Pages

Matins readings and responsories for June and July: overview

This Sunday marks the start, in the Benedictine Office, of the post-Easter cycle of  readings, which starts with the four books of Kings (or Samuel I&II and Kings I&II if you prefer).

The inner logic of the reading cycle

There is, it should be noted, a chronological basis for the current reading cycle, which dates back to (at least) the eighth century.

The Matins reading cycle in the Roman and Benedictine Offices, you will recall, started with Genesis in Septuagesimatide, and originally took in the first seven books of the Bible over Lent.

Eastertide took as to the narrative of the aftermath of the Resurrection, in Acts, as well as to last books of the New Testament, the Catholic Epistles and Revelation.

After Easter, we turn to the book of Kings, which effectively picks up from the narrative of Jewish history read during Lent, and deals with the institution of the kings of Israel, to the destruction of the kingdom and the Exile.

Kings is the start of a cycle, which extends from June to October, that was thought to correspond to four great world monarchies (according to Eusebius and Jerome, and spelt out in Amalarius' commentary on the responsories), namely the Assyrians, the Persians, the Macedonians and the Romans. [1]

The books of Kings can be seen as setting out types for the struggles of the Church Militant, and foretelling and foreshadowing the creation of the true and eternal kingdom of God, yet to be fully realised, above all with David as a type of Christ.

The earlier (?Benedictine) cycle...

In the earliest reading cycle we have preserved for Rome, though, the readings after Eastertide also included Chronicles (which extends the history of the Jewish people up to the authorisation for the restoration of the Temple and Jerusalem). [2]

The evidence we have for this cycle associates it with St Peter's, and the later one, still used in the 1962 Office, with the Lateran.  It is possible though, that the earlier cycle was originally more widely used, but then superseded by an eighth century reorganisation of the Matins readings. [3]

Perhaps the most interesting feature of the older cycle recorded (in Ordos XIV and XVI), is that the reading of Kings and Chronicles continued up to the middle of autumn (mid-November), providing a much lighter reading schedule for the summer months, consistent with the Rule's omission of weekday readings at Matins (and the prohibition on reading Kings after dinner lest it disturb weak minds, in RB 42).

The responsories used during June and July still seem to reflect traces of this earlier, more expansive cycle, including some texts from Chronicles, as the table below illustrates.

Position
On Sundays (Benedictine 1962)
Position notes,
cantus
Incipit
R source
1
Roman Monday1/Thurs
Praeparate corda vestra
1 (Sam) Kings 7:3
2
Roman Monday 2/Thurs
Deus omnium exauditor
1 Kings 13:17, 37
3
omitted
Deus omnium exauditor
[Ps 151 (Apoc)] v=1 Kings 17:37
4
Roman Monday 3/Fri
Dominus, qui eripuit me
1 Kings 17, 37
5
Roman Tuesday/Fri 1
Percussit Saul mille
1 Kings 18:7; 21:11; 29:5; Sirach 47:4-8
6
Roman Tuesday/Fri 2
Montes Gelboe
2 Kings 1:19-21
7
Roman Tuesday/Fri 3
Ego te tuli
2 Kings 7, 8
8
Roman Wed/Sat 2; Monpp4 on
Exaudísti Dómine
3 Kings 8, 20
9
Roman Wed/Sat1
Peccávi super númerum
Oratio Manasse
10
Roman Wed /Sat3; Rom mon pp4 on no 3
Audi, Dómine, hymnum
3 Kings 8, 28-29
11
Omitted
Dómine, si convérsus
3 Kings 8, 42-43.48

Rom Mon post Epiph 4 onwards
Recordare Domine
1 Para 21:15-17

Rom Tues post Epiph. 4 on
Domine si conversus
2 Para 6:24-25

Roman Tues pp4 on
Factum est
4 Kings 2:12, 11


The second and third Nocturn readings

Just how many Sundays are devoted to the books of Samuel/Kings each year depends on the date of Easter (and hence Pentecost): this year there are seven Sundays (ie up the Eighth Sunday after Pentecost); the theoretical maximum is eleven. I have included the full possible list for reference purposes in the table below.

