Thursday, 29 December 2016

Fifth to seventh days in the Octave of the Nativity

The readings for December 29&30 in the Benedictine Office (1963) are unfortunately not available online as far as I can find.  They are:

29 December (5th day in the Octave)

Nocturn I: Homily of St Bede (I, 7 on the Nativity of Our Lord)
Nocturn II (chapter): Isaiah 9:6

(or Common of a Martyr for St Thomas Beckett)

30 December (6th day in Octave)

Nocturn I: Homily of St Ambrose (on St Luke 2:53-54)
Nocturn II (chapter): Isaiah 9:6

The readings for 31 December (7th day in the Octave)

Nocturn I: Homily of St Leo (Sermon 26 on the Nativity of Our Lord, 6)

Reading 1: On all days and at all times, dearly beloved, does the birth of our Lord and Saviour from the Virgin-mother occur to the thoughts of the faithful, who meditate on divine things, that the mind may be aroused to the acknowledgment of its Maker, and whether it be occupied in the groans of supplication, or in the shouting of praise, or in the offering of sacrifice, may employ its spiritual insight on nothing more frequently and more trustingly than on the fact that God the Son of God, begotten of the co-eternal Father, was also born by a human birth. But this Nativity which is to be adored in heaven and on earth is suggested to us by no day more than this when, with the early light still shedding its rays on nature , there is borne in upon our senses the brightness of this wondrous mystery. For the angel Gabriel's converse with the astonished Mary and her conception by the Holy Ghost as wondrously promised as believed, seem to recur not only to the memory but to the very eyes.

Reading 2: For today the Maker of the world was born of a Virgin's womb, and He, who made all natures, became Son of her, whom He created. Today the Word of God appeared clothed in flesh, and That which had never been visible to human eyes began to be tangible to our hands as well. Today the shepherds learned from angels' voices that the Saviour was born in the substance of our flesh and soul; and today the form of the Gospel message was pre-arranged by the leaders of the Lord's flocks , so that we too may say with the army of the heavenly host: Glory in the highest to God, and on earth peace to men of good will.

Reading 3: And hence the very greatness of the boon conferred demands of us reverence worthy of its splendour. For, as the blessed Apostle teaches, we have received not the spirit of this world but the Spirit which is of God, that we may know the things which are given us by God 1 Corinthians 2:12: and that Spirit can in no other way be rightly worshipped, except by offering Him that which we received from Him. But in the treasures of the Lord's bounty what can we find so suitable to the honour of the present feast as the peace, which at the Lord's nativity was first proclaimed by the angel-choir? For that it is which brings forth the sons of God, the nurse of love and the mother of unity: the rest of the blessed and our eternal home; whose proper work and special office it is to join to God those whom it removes from the world.

Nocturn II (chapter): Isaiah 9:6

Saturday, 24 December 2016

Readings for Matins of Christmas






from the Hortus Deliciarum of Herrad of Landsberg, c12th
Merry Christmas!

The Matins readings and responsories  for Christmas the Benedictine Office are as follows:

 Nocturn I (Isaiah 9:1-6; 40: 1-3, 4-8; 52: 1-6)

[Psalms: 2, 18, 23, 44, 47, 71]

Reading 1: At the first time the land of Zabulon, and the land of Nephtali was lightly touched: and at the last the way of the sea beyond the Jordan of the Galilee of the Gentiles was heavily loaded.  The people that walked in darkness, have seen a great light: to them that dwelt in the region of the shadow of death, light is risen.  Thou hast multiplied the nation, and hast not increased the joy. They shall rejoice before thee, as they that rejoice in the harvest, as conquerors rejoice after taking a prey, when they divide the spoils.  For the yoke of their burden, and the rod of their shoulder, and the sceptre of their oppressor thou hast overcome, as in the day of Median. For every violent taking of spoils, with tumult, and garment mingled with blood, shall be burnt, and be fuel for the fire.  For a CHILD IS BORN to us, and a son is given to us, and the government is upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called, Wonderful, Counsellor, God the Mighty, the Father of the world to come, the Prince of Peace.

R. This is the day whereon the King of heaven was pleased to be born of a Virgin, that He might bring back to heaven man who was lost. * There is joy among the hosts of Angels, because eternal salvation hath appeared unto men.
V. Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, to men of goodwill.
R. There is joy among the hosts of Angels, because eternal salvation hath appeared unto men.

Reading 2: Be comforted, be comforted, my people, saith your God. Speak ye to the heart of Jerusalem, and call to her: for her evil is come to an end, her iniquity is forgiven: she hath received of the hand of the Lord double for all her sins.  The voice of one crying in the desert: Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the wilderness the paths of our God.

R. This day is the true peace come down unto us from heaven.* This day throughout the whole world the skies drop down sweetness.
V. This day is the daybreak of our new redemption, of the restoring of the old, of everlasting joy.
R. This day throughout the whole world the skies drop down sweetness.

Reading 3: Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low, and the crooked shall become straight, and the rough ways plain.  And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh together shall see, that the mouth of the Lord hath spoken. The voice of one, saying: Cry. And I said: What shall I cry? All flesh is grass, and all the glory thereof as the flower of the held. The grass is withered, and the dower is fallen, because the spirit of the Lord hath blown upon it. Indeed the people is grass: The grass is withered, and the flower is fallen: but the word of our Lord endureth for ever.

R. O ye shepherds, speak, and tell us what ye have seen; who is appeared in the earth? * We saw the new-born Child, and Angels singing praise to the Lord.
V. Speak; what have ye seen? And tell us of the Birth of Christ.
R. We saw the new-born Child, and Angels singing praise to the Lord.

Reading 4:  Arise, arise, put on thy strength, O Sion, put on the garments of thy glory, O Jerusalem, the city of the Holy One: for henceforth the uncircumcised, and unclean shall no more pass through thee. Shake thyself from the dust, arise, sit up, O Jerusalem: loose the bonds from off thy neck, O captive daughter of Sion.  For thus saith the Lord: You were sold gratis, and you shall be redeemed without money.  For thus saith the Lord God: My people went down into Egypt at the beginning to sojourn there: and the Assyrian hath oppressed them without any cause at all.  And now what have I here, saith the Lord: for my people is taken away gratis. They that rule over them treat them unjustly, saith the Lord, and my name is continually blasphemed all the day long. Therefore my people shall know my name in that day: for I myself that spoke, behold I am here.

R. How great is this mystery, how wonderful is the teaching of the faith! The beasts saw the new-born Lord lying in a manger. * Blessed is that Virgin whose womb was made meet to bear our Lord Christ.
V. Hail, Mary, full of grace the Lord is with thee.
R. Blessed is that Virgin whose womb was made meet to bear our Lord Christ.
V. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, * and to the Holy Ghost.
R. Blessed is that Virgin whose womb was made meet to bear our Lord Christ.

Nocturn II - Sermon of St Leo

Reading 5 - Dearly beloved brethren, Unto us is born this day a Saviour, Let us rejoice. It would be unlawful to be sad to-day, for to - day is Life's Birthday the Birthday of that Life, Which, for us dying creatures, taketh away the sting of death, and bringeth the bright promise of the eternal gladness hereafter. It would be unlawful for any man to refuse to partake in our rejoicing. All men have an equal share in the great cause of our joy, for, since our Lord, Who is the destroyer of sin and of death, findeth that all are bound under the condemnation, He is come to make all free.

R. How great is this mystery, how wonderful is the teaching of the faith! The beasts saw the new-born Lord lying in a manger.* Blessed is that Virgin whose womb was made meet to bear our Lord Christ.
V. Hail, Mary, full of grace the Lord is with thee.
R. Blessed is that Virgin whose womb was made meet to bear our Lord Christ.

Reading 6 - Rejoice, O thou that art holy, thou drawest nearer to thy crown! Rejoice, O thou that art sinful, thy Saviour offereth thee pardon! Rejoice also, O thou Gentile, God calleth thee to life! For the Son of God, when the fulness of the time was come, which had been fixed by the unsearchable counsel of God, took upon Him the nature of man, that He might reconcile that nature to Him Who made it, and so the devil, the inventor of death, is met and beaten in that very flesh which hath been the field of his victory.

R. Blessed is God's holy Mother, Mary, maiden undefiled.* This day hath she brought forth the Saviour of the world.
V. Blessed is she that believed; for there is a performance of all those things which were told her from the Lord.
R. This day hath she brought forth the Saviour of the world.

Reading 7 - When our Lord entered the field of battle against the devil, He did so with a great and wonderful fairness. Being Himself the Almighty, He laid aside His uncreated Majesty to fight with our cruel enemy in our weak flesh. He brought against him the very shape, the very nature of our mortality, yet without sin. His birth however was not a birth like other births for no other is born pure, nay, not the little child whose life endureth but a day on the earth. To His birth alone the throes of human passion had not contributed, in His alone no consequence of sin had had -part. For His Mother was chosen a Virgin of the kingly lineage of David, and when she was to grow heavy with the sacred Child, her soul had already conceived Him before her body. She knew the counsel of God announced to her by the Angel, lest the unwonted events should alarm her. The future Mother of God knew what was to be wrought in her by the Holy Ghost, and that her modesty was absolutely safe.

R. O Mary, how holy and how spotless is thy virginity I am too dull to praise thee!* For thou hast borne in thy breast Him Whom the heavens cannot contain.
V. Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb.
R. For thou hast borne in thy breast Him Whom the heavens cannot contain.

Reading 8 - Therefore, dearly beloved brethren, let us give thanks to God the Father, through His Son, in the Holy Ghost: Who, for His great love wherewith He loved us, hath had mercy on us and, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, that in Him we might be a new creature, and a new workmanship. Let us then put off the old man with his deeds and, having obtained a share in the Sonship of Christ, let us renounce the deeds of the flesh. Learn, O Christian, how great thou art, who hast been made partaker of the Divine nature, and fall not again by corrupt conversation into the beggarly elements above which thou art lifted. Remember Whose Body it is Whereof thou art made a member, and Who is its Head. Remember that it is He That hath delivered thee from the power of darkness hath translated thee into God's light, and God's kingdom.

