Sunday, 29 May 2016

Second Sunday after Pentecost

The Matins readings for the Benedictine Office for the Second Sunday after Pentecost are set out below.

Nocturn I (I Kings/Samuel 1)

Reading 1:There was a man once called Elcana, that lived at Ramathaim-Sophim, in the hill-country of Ephraim; he was an Ephraimite born, descended from Suph through Jeroham, Eliu and Thohu. He had two wives, one called Anna, the other Phenenna, and this Phenenna had borne him sons, whereas Anna was childless. Never a feast-day would he keep in his own city; he must be at Silo, worshipping the Lord of hosts, and offering him sacrifice; there dwelt the Lord’s priests, Ophni and Phinees, the two sons of Heli.

R. Prepare your hearts unto the Lord, and serve Him Only* And He will deliver you out of the hand of your enemies.
V. Return unto Him with all your hearts, and put away the strange gods from among you.
R. And He will deliver you out of the hand of your enemies.

Reading 2: When the time came for Elcana’s sacrifice, Phenenna must have many portions, for a son here, a daughter there, and he was sad at heart as he gave Anna her single portion, for Anna he loved dearly. Why had the Lord denied her motherhood? And still she must endure bitter persecution from her rival, that did not scruple to make her childlessness a matter of reproach; year after year, when they went up to the Lord’s temple for the feast, it was ever the same.

R. God, Which heareth all, even He sent His Angel, and took me from keeping my father's sheep, and
* Anointed me with the oil of His mercy.
V. The Lord That delivered me out of the mouth of the lion, and out of the paw of the bear
R. And anointed me with the oil of His mercy.

Reading 3: In tears she sat, with no heart for eating, while her husband Elcana tried to comfort her. Anna, he said, what need to weep, what need to deny thyself food? What sorrow weighs on thy heart? Is it not worth the love of ten sons, the love I bear thee?

R. The Lord That delivered me out of the mouth of the lion, and out of the paw of the bear
* He will deliver me out of the hand of mine enemies.
V. God hath sent forth His mercy and His truth, and delivered my soul from among the lion's whelps.
R. He will deliver me out of the hand of mine enemies.

Reading 4:Once, on such a visit to Silo, when eating and drinking was done, Anna rose up from her place and went to the temple door, where the priest Heli was sitting. Sad at heart, she prayed to the Lord with many tears, and made a vow: Lord of hosts, if thou wilt take good heed of this sorrow I bear, if thou wilt keep this handmaid of thine ever in remembrance, and grant her a son, then he shall be my gift to the Lord all his life long, a Nazirite unshorn.

R. Remember, O Lord, thy covenant, and say unto the destroying Angel: Stay now thine hand;
* That the land be not utterly laid waste, and that thou destroy not every living soul.
V. Even I it is that have sinned, and done evil indeed but these sheep what have they done? Let thine anger, I pray thee, O Lord, be turned away from thy people.
R. That the land be not utterly laid waste, and that Thou destroy not every living soul.

Nocturn II: Sermon of St John Chrysostom

Reading 5: His Word saith: "This is My Body." This we confess, and believe, and, with spiritual eyes, do see. Christ hath not left unto us Himself in such form as that we can see, hear, touch, smell, or taste Him and yet hath He left Himself unto us in things which we can see, hear, touch, smell, and taste, and which all men may understand. Thus also is it in baptism by mean of water, which men perceive outwardly, is given unto them a gift which they can grasp only inwardly, that is, a new birth. If we had no bodies, then would these things be given us without any outward and visible signs, but since we are here made up of souls and bodies, there are given unto our souls gifts which they can grasp, in outward signs which our bodies may perceive. How many there be which say I would that I could see His comely presence, His Face, His garments, even His shoes Behold, thou dost see and touch Him, yea, thou dost feed upon Him. And wouldest thou behold His raiment Lo, He hath given unto thee not only to behold it, but to feed upon it, and handle it, and take it into thyself.