Sunday/Feast
Nocturn I
Nocturn II
Nocturn III
Gospel

PP2 (within the Octave of Corpus Christi)
1 Kings (Samuel) 1
Chrysostom - Ex Hom. 60 ad pop. Antioch
Gregory the Great – Homily 36 on the Gospels
Lk 14:16-24
[Sacred Heart]

Encyclical Letter of Pope Pius XI
Bonaventure
Jn  19: 31-37]
PP3
1 Sam 9-10
St Gregory (attrib)
St Gregory
Lk 15: 1-10
PP4
1 Sam 17
Caesarius Sermon 121
Ambrose On Luke
Lk 5:1-11
PP5
[2 Sam 1
Gregory on Job 4:4
Augustine Sermon on the Mount
Mt 5:20-24
PP6
2 Sam 12
Ambrose Apologia David
Ambrose on Lk 6
Mk 8:1-9
PP7
1 Kings 1
Jerome letter to Neotianum
Hilary on Mt 6
Mt 7:15-21
PP8
1 Kings 9
Augustine City of God 17:8
Jerome letter 121 to Algasiam
Lk 16:1-9
PP9
2 Kings 1
Caesarius Sermon 124
Gregory Hom 39 on Gospels
Lk 19:41-47
PP10
2 Kings 9
Chrysostom on Romans Hom 25
Augustine Hom 115
Lk 18:9-14
PP11
2 Kings 20]
Jerome on Isaiah Bk 11:38
Gregory Homilies on Ezekiel no 1
Mark 7:31-37


Notes

[1] Amalarius of Metz, Liber de Ordine Antiphonarii, PL 105: 1245-; For an interesting discussion of the context, see Graeme Ward (2018), "The Order of History: Liturgical Time and the Rhythms of the Past in Amalarius of Metz's De ordine antiphonarii", in Elina Screen; Charles West (eds.), Writing the Early Medieval West, Cambridge University Press, pp. 98–112.

[2] Ordos XIV and XVI in Michel Andrieu (ed), Les ordines romani du haut moyen age, vol 2, 1961.

[3] Maiani, Brad, Readings and Responsories: The Eighth-Century Night Office Lectionary and the Responsoria Prolixa, The Journal of Musicology, Vol. 16, No. 2 (Spring, 1998), pp. 254-282.  The reorganisation of the Matins reading cycle in this period would also help explain why Monte Cassino initially followed the Roman practice of weekday readings in summer rather than St Benedict's prescriptions on the subject.

Reading and responsory for Fridays throughout the year


Blessing
V. Iube, Dómine, benedícere.
Benedictio. A cunctis vítiis et peccátis * absólvat nos virtus sanctae Trinitátis. Amen.
V. Grant, Lord, a blessing.
Benediction. Of all faults and sins * may the power of the holy Trinity absolve us. Amen.


Short reading (Wisdom 1:6-7) and responsory
Benígnus est enim spíritus sapiéntiæ, et non liberábit malédicum a lábiis suis: † quóniam regnum illíus testis est Deus, et cordis illíus scrutátor est verus, et linguæ eius audítor * Quóniam spirítus Dómini replévit orbem terrárum, et hoc quod cóntinet ómnia, sciéntiam habet vocis.
V. Tu autem, Dómine, miserére nobis.
R. Deo grátias

For the spirit of wisdom is benevolent, and will not acquit the evil speaker from his lips: for God is witness of his reins, and he is a true searcher of his heart, and a hearer of his tongue.For the Spirit of the Lord hath filled the whole world: and that, which containeth all things, hath knowledge of the voice.
V. But thou, O Lord, have mercy upon us.
R. Thanks be to God.

R. Misericórdias Dómini * in ætérnum cantábo.
V. Misericórdias Dómini * in ætérnum cantábo.
R. In generationem et progenie.
V. In ætérnum cantábo.
R. Glória Patri, et Fílio, et Spirítui Sancto.
V. Misericórdias Dómini * in ætérnum cantábo.
R. The mercies of the Lord * I will sing forever.
V. The mercies of the Lord * I will sing forever.
R. From generation and generation.
V. I will sing forever.
R. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost.
V. The mercies of the Lord * I will sing forever.



Reading and responsory for Wednesdays throughout the year


Blessing
V. Iube, Dómine, benedícere.
Benedictio. Ad societátem cívium supernórum perdúcat nos Rex Angelórum. Amen.
V. Grant, Lord, a blessing.
Benediction. May He that is the Angels' King to that high realm His people bring. Amen.

