Friday, 9 December 2016

Friday in the Second Week of Advent (Isaiah 24)



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Matins readings for the Feast of the Immaculate Conception



Nocturn I: Genesis 3:1-15

(Psalms of the Common of the BVM, viz: 8,18, 23, 44, 45, 47)

Reading 1: Now the serpent was more subtle than any of the beasts of the earth which the Lord God made. And he said to the woman: Why hath God commanded you, that you should not eat of every tree of paradise? And the woman answered him, saying: Of the fruit of the trees that are in paradise we do eat: But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of paradise, God hath commanded us that we should not eat; and that we should not touch it, lest perhaps we die. And the serpent said to the woman: No, you shall not die the death.  For God doth know that in what day soever you shall eat thereof, your eyes shall be opened: and you shall be as Gods, knowing good and evil.

R. By one man sin entered into the world, in whom all have sinned.* Fear not, Mary, for thou hast found grace with God.
V. The Lord hath delivered thy soul from death, yea, the Lord was thy stay.
R. Fear not, Mary, for thou hast found grace with God.

Reading 2: And the woman saw that the tree was good to eat, and fair to the eyes, and delightful to behold: and she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave to her husband who did eat. And the eyes of them both were opened: and when they perceived themselves to be naked, they sewed together fig leaves, and made themselves aprons.  And when they heard the voice of the Lord God walking in paradise at the afternoon air, Adam and his wife hid themselves from the face of the Lord God, amidst the trees of paradise.

R. Come unto me all ye that be desirous of me * And I will declare what God hath done for my soul.
V. As the Lord liveth, by me He hath fulfilled His mercy.
R. And I will declare what God hath done for my soul.

Reading 3: And the Lord God called Adam, and said to him: Where art thou? And he said: I heard thy voice in paradise; and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself.  And he said to him: And who hath told thee that thou wast naked, but that thou hast eaten of the tree whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldst not eat?  And Adam said: The woman, whom thou gavest me to be my companion, gave me of the tree, and I did eat.  And the Lord God said to the woman: Why hast thou done this? And she answered: The serpent deceived me, and I did eat.

R. My beloved is white like snow in Lebanon, her lips drop as the honeycomb.* Honey and milk are under her tongue.
V. Come from Lebanon, My Spouse, thou shalt be crowned with a crown of grace.
R. Honey and milk are under her tongue.

Reading 4: And the Lord God said to the serpent: Because thou hast done this thing, thou art cursed among all cattle, and the beasts of the earth: upon thy breast shalt thou go, and earth shalt thou eat all the days of thy life. I will put enmities between thee and the woman, and thy seed and her seed: she shall crush thy head, and thou shalt lie in wait for her heel.

R: God chose Mary and forechose her, and created her in the Holy Ghost.  Therefore no defilement touched her.
V: The Lord gave mary the defence of his salvation, and upheld her with his right hand.
R Therefore no defilement touched her.
V. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost.
R Therefore no defilement touched her.

Nocturn II: (Letter of St Jerome to Paul and Eustochium on the Assumption of the BVM, n5-9; from the Acts of Pope Pius X)

(Ps 84, 86, 95, 96, 97, 98)

Reading 5: Who and what was the blessed and glorious Mary, always a Virgin, hath been revealed by God by the message of an Angel, in these words, Hail, thou that art full of grace, the Lord is with thee blessed art thou among women. It was fitting that a fulness of grace should be poured into that Virgin who hath given to God glory and to man a Saviour, who hath brought peace to earth, who hath given faith to the Gentiles, who hath killed sin, who hath given law to life, who hath made the crooked ways straight. Verily, she is full of grace. To others grace cometh measure by measure; in Mary grace dwelleth at once in all fulness. Verily, she is full of grace. We believe that the holy Fathers and Prophets had grace; but they were not full of grace. But into Mary came a fulness of all the grace which is in Christ, albeit otherwise (than as it is in Him.) Therefore is it said Blessed art thou among women, that is, Blessed art thou above all women. The fulness of blessing in Mary utterly neutralized in her any effects of the curse of Eve. In her praise Solomon writeth in the Song of Songs, Rise up, my dove, my fair one, for the winter is past, the rain is over and gone. And again, Come from Lebanon, my Spouse, come, thou shalt be crowned.

R. I came out of the mouth of the Most High, the first-begotten before every creature. I made the unfading light to arise in the heavens.* When there were no depths I was conceived.
V. For the Lord hath created me in righteousness, and hath held mine hand, and hath kept me.
R. When there were no depths I was conceived.

