Friday, 31 March 2017

Saturday in the fourth week of Lent

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

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

Matins readings

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, 30 March 2017

Friday in the fourth week of Lent

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

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

Matins readings

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Thursday in the fourth week of Lent

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

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

Matins readings

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Wednesday in the fourth week of Lent

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

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

Matins readings

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, 27 March 2017

Tuesday in the fourth week of Lent

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

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

The Matins readings in the Benedictine and traditional Roman Office:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, 26 March 2017

Monday in the fourth week of Lent

The Gospel is St John 2:13-25:

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

The Matins readings:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, 25 March 2017

Matins readings for the Fourth Sunday of Lent

The Matins readings for the fourth Sunday of Lent in the Benedictine Office are set out below.

Nocturn I (Exodus 3:1-15)

Reading 1: Now Moses fed the sheep of Jethro his father in law, the priest of Madian: and he drove the flock to the inner parts of the desert, and came to the mountain of God, Horeb.  And the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush: and he saw that the bush was on fire and was not burnt. And Moses said: I will go and see this great sight, why the bush is not burnt.  And when the Lord saw that he went forward to see, he called to him out of the midst of the bush, and said: Moses, Moses. And he answered: Here I am.  And he said: Come not nigh hither, put off the shoes from thy feet: for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground. And he said: I am the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. Moses hid his face: for he durst not look at God.

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

Reading 2: And the Lord said to him: I have seen the affliction of my people in Egypt, and I have heard their cry because of the rigour of them that are over the works:  And knowing their sorrow, I am come down to deliver them out of the hands of the Egyptians, and to bring them out of that land into a good and spacious land, into a land that floweth with milk and honey, to the places of the Chanaanite, and Hethite, and Amorrhite, and Pherezite, and Hevite, and Jebusite.

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

Reading 3: For the cry of the children of Israel is come unto me: and I have seen their affliction, wherewith they are oppressed by the Egyptians.  But come, and I will send thee to Pharao, that thou mayst bring forth my people, the children of Israel out of Egypt. And Moses said to God: Who am I that I should go to Pharao, and should bring forth the children of Israel out of Egypt?  And he said to him: I will be with thee: and this thou shalt have for a sign, that I have sent thee: When thou shalt have brought my people out of Egypt, thou shalt offer sacrifice to God upon this mountain.

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

Reading 4: Moses said to God: Lo, I shall go to the children of Israel, and say to them: The God of your fathers hath sent me to you. If they should say to me: What is his name? what shall I say to them?  God said to Moses: I AM WHO AM. He said: Thus shalt thou say to the children of Israel: HE WHO IS, hath sent me to you.  And God said again to Moses: Thus shalt thou say to the children of Israel: The Lord God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, hath sent me to you: This is my name for ever, and this is my memorial unto all generations.

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

Nocturn II:Sermons of St Basil the Great, 1st on Fasting.

Reading 5: We know that it was with and by fasting that Moses went up into the Mount, for he had not dared to go up to that smoking summit, nor to have entered that darkness, except he had been made strong by a Fast. It was with fasting that he received the commandments, written by the finger of God upon tables of stone. Upon the mountain, that Fast made interest with Him Whose law was given unto it; but, below, gluttony was leading the people to the worship of idols and polluting them. It is written The people sat down to eat and to drink, and rose up to play. That one fit of drunken frenzy, on the part of the people, made void and of none effect all the toil and patience of the forty days, during the which the servant of God had fasted and prayed unceasingly.

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

Reading 6: To the Fast had been given those tables of stone written on with the finger of God; the Feast's work was to break them, by the hand of the most holy prophet, who deemed a nation of drunkards a nation unmeet to receive law from God. In a moment of time, that people, who had by great wonders been taught to worship God, were, by gluttony, dropped back into the cesspool of Egyptian idolatry. The which things if thou wilt consider, thou shalt see that the tendency of fasting is to God-ward, and that that of feasting is to hell-ward.

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

Reading 7: What was it that degraded Esau, and made him a slave to his brother? Was it not that one dish of pottage for which he sold his birthright?  Was it not prayer when joined to fasting that gave Samuel to his mother? What made the mighty Samson invincible? Was it not the fast during the which he was conceived in his mother's womb? The fast it was which made him to be conceived; the fast, which fed him; the fast, which made a man of him, even as the Angel of the Lord commanded his mother, saying She may not eat of anything that cometh of the vine, neither let her drink wine or strong drink.  Fasting is the mother of prophets, the strength and stay of mighty men.

R. Moses, the servant of God, fasted forty days and forty nights * To make him meet to receive the Law of God.
V. Moses went up unto the Lord on Mount Sinai, and he was in the Mount forty days and forty nights.
R. To make him meet to receive the Law of God.

Reading 8: It is fasting which giveth wisdom to lawgivers; fasting which is the trustiest keeper of the soul, and the safest companion for the body. It is fasting which is strength and armour to mighty men; fasting which maketh supple them which run and which wrestle. It is fasting which maketh a man strong to strive against temptation, and which is to godliness as a fenced city; even fasting, whose fellow is soberness, and her work temperance. It is fasting which maketh men to wax valiant in fight; fasting which teacheth to rest in time of peace. Fasting maketh a Nazarite to be holy, and a priest perfect. Without a fast it is unlawful to touch the Sacrifice, not only in that mystic and true worship of God which now is, but also according to the law, in those sacrifices which were offered of old time as figures of the true. It was fasting which opened the eyes of Elias to look upon the visions of God, even as it is written, that when he had fasted forty days and forty nights he was in the mount of God, even Horeb, and he was made able, so far as man may be made able, to see God.  Even so also was Moses in that Mount forty days and forty nights, fasting, at what time he again received the Law. Unless the Ninevites had fasted, both man and beast, herd and flock, they had not escaped from the ruin that hung over them. In the wilderness fell some and who were they? Yea, they were such as lusted after flesh meat.

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

Nocturn III

Reading 9: The miracles which our Lord Jesus Christ did were the very works of God, and they enlighten the mind of man by mean of things which are seen, that he may know more of God. God is Himself of such a Substance as eye cannot see, and the miracles, by the which He ruleth the whole world continually, and satisfieth the need of everything that He hath made, are by use become so common, that scarce any will vouchsafe to see that there are wonderful and amazing works of God in every grain of seed of grass. According to His mercy He kept some works to be done in their due season, but out of the common course and order of nature, that men might see them and be astonished, not because they are greater, but because they are rarer than those which they lightly esteem, since they see them day by day.

