But that the world may know, that I love the Father: and as the Father hath given me commandment, so do I: Arise, let us go hence.

Friday, 2 June 2017

Office of Our Lady on Saturday - First Saturday of June

The reading for the first Saturday of June for the Office of Our Lady is set out below.

Sermo sancti Bernardi Abbatis -

Vehementer quidem nobis, dilectíssimi, vir unus et mulier una nocuére; sed, grátias Deo, per unum nihilóminus virum et mulíerum unam ómnia restaurántur, nec sine magno fænore gratiárum. Neque enim sicut delíctum, ita et donum; sed excedit damni æstimatiónem beneficii magnitudo. Sic nimirum prudentíssimus et clementíssimus artifex, quod quassátum fúerat, non confrégit, sed utílius omnino refécit, ut videlicet nobis novum formaret Adam ex veteri, Hevam transfúnderet in Mariam.

Sermon of St. Bernard, Abbot

It was indeed a serious injury that one man and one woman inflected on us, dearly beloved; but thanks to God, it was also by one Man and one woman that all things were restored, and with a great increase of grace too. For "not like the offense is gift", on the contrary the benefits received are greater than the loss sustained. Yes, that was how the Maker supreme in good judgment and in kindness plied His craft: what had been bruised, He did not break. Rather, He remade it completely in such a way as to be in more advantage to us: out of the old Adam He made a new Man; Eve He transformed into Mary.

Matins readings for the Vigil of Pentecost



Reading 1: From the Holy Gospel according to John - At that time, Jesus said unto His disciples: If ye love Me, keep My commandments. And I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter. And so on.

Homily by St. Augustine, Bishop of Hippo - By these words of the Lord: "I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter", He doth imply that Himself is a Comforter. The Greek word used, namely "Parakletos," signifieth also an Advocate, and is used in that sense where it is written "We have an Advocate Parakleton with the Father, Jesus Christ the Righteous." "Even the Spirit of truth, Whom the world cannot receive," because as we read elsewhere, "the carnal mind is enmity against; God; for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can it be" as we may say plainly nothing can make unrighteousness righteous. By "the world," in this place, we must understand the lovers of the world, a love which cometh not of the Father. And therefore it is that this love of the world, which we strive to lessen and to destroy in ourselves, is contrary to "the love of God, which is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us."


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 2: The Spirit of truth Whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth Him not, neither knoweth Him "for to love the world is to lack those spiritual eyes, which are able to see Him Who is invisible, the Holy Ghost. "But ye know Him," saith the Lord to His disciples, "for He shall dwell with you, and shall be in you." He will be in them to dwell in them, not dwell in them to be in them for one must first be in a place before one dwell there. But lest the Apostles should think that the words, "He shall dwell with you," signified that He should visibly abide with them for a while, as do guests in the houses of men, the Lord saith in explanation "He shall be in you."


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 3: Therefore is He seen That is invisible. If He were not in us we could have in us no knowledge of Him but He is seen in us, as we see our conscience. We see the faces of other men, but we cannot see our Own but of consciences we see none save that within ourselves. But our conscience is never elsewhere but within us whereas the Holy Ghost may be without us, as well as within us. He is given to be within us, and, unless He be within us, we can neither see nor know Him, either within or without us. Then, after that He had promised the Holy Ghost, the Lord, lest they should deem that He was to give them that other Comforter instead of Himself, and that He Himself was to be no longer with them, said also "I will not leave you orphans I will come to you." Therefore, although the Son of God hath made us by adoption sons of His Own Father, and hath willed that the Same Who is His Father by nature should be our Father by grace, nevertheless, He showeth that Himself hath toward us a love as of a Father, where He saith "I will not leave you orphans."


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.



Thursday, 1 June 2017

St Gregory on the Ascension (previously Octave Day of the Ascension))

In older calendars this was the Octave Day of the Ascension.  The readings below are those for the Third Nocturn of the former feast day.

From a Homily by Pope St Gregory the Great:

The Prophet Habakkuk also hath spoken of the glory of Christ's Ascension in the words "The sun was lifted up on high, and the moon stood still in her habitation," Who is here signified by the Sun, if not the Saviour or by the Moon, if not the Church? Until the Lord was withdrawn from her sight, (that is, by His Ascension,) His Holy Church was pale before the hostile glare of the world, but after He was ascended, she waxed stronger, and distinctly shed forth the beams of that faith which had hitherto dwelt hiddenly in her. "The sun was lifted up, and the moon stood still in her habitation" when the Lord was gone away into heaven, His holy Church waxed stronger in her enlightening power.