Reading 6:  Not unjustly then is she bidden to come from' Lebanon, for Lebanon is so named on account of its stainless and glistening whiteness. The earthly Lebanon is white with snow, but the lonely heights of Mary's holiness are white with purity and grace, brilliantly fair, whiter far than snow, sparkling with the gifts of the Holy Ghost she is undefiled like a dove, all clean, all upright, full of grace and truth. She is full of mercy, and of the righteousness that hath looked down from heaven, and therefore is she without stain because in her hath never been any corruption. She hath compassed a man in her womb, saith holy Jeremiah, but she conceived not by the will of fallen man. The Lord, saith the Prophet, hath created a new thing in the earth; a woman shall compass a man.

R. No defiled thing can fall into her;* She is the brightness of the everlasting light, and the unspotted mirror of the power of God.
V. For she is more beautiful than the sun, and being compared with the light, she is found before it.
R. She is the brightness of the everlasting light, and the unspotted mirror of the power of God.

Reading 7: Verily, it is a new thing. Verily, it was a new work of power, greater than all other works, when God, Whom the world cannot bear, and Whom no man shall see and live, entered the lodging of her womb, breaking not the blissful cloister of her virgin flesh. And in her body He was borne, the Infinite inclosed within her womb. And from her womb He came forth, so that it was fulfilled which was spoken of the Prophet Ezekiel, saying, This gate shall be shut, it shall not be opened, and no man shall enter in by it; because the Lord, the God of Israel, hath entered in by it, therefore it shall be shut. xliv. 2. Hence also in the Song of Songs it is said of her, iv. 12, A garden enclosed is my sister, my spouse, a garden enclosed, a fountain sealed, thy perfumes are a garden of delights. Verily a garden of delights, filled with the perfumes of all flowers, rich with the sweet savour of grace. And the most holy Virgin herself is a garden enclosed, whereinto sin and Satan have never entered to sully the blossoms, a fountain sealed, sealed with the seal of the Trinity.

R. There appeared a great wonder in heaven; a Woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet * And upon her head a crown of twelve stars.
V. The Lord hath clothed her with the garments of salvation, and hath covered her with the robe of righteousness, yea, as a bride He hath adorned her with jewels.
R. And upon her head a crown of twelve stars.

Reading 8: The fact that the Virgin Mother of God had at the moment of her conception triumphed over the foul enemy of man, hath ever been borne out by the Holy Scriptures, by the venerable tradition of the Church, and by her unceasing belief, as well as by the common conviction of all Bishops and faithful Catholics, and by marked acts and constitutions of the Holy See. At length the Supreme Pontiff Pius IX., in compliance with the wishes of the Universal Church, determined to publish it as a truth of faith, on his own absolute and unerring authority, and accordingly, on the 8th day of December, 1854, in the Vatican Basilica, in presence of a great multitude composed of the Fathers Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church, and Bishops from all parts of the earth, he, with the consent and jubilation of the whole world, declared and defined as follows That doctrine which declareth that the most blessed Virgin Mary was in the first instant of her Conception preserved, by a special privilege granted unto her by God, from any stain of original sin, is a doctrine taught and revealed by God, and therefore is to be held by all faithful Christians firmly and constantly.

R O Magnify the Lord with me  * For the mercy of the Lord is great upon me
V: The prince of this world have nothing in me
R For the mercy of the Lord is great upon me
V. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost.
R: For the mercy of the Lord is great upon me

Nocturn III (Homily of St Germanus)

(Canticles: Ecclesiasticus 39:17-21; Is 61:10-11&62:1-3; Is 62: 4-7)

Reading 9: From the Holy Gospel according to Luke: Luke 1:26-28: In that time, the angel Gabriel was sent from God into a city of Galilee, called Nazareth, to a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin's name was Mary. And so on.

Hail, Mary, full of grace, holier than the Saints, higher than the heavens, more glorious than the Cherubim, more honourable than the Seraphim, and the most worshipful thing that the hands of God have made. Hail, O dove, bearing in thy beak the olive-branch of peace that telleth us of salvation from the spiritual flood, dove, blessed omen of a safe harbour, whose wings are of silver, and thy feathers of gold, shining in the bright beams of the Most Holy and Light-giving Spirit. Hail, thou living garden of Eden, planted towards the East by the right hand of the Most Merciful and Mighty God, wherein do grow to His glory rich lilies and unfading roses, for the healing of them that have drunk in death from the blighting and pestilential breezes of the bitter West, Eden, wherein hath sprung that Tree of life, Whereof if any man eat he shall live for ever.

R. A garden enclosed is my sister, my spouse, a garden enclosed, a fountain sealed.* O Mary, thy perfumes are a garden of delights.
V. Open to me, my sister, my love, my dove, my undefiled.
R. O Mary, thy perfumes are a garden of delights.