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

Reading 10: Or it is a greater miracle to govern the whole universe, than to satisfy five thousand men with five loaves of bread; and yet no man marvelleth at it. At the feeding of the five thousand, men marvel, not because it is a greater miracle than the other, but because it is rarer. For Who is He Who now feedeth the whole world, but He Who, from a little grain that is sown, maketh the fulness of the harvest?

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

Reading 11: God worketh in both cases in one and the same manner. He Who of the sowing maketh to come the harvest, is He Who of the five barley loaves in His Hands made bread to feed five thousand men; for Christ's are the Hands which are able to do both the one and the other. He Who multiplieth the grains of corn multiplied the loaves, only not by committing them to the earth whereof He is the Maker.

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

Reading 12: This miracle, then, is brought to bear upon our bodies, that our souls may thereby be quickened; shown to our eyes, to give food to our understanding; that, through His works which we see, we may marvel at that God Whom we cannot see, and, being roused up to believe, and purified by believing, we may long to see Him, yea, may know by things which are seen Him Who is Unseen. Nor yet sufficeth it for us to see only this meaning in Christ's miracles. Let us ask of the miracles themselves what they have to tell us concerning Christ for, soothly, they have a tongue of their own, if only we will understand it. For, because Christ is the Word of God, therefore the work of the Word is a Word for us.

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

Gospel

The Gospel is St John 6:1-15:

After these things Jesus went over the sea of Galilee, which is that of Tiberias.  And a great multitude followed him, because they saw the miracles which he did on them that were diseased.  Jesus therefore went up into a mountain, and there he sat with his disciples.  Now the pasch, the festival day of the Jews, was near at hand. When Jesus therefore had lifted up his eyes, and seen that a very great multitude cometh to him, he said to Philip: Whence shall we buy bread, that these may eat? And this he said to try him; for he himself knew what he would do.  Philip answered him: Two hundred pennyworth of bread is not sufficient for them, that every one may take a little.  One of his disciples, Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter, saith to him:  There is a boy here that hath five barley loaves, and two fishes; but what are these among so many?  Then Jesus said: Make the men sit down. Now there was much grass in the place. The men therefore sat down, in number about five thousand. And Jesus took the loaves: and when he had given thanks, he distributed to them that were set down. In like manner also of the fishes, as much as they would.  And when they were filled, he said to his disciples: Gather up the fragments that remain, lest they be lost.  They gathered up therefore, and filled twelve baskets with the fragments of the five barley loaves, which remained over and above to them that had eaten.  Now those men, when they had seen what a miracle Jesus had done, said: This is of a truth the prophet, that is to come into the world.  Jesus therefore, when he knew that they would come to take him by force, and make him king, fled again into the mountain himself alone.

Friday, 24 March 2017

Feast of the Annunciation

The Matins readings in the Benedictine Office for the feast of the Annunciation are set out below.

Nocturn I: Isaiah 7: 10-15; 11: 1-5; 35: 1-3, 4-7

Reading 1: The Lord sent, besides, this message to Achaz, Ask the Lord thy God to give thee a sign, in the depths beneath thee, or in the height above thee. But Achaz said, Nay, I will not ask for a sign; I will not put the Lord to the test. Why then, said Isaias, listen to me, you that are of David’s race. Cannot you be content with trying the patience of men? Must you try my God’s patience too? Sign you ask none, but sign the Lord will give you. Maid shall be with child, and shall bear a son, that shall be called Emmanuel.  On butter and honey shall be his thriving, till he is of age to know good from harm;

R. The angel Gabriel was sent to Mary, a Virgin espoused to Joseph, to bring unto her the word of the Lord and when the Virgin saw the light she was afraid. Fear not, Mary, for thou hast found grace from the Lord. * Behold, thou shalt conceive and bring forth a son, and He shall be called the Son of the Highest.
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. Behold, thou shalt conceive and bring forth a son, and He shall be called the Son of the Highest.

Reading 2: From the stock of Jesse a scion shall burgeon yet; out of his roots a flower shall spring.  One shall be born, on whom the spirit of the Lord will rest; a spirit wise and discerning, a spirit prudent and strong, a spirit of knowledge and of piety,  and ever fear of the Lord shall fill his heart. Not his to judge by appearances, listen to rumours when he makes award; here is judgement will give the poor redress, here is award will right the wrongs of the defenceless. Word of him shall smite the earth like a rod, breath of him destroy the ill-doer; love of right shall be the baldric he wears, faithfulness the strength that girds him.

R. Hail, Mary, full of grace; the Lord is with thee * The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee therefore also that Holy Thing Which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.
V. How shall this be, seeing I know not a man? And the Angel answered and said unto her,
R. The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee; therefore also that Holy Thing Which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.

Reading 3: Thrills the barren desert with rejoicing; the wilderness takes heart, and blossoms, fair as the lily.  Blossom on blossom, it will rejoice and sing for joy; all the majesty of Lebanon is bestowed on it, all the grace of Carmel and of Saron. All alike shall see the glory of the Lord, the majesty of our God. Stiffen, then, the sinews of drooping hand and flagging knee

R. Receive, O Virgin Mary, receive the word of the Lord, which is sent thee by His Angel thou shalt conceive, and shalt bring forth God and Man together.* And thou shalt be called blessed among all women.
V. Thou shalt bring forth a son, and remain a maiden undefiled thou shalt conceive and be a Mother, still Virgin unspotted.
R. And thou shalt be called blessed among all women.

Reading 4: Give word to the faint-hearted, Take courage, and have no fear; see where your Lord is bringing redress for your wrongs, God himself, coming to deliver you! Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and deaf ears unsealed; the lame man, then, shall leap as the deer leap, the speechless tongue cry aloud. Springs will gush out in the wilderness, streams flow through the desert; ground that was dried up will give place to pools, barren land to wells of clear water; where the serpent had its lair once, reed and bulrush will show their green.