Short reading (Wisdom 1:1-2) and short responsory
Dilígite iustítiam, qui iudicátis terram. † Sentíte de Dómino in bonitáte, et in simplicitáte cordis quǽrite illum: * quóniam invenítur ab his qui non tentant illum, appáret autem eis qui fidem habent in illum.
V. Tu autem, Dómine, miserére nobis.
R. Deo grátias.
Love justice, you that are the judges of the earth. Think of the Lord in goodness, and seek him in simplicity of heart.For he is found by them that tempt him not: and he sheweth himself to them that have faith in him.
V. But thou, O Lord, have mercy upon us.
R. Thanks be to God.

R. In te, Dómine, sperávi: * non confúndar in ætérnum.
V. In te, Dómine, sperávi: * non confúndar in ætérnum.
R. In iustítia tua líbera me et éripe me.
V. Non confúndar in ætérnum.
R. Glória Patri, et Fílio, et Spirítui Sancto.
V. In te, Dómine, sperávi: non confúndar in ætérnum.
R. O Lord, in thee have I trusted: * let me never be confounded.
V. O Lord, in thee have I trusted: * let me never be confounded.
R. In your righteousness deliver me and rescue me.
V. Let me never be confounded.
R. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost.
V. O Lord, in thee have I trusted: * let me never be confounded.


Matins reading for Tuesdays throughout the year

Blessing
V. Iube, Dómine, benedícere.
Benedictio. A cunctis vítiis et peccátis * absólvat nos virtus sanctae Trinitátis. Amen.
V. Grant, Lord, a blessing.
Benediction. Of all faults and sins * may the power of the holy Trinity absolve us. Amen.


Short reading (Proverbs 3: 19-20) and short responsory
Dóminus sapiéntia fundávit terram; stabilívit cælos prudéntia. † Sapiéntia illíus erupérunt abýssi, * et nubes rore concréscunt.
V. Tu autem, Dómine, miserére nobis.
R. Deo grátias.
The Lord has founded the earth by wisdom, has established the heavens by prudence. By his wisdom the depths have broken out, and the clouds grow thick with dew.
V. But you, O Lord, have mercy upon us.
R. Thanks be to God.
R. Deus, in nómine tuo * Salvum me fac.
V. Deus, in nómine tuo * Salvum me fac.
R. Et in misericórdia tua líbera me.
V. Salvum me fac.
R. Glória Patri, et Fílio, et Spirítui Sancto.
V. Deus, in nómine tuo * Salvum me fac.
R. O God, by thy name * Save me.
V. O God, by thy name * Save me.
R. Deliver me in thy justice.
V. Save me.
R. Glory be to the father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost.
V. O God, by thy name save me.


Reading for Mondays throughout the year

Just a reminder that the Office is now in 'summer' mode, with one short reading for each day of the week.

I've set out the texts for Monday below for reference purposes.

For those in the southern hemisphere, where it is actually winter, I'd recommend considering the Roman weekday readings, which you can find on Divinum Officium.

Blessing
V. Iube, Dómine, benedícere.
Benedictio. In unitáte Sancti Spíritus, * benedícat nos Pater et Fílius. Amen.
V. Grant, Lord, a blessing.
Benediction. In the unity of the Holy Ghost, * may the Father and the Son bless us. Amen.


Short reading (Lamentations 2:19)
Consúrge, lauda in nocte, in princípio vigiliárum; effúnde sicut aquam cor tuum ante conspéctum Dómini: leva ad eum manus tuas.
V. Tu autem, Dómine, miserére nobis.
R. Deo grátias.
Arise, give praise in the night, in the beginning of the watches: pour out thy heart like water before the face of the Lord: lift up thy hands to him.

Short responsory
R. Benedícam Dóminum * in omni témpore.
V. Benedícam Dóminum * in omni témpore.
R. Semper laus eius in ore meo.
V. In omni témpore.
R. Glória Patri, et Fílio, et Spirítui Sancto.
V. Benedícam Dóminum * in omni témpore.
R. I will bless the Lord * at all times.
V. I will bless the Lord * at all times.
R. His praise shall be always in my mouth.
V. At all times.
R. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son and to the Holy Ghost.
R. I will bless the Lord * at all times.