Nocturn III

Reading 9 - (Mt 1: 1-16; Homily of St Jerome on Matthew 1, 1)

[not available online]

Reading 10 - Luke 2:1-14:

In that time Jesus said to his disciples: And it came to pass, that in those days there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that the whole world should be enrolled. This enrolling was first made by Cyrinus, the governor of Syria. And so on.

Homily by Pope St Gregory the Great: By God's mercy we are to say three Masses to-day, so that there is not much time left for preaching; but at the same time the occasion of the Lord's Birth-day itself obliges me to speak a few words. I will first ask why, when the Lord was to be born, the world was enrolled? Was it not to herald the appearing of Him by Whom the elect are enrolled in the book of life? Whereas the Prophet saith of the reprobate Let them be blotted out of the book of the living, and not be written with the righteous. Ps. lxviii. 29. Then, the Lord is born in Bethlehem. Now the name Bethlehem signifieth the House of Bread, and thus it is the birth-place of Him Who hath said, I am the Living Bread, Which came down from heaven. John vi. 51. We see then that this name of Bethlehem was prophetically given to the place where Christ was born,.because it was there that He was to appear in the flesh by Whom the souls of the faithful are fed unto life eternal. He was born, not in His Mother's house, but away from home. And this is a mystery, showing that this our mortality into which He was born was not the home of Him Who is begotten of the Father before the worlds.

R. Blessed be the womb of the Virgin Mary, which bore the Son of the Eternal Father, and blessed be the paps which give suck to Christ our Lord.* This day hath He been pleased for the salvation of the world to be born of a Virgin.
V. This day which is breaking is holy O come, ye Gentiles, and worship the Lord.
R. This day hath He been pleased for the salvation of the world to be born of a Virgin.

Reading 11 - Luke 2:15-20: In that time the shepherds said one to another: Let us go over to Bethlehem, and let us see this word that is come to pass, which the Lord hath showed to us. And so on

Behold the beginning of the Church. Christ is born, and the shepherds watch; shepherds, to gather together the scattered sheep of the Gentiles, and to lead them into the fold of Christ, that they might no longer be a prey to the ravages of spiritual wolves in the night of this world's darkness. And that shepherd is wide awake, whom the Good Shepherd stirreth up. The flock then is the people, the night is the world, and the shepherds are the Priests. And perhaps he is a shepherd to whom it is said, Be watchful and strengthen, for God hath ordained as the shepherds of His flock not Bishops only, but also Angels.

R. In principio erat Verbum, et Verbum erat apud Deum, et Deus erat Verbum.* Hoc erat in principio apud Deum
V. Omnia per ipsum facta sunt, et sine ipso factum est nihil
R. Hoc erat in principio apud Deum

Reading 12 -  In that time Jesus said to his disciples: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. And so on.

Homily by St Augustine: Lest thou shouldest think all things mean, as thou art accustomed to think of things human, hear and digest this The Word was God. Now perhaps there will come forward some Arian unbeliever, and say that the Word of God was a creature. How can the Word of God be a creature, when it was by the Word that all creatures were made? If He be a creature, then there must have been some other Word, not a creature, by which He was made. And what Word is that? If thou sayest that it was by the word of the Word Himself that He was made, I tell thee that God had no other, but One Only begotten Son. But if thou say not that it was by the word of the Word Himself that He was made, thou art forced to confess that. He by Whom all things were made was not Himself made at all. Believe the Gospel.

R. The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us.* And we beheld His glory, the glory as of the Only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.
V. All things were made by Him, and without Him was not anything made.
R. And we beheld His glory, the glory as of the Only -begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.
V. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, * and to the Holy Ghost.
R. And we beheld His glory, the glory as of the Only -begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.

Gospel: St Matthew 1:1-6

The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham:  Abraham begot Isaac. And Isaac begot Jacob. And Jacob begot Judas and his brethren.  And Judas begot Phares and Zara of Thamar. And Phares begot Esron. And Esron begot Aram.  And Aram begot Aminadab. And Aminadab begot Naasson. And Naasson begot Salmon.  And Salmon begot Booz of Rahab. And Booz begot Obed of Ruth. And Obed begot Jesse. And Jesse begot David the king. And David the king begot Solomon, of her that had been the wife of Urias. And Solomon begot Roboam. And Roboam begot Abia. And Abia begot Asa.  And Asa begot Josaphat. And Josaphat begot Joram. And Joram begot Ozias.  And Ozias begot Joatham. And Joatham begot Achaz. And Achaz begot Ezechias.  And Ezechias begot Manasses. And Manasses begot Amon. And Amon begot Josias. And Josias begot Jechonias and his brethren in the transmigration of Babylon.  And after the transmigration of Babylon, Jechonias begot Salathiel. And Salathiel begot Zorobabel.  And Zorobabel begot Abiud. And Abiud begot Eliacim. And Eliacim begot Azor.  And Azor begot Sadoc. And Sadoc begot Achim. And Achim begot Eliud.  And Eliud begot Eleazar. And Eleazar begot Mathan. And Mathan begot Jacob. And Jacob begot Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ.

Vigil of the Nativity

From St Jerome.

Reading 1: Continuation of the Holy Gospel according to Matthew - When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child, of the Holy Ghost. And so on.

Why was the Lord conceived of an espoused virgin rather than of a free? First, for the sake of the genealogy of Mary, which we have obtained by that of Joseph. Secondly, because she was thus saved from being stoned by the Jews as an adulteress. Thirdly, that Himself and His mother might have a guardian on their journey into Egypt. To these, Ignatius, the martyr of Antioch, has added a fourth reason namely, that the birth might take place unknown to the devil, who would naturally suppose that Mary had conceived by Joseph.

R. Sanctify yourselves today, and be ready for on the morrow ye shall see * The majesty of God upon you.
V. This day ye shall know that the Lord cometh, and in the morning, then ye shall see
R. The majesty of God upon you.

Reading 2: Before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost. She was found, that is, by Joseph, but by no one else. He had already almost an husband's privilege to know all that concerned her. Before they came together. This doth not imply that they ever did come together the Scripture merely showeth the absolute fact that up to this time they had not done so.

R. Stand still, and ye shall see the help of the Lord with you O Judah and Jerusalem, fear not.
* Tomorrow ye shall go out, and the Lord will be with you.
V. Sanctify yourselves, O ye children of Israel, and be ready.
R. Tomorrow ye shall go out, and the Lord will be with you.

Reading 3: Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away privily. If any man be joined to a fornicatress they become one body; and according to the law they that are privy to a crime are thereby guilty. How then can it be that Joseph is described as a just man, at the very time he was compounding the criminality of his espoused? It must have been that he knew her to be pure, and yet understood not the mystery of her pregnancy, but, while he wondered at that which had happened, was willing to hold his peace.

R. Sanctify yourselves, O ye children of Israel, saith the Lord, for on the morrow the Lord will come down. * And will take away from you all sickness.
V. On the morrow the sins of the earth shall be washed away, and the Saviour of the world will be our King.
R. And will take away from you all sickness.
V. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, * and to the Holy Ghost.
R. And will take away from you all sickness.

Nocturn II

Chapter verse: Who was predestinated the Son of God in power, according to the spirit of sanctification, by the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ from the dead.

Friday, 23 December 2016

Friday in the fourth week of Advent (Isaiah 66)

Reading 1:  Hear the word of the Lord, you that tremble at his word: Your brethren that hate you, and cast you out for my name's sake, have said: Let the Lord be glorified, and we shall see in your joy: but they shall be confounded.  A voice of the people from the city, a voice from the temple, the voice of the Lord that rendereth recompense to his enemies.  Before she was in labour, she brought forth; before her time came to be delivered, she brought forth a man child. Who hath ever heard such a thing? and who hath seen the like to this? shall the earth bring forth in one day? or shall a nation be brought forth at once, because Sion hath been in labour, and hath brought forth her children?

R. Unto us shall a Child be born, and His name shall be called the Mighty God. * He shall sit upon the throne of His father David, and shall reign, and the government shall be upon His shoulder.
V. In Him shall all the kindreds of the earth be blessed; all nations shall serve Him.
R. He shall sit upon the throne of His father David, and shall reign, and the government shall be upon His shoulder.

Reading 2: Shall not I that make others to bring forth children, myself bring forth, saith the Lord? shall I, that give generation to others, be barren, saith the Lord thy God? Rejoice with Jerusalem, and be glad with her, all you that love her: rejoice for joy with her, all you that mourn for her. That you may suck, and be filled with the breasts of her consolations: that you may milk out, and flow with delights, from the abundance of her glory. For thus saith the Lord: Behold I will bring upon her as it were a river of peace, and as an overflowing torrent the glory of the Gentiles, which you shall suck; you shall be carried at the breasts, end upon the knees they shall caress you.

R. Behold, the fullness of the time is come, wherein God hath sent forth His Son into the world, born of a Virgin, made under the law; * To redeem them that were under the law.
V. God, for His great love wherewith He loved us, hath sent His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh.
R. To redeem them that were under the law.

Reading 3: As one whom the mother caresseth, so will I comfort you, and you shall be comforted in Jerusalem. You shah see and your heart shall rejoice, and your bones shall flourish like an herb, and the hand of the Lord shall be known to his servants, and he shall be angry with his enemies. For behold the Lord will come with fire, and his chariots are like a whirlwind, to render his wrath in indignation, and his rebuke with flames of fire. For the Lord shall judge by fire, and by his sword unto all flesh, and the slain of the Lord shall be many.  They that were sanctified, and thought themselves clean in the gardens behind the gate within, they that did eat swine's flesh, and the abomination, and the mouse: they shall be consumed together, saith the Lord. But I know their works, and their thoughts: I come that I may gather them together with all nations and tongues: and they shall come and shall see my glory.

R. O virgin of Israel, turn again to thy cities. * How long wilt thou go about sorrowing? Thou shalt bring forth the Lord thy Saviour, a new offering in the earth; men shall walk in paths of salvation.
V. I have loved thee with an everlasting love; therefore with loving-kindness have I drawn thee.
R. How long wilt thou go about sorrowing? Thou shalt bring forth the Lord thy Saviour, a new offering in the earth.
V. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, * and to the Holy Ghost.
R. Men shall walk in paths of salvation.