R: Who having heard, was troubled at his saying, and thought with herself what manner of salutation this should be. * And the angel said to her:
V: Fear not, Mary, for thou hast found grace with God.
R: And the angel said to her
V: Glory be...
R: And the angel said to her

Nocturn II: Sermon 22 of St Leo

Reading 5: The Almighty and merciful God, Whose nature is goodness, Whose will is power, and Whose work is mercy, did, at the very beginning of the world, as soon as the devil's hatred had mortally poisoned us with the venom of his envy, foretell those remedies which His mercy had foreordained for our healing. He bade the serpent know that there was to be a Seed of the woman Who should yet bruise the swelling of his pestilential head; this Seed was none other than the Christ to come in the flesh, that God and Man in one Person, Who, being born of a Virgin, should, by His undefiled birth, damn the seducer of man.

R. Behold, the Virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, saith the Lord * And His name shall be called Wonderful, the Mighty God.
V. He shall sit upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom for ever.
R. And His name shall be called Wonderful, the Mighty God.

Reading 6: The devil rejoiced that by his fraud he had so deceived man as to make him lose the gifts of God, forfeit his privilege of eternal life, bring himself under the hard sentence of death, and find in his misery a certain comfort in the accomplice of his guilt; he rejoiced also that God, in His just anger, was changed towards man, whom He had made in such honour. But, dearly beloved brethren, that Unchangeable God, Whose Will cannot be divorced from His goodness, by His own secret counsel carried out in a mysterious way His original purpose of goodness, and man, who had been led into sin by the wicked craft of the devil, perished not to disappoint that gracious purpose of God.

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 7: Then therefore, dearly beloved brethren, the fulness of that time came, which God had appointed for our Redemption, our Lord Jesus Christ entered this lower world, came down from His heavenly throne, and, while He left not that glory which He hath with the Father before the world was, was incarnate by a new order and a new birth new, in that He Who is Invisible among His own, was made visible among us; He Who is Incomprehensible, willed to be comprehended; He Who is before the ages, began to be in time; the Lord of all shadowed the glory of His Majesty, and took upon Him the form of a servant; the Impassible God vouchsafed to become a man subject to suffering; and the Immortal laid Himself under the laws of death.

R: And Mary said to the angel: How shall this be done, because I know not man? * And the angel answering, said to her
V: The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the most High shall overshadow thee
R: And the angel answering, said to her

Reading 8:  For though the true mercy of God had infinitely many schemes to hand for the restoration of mankind, it chose that particular design which put in force for destroying the devil's work, not the efficacy of might but the dictates of justice. For the pride of the ancient foe not undeservedly made good its despotic rights over all men, and with no unwarrantable supremacy tyrannized over those who had been of their own accord lured away from God's commands to be the slaves of his will. And so there would be no justice in his losing the immemorial slavery of the human race, were he not conquered by that which he had subjugated.

R: And Mary said: Behold the handmaid of the Lord; * Be it done to me according to thy word
V: Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb
R: Be it done to me according to thy word
V: Glory be...
R: Be it done to me according to thy word

Nocturn III: St Ambrose:

Reading 9: 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 fornication the Holy One.

R: All generations shall call me blessed.* Because he that is mighty, hath done great things to me; and holy is his name.
V: My soul doth magnify the Lord and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour
R: Because he that is mighty, hath done great things to me; and holy is his name.

Reading 10: And the Scripture clearly demonstrates that she would be both espoused and a virgin: a virgin, that it might be clear that she was free from intercourse with man; espoused, lest she be seared by the infamy of violated virginity, to which desecration the pregnant womb would plainly seem to point.  For the Lord preferred that some should be in doubt rather about the manner of His birth than about the purity of His mother.  For he knew the delicate reserve of the Virgin and the elusive fame of modesty, and He did not think that faith in His birth should be built up by injuries to His mother.

R: O holy and immaculate virginity, I know not by what praises I may extol thee: * For thou hast born in thy womb, whom the heavens could not contain
V: Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb.
R: For thou hast born in thy womb, whom the heavens could not contain

Reading 11: 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 was found only by an angel. There was neither companion nor witness there, that what passed might not be debased in gossip and the angel saluted her.

R. Rejoice with me, all ye that love the Lord, for while I was yet a little one, I pleased the Most High. * And I have brought forth from my bowels God and man.
V. All generations shall call me blessed, since the Lord hath regarded the lowliness of His handmaiden.
R. And I have brought forth from my bowels God and man.

Reading 12: For the mystery of so great a message must be proposed not by the mouth of man, but by that of an angel.  Today for the first time is heard: 'The Holy Spirit will overshadow thee'.  And it is heard and believed.  Finally, 'Behold', she says'the handmaid of the Lord; be it done unto me according to thy word.'  See the humility, behold the devotion!  She who is chosen to be the Mother of the Lord calls herself His handmaid; nor is she suddenly elated by the promise.

R. Rejoice, O Mary, by whose mighty hand the Church hath victory o'er her foes achieved, since thou to Gabriel's word of quickening power in lowliness hast listened, and believed; * Thou, still a virgin, in thy blessed womb hast God Incarnate of thy flesh conceived, and, still of heaven, of that virginity remainest after childbirth unbereaved.
V. Blessed art thou that hast believed, for there is a performance of those things which were told thee from the Lord.
R. Thou, still a virgin, in thy blessed womb hast God Incarnate of thy flesh conceived, and, still of heaven, of that virginity remainest after childbirth unbereaved.
V. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, * and to the Holy Ghost.
R. Thou, still a virgin, in thy blessed womb hast God Incarnate of thy flesh conceived, and, still of heaven, of that virginity remainest after childbirth unbereaved.

Gospel

The Gospel for the feast of the Annunciation is St Luke 1:26-38:

And in the sixth month, 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 the angel being come in, said unto her: Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.  Who having heard, was troubled at his saying, and thought with herself what manner of salutation this should be.  And the angel said to her: Fear not, Mary, for thou hast found grace with God.  Behold thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and shalt bring forth a son; and thou shalt call his name Jesus.  He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the most High; and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of David his father; and he shall reign in the house of Jacob for ever.  And of his kingdom there shall be no end.  And Mary said to the angel: How shall this be done, because I know not man?  And the angel answering, said to her: The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the most High shall overshadow thee. And therefore also the Holy which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.  And behold thy cousin Elizabeth, she also hath conceived a son in her old age; and this is the sixth month with her that is called barren: Because no word shall be impossible with God.  And Mary said: Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it done to me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her.