R. Saul hath slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands.* Because the hand of the Lord was with him, he smote the Philistine, and took away the reproach from Israel.
V. Is not this David? Did they not sing one to another of him in dances, saying Saul hath slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands?
R. Because the hand of the Lord was with him, he smote the Philistine, and took away the reproach from Israel.

Reading 6: At this table of the Lord let none dare to draw near with squeamishness or carelessness. Let all be fiery, all hot, all roused. To the Jews it was commanded touching the Paschal lamb: "And thus shall ye eat it with your loins girded, your shoes on your feet, and your staff in your hand and ye shall eat it in haste it is the Lord's Passover." But thou needest to be more watchful than they. They were just about to travel from Egypt to Palestine, and therefore they bore the guise of travellers but the journey that lieth before thee is from earth to heaven.

R. Ye mountains of Gilboa, let there be no dew, neither let there be rain upon you
* For there are the mighty of Israel fallen
V. All ye mountains that stand round about, the Lord look upon you but let Him pass by Gilboa
R. For there are the mighty of Israel fallen

Reading 7: And therefore it behoveth thee in all things to be on thy guard, for the punishment of him that eateth or drinketh unworthily is no light one. Bethink thee how thou art indignant against him which betrayed, and them that crucified the Lord and look to it well that thou also be not " Guilty of the Body and Blood of the Lord." As for them, they slew His Most Holy Body but thou, after all that He hath done for thee, dost thrust Him into thy polluted soul. For His love, it was not enough to be made Man, to be buffeted, and to be crucified He hath also mingled Himself with us, by making us His Body, and that not by faith only, but verily and indeed.

R. Thus saith the Lord I took thee out of thy father's house, and appointed thee to be ruler over My people, over Israel.
* And I was with thee whithersoever thou wentest, to establish thy kingdom for ever.
V. And I have made thee a great name, like unto the name of the great men that are in the earth and have caused thee to rest from all thine enemies.
R. And I was with thee whithersoever thou wentest, to establish thy kingdom for ever.

Reading 8: Anything be purer than that man ought to be, who eateth of this great Sacrifice Can sun-beam be clearer than that hand ought to be which breaketh this Flesh? that mouth, which is filled with that spiritual fire? that tongue, which is reddened by that Blood, awful exceedingly? That whereon the Angels quail to look, neither dare to gaze steadfastly upon It, because of the blinding glory that shineth therefrom, upon This we feed, with This we become one, and are made one body of Christ, and one flesh. "Who can utter the mighty acts of the Lord who can show forth all His praise?" Where is the shepherd which feedeth his flock with his own blood Nay, why should I say, shepherd Many mothers there be, who after all the pains of travail, give their own little ones to strangers to nurse. But so would not He, but feedeth us with His Own Blood, and maketh us to grow up in His Own substance.

R. O Lord, Thou hast hearkened unto the prayer of thy servant, that I might build a temple unto thy Name,* O God of Israel, bless Thou, and hallow this house for ever.
V. O Lord, Who keepest covenant with thy servants that walk before thee in all their heart.
R. O God of Israel, bless Thou, and hallow this house for ever.

Nocturn III (from St Gregory, Homily on the Gospels no 1):

Reading 9: Dearly beloved brethren, between the dainties of the body and the dainties of the mind there is this difference, that the dainties of the body, when we lack them, raise up a great hunger after them, and when we devour them, straightway our fulness worketh in us niceness. But about the dainties of the mind we are nice while as yet we lack them, and when we fill ourselves with them, then are we an-hungered after them, and the more, being an-hungered, we feed thereon, the more are we an-hungered thereafter.

R. My sins are many, yea, they are more in number than the sands of the sea; I am not worthy to look up toward heaven because of the multitude of my iniquities; for I have provoked thee to anger
* And done evil in thy sight.
V. For I acknowledge my transgression, and my sin is ever before me, for against thee only have I sinned
R. And done evil in thy sight.