Thursday, 22 December 2016

Thursday in the fourth week of Advent (Isaiah 64)

Reading 1:That thou wouldst rend the heavens, and wouldst come down: the mountains would melt away at thy presence. They would melt as at the burning of fire, the waters would burn with fire, that thy name might be made known to thy enemies: that the nations might tremble at thy presence. When thou shalt do wonderful things, we shall not bear them: thou didst come down, and at thy presence the mountains melted away.  From the beginning of the world they have not heard, nor perceived with the ears: the eye hath not seen, O God, besides thee, what things thou hast prepared for them that wait for thee.

R. Blow ye the trumpet in Zion, call together the nations, tell it out among the people, and say:
* Behold, God our Saviour cometh.
V. Tell it out and make it to be heard; speak aloud and cry.
R. Behold, God our Saviour cometh.

Reading 2: Thou hast met him that rejoiceth, and doth justice: in thy ways they shall remember thee: behold thou art angry, and we have sinned: in them we have been always, and we shall be saved. And we are all become as one unclean, and all our justices as the rag of a menstruous woman: and we have all fallen as a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away. There is none that calleth upon thy name: that riseth up, and taketh hold of thee: thou hast hid thy face from us, and hast crushed us in the hand of our iniquity.

R. The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor the law-giver from his loins, until he that shall be sent cometh. * And unto him shall the longing of the Gentiles be.
V. His eyes shall be bright with wine, and his teeth white with milk.
R. And unto him shall the desire of the Gentiles be.

Reading 3: And now, O Lord, thou art our father, and we are clay: and thou art our maker, and we all are the works of thy hands. Be not very angry, O Lord, and remember no longer our iniquity: behold, see we are all thy people. The city of thy sanctuary is become a desert, Sion is made a desert, Jerusalem is desolate. The house of our holiness, and of our glory, where our fathers praised thee, is burnt with fire, and all our lovely things are turned into ruins.

R. I must decrease, but He must increase; He it is Who, coming after me is preferred before me;
* Whose shoe's latchet I am not worthy to unloose.
V. I baptize you with water; but He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost.
R. Whose shoe's latchet I am not worthy to unloose.
V. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, * and to the Holy Ghost.
R. Whose shoe's latchet I am not worthy to unloose.

Tuesday, 20 December 2016

St Thomas (December 21)

The Matins readings for the feast of St Thomas in the Benedictine Office are as follows:

Nocturn I (from the Common of Apostles, 1 Cor 4:1-15)

[Psalms 18, 33, 44, 46, 60, 63]

Reading 1: Let a man so account of us as of the ministers of Christ, and the dispensers of the mysteries of God. Here now it is required among the dispensers, that a man be found faithful.
 But to me it is a very small thing to be judged by you, or by man's day; but neither do I judge my own self. For I am not conscious to myself of any thing, yet am I not hereby justified; but he that judgeth me, is the Lord.

R. Behold, I send you as sheep in the midst of wolves, said the Lord: * Be ye, therefore, wise as serpents and simple as doves.
V. Whilst you have the light, believe in the light, that you may be the children of light.
R. Be ye therefore wise as serpents and simple as doves.

Reading 2: Therefore judge not before the time; until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts; and then shall every man have praise from God. But these things, brethren, I have in a figure transferred to myself and to Apollo, for your sakes; that in us you may learn, that one be not puffed up against the other for another, above that which is written. For who distinguisheth thee? Or what hast thou that thou hast not received? And if thou hast received, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it?

R. Take up my yoke upon you, said the Lord, and learn of me, because I am meek, and humble of heart. * For my yoke is sweet and my burden light.
V. And you shall find rest to your souls.
R. For my yoke is sweet and my burden light.

Reading 3: You are now full; you are now become rich; you reign without us; and I would to God you did reign, that we also might reign with you. For I think that God hath set forth us apostles, the last, as it were men appointed to death: we are made a spectacle to the world, and to angels, and to men. We are fools for Christ's sake, but you are wise in Christ; we are weak, but you are strong; you are honourable, but we without honour.

R. But when they shall deliver you up to the judges, take no thought how or what to speak:* for it shall be given you in that hour what to speak:
V. For it is not you that speak, but the spirit of your Father that speaketh in you.
R. For it shall be given you in that hour what to speak.

Reading 4: Even unto this hour we both hunger and thirst, and are naked, and are buffeted, and have no fixed abode; And we labour, working with our own hands: we are reviled, and we bless; we are persecuted, and we suffer it. We are blasphemed, and we entreat; we are made as the refuse of this world, the offscouring of all even until now. I write not these things to confound you; but I admonish you as my dearest children.  For if you have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet not many fathers. For in Christ Jesus, by the gospel, I have begotten you.

R. They were found without blemish before the Lord, and from each other they were not divided. * They drank the chalice of the Lord, and were made friends of God.
V. They gave up their flesh to torment for God's sake; now they are crowned and receive palms.
R. They drank the chalice of the Lord, and were made friends of God.
V. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost
R. They drank the chalice of the Lord, and were made friends of God.

Nocturn II - On the saint's life; Homily of St Gregory

[Psalms 74, 95, 96, 97, 98, 100]

Reading  5 - The Apostle Thomas, called Didymus, or the Twin, was a Galilean. After the descent of the Holy Ghost, he went into many provinces to preach Christ's Gospel. He gave knowledge of the rules of Christian faith and life to the Parthians, Medes, Persians, Hyrcanians, and Bactrians. He went last to the East Indies, and instructed the inhabitants in the Christian religion. Here he provoked the anger of one of the idolatrous kings, because the holiness of his life and teaching, and the number of his miracles, drew many after him, and brought them to the love of Christ Jesus.   The king of that nation,a  worshipper of idols, was furiously angry, and gave orders that Thomas should be pierced with javelins, and thus, at Calmina, the crown of martyrdom adorned the glory of his apostolate.

R. I saw men standing together, clad in shining raiment, and the Angel of the Lord spoke unto me, saying: * These men are holy, for they are the friends of God.
V. I saw a strong Angel of God fly into the midst of heaven, saying with a loud voice:
R. These men are holy, for they are the friends of God.

Reading  6 - (Sermon of St. Gregory, Sermon 30 on the Gospels): It is written: By His Spirit the Lord hath adorned the heavens. Now the ornament of the heavens are the godly powers of preachers, and this ornament, what it is, Paul teacheth us thus To one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom, to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; to another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another divers kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. But all these worketh that one and the self-same Spirit, dividing to every man severally as He will.

R. Blessed are ye when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for My sake;* Rejoice, and be exceeding glad, for great is your reward in heaven.
V. When men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of Man's sake.
R. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad, for great is your reward in heaven.

Reading 7 - So much power then as have preachers, so much ornament have the heavens. Wherefore again it is written By the word of the Lord were the heavens made.  For the Word of the Lord is the Son of the Father. But, to the end that all the Holy Trinity may be made manifest as the Maker of the heavens, that is, of the Apostles, it is straightway added touching God the Holy Ghost: you and all the host of them by the Breath of His mouth. Therefore the might of the same heavens is the might of the Spirit, for they had not braved the powers of this world, unless the strength of the Holy Ghost had comforted them.

R. These are they which have conquered, and are become the friends of God, who recked not of the commandments of princes, and earned the everlasting reward. * And now have they crowns on their heads, and palms in their hands.
V. These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes in the blood of the Lamb.
R. And now have they crowns on their heads, and palms in their hands.

Reading  8 - And it must be considered that He whom, when bound on earth, Peter denied, when suspended from the cross, the thief confessed.  But let us hear what kind of person this man of great timidity became after the coming of the Holy Spirit.  There was a gathering of the magistrates and seniors and it was commanded the apostles, with blows, that they cease preaching in the name of Jesus.  With great authority Peter answered: It behooveth us to obey God rather than men."

R. Thou shalt make them princes in all the lands, they shall remember Thy name O Lord * Throughout all generations
V. Exceedingly honoured are they friends O God, firmly established is their princedom.
R. Throughout all generations
V. Glory be...
R Throughout all generations

Nocturn III: Homily of St Gregory 

[Canticles: Isaiah 61:6-9; Wisdom 3:7-9; Wisdom 10: 17-21]

Reading 9: From the Holy Gospel according to John - In that time, Thomas, one of the twelve, who is called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came. And so on.

Dearly beloved brethren, what is it in this passage which particularly claimeth our attention? Think ye that it was by accident that this chosen Apostle was not with them when Jesus came? or, when he came, heard? or, when he heard, doubted? or, when he doubted, felt? or when he had felt, believed? All these things were not accidental, but Providential. It was a wonderful provision of Divine mercy, that this incredulous disciple, by thrusting his fingers into the bodily Wounds of his Master, should apply a remedy to the spiritual wounds of unbelief in our souls.

R. These are they who while yet they lived in the flesh, planted the Church in their own blood; * They drank of the Lord's cup, and became the friends of God.
V. Their sound is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the ends of the world.
R. They drank of the Lord's cup, and became the friends of God.

Reading 10: The doubts of Thomas have done us more good than the faith of all the disciples that believed. While he feeleth his way to faith, our minds are freed from doubt, and settled in faith.Even as the Lord before His birth willed that Mary should be espoused, and yet never lose her virginity, so, after His Resurrection, He willed that His disciple should doubt, and yet not lose his faith. For, even as the espoused husband was the keeper of the virginity of the Mother, so was the disciple who doubted and felt, the witness of the truth of the Resurrection.

R. These men are saints, whom the Lord hath chosen in love unfeigned, and hath given them glory everlasting. These are they * By the light of whose teaching the Church is glorified, even as the moon is glorified by the light of the sun.
V. The saints through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness.
R. By the light of whose teaching the Church is glorified, even as the moon is glorified by the light of the sun.

Reading 11: He felt, and cried out My Lord and my God. Jesus saith unto him Thomas, because thou hast seen Me, thou hast believed. When the Apostle Paul saith: Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen he plainly meaneth that faith is the evidence of things that cannot be seen. When they are seen, there remaineth not faith, but knowledge.

R. Who are these that fly like a cloud * And as the doves to their windows?
V. Their sound has gone out into all lands and their words unto the ends of the earth.
R.  And as the doves...