Thursday, 23 March 2017

Friday in the third week of Lent

Today's Gospel is St John 4:5-42:

He cometh therefore to a city of Samaria, which is called Sichar, near the land which Jacob gave to his son Joseph. Now Jacob' s well was there. Jesus therefore being wearied with his journey, sat thus on the well. It was about the sixth hour.  There cometh a woman of Samaria, to draw water. Jesus saith to her: Give me to drink.  For his disciples were gone into the city to buy meats.  Then that Samaritan woman saith to him: How dost thou, being a Jew, ask of me to drink, who am a Samaritan woman? For the Jews do not communicate with the Samaritans.  Jesus answered, and said to her: If thou didst know the gift of God, and who he is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou perhaps wouldst have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water. The woman saith to him: Sir, thou hast nothing wherein to draw, and the well is deep; from whence then hast thou living water?  Art thou greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well, and drank thereof himself, and his children, and his cattle?  Jesus answered, and said to her: Whosoever drinketh of this water, shall thirst again; but he that shall drink of the water that I will give him, shall not thirst for ever:  But the water that I will give him, shall become in him a fountain of water, springing up into life everlasting.  The woman saith to him: Sir, give me this water, that I may not thirst, nor come hither to draw.[Jesus saith to her: Go, call thy husband, and come hither. The woman answered, and said: I have no husband. Jesus said to her: Thou hast said well, I have no husband: For thou hast had five husbands: and he whom thou now hast, is not thy husband. This thou hast said truly.  The woman saith to him: Sir, I perceive that thou art a prophet. Our fathers adored on this mountain, and you say, that at Jerusalem is the place where men must adore. Jesus saith to her: Woman, believe me, that the hour cometh, when you shall neither on this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, adore the Father.  You adore that which you know not: we adore that which we know; for salvation is of the Jews. But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true adorers shall adore the Father in spirit and in truth. For the Father also seeketh such to adore him.  God is a spirit; and they that adore him, must adore him in spirit and in truth.  The woman saith to him: I know that the Messias cometh (who is called Christ). Therefore, when he is come, he will tell us all things. Jesus saith to her: I am he, who am speaking with thee.  And immediately his disciples came; and they wondered that he talked with the woman. Yet no man said: What seekest thou? or, why talkest thou with her?  The woman therefore left her waterpot, and went her way into the city, and saith to the men there:  Come, and see a man who has told me all things whatsoever I have done. Is not he the Christ?  They went therefore out of the city, and came unto him. In the mean time the disciples prayed him, saying: Rabbi, eat.  But he said to them: I have meat to eat, which you know not. The disciples therefore said one to another: Hath any man brought him to eat?  Jesus saith to them: My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, that I may perfect his work.  Do you not say, There are yet four months, and then the harvest cometh? Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes, and see the countries; for they are white already to harvest. And he that reapeth receiveth wages, and gathereth fruit unto life everlasting: that both he that soweth, and he that reapeth, may rejoice together.  For in this is the saying true: That it is one man that soweth, and it is another that reapeth.  I have sent you to reap that in which you did not labour: others have laboured, and you have entered into their labours.  Now of that city many of the Samaritans believed in him, for the word of the woman giving testimony: He told me all things whatsoever I have done.  So when the Samaritans were come to him, they desired that he would tarry there. And he abode there two days. And many more believed in him because of his own word. And they said to the woman: We now believe, not for thy saying: for we ourselves have heard him, and know that this is indeed the Saviour of the world.

The Matins readings are from St Augustine:

Reading 1: Now begin the mysteries. For it is not without a purpose that Jesus is weary; not indeed without a purpose that the strength of God is weary; not without a purpose that He is weary, by whom the wearied are refreshed; not without a purpose is He weary, by whose absence we are wearied, by whose presence we are strengthened. Nevertheless Jesus is weary, and weary with His journey; and He sits down, and that, too, near a well; and it is at the sixth hour that, being wearied, He sits down. All these things hint something, are intended to intimate something, they make us eager, and encourage us to knock. May Himself open to us and to you; He who has deigned to exhort us, so as to say, Knock, and it shall be opened to you.

R. And when his brethren saw Joseph afar off, they said one to another Behold, this dreamer cometh. * Come, let us slay him; and we shall see what will become of his dreams.
V. And when his brethren saw that their father loved Joseph more than all his brethren, they hated him, and could not speak peaceably unto him; therefore they said
R. Come, let us slay him; and we shall see what will become of his dreams.

Reading 2: It was for you that Jesus was wearied with His journey. We find Jesus to be strength, and we find Jesus to be weak: we find a strong and a weak Jesus: strong, because 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. Would you see how this Son of God is strong? All things were made by Him, and without Him was nothing made: and without labor, too, were they made. Then what can be stronger than He, by whom all things were made without labor? Would you know Him weak? The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us. The strength of Christ created you, the weakness of Christ created you anew. The strength of Christ caused that to be which was not: the weakness of Christ caused that what was should not perish. He fashioned us by His strength, He sought us by His weakness.

R. When Joseph came into the land of Egypt, he heard a language that he understood not; his hands were burdened with labour; * And his tongue spake wisdom among princes.
V. Whose feet they hurt with fetters; the iron entered into his soul, until the time that his word came
R. And his tongue spake wisdom among princes.

Reading 3: As weak, then, He nourishes the weak, as a hen her chickens; for He likened Him self to a hen: How often, He says to Jerusalem, would I have gathered your children under my wings, as a hen her chickens; but you would not! Matthew 23:37 And you see, brethren, how a hen becomes weak with her chickens. No other bird, when it is a mother, is recognized at once to be so. We see all kinds of sparrows building their nests before our eyes; we see swallows, storks, doves, every day building their nests; but we do not know them to be parents, except when we see them on their nests. But the hen is so enfeebled over her brood, that even if the chickens are not following her, if you see not the young ones, yet you know her at once to be a mother. With her wings drooping, her feathers ruffled, her note hoarse, in all her limbs she becomes so sunken and abject, that, as I have said, even though you see not her young, yet you perceive her to be a mother.