Hence it is that Solomon hath put into the mouth of the, (same) Church the words: "Behold,; He cometh! leaping upon the mountains, skipping upon the hills These hills are his lofty and; noble achievements. "Behold, He cometh leaping upon the mountains" When He came to redeem us, He came, if I may so say, in leaps. My dearly beloved brethren, would you know what His leaps were? From heaven he leapt into the womb' of the Virgin, from the womb into the manger, from the manger on to the Cross, from the Cross into the grave, and from the grave up to heaven. Lo, how the Truth made manifest in the Flesh did leap for our sakes, that He might draw us to run after Him for this end did He " rejoice, as a strong man to run a race,

Therefore, dearly beloved brethren, it behoveth us in heart and mind thither to ascend, where we believe Him to have already ascended bodily. Let us fly earthly lusts for us, who have a Father in heaven, let nothing be sweet below And very much must we keep in our minds this thought, that He Which ascended up in peace, will return in dreadful Majesty and will require from us with justice an account of our keeping of those commandments which He gave us in mercy. Let no man therefore reckon lightly this season which is given unto us that we may repent ourselves, nor be reckless touching the state of his soul; our Redeemer will be all the sterner, when He cometh to judgment, as He hath been wondrously long-suffering before.

Wednesday, 31 May 2017

St Gregory on the Ascension (Old Octave, Day 7)

From a Homily by Pope St Gregory the Great:

The first question we have to ask is why we read that Angels appeared at the time of the Birth of the Lord, but we read not that they appeared in white apparel whereas, when the Lord ascended into heaven, it is written that the angels which appeared were clad in white. "While they beheld, He was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven, as He went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel," White raiment is an outward sign of solemn inward joy. That the occasion of God-made-Man entering into heaven was a great Festival for Angels, is the reason which we see why angels are specially named as robed in white at His Ascension, and not at His Birth. At the Birth of the Lord the Godhead was manifested veiled under the form of a servant, but at His Ascension the Manhood was seen exalted and white vestments are more apt to exaltation than humiliation.

Therefore were the angels bound to appear in white apparel at the Ascension at His Birth He Who thought it not robbery to be equal with God, was seen in the form in which He had humbled Himself; at His Ascension the Manhood Which He had taken into God was seen glorified. Again, dearly beloved brethren, we must remember today, how that Christ hath "blotted out the hand-writing that was against us," and reversed the sentence which doomed us to corruption. That same nature to which it was said, "Dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return," that same nature is His Who hath this day ascended up into heaven. It is because of this up-lifting of our flesh that blessed Job, by a figure, calleth the Lord a bird. The Jews could not understand the Mystery of the Ascension, and in view of this their unbelief, blessed Job said mystically "He knew not the path of the bird."

The name of a bird is well given to the Lord, Who bodily soared up into heaven. And the path of that Bird knoweth no man, who believeth not in the Ascension into heaven. It is of this glorious occasion that the Psalmist saith: "Who hast set thy glory above the heavens," and again "God is gone up with a shout, and the Lord with the sound of a trumpet,". And yet again he saith "Thou hast ascended on high, Thou hast led captivity captive,". "When Christ ascended up on high, He led captivity captive," because by His Own incorruptibility He swallowed up our corruptibility. "He gave gifts unto men," because by sending the Spirit from above, He gave "to one, the word of wisdom to another, the word of knowledge to another, the working of miracles to another, the gifts of healing; to another, divers kinds of tongues to another, the interpretation of tongues,"

Tuesday, 30 May 2017

St Gregory on the Ascension (Octave Day 6)

From a Homily by Pope St Gregory the Great:

We must ponder the meaning of these words of Mark, "He sat on the right hand of God," and how that Stephen said, "Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God." Wherefore doth Mark say that He sat, whereas Stephen testifieth that he saw Him standing But ye know, my brethren, that to sit is for him that judgeth, to stand, for him that fighteth, or helpeth.