Reading 12: Thomas, then, seeth, and believeth. Why is it said to him Because thou hast seen Me, thou hast believed? The truth is, he saw one thing, and so believed another. To mortal man it is not given to see God. He therefore saw only the Manhood, and yet had faith in the Godhead My Lord and my God. This he said, seeing and believing, seeing Perfect Man, and yet believing in Perfect God, Whom he could not see. O what a comfort are the words which follow! Blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed. These words are specially meant for us, who have not seen even the Flesh, and who yet do believe. They are specially meant for us if we believe and do not, by our lives, give the lie to our belief. He only hath a saving faith, whose faith beareth fruit.

R.  There is neither speech, nor language, but their voices are heard among them.  * Their sound is gone out unto the ends of the earth.
V. Exceedingly honoured are thy friends, O God; firmly established is their princedom.
R. Their sound is gone out unto the ends of the earth.
V Glory be...
R. Their sound is gone out unto the ends of the earth.

Gospel: St John 20: 24-29

There was one of the twelve, Thomas, who is also called Didymus, who was not with them when Jesus came.  And when the other disciples told him, We have seen the Lord, he said to them, Until I have seen the mark of the nails on his hands, until I have put my finger into the mark of the nails, and put my hand into his side, you will never make me believe.  So, eight days afterwards, once more the disciples were within, and Thomas was with them; and the doors were locked. Jesus came and stood there in their midst; Peace be upon you, he said.  Then he said to Thomas, Let me have thy finger; see, here are my hands. Let me have thy hand; put it into my side. Cease thy doubting, and believe.  Thomas answered, Thou art my Lord and my God.  And Jesus said to him, Thou hast learned to believe, Thomas, because thou hast seen me. Blessed are those who have not seen, and yet have learned to believe.

Tuesday in the fourth week of Advent (Isaiah 42)

Reading 1: Behold my servant, I will uphold him: my elect, my soul delighteth in him: I have given my spirit upon him, he shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles. He shall not cry, nor have respect to person, neither shall his voice be heard abroad. The bruised reed he shall not break, and smoking flax he shall not quench: he shall bring forth judgment unto truth. He shall not be sad, nor troublesome, till he set judgment in the earth: and the islands shall wait for his law.

R. Unto us shall a Child be born, and His name shall be called the Mighty God. * He shall sit upon the throne of His father David, and shall reign, and the government shall be upon His shoulder.
V. In Him shall all the kindreds of the earth be blessed; all nations shall serve Him.
R. He shall sit upon the throne of His father David, and shall reign, and the government shall be upon His shoulder.

Reading 2: Thus saith the Lord God that created the heavens, and stretched them out: that established the earth, and the things that spring out of it: that giveth breath to the people upon it, and spirit to them that tread thereon. I the Lord have called thee in justice, and taken thee by the hand, and preserved thee. And I have given thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles: That thou mightest open the eyes of the blind, and bring forth the prisoner out of prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house.

R. Behold, the fullness of the time is come, wherein God hath sent forth His Son into the world, born of a Virgin, made under the law; * To redeem them that were under the law.
V. God, for His great love wherewith He loved us, hath sent His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh.
R. To redeem them that were under the law.

Reading 3:  Sing ye to the Lord a new song, his praise is from the ends of the earth: you that go down to the sea, and all that are therein: ye islands, and ye inhabitants of them. Let the desert and the cities thereof be exalted: Cedar shall dwell in houses: ye inhabitants of Petra, give praise, they shall cry from the top of the mountains. They shall give glory to the Lord, and shall declare his praise in the islands. The Lord shall go forth as a mighty man, as a man of war shall he stir up zeal: he shall shout and cry: he shall prevail against his enemies.

R. O virgin of Israel, turn again to thy cities. * How long wilt thou go about sorrowing? Thou shalt bring forth the Lord thy Saviour, a new offering in the earth; men shall walk in paths of salvation.
V. I have loved thee with an everlasting love; therefore with loving-kindness have I drawn thee.
R. How long wilt thou go about sorrowing? Thou shalt bring forth the Lord thy Saviour, a new offering in the earth.
V. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, * and to the Holy Ghost.
R. Men shall walk in paths of salvation.

Monday, 19 December 2016

Monday in the fourth week of Advent (Isaiah 41)

Reading 1: But thou Israel, art my servant, Jacob whom I have chosen, the seed of Abraham my friend:  In whom I have taken thee from the ends of the earth, and from the remote parts thereof have called thee, and said to thee: Thou art my servant, I have chosen thee, and have not cast thee away. Fear not, for I am with thee: turn not aside, for I am thy God: I have strengthened thee, and have helped thee, and the right hand of my just one hath upheld thee.

R. Blow ye the trumpet in Zion, call together the nations, tell it out among the people, and say:
* Behold, God our Saviour cometh.
V. Tell it out and make it to be heard; speak aloud and cry.
R. Behold, God our Saviour cometh.

Reading 2: Behold all that fight against thee shall be confounded and ashamed, they shall be as nothing, and the men shall perish that strive against thee. Thou shalt seek them, and shalt not find the men that resist thee: they shall be as nothing: and as a thing consumed the men that war against thee. For I am the Lord thy God, who take thee by the hand, and say to thee: Fear not, I have helped thee.

R. The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor the law-giver from his loins, until he that shall be sent cometh. * And unto him shall the longing of the Gentiles be.
V. His eyes shall be bright with wine, and his teeth white with milk.
R. And unto him shall the desire of the Gentiles be.

Reading 3: Fear not, thou worm of Jacob, you that are dead of Israel: I have helped thee, saith the Lord: and thy Redeemer the Holy One of Israel. I have made thee as a new thrashing wain, with teeth like a saw: thou shall thrash the mountains, and break them in pieces: and shalt make the hills as chaff.  Thou shalt fan them, and the wind shall carry them away, and the whirlwind shall scatter them: and thou shalt rejoice in the Lord, in the Holy One of Israel thou shalt be joyful.

R. I must decrease, but He must increase; He it is Who, coming after me is preferred before me; * Whose shoe's latchet I am not worthy to unloose.
V. I baptize you with water; but He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost.
R. Whose shoe's latchet I am not worthy to unloose.
V. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, * and to the Holy Ghost.
R. Whose shoe's latchet I am not worthy to unloose.

Saturday, 17 December 2016

Fourth Sunday of Advent

The Sunday readings for the Benedictine Office for the fourth Sunday of Advent are as follows:

Nocturn I: Isaiah 35

Reading 1: The land that was desolate and impassable shall be glad, and the wilderness shall rejoice, and shall flourish like the lily.  It shall bud forth and blossom, and shall rejoice with joy and praise: the glory of Libanus is given to it: the beauty of Carmel, and Saron, they shall see the glory of the Lord, and the beauty of our God. Strengthen ye the feeble hands, and confirm the weak knees. Say to the fainthearted: Take courage, and fear not: behold your God will bring the revenge of recompense: God himself will come and will save you.

R. Blow ye the trumpet in Zion, call together the nations, tell it out among the people, and say * Behold, God our Saviour cometh.
V. Tell it out and make it to be heard; speak aloud and cry
R. Behold, God our Saviour cometh.

Reading 2: Then shall the eyes of the blind be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. Then shall the lame man leap as a hart, and the tongue of the dumb shall be free: for waters are broken out in the desert, and streams in the wilderness. And that which was dry land, shall become a pool, and the thirsty land springs of water. In the dens where dragons dwell before, shall rise up the verdure of the reed and the bulrush.

R. The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor the law-giver from his loins, until he that shall be sent cometh.* And unto him shall the longing of the Gentiles be.
V. His eyes shall be bright with wine, and his teeth white with milk.
R. And unto him shall the desire of the Gentiles be.

Reading 3: And a path and a way shall be there, and it shall be called the holy way: the unclean shall not pass over it, and this shall be unto you a straight way, so that fools shall not err therein. No lion shall be there, nor shall any mischievous beast go up by it, nor be found there: but they shall walk there that shall be delivered. And the redeemed of the Lord shall return, and shall come into Sion with praise, and everlasting joy shall be upon their heads: they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and mourning shall flee away.

R: He must become more and more, I must become less and less, he who comes after me but was made before me. I am not worthy to untie the strap of his shoes.
V: I am baptizing you with water, but he will baptise you with the Holy Ghost.
R: I am not worthy to untie the strap of his shoes.

Reading 4: Let the islands keep silence before me, and the nations take new strength: let them come near, and then speak, let us come near to judgment together. Who hath raised up the just one from the east, hath called him to follow him? he shall give the nations in his sight, and he shall rule over kings: he shall give them as the dust to his sword, as stubble driven by the wind, to his bow. He shall pursue them, he shall pass in peace, no path shall appear after his feet. Who hath wrought and done these things, calling the generations from the beginning? I the Lord, I am the first and the last.

R: O Israel, be thou ready to meet the Lord, for he cometh * He who formeth the mountains and createth life and telleth of his gracious coming among men.
V: Behold the Lord our Governor shall come with strength
R: He who formeth the mountains and createth life and telleth of his gracious coming among men.
V Gloria Patri et Filio et Spiritui Sancto
R: He who formeth the mountains and createth life and telleth of his gracious coming among men.

Nocturn II - (Sermon of St Leo the Great, Sermon 12)

Reading  5:  Dearly beloved brethren, if we study attentively the history of the creation of our race, we shall find that man was made in the image of God, that his ways also might be an imitation of the ways of his Maker. This is the natural, real, and highest dignity to which we are capable of attaining, that the goodness of the Divine nature should have a reflection in us, as in a glass. As a mean of reaching this dignity, we are daily offered the grace of our Saviour, for as in the first Adam all men are fallen, so in the Second Adam can all men be raised up again.

R. Unto us shall a Child be born, and His name shall be called the Mighty God. * He shall sit upon the throne of His father David, and shall reign, and the government shall be upon His shoulder.
V. In Him shall all the kindreds of the earth be blessed; all nations shall serve Him.
R. He shall sit upon the throne of His father David, and shall reign, and the government shall be upon His shoulder.

