Friday, 2 December 2016

Matins readings for Friday in the first week of Advent - Isaiah 6

Today's readings are from Isaiah 6.

Reading 1:  In anno quo mortuus est rex Ozias, vidi Dominum sedentem super solium excelsum et elevatum; et ea quæ sub ipso erant replebant templum.  Seraphim stabant super illud: sex alæ uni, et sex alæ alteri; duabus velabant faciem ejus, et duabus velabant pedes ejus, et duabus volabant.  Et clamabant alter ad alterum, et dicebant: Sanctus, sanctus, sanctus Dominus, Deus exercituum; plena est omnis terra gloria ejus.

In the year that king Ozias died, I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne high and elevated: and his train filled the temple.  Upon it stood the seraphims: the one had six wings, and the other had six wings: with two they covered his face, and with two they covered his feet, and with two they hew. And they cried one to another, and said: Holy, holy, holy, the Lord God of hosts, all the earth is full of his glory.

Reading 2:  Et commota sunt superliminaria cardinum a voce clamantis, et domus repleta est fumo. Et dixi: Væ mihi, quia tacui, quia vir pollutus labiis ego sum, et in medio populi polluta labia habentis ego habito, et regem Dominum exercituum vidi oculis meis. Et volavit ad me unus de seraphim, et in manu ejus calculus, quem forcipe tulerat de altari, et tetigit os meum, et dixit: Ecce tetigit hoc labia tua, et auferetur iniquitas tua, et peccatum tuum mundabitur.

 And the lintels of the doors were moved at the voice of him that cried, and the house was filled with smoke. And I said: Woe is me, because I have held my peace; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people that hath unclean lips, and I have seen with my eyes the King the Lord of hosts. And one of the seraphims flew to me, and in his hand was a live coal, which he had taken with the tongs off the altar. And he touched my mouth, and said: Behold this hath touched thy lips, and thy iniquities shall be taken away, and thy sin shall be cleansed.

Reading 3: Et audivi vocem Domini dicentis: Quem mittam? et quis ibit nobis? Et dixi: Ecce ego, mitte me. Et dixit: Vade, et dices populo huic: Audite audientes, et nolite intelligere; et videte visionem, et nolite cognoscere.  Excæca cor populi hujus, et aures ejus aggrava, et oculos ejus claude:
ne forte videat oculis suis, et auribus suis audiat, et corde suo intelligat, et convertatur, et sanem eum.

And I heard the voice of the Lord, saying: Whom shall I send? and who shall go for us? And I said: Lo, here am I, send me.  And he said: Go, and thou shalt say to this people: Hearing, hear, and understand not: and see the vision, and know it not.  Blind the heart of this people, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes: lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and be converted and I heal them.


The key question God asks in this vision is, who will I send?  Who will God send to convert the people?

Isaiah states that he has kept silent up until now because of his own sins.  St Jerome actually argued that this was actually his sin: he had failed to preach, trnaslating the Hebrew text as 'Woe is me, because I have held my peace.'.  But he is miraculously cleansed of his sin, and so volunteers to be the messenger.

We don't need to have a vision of God in the heavenly temple to apply this to ourselves: it is a call to all to be converted, confess and do penance so that we are cleansed of our sins, and then speak up.

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