R. Think on me when it shall be well with thee * And make mention of me unto Pharaoh, that he may bring me out of this prison. For I was stolen away; and here have I done nothing, that they should put me into the dungeon.
V. For yet three days, and then Pharaoh shall remember thy service, and restore thee unto thy place; then think of me
R. And make mention of me unto Pharaoh, that he may bring me out of this prison.
V. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, * and to the Holy Ghost.
R. For I was stolen away; and here have I done nothing, that they should put me into the dungeon.

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Thursday in the third week of Lent

Today's Gospel is St Luke 4:38-44:

And Jesus rising up out of the synagogue, went into Simon' s house. And Simon' s wife' s mother was taken with a great fever, and they besought him for her.  And standing over her, he commanded the fever, and it left her. And immediately rising, she ministered to them.  And when the sun was down, all they that had any sick with divers diseases, brought them to him. But he laying his hands on every one of them, healed them.  And devils went out from many, crying out and saying: Thou art the Son of God. And rebuking them he suffered them not to speak, for they knew that he was Christ.  And when it was day, going out he went into a desert place, and the multitudes sought him, and came unto him: and they stayed him that he should not depart from them.  To whom he said: To other cities also I must preach the kingdom of God: for therefore am I sent.  And he was preaching in the synagogues of Galilee.

The Matins readings are by St Ambrose:

Reading 1: Behold here how long-suffering is the Lord our Redeemer! Neither moved to anger against them, nor sickened at their guilt, nor outraged by their attacks, did He leave the Jews' country. Nay, forgetting their iniquity, and mindful only of His mercy, He strove to soften their hard and unbelieving hearts, sometimes by His teaching, and sometimes by freeing some of them, and sometimes by healing them. St Luke doth well to tell us first of the man who was delivered from an unclean spirit, and then of the healing of a woman. The Lord indeed came to heal both sexes, but that must be healed first which was created first, and then must not she be passed by whose first sin arose rather from fickleness of heart than from depraved will.

R. And when his brethren saw Joseph afar off, they said one to another Behold, this dreamer cometh. * Come, let us slay him; and we shall see what will become of his dreams.
V. And when his brethren saw that their father loved Joseph more than all his brethren, they hated him, and could not speak peaceably unto him; therefore they said
R. Come, let us slay him; and we shall see what will become of his dreams.

Reading 2: That the Lord began to heal on the Sabbath-day showeth in a figure how that the new creation beginneth where the old creation ended. It showeth, moreover, that the Son of God, Who is come not to destroy the law but to fulfil the law, is not under the law, but above the law. Neither was it by the law, but by the Word, that the world was created, as it is written "By the Word of the Lord were the heavens made." The law, then, is not destroyed, but fulfilled, in the Redemption of fallen man. Whence also the Apostle saith: "Put off, concerning the former conversation, the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts and be renewed in the spirit of your mind and put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness."

R. Judah said unto his brethren Behold, the Ishmaelites pass by; come, let us sell him, and let not our hands be defiled. * For he is our flesh, and our brother.
V. What profit is it if we slay our brother, and conceal his blood? It is better to sell him.
R. For he is our flesh, and our brother.

Reading 3: It was well that He began to heal on the Sabbath, that He might show Himself to be the Creator, weaving in one with another of His works, and continuing that which He had already begun, even as a workman, being to repair an house, beginneth not to take down that which is old from the foundations, but from the roof. Thus doth the Lord begin to lay to His hand again, in that place whence last He hath lifted it; then He beginneth which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness. with things lesser, that He may go on to things greater. Even men are able to deliver other men from evil spirits, albeit with the word of God to command the dead to rise again is for God's power alone. Perchance, also, this woman, the mother-in-law of Simon and Andrew, was a type of our nature, stricken down with the great fever of sin, and burning with unlawful lusts after divers objects. Nor would I say that the passion which rageth in the mind is a lesser fire than that fever which burneth the body. Covetousness, and lust, and uncleanness, and vain desires, and strivings, and anger these be our fevers.

R. They drew up Joseph out of the pit, and sold him to the Ismaelites for twenty pieces of silver. * And Reuben returned unto the pit, and when he found not Joseph, he rent his clothes, and wept, and said The child is not, and I, whither shall I go?
V. And they took Joseph's coat, and dipped it in the blood of a kid of the goats, and they sent one that brought the coat unto their father, and said See now whether this be thy son's coat or no.
R. And Reuben returned unto the pit, and when he found not Joseph, he rent his clothes, and wept.
V. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, * and to the Holy Ghost.
R. And Reuben said The child is not, and I, whither shall I go?

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Wednesday in the third week of Lent

The Gospel today is St Matthew 15:1-20:

Then came to him from Jerusalem scribes and Pharisees, saying: Why do thy disciples transgress the tradition of the ancients? For they wash not their hands when they eat bread. But he answering, said to them: Why do you also transgress the commandment of God for your tradition? For God said:  Honour thy father and mother: And: He that shall curse father or mother, let him die the death.  But you say: Whosoever shall say to father or mother, The gift whatsoever proceedeth from me, shall profit thee. And he shall not honour his father or his mother: and you have made void the commandment of God for your tradition.  Hypocrites, well hath Isaias prophesied of you, saying: This people honoureth me with their lips: but their heart is far from me. And in vain do they worship me, teaching doctrines and commandments of men.  And having called together the multitudes unto him, he said to them: Hear ye and understand. Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man: but what cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man.  Then came his disciples, and said to him: Dost thou know that the Pharisees, when they heard this word, were scandalized?  But he answering them, said: Every plant which my heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up.  Let them alone: they are blind, and leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both will fall into the pit.  And Peter answering, said to him: Expound to us this parable.  But he said: Are you also yet without understanding?  Do you not understand, that whatsoever entereth into the mouth, goeth into the belly, and is cast out into the privy?  But the things which proceed out of the mouth, come forth from the heart, and those things defile a man. For from the heart come forth evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false testimonies, blasphemies.  These are the things that defile a man. But to eat with unwashed hands doth not defile a man.