Reading  6 - Our restoration from the consequences of Adam's fall is sheer mercy of God, and nothing else; we should not have loved Him unless He had first loved us, and scattered the darkness of our ignorance by the light of His truth. This the Lord promised by the mouth of Isaiah, where He saith: I will bring the blind by a way that they knew not, and I will lead them in paths that they have not known I will make darkness light before them, and crooked things straight. These things will I do unto them and not forsake them. And again: I was found of them that sought Me not; I was made manifest unto them that asked not after Me.

R. Behold, the fulness of the time is come, wherein God hath sent forth His Son into the world, born of a Virgin, made under the law * To redeem them that were under the law.
V. God, for His great love wherewith He loved us, hath sent His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh.
R. To redeem them that were under the law

Reading  7 - And we know from the Apostle John how God fulfilled His promise. We know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know Him That is True, and be in Him That is True, even in His Son. And again: Let us therefore love God, because He first loved us.

R. O virgin of Israel, turn again to thy cities.* How long wilt thou go about sorrowing? Thou shalt bring forth the Lord thy Saviour, a new offering in the earth; men shall walk in paths of salvation.
V. I have loved thee with an everlasting love therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.
R. How long wilt thou go about sorrowing? Thou shalt bring forth the Lord thy Saviour, a new offering in the earth. Men shall walk in paths of salvation.

Reading  8 - For His great love then wherewith he hath loved us, God reneweth His likeness in us. And, moreover, in order that He may find in us the reflection of His goodness, He giveth us that whereby to work along with Himself, (Who worketh all in all,) lighting, as it were, candles in our dark minds, and kindling in us the fire of His love, to make us love not Himself only, but likewise, in Him, whatsoever He loveth.

R. O ye mountains of Israel, shoot forth your branches and blossom and bring forth fruit. * The day of the Lord is at hand to come.
V. Drop down, ye heavens, from above, and let the skies pour down the Righteous One let the earth open, and let her bring forth the Saviour.
R. The day of the Lord is at hand to come.
V Gloria Patri et Filio et Spiritui Sancto
R. The day of the Lord is at hand to come.

Nocturn III (St Gregory, Homily 20 on the gospels)

Reading 9 - John said unto the multitude, that came forth to be baptised of him: O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come? The wrath to come in one sense signifieth the great vengeance of the Latter Day the sinner that repenteth not of his sin now, will have no mean whereby to flee from punishment then. Let us remark that addressing evil children copying the example of evil parents, the Baptist calleth them a generation of vipers in that they were envious at the righteous, and persecuted them; that they repaid evil for evil; that they hunted out ways of harming their neighbours, in all these things following the pattern of carnal parents, the prophet likeneth them to a venomous brood hatched from a venomous stock.

R. I have sworn, saith the Lord, that I will not be wroth any more with the earth; for the mountains and the hills shall receive My righteousness.
* And the covenant of My peace shall be in Jerusalem.
V. My salvation is near to come, and My righteousness to be revealed.
R. And the covenant of My peace shall be in Jerusalem.

Reading 10 - We also have sinned, we have fallen into wicked habits. What must we do, if we would flee from the wrath to come? Let us hear John. Bring forth fruits worthy of repentance. In which words let us remark that the Friend of the Bridegroom demandeth not only fruits of repentance, but fruits worthy of repentance.

R. We will not go back from thee. Thou, O Lord, shalt quicken us, and we will call upon thy name.
* Cause thy face to shine upon us, and we shall be saved.
V. Remember us, O Lord, with the favour that Thou showest unto thy people; O visit us with thy salvation.
R. Cause thy face to shine upon us, and we shall be saved.

Reading 11 - The former are one thing, and the latter another. In considering then what are fruits worthy of repentance, we may remark that if we had done nothing unlawful we might have had free use of things which are lawful, and been able to sanctify ourselves without abstaining from indulgence in the things of the world. But if any one, for example, hath fallen into fornication, or perhaps, into what is much worse, adultery, he ought to make up for his lawless pleasure by abstaining in some degree from lawful enjoyments.

R. Consider how great this man is, who is entered in for the salvation of the nations; he is King of Righteousness* Without descent, nor end of life.
V. The Fore-runner is for us entered, made an High Priest for ever after the order of Melchisedek.
R. Without descent, nor end of life.

Reading 12 - He that hath sinned less is not bound to mortify himself as much as he that hath sinned more, nor he that is innocent like him that is guilty. Let every one hearing these words bring forth fruits worthy of repentance, proceed to judge himself by his own conscience, and the more he perceiveth that he hath sinned, the greater penance let him do.

R. Send forth the Lamb, O Lord, the Ruler of the land* From the rock in the wilderness unto the mount of the daughter of Zion.
V. Show us thy mercy, O Lord, and grant us thy salvation.
R. From the rock in the wilderness unto the mount of the daughter of Zion.
V Gloria Patri et Filio et Spiritui Sancto
V. Show us thy mercy, O Lord, and grant us thy salvation.

Gospel - St Luke 3: 1-6

Now in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judea, and Herod being tetrarch of Galilee, and Philip his brother tetrarch of Iturea, and the country of Trachonitis, and Lysanias tetrarch of Abilina; Under the high priests Annas and Caiphas; the word of the Lord was made unto John, the son of Zachary, in the desert. And he came into all the country about the Jordan, preaching the baptism of penance for the remission of sins; As it was written in the book of the sayings of Isaias the prophet: A voice of one crying in the wilderness: Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight his paths. Every valley shall be filled; and every mountain and hill shall be brought low; and the crooked shall be made straight; and the rough ways plain; And all flesh shall see the salvation of God.

Ember Saturday in Advent

Today's readings are from a homily of St Gregory the Great.

Reading 1 -  Continuation of the Holy Gospel according to Luke - In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judea. And so on.

The date, at which the Fore-runner of our Redeemer entered on his public office of preaching, is indicated to us by the name of the ruler of the Roman Commonwealth, and by those of the princes of Palestine. The time of his preaching is indicated by these names, because he came as the Fore-runner of Him Who was to be the Redeemer of some Jews and many Gentiles. Moreover in the enumeration of these worldly monarchs there is a foreshadowing of the fact, that the Gentiles were about to be gathered into one, and the Jews to be scattered abroad in punishment of their unbelief; in the whole heathen Commonwealth we find the title of one Emperor, but in the small kingdom of Judaea are mentioned four masters.

R. There shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a flower shall grow out of his roots.
* And righteousness shall be the girdle of his loins, and faithfulness the girdle of his reins.
V. And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him the spirit of wisdom and understanding the spirit of counsel and might.
R. And righteousness shall be the girdle of his loins, and faithfulness the girdle of his reins.

Reading 2 - The blessed voice of the Saviour itself hath said, Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation. And we may well look for the ruin of the Jewish state when we see it divided among so many rulers. We observe likewise that the names of the reigning priests as well as kings are given. The Evangelist Luke hath left on record the chiefs both of the monarchy and of the priesthood who held office when John the Baptist began to preach, because John preached Him Who is at once our Priest and our King.

R. Behold, the root of Jesse that shall arise to bring forth judgment to the Gentiles, in him shall the Gentiles trust. * And his name shall be blessed for ever.
V. The Kings shall shut their mouths at him, to him shall the Gentiles seek.
R. And his name shall be blessed for ever.

Reading 3 - And he came into all the country about Jordan, preaching the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins. It is evident from these words that John the Baptist not only preached, but also administered the baptism of repentance, and yet that baptism of repentance which he gave, was not really a baptism for the remission of sins. For there is only one baptism for the remission of sins, and that is our Christian baptism. It is worthy of note here that the words used are, preaching the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins, for he himself owned that his baptism was not the true baptism that washes away sin. Even as the Eternal Word of God made Flesh was greater than the preacher that went before Him, so was His holy baptism, by which our sins are washed away, far greater than that baptism of repentance which the Fore-runner preached, and which could never wash away sin.

R. O Lord, come, and make no tarrying loosen the bonds of thy people. * And gather together into their own land them that are scattered abroad.
V. Stir up, O Lord, thy power, and come among us, to save us.
R. And gather together into their own land them that are scattered abroad.
V. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, * and to the Holy Ghost.
R. And gather together into their own land them that are scattered abroad.

Friday, 16 December 2016

Ember Friday of Advent

Today's Gospel is St Luke 1: 39-47.  Here are the Matins readings, by St Ambrose (from Divinum Officium), on it:

Reading 1: When any one asketh another for credence, he is bound to give some reasonable ground. And so the Angel, when he announced to Mary the counsel of God, gave, as a proof, the conception of Elizabeth, then aged and barren, that Mary might perceive, by this example, that with God nothing is impossible. When the holy Virgin had heard it, she arose and went to visit her cousin. She did not go to see if what she had heard was true, because she did not believe God, or because she knew not who the messenger had been, or yet because she doubted the fact adduced in proof. She went joyfully as one who hath received a mercy in answer to his vow goeth to pay the same. She went with devotion, as a godly person goeth to execute a religious duty. She went into the hill country in joyful haste. And is it not something that she went up into the hills? God was already in her womb, and her feeling bore her continually upward. The grace of the Holy Spirit knoweth no slow working.

R. Send forth the Lamb, O Lord, the Ruler of the land; * From the rock in the wilderness unto the mount of the daughter of Zion.
V. Show us thy mercy, O Lord, and grant us thy salvation.
R. From the rock in the wilderness unto the mount of the daughter of Zion.

Reading 2: Godly women will learn from the example of the Mother of God to take a tender care of their kinswomen who are with child. In pursuance of this charity, Mary, who had hitherto remained alone at home, was not deterred by her maidenly shyness from entering on a public journey; she faced for this end the hardships of mountain travelling; and encountered with a sense of duty the weary length of the way. The Virgin left her home, and went into the hill country with haste, unmindful of the trouble, and remembering only the office to which her cousinly love prompted her, in spite of the delicacy of her sex. Maidens will learn from her not to idle about from house to house, to loiter in the streets, nor to take part in conversations in public. Mary, as she was hasteful to pass through the public roads, so was she slow again to enter on them she abode with her cousin about three months.