Reading 10: In the bodily dainties, the hunger is keener than the fulness, but in the spiritual the fulness is keener than the hunger. In the bodily, hunger gendereth fulness, and fulness niceness in the spiritual, hunger indeed gendereth fulness, but fulness gendereth hunger. Scriptural dainties, in the very eating, do stir up the keenness of hunger in the mind which they fill, for, the more we taste their sweetness, the better we know how well they deserve to be loved and, if we taste them not, we cannot love them, for we know not how sweet they be.

R. Hearken, O Lord, unto the cry and to the prayer which thy servant prayeth before thee today, that thine eyes may be open and thine ears attend;
* Toward this house day and night.
V. Look down from thine high and holy place, O Lord, even from heaven thy dwelling.
R. Toward this house, day and night.

Reading 11: And who can love that whereof he knoweth nothing Hence saith the Psalmist " O taste and see that the Lord is good", that is, as it were, " If ye taste not, ye shall not see His goodness but let your heart once taste the bread of life, and then indeed, having tasted and proved His sweetness, ye shall be able to love Him." But these were the dainties which man lost when he sinned in Eden, and when he had shut his own mouth against the sweet bread whereof if any man eat he shall live for ever, he forsook paradise.

R. Lord, when thy people shall turn again to thee, and shall pray unto thee in this house
* then hear Thou in heaven, O Lord, and deliver them out of the hand of their enemies.
V. If thy people sin against thee, and turn again, and repent, and come and pray unto thee in this house.
R. Then hear Thou in heaven, O Lord, and deliver them out of the hand of their enemies.

Reading 12: And we that, from the first man, are born under the afflictions of this pilgrimage, are come into the world smitten with niceness we know not what we ought to want, and the disease of our niceness groweth the worse, as our soul draweth itself the more away from that bread of sweetness. We are no longer an-hungered after inward dainties, since we have lost the use of feeding on them. And so in our niceness we starve, and the sickness of long famishing maketh prey of our health. We will not eatof that inward sweetness which is made ready for us, and being enamoured only of things outward we sink into the wretchedness of loving starvation.

R. One Seraph cried unto another
* Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord God of hosts the whole earth is full of His glory.
V. There are Three That bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost and these Three are One.
R. Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord God of hosts
V. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, * and to the Holy Ghost.
R. The whole earth is full of His glory.

Gospel: St Luke 14:

 At ipse dixit ei: Homo quidam fecit cœnam magnam, et vocavit multos. Et misit servum suum hora cœnæ dicere invitatis ut venirent, quia jam parata sunt omnia.  Et cœperunt simul omnes excusare. Primus dixit ei: Villam emi, et necesse habeo exire, et videre illam: rogo te, habe me excusatum.  Et alter dixit: Juga boum emi quinque, et eo probare illa: rogo te, habe me excusatum.  Et alius dixit: Uxorem duxi, et ideo non possum venire.  Et reversus servus nuntiavit hæc domino suo. Tunc iratus paterfamilias, dixit servo suo: Exi cito in plateas et vicos civitatis: et pauperes, ac debiles, et cæcos, et claudos introduc huc.  Et ait servus: Domine, factum est ut imperasti, et adhuc locus est.  Et ait dominus servo: Exi in vias, et sæpes: et compelle intrare, ut impleatur domus mea.  Dico autem vobis quod nemo virorum illorum qui vocati sunt, gustabit cœnam meam.

But he said to him: A certain man made a great supper, and invited many. And he sent his servant at the hour of supper to say to them that were invited, that they should come, for now all things are ready. And they began all at once to make excuse. The first said to him: I have bought a farm, and I must needs go out and see it: I pray thee, hold me excused. And another said: I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to try them: I pray thee, hold me excused.  And another said: I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come. And the servant returning, told these things to his lord. Then the master of the house, being angry, said to his servant: Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in hither the poor, and the feeble, and the blind, and the lame.  And the servant said: Lord, it is done as thou hast commanded, and yet there is room.  And the Lord said to the servant: Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled. But I say unto you, that none of those men that were invited, shall taste of my supper.

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