Since therefore, our Redeemer is ascended up into heaven, and even now is Judge of all, beside that at the end of the world He will so come, therefore doth Mark say that He sitteth where He hath gone up, because we look for Him, after that His glorious Ascension, that He will come again at the end to be our Judge. But Stephen, while yet he was in the throes of the battle, saw Him That was helping him standing. Stephen on earth was overcoming the unbelief of his persecutors, but it was the grace of Him That is in heaven that fought in him all the while.


Monday, 29 May 2017

St Gregory on the Ascension (Readings for the previous Octave Day 5)

Tres Riches Heures du Duc de Berry

From a Homily by Pope St Gregory the Great:

"So then, after the Lord Jesus had spoken unto them, He was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God." We learn in the Old Testament, that Elijah was taken up into heaven. But this word "heaven" may mean either the terrestrial atmosphere, or the space external to the sphere of this planet. Of these the atmosphere closely surrounds the earth, and we call the birds "the fowls of the heaven," because we see them fly therein. It was only up into this that Elijah was taken, that he might be carried off suddenly into some part of the earth, to us unknown, and there live in profound peace of body and soul, until the end of the world, when he will return and pay the debt of nature. For him, therefore, death waiteth, but is not escaped. But our Redeemer made it not to wait for Him, but conquered it, and by rising again shattered it, and by His Ascension showed forth the glory of His Again-rising.

We must mark also, how that Elijah was taken up in a chariot, as though to show plainly that for a mere man some outward help was needful. This help was given to him by Angels, as plainly appeareth, since it was impossible for one whom a weak nature yet weighed down earthward, to fly up even into the atmosphere. But of our Redeemer we read not that He was borne up in a chariot, or by Angels, since He by Whom all things were made, clearly rose above all things by His Own Power. He returned unto Him with Whom He was, and whither He returned, there He abode, for albeit as touching His Manhood He ascended up into heaven, yet, as touching His Godhead, He still comprehended both heaven and earth.

But as the sale of Joseph by his brethren was a type of the sale of Christ, so were the translations of Enoch and Elijah types of His Ascension. The Lord therefore had had forerunners and witnesses of His Ascension, the one before the Law, the other under the Law, that Himself might one day come, Who was able indeed to pass into the heavens. Hence also there is some difference to be observed in the manner wherein each was translated. Enoch was seen no more, for God took him Elijah was carried up by a whirlwind into heaven He That came after them was not taken up, nor carried up, but went up through space by His Own Power.

Sunday, 28 May 2017

Reading and chapter verse for Ascensiontide

We are now in Ascensiontide.  In the mid-twentieth century version of the Benedictine Office at least, this was an Octave, and each day had three Patristic readings.  As these provide a nice source of meditation on the significance of the Ascension, I will provide them on the blog.  The official texts in the 1962 Office though, provide for one reading (the same each day), a short responsory and chapter verse, as set out below:

Nocturn 1:

Reading (Hebrews 6:18b-20):

Confugimus ad tenendam propositam spem, quam sicut anchoram habemus animæ tutam ac firmam, et incedentem usque ad interiora velaminis, ubi præcursor pro nobis introivit Jesus, secundum ordinem Melchisedech pontifex factus in æternum.
We who have fled for refuge to hold fast the hope set before us. Which we have as an anchor of the soul, sure and firm, and which entereth in even within the veil; Where the forerunner Jesus is entered for us, made a high priest forever according to the order of Melchisedech.

Short responsory:

R br: Dominus in caelo, alleluia alleluia
R: Dominus in caelo, alleluia alleluia.
V: Paravit sedem suam, alleluia alleluia.
R: Gloria Patri...
V: Dominus in caelo, alleluia alleluia
R: The Lord in heaven, alleluia, alleluia
R: The Lord in heaven, alleluia, alleluia
V:  Hath prepared his throne, alleluia, alleluia
R: Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost
V: The Lord in heaven, alleluia, alleluia


Nocturn II

Chapter verse (Revelation 5:12b):

Dignus est Agnus, qui occisus est, accipere virtutem, et divinitatem, et sapientiam, et fortitudinem, et honorem, et gloriam, et benedictionem.


R. Exaltare, Domine, alleluia, in virtute tua, alleluia.
V. Cantabimus et psallemus virtutes tuas, alleluia
The Lamb that was slain is worthy to receive power, and divinity, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and benediction.


R. Be Thou exalted, O Lord. Alleluia, in thine Own strength. Alleluia.
V: We will sing and praise thy power, alleluia