R. Drop down, ye heavens, from above, and let the skies pour down the Righteous One. * Let the earth open, and let her bring forth the Saviour.
V. Send forth the Lamb, O Lord, the Ruler of the land, from the rock in the wilderness unto the mount of the daughter of Zion.
R. Let the earth open, and let her bring forth the Saviour.

Reading 3: As the modesty of Mary is a pattern for the imitation of all maidens, so also is her humility. She went to see Elizabeth, like one cousin going to visit another, and as the younger to the elder. Not only did she first go, but she first saluted Elizabeth. Now, the purer a virgin is, the humbler ought she to be. She will know how to submit herself to her elders. She that professeth chastity ought to be a very mistress of humility. Lowly-mindedness is at once the very ground in which devotion groweth, and the first and principal rule of its teaching. In this act of the Virgin then we see the greater going to visit and to succour the lesser Mary to Elizabeth, Christ to John.

R. The waste places have brought forth sweet-smelling buds for Israel; for, behold, our God will come with power. * And His brightness is with Him.
V. Out of Zion the perfection of beauty, our God shall come manifestly.
R. And His brightness is with Him.
V. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, * and to the Holy Ghost.
R. And His brightness is with Him.


Thursday, 15 December 2016

Thursday in the third week of Advent (Isaiah 33)

Reading 1: Woe to thee that spoilest, shalt not thou thyself also be spoiled? and thou that despisest, shalt not thyself also be despised? when thou shalt have made an end of spoiling, thou shalt be spoiled: when being wearied thou shalt cease to despise, thou shalt be despised. O Lord, have mercy on us: for we have waited for thee: be thou our arm in the morning, and our salvation in the time of trouble.

R. The Lord shall go forth and fight against the nations. * And His feet shall stand upon the mount of Olives on the east.
V. And it shall be exalted above the hills, and all nations shall flow unto it.
R. And His feet shall stand upon the mount of Olives on the east.

Reading 2: At the voice of the angel the people fled, and at the lifting up thyself the nations are scattered. And your spoils shall be gathered together as the locusts are gathered, as when the ditches are full of them. The Lord is magnified, for he hath dwelt on high: he hath filled Sion with judgment and justice. And there shall be faith in thy times: riches of salvation, wisdom and knowledge: the fear of the Lord is his treasure.

R. The Fore-runner is for us entered, even the Lamb without spot * Made an High Priest for ever after the order of Melchisedek.
V. This is that King of Righteousness without descent, nor end of life.
R. Made an High Priest for ever after the order of Melchisedek.

Reading 3: The sinners in Sion are afraid, trembling hath seized upon the hypocrites. Which of you can dwell with devouring fire? which of you shall dwell with everlasting burnings? He that walketh in justices, and speaketh truth, that casteth away avarice by oppression, and shaketh his hands from all bribes, that stoppeth his ears lest he hear blood, and shutteth his eyes that he may see no evil.  He shall dwell on high, the fortifications of rocks shall be his highness: bread is given him, his waters are sure. His eyes shall see the king in his beauty, they shall see the land far off.

R. The Gentiles shall see thy Righteous One, and all kings thy Glorious one. * And thou shalt be called by a new name, which the mouth of the Lord hath named.
V. Thou shalt also be a crown of glory in the hand of the Lord, and a royal diadem in the hand of thy God.
R. And thou shalt be called by a new name, which the mouth of the Lord hath named.
V. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, * and to the Holy Ghost.
R. And thou shalt be called by a new name, which the mouth of the Lord hath named.

Wednesday, 14 December 2016

Ember Wednesday of Advent

Today's readings are from a homily of St Ambrose on Luke 2; the Gospel at Mass is Like 1:26-38.

Reading 1: Continuation of the Holy Gospel according to Luke - In that time, the angel Gabriel was sent from God into a city of Galilee, called Nazareth, to a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin's name was Mary. And so on.

The mysteries of God are unsearchable, and it is especially declared by a Prophet, that a man can hardly know His counsels. Nevertheless, some things have been revealed to us, and we may gather from some of the words and works of the Lord our Saviour, that there was a special purpose of God, in the fact that she who was chosen to be the mother of the Lord was espoused to a man. Why did not the power of the Highest overshadow her before she was so espoused? Perhaps it was lest any might blasphemously say that she had conceived in adultery the Holy One.

R. O thou that bringest good tidings of peace to Jerusalem, lift up thy voice with strength! * Say unto the cities of Judah, and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem: Behold, our God will come, for Whom we waited.
V. O thou that tellest good tidings to Zion, get thee up into the high mountain, lift up thy voice with strength.
R. Say unto the cities of Judah, and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem: Behold, our God will come, for Whom we waited.

Reading 2: And the Angel came in unto her. Let us learn from this Virgin how to bear ourselves, let us learn her modesty, let us learn by her devout utterance, above all let us learn by the holy mystery enacted. It is the part of a maiden to be timid, to avoid the advances of men, and to shrink from men's addresses. Would that our women would learn from the example of modesty here set before us. She upon whom the stare of men had never been fixed was alone in her chamber, and she found herself alone with Angels. There was neither companion nor witness there, that what passed might not be debased in gossip and the Angel saluted her.

R. There shall come a Star out of Jacob, and a Man shall rise out of Israel, and shall smite through all the princes of the aliens. * And all the earth shall be His possession.
V. All kings shall fall down before Him, all nations shall serve Him.
R. And all the earth shall be His possession.

Reading 3: The message of God to the Virgin was a mystery, which it was not lawful for the mouth of men, but only of Angels, to utter. For the first time on earth the words are spoken The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee. The holy maiden heareth, and believeth. At length she said Behold the handmaid of the Lord be it unto me according to thy word. Here is an example of lowliness, here is a pattern of true devotion. At the very moment that she is told she is chosen to be the mother of the Lord she at once declareth herself His handmaid. The knowledge that she was mother of God caused in the heart of Mary only an act of humility.

R. The Lord, the Ruler, cometh quickly. * And His name shall be called Emmanuel.
V. In His days shall righteousness flourish, and abundance of peace.
R. And His name shall be called Emmanuel.
V. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, * and to the Holy Ghost.
R. And His name shall be called Emmanuel.

Tuesday, 13 December 2016

St Lucy/Tuesday in the third week of Advent (Isaiah 30)

Reading 1: Therefore the Lord waiteth that be may have mercy on you: and therefore shall he be exalted sparing you: because the Lord is the God of judgment: blessed are all they that wait for him.  For the people of Sion shall dwell in Jerusalem: weeping thou shalt not weep, he will surely have pity on thee: at the voice of thy cry, as soon as he shall hear, he will answer thee.  And the Lord will give you spare bread, and short water: and will not cause thy teacher to flee away from thee any more, and thy eyes shall see thy teacher... Thou shalt say to it: Get thee hence.  And rain shall be given to thy seed, wheresoever thou shalt sow in the land: and the bread of the corn of the land shall be most plentiful, and fat. The lamb in that day shall feed at large in thy possession:  And thy oxen, and the ass colts that till the ground, shall eat mingled provender as it was winnowed in the floor. And there shall be upon every high mountain, and upon every elevated hill rivers of running waters in the day of the slaughter of many, when the tower shall fall.

R. Maiden Lucy, why seekest thou of me that which thou thyself canst presently give thy mother? For thy faith hath holpen her, and, behold, she is made whole * Because thou hast made in thy virginity a pleasant dwelling-place for thy God.
V. Even as Christ hath by me glorified Catania, so by thee shall He glorify Syracuse.
R. Because thou hast made in thy virginity a pleasant dwellingplace for thy God.

Reading 2: And the light of the moon shall be as the light of the sun, and the light of the sun shall be sevenfold, as the light of seven days: in the day when the Lord shall bind up the wound of his people, and shall heal the stroke of their wound.  Behold the name of the Lord cometh from afar, his wrath burneth, and is heavy to bear: his lips are filled with indignation, and his tongue as a devouring fire.  His breath as a torrent overflowing even to the midst of the neck, to destroy the nations unto nothing, and the bridle of error that was in the jaws of the people.

R. I besought my Lord Jesus Christ that this fire might not take hold upon me * And I obtained from the Lord that I should not finish my testimony for yet a while.
V. For so much as they loved me, so bitterly spake they against me: but I gave myself unto prayer.
R. And I obtained from the Lord that I should not finish my testimony for yet a while.

Reading 3: Lucy a virgin of Syracuse, noble by birth and by her Christian faith, went to the tomb of St. Agatha at Catheria and obtained the cure of her mother, Eutichia who was suffering from a hemorrhage. Soon after, she gained her mother's permission to distribute to the poor all the possessions which were to have served as her dowry. As a result of this charitable action, she was accused of being a Christian and brought before Paschasius the Prefect. When neither promises nor threats could induce her to sacrifice the idols, Paschasius became enraged and commanded Lucy to be taken to a place where her virginity would be violated. But the power of God gave the virgin a strength that matched the firmness of her resolution, so that no force could move her where she stood. And so the prefect commanded a fire to be kindled all around here, but the flames did not harm her. After she had suffered many torments, therefore her throat was pierced through with a sword. So wounded she foretold that the Church would have peace after the deaths of Diocletian and Maximilian, and on December 13 she gave up her spirit to God. Her body was first buried at Syracuse, than taken to Constantinople, and finally transferred to Venice.

R. The Lord made her to prevail in the battle, and she was glorified in the sight of God and man she spake wisdom before princes * And the Lord of all loved her.
V. God shall help her with His countenance God is in the midst of her she shall not be moved.
R. And the Lord of all loved her.
V. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, * and to the Holy Ghost.
R. And the Lord of all loved her.

Monday, 12 December 2016

Monday in the third week of Advent (Isaiah 28)

Reading 1: Woe to the crown of pride, to the drunkards of Ephraim, and to the fading flower the glory of his joy, who were on the head of the fat valley, staggering with wine. Behold the Lord is mighty and strong, as a storm of hail: a destroying whirlwind, as the violence of many waters overflowing, and sent forth upon a spacious land. The crown of pride of the drunkards of Ephraim shall be trodden under feet.

R. Behold, the Lord shall appear upon a white cloud,* And ten thousand of His saints with Him; and He shall have on His vesture, and on His thigh a name written King of kings, and Lord of lords.
V. He shall appear and not lie; though He tarry, wait for Him, because He will surely come.
R. And ten thousand of His saints with Him; and He shall have on His vesture, and on His thigh a name written King of kings, and Lord of lords.