The Matins readings are by St Jerome:

Reading 1: The stupidity of the Pharisees and Scribes is something extraordinary. They rebuke the Son of God because He doth not observe the traditions and commandments of men for they wash not their hands when they eat bread. It behoveth us to cleanse, not the hands of the body, but the hands of the soul, namely, our works, that we may do the commandments of God. But He answered and said unto them Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition? He meeteth here their false accusation by a true. ' How,' saith He, 'do ye, who pass over the commandments of God, in order to keep to the traditions of men, hold that My disciples are to be rebuked, because they deem the tradition of the elders of little moment in comparison with the doing of what they know to be the Laws of God? '

R. We are verily guilty concerning our brother, in that we saw the anguish of his soul, when he besought us, and we would not hear. * Therefore is this distress come upon us.
V. And Reuben answered his brethren, saying Spake I not unto you, saying: Do not sin against the child; and ye would not hear?
R. Therefore is this distress come upon us.

Reading 2: Now God commanded, saying, Honour thy father and mother; and, He that curseth father or mother, let him die the death. But ye say Whosoever shall say to his father or his mother It is a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me; and honour not his father or his mother, he shall be free. The word honour is used in Scripture, not so much in the sense of paying salutations and services, as in that of giving alms and gifts. Honour widows, saith the Apostle, which are widows indeed.  And here honour signifieth support. So again,  Let the Priests that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine. For the Scripture saith ' Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn ' and ' The labourer is worthy of his reward.'

R. And Reuben answered his brethren, saying Spake I not unto you, saying Do not sin against the child; and ye would not hear? * Behold, his blood is required.
V. We are verily guilty concerning our brother, in that we saw the anguish of his soul, when he besought us, and we would not hear.
R. Behold, his blood is required.

Reading 3: The Lord being mindful of the helplessness, or age, or poverty of parents, had commanded their children to honour them even by giving them the necessaries of life. The Scribes and Pharisees, scrupling not to make of none effect this most benign law, and bringing in ungodliness under the very form of godliness, taught, for the benefit of unnatural children, that if any one vowed to God, Who is our very Father in heaven, whatsoever he was bound to give to his parents, the duty of discharging his debt to his heavenly Father ought to come before that which he owed to his earthly father; or, at least, that parents in such case incurred the guilt of sacrilege by taking for themselves what they knew had been made a gift to God. And so parents were left unsuccoured, and the offerings of such children, under pretence of being given to God and His temple, became the gain of the Priests.

R. Jacob lamented for his two sons, saying Woe is me; I am bereaved of Joseph, for he is not; and afflicted because of Benjamin, because he is taken away for bread. * I pray the King of heaven in my distress, that He may make me to see them yet again.
V. And Jacob cast him down upon his face upon the ground, and wept sore; and he prayed, saying
R. I pray the King of heaven in my distress, that He may make me to see them yet again.
V. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, * and to the Holy Ghost.
R. I pray the King of heaven in my distress, that He may make me to see them yet again.

Monday, 20 March 2017

Feast of the transitus of St Benedict

The readings for the feast of St Benedict are set out below.  You can find notes on where to find the other texts for Matins here.

Nocturn I (Sirach 44:1-15)

Reading 1: Let us now praise men of renown, and our fathers in their generation. The Lord hath wrought great glory through his magnificence from the beginning. Such as have borne rule in their dominions, men of great power, and endued with their wisdom, shewing forth in the prophets the dignity of prophets, And ruling over the present people, and by the strength of wisdom instructing the people in most holy words.

R: Fuit vir vitae venerabilis gratia Benedictus et nomine ab ipso pueritae suae tempore cor gerens senile * aetatem quippe moribus transiens nulli animum voluptati dedit
V: Recessit igitur scienter nescius et sapienter indoctus
R: aetatem quippe moribus transiens nulli animum voluptati dedit

V: There was a man of venerable life, blessed by grace, and blessed in name, for he was called Benedict. From his younger years, he always had the mind of an old man * for his age was inferior to his virtue.
R: In this way he departed, instructed with learned ignorance, and furnished with unlearned wisdom.
V: For his age was inferior to his virtue.

Reading 2: Such as by their skill sought out musical tunes, and published canticles of the scriptures.  Rich men in virtue, studying beautifulness: living at peace in their houses. All these have gained glory in their generations, and were praised in their days.

R: Sanctus Benedictus plus appetiit mala mundi  perpeti quam laudes pro Deo laboribus fatigari * Quam vitae hujus favoribus extolli
V: Divina namque praeventus gratia magis ac magis ad superna animo suspirabat
R: Quam vitae hujus favoribus extolli
R St Benedict desiring rather the miseries of the world than the praises of men: rather to be wearied with labor for God's sake * than to be exalted with transitory commendation
V: For filled greatly with divine grace, his soul aspired to even higher things
R: Than to be exalted with transitory commendation 

Reading 3: They that were born of them have left a name behind them, that their praises might be related: And there are some, of whom there is no memorial: who are perished, as if they had never been: and are become as if they had never been born, and their children with them. But these were men of mercy, whose godly deeds have not failed: Good things continue with their seed,

R: Inito consilio venenum vino miscuere quo oblato ex more ad benedicendum patri vir dei signo crucis edidit et vas pestiferi potus ita confractum est * Ac si pro signo lapidem dedisset
V: Intellexit protinus vir dei quia potum mortis habuerat quod portare non potuit signum vitae
R:  Ac si pro signo lapidem dedisset
R: Taking counsel together, they agreed to poison his wine: according to the custom, offered to the Abbot to bless, he made the sign of the cross, and straightway the glass broke in pieces * as though the sign of the cross had been a stone thrown against it
R: The man of God by and by perceived that the glass had in it the drink of death, which could not endure the sign of life.
V: As though the sign of the cross had been a stone thrown against it

Reading 4: Their posterity are a holy inheritance, and their seed hath stood in the covenants. And their children for their sakes remain for ever: their seed and their glory shall not be forsaken. Their bodies are buried in peace, and their name liveth unto generation and generation.  Let the people shew forth their wisdom, and the church declare their praise.