Reading 10: Hail, stately Palace of the King, most holy, stainless, purest, House of the Most High God, adorned with His Royal splendour, open to all, filled with Kingly dainties; Palace wherein is that spiritual bridal chamber, not made with hands, nor hung with divers colours, in the which the Eternal Word, when He would raise up fallen man, wedded flesh unto Himself, that He might reconcile unto the Father them who had cast themselves away. Hail, O rich and shady Mountain of God, whereon pastured the True Lamb, Who hath taken away our sins and infirmities, mountain, whereout hath been cut without hands that Stone which hath smitten the altars of the idols, and become the head-stone of the corner, marvellous in our eyes. Hail, thou holy Throne of God, thou divinest store-house, thou temple of glory, thou bright crown, thou chosen treasure, thou mercy-seat for the whole world, thou heaven declaring the glory of God. Hail, thou vessel of pure gold, made to hold the manna that came down from heaven, the sweet food of our souls, even Christ.

R. My soul doth magnify the Lord; * For He That is mighty hath done to me great things, and holy is His name.
V. For, behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.
R. For He That is mighty hath done to me great things, and holy is His name.

Reading 11: Hail, O purest Virgin, most praiseworthy and most worshipful, hallowed treasury for the wants of all creatures; thou art the untitled earth, the unploughed field; thou art the vine full of flowers, the well overflowing with waters, Maiden and Mother; thou art the Mother that knew not a man, the hidden treasure of guilelessness, and the clear, bright star of holiness; by thy most acceptable prayers, strong from thy motherly mouth, obtain for all estates of men in the Church that they may continually tend unto Him Who is the Lord, and God, and Maker of thee, and of them, and of all, but of thee the Son also, conceived without man's intervention; obtain this, O Mother, pilot them to the harbour of peace.

R: Who is so great a God as our God? * God forechose me, and made my way stainless.
V: My spirit hath rejoiced in God my saviour
R: God forechose me, and made my way stainless.

Reading 12: Be it thine to clothe God's priests with righteousness, and to make them shout aloud for joy in approved and stainless, and upright and glorious faith. thine be it to guide in peace the sceptres of orthodox princes, even of princes who put their trust in thee to be the crown of their Majesty, and the Royal Robe of their greatness, and the firm foundation of their dominion, more than in purple, or fine gold, or pearls, or precious stones; thine be it to put under their feet the unfaithful nations, nations that blaspheme thee, and the God That was born of thee; thine be it to keep in meek obedience the people that are under them, according to the commandment of God. Behold, this is thine own city, which hath thee for her towers and her foundations, crown her with victory, gird the house of God with strength, keep undefiled the loveliness of His tabernacles, as for them that praise thy name, be thou their deliverer from strife and bitterness of spirit. Free thou the prisoner, protect the wanderer, and if there be any that hath no refuge, be thou to him a consolation. Stretch forth thine hand and help the whole earth so shall we year by year keep this and all thy feasts, and at last be found with thee in Christ Jesus, Who is Lord of all, and verily our God. To Him, with the Holy Father, Who is the Fountain of Life, and the coeternal Spirit, Three Persons and One Substance, even as there is one Kingdom, be glory and strength, now and for ever. Amen.

R: The Lord shows us the holy city Jerusalem, having the brightness of God * and her light is like a stone most precious, as clear as crystal.
V: The Lord hath desired the daughter of Jerusalem, adorned with her jewels.
R: And her light is like a stone most precious, as clear as crystal.
V. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost.
R: And her light is like a stone most precious, as clear as crystal.

Gospel: Luke 1:26-28

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. 

Wednesday in the second week of Advent (Isaiah 16 and Feast of St Ambrose)

The Matins readings for today are as follows:

Reading 1: Send forth, O Lord, the lamb, the ruler of the earth, from the rock of the desert, to the mount of the daughter of Sion. And it shall come to pass, that as a bird fleeing away, and as young ones flying out of the nest, so shall the daughters of Moab be in the passage of Arnon. Take counsel, gather a council: make thy shadow as the night in the midday: hide them that flee, and betray not them that wander about.  My fugitives shall dwell with thee: O Moab, be thou a covert to them from the face of the destroyer.

 Emitte Agnum, Domine, Dominatorem terrae, de Petra deserti ad montem filiae Sion. Et erit: sicut avis fugiens, et pulli de nido avolantes, sic erunt filiae Moab in transcensu Arnon. Ini consilium, coge concilium; pone quasi noctem umbram tuam in meridie; absconde fugientes, et vagos ne prodas. Habitabunt apud te profugi mei; Moab, esto latibulum eorum a facie vastatoris.

R. Christ our King cometh.
* And John hath testified of Him, that He is the Lamb that should come!
V. The kings shall shut their mouths at Him, all nations shall serve Him.
R. And John hath testified of Him, that He is the Lamb that should come!