Reading 2: And the fading flower the glory of his joy, who is on the head of the fat valley, shall be as a hasty fruit before the ripeness of autumn: which when he that seeth it shall behold, as soon as he taketh it in his hand, he will eat it up. In that day the Lord of hosts shall be a crown of glory, and a garland of joy to the residue of his people: And a spirit of judgment to him that sitteth in judgment, and strength to them that return out of the battle to the gate.  But these also have been ignorant through wine, and through drunkenness have erred: the priest and the prophet have been ignorant through drunkenness, they are swallowed up with wine, they have gone astray in drunkenness, they have not known him that seeth, they have been ignorant of judgment.

R. Thou, Bethlehem, art the city of the Most High God, out of thee shall He come forth That is to be Ruler in Israel; Whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting, and now shall He be great unto the ends of the earth. * And this Man shall be the peace in our land, when He shall come.
V. He shall speak peace unto the Gentiles, and shall have dominion from sea to sea.
R. And this Man shall be the peace in our land, when He shall come.

Reading 3: Therefore thus saith the Lord God: Behold I will lay a stone in the foundations of Sion, a tried stone, a corner stone, a precious stone, founded in the foundation. He that believeth, let him not hasten. And I will set judgment in weight, and justice in measure: and hail shall overturn the hope of falsehood: and waters shall overflow its protection. And your league with death shall be abolished, and your covenant with hell shall not stand: when the overflowing scourge shall pass, you shall be trodden down by it.

R. He That shall come, will come, and will not tarry; and there shall no more be fear in our borders. * For He is our Saviour.
V. He shall tread down all our iniquities, and cast all our sins into the depths of the sea.
R. For He is our Saviour.
V. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, * and to the Holy Ghost.
R. For He is our Saviour.

Saturday, 10 December 2016

Matins readings for the Third Sunday of Advent


Nocturn I: Isaiah 26:1-14


Reading 1: In that day shall this canticle be sung the land of Juda. Sion the city of our strength a saviour, a wall and a bulwark shall be set therein. Open ye the gates, and let the just nation, that keepeth the truth, enter in. The old error is passed away: thou wilt keep peace: peace, because we have hoped in thee.

R. Behold, the Lord shall appear upon a white cloud,* And ten thousand of His saints with Him; and He shall have on His vesture, and on His thigh a name written King of kings, and Lord of lords.
V. He shall appear and not lie; though He tarry, wait for Him, because He will surely come.
R. And ten thousand of His saints with Him; and He shall have on His vesture, and on His thigh a name written King of kings, and Lord of lords.

Reading 2: You have hoped in the Lord for evermore, in the Lord God mighty for ever.  For he shall bring down them that dwell on high, the high city he shall lay low. He shall bring it down even to the ground, he shall pull it down even to the dust. The foot shall tread it down, the feet of the poor, the steps of the needy.

R. Thou, Bethlehem, art the city of the Most High God, out of thee shall He come forth That is to be Ruler in Israel; Whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting, and now shall He be great unto the ends of the earth.* And this Man shall be the peace in our land, when He shall come.
V. He shall speak peace unto the Gentiles, and shall have dominion from sea to sea.
R. And this Man shall be the peace in our land, when He shall come.

Reading 3: The way of the just is right, the path of the just is right to walk in. And in the way of thy judgments, O Lord, we have patiently waited for thee: thy name, and thy remembrance are the desire of the soul. My soul hath desired thee in the night: yea, and with my spirit within me in the morning early I will watch to thee. When thou shalt do thy judgments on the earth, the inhabitants of the world shall learn justice. Let us have pity on the wicked, but he will not learn justice: in the land of the saints he hath done wicked things, and he shall not see the glory of the Lord.

R. He That shall come, will come, and will not tarry; and there shall no more be fear in our borders.* For He is our Saviour.
V. He shall tread down all our iniquities, and cast all our sins into the depths of the sea.
R. For He is our Saviour.

Reading 4:  Lord, let thy hand be exalted, and let them not see: let the envious people see, and be confounded: and let fire devour thy enemies. Lord, thou wilt give us peace: for thou hast wrought all our works for us. O Lord our God, other lords besides thee have had dominion over us, only in thee let us remember thy name. Let not the dead live, let not the giants rise again: therefore hast thou visited and destroyed them, and best destroyed all their memory.

R: Behold the Lord, the Prince of the kings of the earth, shall come. * Blessed are they who are ready to meet him, they shall have their portion in the city of Jerusalem.
V The Lord cometh quickly and will not tarry.
R Blessed are they who are ready to meet him, they shall have their portion in the city of Jerusalem.
V. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son,  and to the Holy Ghost.
R Blessed are they who are ready to meet him, they shall have their portion in the city of Jerusalem.

Nocturn II: Sermon 13 of St Leo the Great

Reading 5: Dearly beloved brethren, with the care which becometh us as the shepherd of your souls, we urge upon you the rigid observance of this December Fast. The month of December hath come round again, and with it this devout custom of the Church. The fruits of the year, which is drawing to a close, are now all gathered in, and we most meetly offer our abstinence to God as a sacrifice of thanksgiving.

R. Weep not, O Egypt, for the Ruler cometh unto thee, and the depths shall be moved at His presence.
* To deliver His people out of the hand of the mighty.
V. Behold, the Lord of hosts, thy God, cometh with great power.
R. To deliver His people out of the hand of the mighty.

Reading 6: And what can be more useful than fasting, that exercise by which we draw nigh to God, make a stand against the devil, and overcome the softer enticements of sin? Fasting hath ever been the bread of strength. From abstinence proceed pure thoughts, reasonable desires, and healthy counsels. By voluntary mortifications the flesh dieth to lust, and the soul is renewed in might.

R. Her time is near to come, and her days shall not be prolonged. For the they not see but they shall see, with confusion,* Lord shall have mercy on Jacob, and Israel shall be saved.
V. Turn again, O Virgin of Israel, turn again to thy cities.
R. For the Lord shall have mercy on Judah, and Israel shall be saved.

Reading 7: But since fasting is not the only mean whereby we get health for our souls, let us add to our fasting works of mercy. Let us spend in good deeds what we take from indulgence. Let our fast become the banquet of the poor. Let us defend the widow and serve the orphan; let us comfort the afflicted and reconcile the estranged; let us take in the wanderer and succour the oppressed; let us clothe the naked and cherish the sick. And may every one of us that shall offer to the God of all goodness this Advent sacrifice of fasting and alms be by Him fitted to receive an eternal reward in His heavenly kingdom!

R. The Lord shall come down like rain upon a fleece.
* In His days shall righteousness flourish, and abundance of peace.
V. All the kings of the earth shall fall down before Him, all nations shall serve Him.
R. In His days shall righteousness flourish, and abundance of peace.

Reading 8: We fast on Wednesday and Friday; and there is likewise a Vigil on Saturday at the Church of St Peter, that by his good prayers we may the more effectually obtain what we ask for, through our Lord Jesus Christ, Who with the Father and the Holy Ghost, liveth and reigneth, one God, world without end. Amen.

R There shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse and a branch shall grow out of his roots.  *And righteousness shall be the girdle of his loins and faithfulness the girdle of his reins.
V: And the spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding
R And righteousness shall be the girdle of his loins and faithfulness the girdle of his reins.
V. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost.
R And righteousness shall be the girdle of his loins and faithfulness the girdle of his reins.

Nocturn III:  Homily 7 of St Gregory the Great

Reading 9: From the holy Gospel according to John - In that time sent from Jerusalem priests and Levites to John, to ask him: Who art thou? And so on.

Dearly beloved brethren, the first thing which striketh us in to - day's Gospel is the lowly - mindedness of John. He was so great that it was thought he might be the Christ; yet he soberly chose rather to seem only what he really was, than to let the belief of men invest him with a dignity which did not belong to him; for he confessed, and denied not, but confessed, I am not the Christ, at the same time he would not deny what he was in reality; and thus his very truth - speaking made him a member of Him Whose title he would not by falsehood take.

R. O Lord, come and make no tarrying; loosen the bonds of thy people.
* And gather again into their own land them that are scattered abroad.
V. O Lord, stir up thy strength, and come and save us.
R. And gather again into their own land them that are scattered abroad.

Reading 10: In that he arrogated not to himself the name of Christ, he became a member of Christ. While he humbly strove to confess his own weakness, he earned by his simplicity a part in the grandeur of his Master. In considering this subject we find an apparent contradiction between one of John's statements, and the saying of our Redeemer recorded in another part of the Gospel.  When His disciples asked our Lord regarding the coming of Elias, He answered Elias is come already, and they knew him not, but have done unto him whatsoever they listed. And if ye will receive it, this that is, John is Elias.

R. Behold, there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall come for salvation unto the people, to it shall the Gentiles seek * And His name shall be glorious.
V. The Lord God shall give unto Him the throne of His father David, and He shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever.
R. And His name shall be glorious.

Reading 11: But when John was asked if he was Elias, he answered, I am not. How comes it then, dearly beloved brethren, that we find the Truth Itself asserting what the prophet of the Truth denied? It must evidently be that our Lord meant one thing and John another, when the Lord said, This is, and John, I am not. For how can he be the prophet of truth, if he speak not according to the word of Him Who is the Eternal Truth? Let us then more minutely examine these words, and we shall find that there is no real contradiction.

R. The Lord will teach us of His ways, and we will walk in His paths. * For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.
V. Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, and to the house of the God of Jacob.
R. For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.

Reading 12: When the Angel announced to Zacharias the coming birth of John he said He shall go before Him in the spirit and power of Elias,  As the old Elias will come again before the Second Advent of the Lord, so did John, as the new Elias, go before the First Advent, in the spirit and power of Elias. As the old Elias will be the Fore-runner of the Judge, so the new Elias was the Fore-runner of the Saviour. John then was Elias in spirit, but not in person; and our Lord asserteth of the spirit what John denieth of the person.