R: Domine non aspicias peccata mea sed fidem hujus hominis qui rogat resuscitari filium suum et redde in hoc corpusculum animam quam tulisti et completa oratione revixit  * et sanum reddidit patri suo
V: Et regrediente anima corpusculum omne contremuit et sub oculis omnium qui aderant vivus apparuit
R: Et sanum reddidit patri suo
V: Gloria Patri...
R: Et sanum reddidit patri suo
R:  Behold not, O Lord, my sins, but the faith of this man, that desires to have his son raised to life, and restore that soul to the body, which you have made.  And when the prayer was ended he revived.  * And he gave him back to his father healthy.
V: And the soul returned again, and therewith the child's body began to tremble in such sort that all which were present beheld it
R: And he gave him back to his father healthy.
V: Glory be...
R: And he gave him back to his father healthy.

Nocturn II

Reading 5: Benedict was born of a noble family at Norcia, about the year of our Lord 480, and studied letters at Rome. Desiring to give himself altogether to Christ Jesus, he betook himself to a very deep cave at the place now called Subiaco. In this place he lay hid for three years, unknown to all except the monk Romanus, by means of whom he received the necessaries of life. While he was in the cave at Subiaco, the devil one day assailed him with an extraordinary storm of impure temptation, and to get it under, he rolled himself in brambles till his whole body was lacerated, and the sting of pain drove out the sallies of lust.
  
R: O laudanda sancti Benedicti merita gloriosa qui dum pro Christo patriam mundique sprevit pompam adeptus omnium contubernium beatorum * Et particeps factus praemiorum aeternorum
V: Inter choros confessorum splendidum possidet locum ubi ipsum fontem omnium intuetur bonorum
R: Et particeps factus praemiorum aeternorum
O praise the glorious merits of St Benedict who for Christ left his fatherland and the pomp of the world, and arrived at the companionship of all the blessed * And was made a partaker of eternal rewards
 V: He holds a splendid place among the chorus of confessors, where he gazes upon the font of all good
R: And was made a partaker of eternal rewards

Reading 6: At last the fame of his holiness spread itself abroad from the desert, and some monks came to him for guidance, but the looseness of their lives was such that they could not bear his exhortations, and they plotted together to poison him in his drink. When they gave him the cup, he made the sign of the Cross over it, whereupon it immediately broke, and Benedict left that monastery, and retired to a desert place alone.  Nevertheless his disciples followed him daily, and for them he built twelve monasteries, and set holy laws to govern them.

R: Dum sanctus Benedictus in cella consisteret elevatis sursum oculis vidit sororis suae animam de corpore ejus egressam * In columbae specie caeli secreta penetrare
V: Qui tantae ejus gloriae congaudens omnipotenti deo gratias retulit ejusque obitum fratribus denuntiavit
R: * In columbae specie caeli secreta penetrare
R: When St Benedict was standing in his cell, lifted his eyes he saw the soul of his sister which was departed from her body * Ascend into heaven in the likeness of a dove.
V: Rejoicing much to see her great glory, with hymns and praise he gave thanks to almighty God, and imparted the news of her death to his monks.
R: Ascend into heaven in the likeness of a dove.

Reading 7: Afterwards he went to Cassino, and brake the image of Apollo which was still worshipped there, overturned the altar, and burnt the groves. There, in the year 529, he built the Church of St Martin and the little chapel of St John; and instilled Christianity into the townspeople and inhabitants. He grew in the grace of God day by day, so that being endowed with the spirit of prophecy he foretold things to come. When Totila, King of the Goths, heard of it, and would see whether it really were so, he sent his Spatharius before him, with the kingly ensigns and attendance, and feigning himself to be Totila. But as soon as Benedict saw him he said: My son, put off that which thou wearest, for it is not thine. To Totila himself he foretold that he would go to Rome, would cross the sea, and would die after nine years.

R: Intempesta noctis hora vir dei instans vigiliis assiduae orationi velut sub uno solis radio * Omnem mundum collectum conspexit
V:  Videnti enim creatorem angusta est omnis creatura
R Omnem mundum collectum conspexit
R: The man of God, keeping vigil in the dark hours of the night with assiduous prayer, under one beam of the sun * Saw the whole world gathered together
 V: For he who sees the creator all created things seems small
R: saw the whole world gathered together

Reading 8: Some months before he departed this life, Benedict forewarned his disciples on what day he was to die; and he ordered his grave to be opened six days before he was carried to it. On the sixth day, being the 21st of March, in the year 543, he would be carried into the Church, where he received the Eucharist, and then, in the arms of his disciples, with his eyes lifted up to heaven, and wrapt in prayer, he gave up the ghost. Two monks saw his soul rising to heaven, clothed in a most precious garment, and surrounded with lights, and One of a most glorious and awful aspect standing above, Whom they heard saying This is the way whereby Benedict, the beloved of the Lord, goeth up to heaven.



R: Pater sanctus dum intentam oculorum aciem in splendore coruscae lucis habere videretur vidit Germani animam Capuani episcopi * In sphaera ignea ab angelis in caelum deferri
V: Factumque est ut reverendissimum virum Germanum episcopum is qui missus fuerat jam defunctum reperit
R: In sphaera ignea ab angelis in caelum deferri
V: Gloria Patri...
R: Pater sanctus dum intentam oculorum aciem in splendore coruscae lucis habere videretur vidit Germani animam Capuani episcopi * In sphaera ignea ab angelis in caelum deferri
V: Factumque est ut reverendissimum virum Germanum episcopum is qui missus fuerat jam defunctum reperit
R: In sphaera ignea ab angelis in caelum deferri
R: While the venerable father stood attentively beholding the brightness of that glittering light, he saw the soul of Germanus, Bishop of Capua,* In a fiery globe, carried up by Angels into heaven.
V: It was discovered that the reverent man Germanus had departed this life at that very instant
R: In a fiery globe, carried up by Angels into heaven.
V: Glory be…
R: In a fiery globe, carried up by Angels into heaven.