R: Receive the Word, O Virgin Mary, which is brought thee from the Lord by his angel: conceive and bear him who is both God and man * That though mayest be called blessed among all women.
V: For thou shalt bear a Son, yet shalt thou remain unspotted in thy virginity, thou shalt bring to pass great things, and thou shalt be a Mother-ever-Virgin
R That though mayest be called blessed among all women.
V. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost.
R That though mayest be called blessed among all women.

Gospel: John 1:19-28

And this is the testimony of John, when the Jews sent from Jerusalem priests and Levites to him, to ask him: Who art thou? And he confessed, and did not deny: and he confessed: I am not the Christ.  And they asked him: What then? Art thou Elias? And he said: I am not. Art thou the prophet? And he answered: No.  They said therefore unto him: Who art thou, that we may give an answer to them that sent us? What sayest thou of thyself?  He said: I am the voice of one crying out in the wilderness, make straight the way of the Lord, as said the prophet Isaias. And they that were sent, were of the Pharisees. And they asked him, and said to him: Why then dost thou baptize, if thou be not Christ, nor Elias, nor the prophet?  John answered them, saying: I baptize with water; but there hath stood one in the midst of you, whom you know not.  The same is he that shall come after me, who is preferred before me: the latchet of whose shoe I am not worthy to loose. These things were done in Bethania, beyond the Jordan, where John was baptizing.

Saturday in the second week of Advent (Isaiah 25)

Reading 1: O Lord, thou art my God, I will exalt thee, and give glory to thy name: for thou hast done wonderful things, thy designs of old faithful, amen. For thou hast reduced the city to a heap, the strong city to ruin, the house of strangers, to be no city, and to be no more built up for ever. Therefore shall a strong people praise thee, the city of mighty nations shall fear thee. Because thou hast been a strength to the poor, a strength to the needy in his distress: a refuge from the whirlwind, a shadow from the heat.

 [Domine, Deus meus es tu; exaltabo te, et confitebor nomini tuo: quoniam fecisti mirabilia, cogitationes antiquas fideles. Amen. Quia posuisti civitatem in tumulum, urbem fortem in ruinam, domum alienorum: ut non sit civitas, et in sempiternum non aedificetur. Super hoc laudabit te populus fortis; civitas gentium robustarum timebit te: Quia factus es fortitudo pauperi, fortitudo egeno in tribulatione sua, spes a turbine, umbraculum ab aestu.]

R. The Lord shall go forth out of Samaria unto the gate that looketh toward the East; and He shall come into Bethlehem, walking upon the waters of the redemption of Judah.* Then shall every one be saved for, behold, He cometh.
V. And in mercy shall His throne be established, and He shall sit upon it in truth.
R. Then shall every one be saved for, behold, He cometh.

Reading 2:  For the blast of the mighty is like a whirlwind beating against a wall.  Thou shalt bring down the tumult of strangers, as heat in thirst: and as with heat under a burning cloud, thou shalt make the branch of the mighty to wither away. And the Lord of hosts shall make unto all people in this mountain, a feast of fat things, a feast of wine, of fat things full of marrow, of wine purified from the lees. And he shall destroy in this mountain the face of the bond with which all people were tied, and the web that he began over all nations.

[Spiritus enim robustorum quasi turbo impellens parietem.  Sicut aestus in siti, tumultum alienorum humiliabis; et quasi calore sub nube torrente, propaginem fortium marcescere facies. Et faciet Dominus exercituum omnibus populis in monte hoc convivium pinguium, convivium vindemiae, pinguium medullatorum, vindemiae defaecatae.  Et praecipitabit in monte isto faciem vinculi colligati super omnes populos, et telam quam orditus est super omnes nationes.]

R. Make haste, O Lord, make no tarrying.* And deliver thy people.
V. O Lord, come and make no tarrying loose the bonds of thy people.
R. And deliver thy people.

Reading 3: He shall cast death down headlong forever: and the Lord God shall wipe away tears from every face, and the reproach of his people he shall take away from off the whole earth: for the Lord hath spoken it.  And they shall say in that day: Lo, this is our God, we have waited for him, and he will save us: this is the Lord, we have patiently waited for him, we shall rejoice and be joyful in his salvation. For the hand of the Lord shall rest in this mountain: and Moab shall be trodden down under him, as straw is broken in pieces with the wain. And he shall stretch forth his hands under him, as he that swimmeth stretcheth forth his hands to swim: and he shall bring down his glory with the dashing of his hands. And the bulwarks of thy high walls shall fall, and be brought low, and shall be pulled down to the ground, even to the dust.

[Praecipitabit mortem in sempiternum; et auferet Dominus Deus lacrimam ab omni facie, et opprobrium populi sui auferet de universa terra: quia Dominus locutus est. Et dicet in die illa: Ecce Deus noster iste; exspectavimus eum, et salvabit nos; iste Dominus, sustinuimus eum: exsultabimus, et laetabimur in salutari ejus. Quia requiescet manus Domini in monte isto; et triturabitur Moab sub eo, sicuti teruntur paleae in plaustro. Et extendet manus suas sub eo sicut extendit natans ad natandum; et humiliabit gloriam ejus cum allisione manuum ejus. Et munimenta sublimium murorum tuorum concident, et humiliabuntur, et detrahentur in terram usque ad pulverem.]

R. Behold, the Lord cometh down with glory, and His host is with Him.* To visit His people in peace, and to establish them in life everlasting.
V. Behold, our Lord cometh with an host.
R. To visit His people in peace, and to establish them in life everlasting.
V. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, * and to the Holy Ghost.
R. To visit His people in peace, and to establish them in life everlasting.

Friday, 9 December 2016

Friday in the Second Week of Advent (Isaiah 24)



Reading 1: Behold the Lord shall lay waste the earth, and shall strip it, and shall afflict the face thereof, and scatter abroad the inhabitants thereof. And it shall be as with the people, so with the priest: and as with the servant, so with his master: as with the handmaid, so with her mistress: as with the buyer, so with the seller: as with the lender, so with the borrower: as with him that calleth for his money, so with him that oweth. With desolation shall the earth be laid waste, and it shall be utterly spoiled: for the Lord hath spoken this word.

[Ecce Dominus dissipabit terram: et nudabit eam, et affliget faciem ejus, et disperget habitatores ejus.
 Et erit sicut populus, sic sacerdos; et sicut servus, sic dominus ejus; sicut ancilla, sic domina ejus; sicut emens, sic ille qui vendit; sicut fœnerator, sic is qui mutuum accipit; sicut qui repetit, sic qui debet. Dissipatione dissipabitur terra, et direptione praedabitur; Dominus enim locutus est verbum hoc.]

R. Behold, there cometh the Lord, our defender, the Holy One of Israel,
* Wearing a royal crown upon His head.
V. And His dominion shall be from sea even to sea, and from the river even to the ends of the earth.
R. Wearing a royal crown upon His head.

Reading 2: The earth mourned, and faded away, and is weakened: the world faded away, the height of the people of the earth is weakened. And the earth is infected by the inhabitants thereof: because they have transgressed the laws, they have changed the ordinance, they have broken the everlasting covenant. Therefore shall a curse devour the earth, and the inhabitants thereof shall sin: and therefore they that dwell therein shall be mad, and few men shall be left.

[Luxit, et defluxit terra, et infirmata est; defluxit orbis, infirmata est altitudo populi terrae.  Et terra infecta est ab habitatoribus suis, quia transgressi sunt leges, mutaverunt jus, dissipaverunt fœdus sempiternum. Propter hoc maledictio vorabit terram, et peccabunt habitatores ejus; ideoque insanient cultores ejus, et relinquentur homines pauci.]

R. As a mother comforteth her children, so will I comfort you, saith the Lord; My help also cometh unto you out of Jerusalem, the city which I have chosen.* And when ye see this, your heart shall rejoice.
V. I will place salvation in Zion and in Jerusalem My glory.
R. And when ye shall see this, your heart shall rejoice.

Reading 3: The vintage hath mourned, the vine hath languished away, all the merry-hearted have sighed. The mirth of timbrels hath ceased, the noise of them that rejoice is ended, the melody of the harp is silent. They shall not drink wine with a song: the drink shall be bitter to them that drink it.  The city of vanity is broken down, every house is shut up, no man cometh in. There shall be a crying for wine in the streets: all mirth is forsaken: the joy of the earth is gone away.  Desolation is left in the city, and calamity shall oppress the gates. For it shall be thus in the midst of the earth, in the midst of the people, as if a few olives, that remain, should be shaken out of the olive tree: or grapes, when the vintage is ended. These shall lift up their voice, and shall give praise: when the Lord shall be glorified, they shall make a joyful noise from the sea.  Therefore glorify ye the Lord in instruction: the name of the Lord God of Israel in the islands of the sea.  From the ends of the earth we have heard praises, the glory of the Just one.

 Luxit vindemia, infirmata est vitis, ingemuerunt omnes qui laetabantur corde; Cessavit gaudium tympanorum, quievit sonitus laetantium, conticuit dulcedo citharae. Cum cantico non bibent vinum; amara erit potio bibentibus illam. Attrita est civitas vanitatis, clausa est omnis domus, nullo introëunte. Clamor erit super vino in plateis, deserta est omnia laetitia, translatum est gaudium terrae. Relicta est in urbe solitudo, et calamitas opprimet portas. Quia haec erunt in medio terrae in medio populorum, quomodo si paucae olivae quae remanserunt excutiantur ex olea et racemi, cum fuerit finita vindemia. Hi levabunt vocem suam, atque laudabunt: cum glorificatus fuerit Dominus, hinnient de mari. Propter hoc in doctrinis glorificate Dominum; in insulis maris nomen Domini Dei Israël.  A finibus terrae laudes audivimus, gloriam Justi.

R. Thou shalt yet plant vines upon thy mountains, O Jerusalem thou shalt sing for joy, for the day of the Lord cometh; arise, O Zion, and turn unto the Lord thy God; rejoice and be glad, O Jacob.* For thy Saviour cometh from the midst of the nations.
V. Sing aloud for joy, O daughter of Zion; shout with gladness, O daughter of Jerusalem.
R. For thy Saviour cometh from the midst of the nations.
V. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, * and to the Holy Ghost.
R. For thy Saviour cometh from the midst of the nations.