Nocturn III (Sermon of St Peter Damian on St Benedict)

Reading 9: 'Behold, we have forsaken all and followed thee.Solemn word, mighty undertaking, a holy work and one worthy of blessing, to leave all things and follow Christ. These are the persuasive words of voluntary poverty, which have brought forth monasteries, and filled the cloister with monks and the woods with anchorites. These are the words of which  the Church sings: 'By the word of thy lips I have kept me from the paths of the destroyer.'  We shall receive rest for our  labour, riches for our poverty, a reward for our tribulation. It  is a great thing to forsake all, but to follow Christ is a greater;  for we read of many who have left all but who have not followed Christ. This is our task, this our labour; in this lies the essence of human salvation; nor can we follow Christ unless we forsake all, for He rejoices as a strong man to run a race, and he who bears a load cannot follow.

R: Sanctissime confessor Christi Benedicte monachorum pater et dux *  Intercede pro nostra omniumque salute
V: Devotae plebi subveni sancta intercessione ut tuis adjuta precibus regna caelestia consequatur
R: Intercede pro nostra omniumque salute
R: O Benedict, Most holy confessor of Christ, father and leader of monks, * Intercede for us and the salvation of all
V: Assist your devoted people with holy intercession so that with the help of your prayers they may reach the heavenly kingdom
R: Intercede for us and the salvation of all

Reading 10: 'Behold' he says, 'we have forsaken all' not only the riches  of this world but the desires of the soul too; for he who holds on to the self has not forsaken all. And it is useless to abandon other things if we do not abandon ourselves, since man's heaviest burden is man himself. What tyrant is more cruel to man, what power more savage, than his own will ? Under its sway you can never rest or sit at your ease, and the more it wearies you in enforcing obedience to itself, the more it goads and stings and weighs you down, being unmindful of kindness and a stranger to mercy. This is the nature of self-will: the more obedient its subject, the more cruelly is he bound in its chains.  'What shall we have therefore?' Peter has forsaken all; not only is he following, he has followed for a long time; and now for the first time he asks what he will receive. What, Peter ? Did you not promise obedience to the voice? You made no contract with the Lord. But listen to what the Lord God says, and await that hope in which, in this uncertain world, we must confide. ' 'You shall sit', says the Lord who is Truth. Splendid sitting, welcome rest, full sufficiency.

R: Ipso anno quo de hac vita erat exiturus quibusdam discipulis secum conversationtibus, quibusdam longe manentibus, * Sanctissimi sui obitus denuntiavit diem
V: Praesentibus indicens ut audita per silentium tegerent abstenibus indicans, quod vel quale eis signum fieret quando eius anima de corpore exiret
R: Sanctissimi sui obitus denuntiavit diem
R: In the year that was to be the last of his life, while some of his disciples were talking with him and some remained further away, * the most holy man foretold the day of his death
V:  He bound them to strict secrecy, some others, he only informed of the special sign they would receive at the time of his death.
R: The most holy man foretold the day of his death

Reading 11: But lest our long awaiting should mar the sweetness of His promise, He controls the restlessness of our minds with a sweeter word. Tor he knoweth our frame; He knows that  our weakness cannot brook delays; in His loving kindness He meets this problem and counteracts it, saying: 'And everyone that hath forsaken house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands for my name's sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life.' "The mouth of them that speak lies shall be stopped'; now all they who transgress without cause are ashamed.  For we have promise of the life that now is, as well as of that which is to come;  and it is clear that the promise of receiving a hundred-fold applies to this life, since the words which follow are 'and shall inherit everlasting life'.

R: Sexto namque die portari se in oratorio a discipulis fecit ibique exitum suum dominicis sacramentis munivit * Atque inter discipulorum manus expiravit
V: Cumque per singulos dies languor ingravesceret, erectis in caelum manibus stetit
R: Atque inter discipulorum manus expiravit

R: On the sixth day, he had his disciples carry him into the oratory where he received the sacraments our Lord to gain strength for his approaching end * Then, in the arms of his disciples he breathed his last
V:  While for several days sickness had wasted his remaining energy, he stood with hands outstretched to heaven
R: Then, in the arms of his disciples he breathed his last

Reading 12:Those who have not yet received the hundredfold reward must scrutinize their hearts and diligently examine all the work of their hands; they will certainly find some corner or lodging-place unknown to the Saviour.And what is our hundredfold reward but the  consolations, the visitations and the first fruits of the Spirit, sweeter than honey; the witness of our consciences; the joyous and lovely expectation of the just, the memory of God's abundant sweetness, the great multitude of His delights, of which there is no need to tell those who have known them, just as it is impossible to describe them to those who have not known them.There is no one to whom all this exposition of our text
better applies than to our father and master St. Benedict. He forsook die world and all its flowers in boyhood to run with strong strides after the running Christ; and he did not rest until he had caught up with Him.

R: Via recto orientis tramite ab eius cella in caelum usque tendebatur cui venerando habitu vir desuper clarus assistens, cuius esset via, quam cernerent, inquisivit  * Illi autem se nescire professi sunt.
V: Quibus ipse ait: Haec est via qua dilictus Domini Benedictus caelos ascendit
R: Illi autem se nescire professi sunt
V: Gloria...
R: Illi autem se nescire professi sunt.
R: A straight road stretched eastwards from his cell until it reached up into heaven. And there in the brightness stood a man of majestic appearance, who asked them, Do you know who passed this way? * They declared that they did not know
V: This, he told them, is the road taken by blessed Benedict, the Lord's beloved, when he ascended to heaven
R: They declared that they did not know
R: Glory be
R: They declared that they did not know

Gospel:

The Gospel for the feast is St Matthew 19:27-29:

Tunc respondens Petrus, dixit ei: Ecce nos reliquimus omnia, et secuti sumus te: quid ergo erit nobis?  Jesus autem dixit illis: Amen dico vobis, quod vos, qui secuti estis me, in regeneratione cum sederit Filius hominis in sede majestatis suæ, sedebitis et vos super sedes duodecim, judicantes duodecim tribus Israël. Et omnis qui reliquerit domum, vel fratres, aut sorores, aut patrem, aut matrem, aut uxorem, aut filios, aut agros propter nomen meum, centuplum accipiet, et vitam æternam possidebit.
Then Peter answering, said to him: Behold we have left all things, and have followed thee: what therefore shall we have?  And Jesus said to them: Amen, I say to you, that you, who have followed me, in the regeneration, when the Son of man shall sit on the seat of his majesty, you also shall sit on twelve seats judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And every one that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands for my name’s sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall possess life everlasting.