Reading 2: For the dust is at an end, the wretch is consumed: he hath failed, that trod the earth under foot.  And a throne shall be prepared in mercy, and one shall sit upon it in truth in the tabernacle of David, judging and seeking judgment and quickly rendering that which is just. We have heard of the pride of Moab, he is exceeding proud: his pride and his arrogancy, and his indignation is more than his strength. Therefore shall Moab howl to Moab, every one shall howl: to them that rejoice upon the brick walls, tell ye their stripes. For the suburbs of Hesebon are desolate, and the lords of the nations have destroyed the vineyard of Sabama: the branches thereof have reached even to Jazer: they have wandered in the wilderness, the branches thereof are left, they are gone over the sea.

[Finitus est enim pulvis, consummatus est miser, defecit qui conculcabat terram. Et praeparabitur in misericordia solium, et sedebit super illud in veritate in tabernaculo David, iudicans et quaerens iudicium, et velociter reddens quod iustum est. Audivimus superbiam Moab: superbus est valde; superbia eius, et arrogantia eius, et indignatio eius plus quam fortitudo eius.  Idcirco ululabit Moab ad Moab; universus ululabit: his qui laetantur super muros cocti lateris, loquimini plagas suas. Quoniam suburbana Hesebon deserta sunt, et vineam Sabama domini Gentium exciderunt: flagella eius usque ad Iazer pervenerunt, erraverunt in deserto; propagines eius relictae sunt, transierunt mare.]

R. There shall no strangers pass through Jerusalem any more * For in that day the mountains shall drop down sweet wine, and the hills shall flow with milk and honey, saith the Lord.
V. God shall come from Lebanon, and the Holy One from the thick and shady mountain.
R. For in that day the mountains shall drop down sweet wine, and the hills shall flow with milk and honey, saith the Lord.

Reading 3: Ambrose, bishop of Milan, son of Ambrose, who was a Roman citizen, was educated in the City in the liberal arts. Appointed by the prefect Probus to govern Liguria and Aemilia at his order and with his authority. Ambrose went to Milan, where Auxentius, the Arian bishop, had died and the people were quarreling about the choice of a successor. In the exercise of his official duty, Ambrose went into the church to quell the riot that had arisen and, when he had spoken at length and eloquently on the peace and tranquility of the state, suddenly a boy's voice exclaimed, "Ambrose bishop!" Then the whole populace with one voice demanded that he be elected. And so he received baptism (for he had been only a catechumen), the other sacraments of the Christian initiation, all the degrees of orders according to the custom of the Church, and was raised to the dignity of the episcopate. In carrying of his office, he courageously defended the Catholic faith and the discipline of the Church both in speech and in writing, and converted many Arians and other heretics to the faith, among whom was St. Augustine, whom he begot to Christ Jesus as his spiritual child. Worn out by all his labors and cares for the Church of God, he died on April 4 in the year 397.

R. In the midst of the congregation did the Lord open his mouth.* And filled him with the spirit of wisdom and understanding.
V. He made him rich with joy and gladness.
R. And filled him with the spirit of wisdom and understanding.
V. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, * and to the Holy Ghost.
R. And filled him with the spirit of wisdom and understanding.

Tuesday, 6 December 2016

Matins readings for Tuesday in the second week of Advent (Isaiah 14)

Reading 1: Prope est ut veniat tempus eius, et dies eius non elongabuntur. Miserebitur enim Dominus Iacob, et eliget adhuc de Israël, et requiescere eos faciet super humum suam; adiungetur advena ad eos, et adhaerebit domui Iacob. Et tenebunt eos populi, et adducent eos in locum suum; et possidebit eos domus Israël super terram Domini in servos et ancillas: et erunt capientes eos qui se ceperant, et subiicient exactores suos.

Her time is near at hand, and her days shall not be prolonged. For the Lord will have mercy on Jacob, and will yet choose out of Israel, and will make them rest upon their own ground: and the stranger shall be joined with them, and shall adhere to the house of Jacob. And the people shall take them, and bring them into their place: and the house of Israel shall possess them in the land of the Lord for servants and handmaids: and they shall make them captives that had taken them, and shall subdue their oppressors.

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

Reading 2: Et erit in die illa: cum requiem dederit tibi Deus a labore tuo, et a concussione tua, et a servitute dura qua ante servisti,  Sumes parabolam istam contra regem Babylonis, et dices: Quomodo cessavit exactor; quievit tributum? Contrivit Dominus baculum impiorum, virgam dominantium, Caedentem populos in indignatione plaga insanabili, subiicientem in furore gentes, persequentem crudeliter.

 And it shall come to pass in that day, that when God shall give thee rest from thy labour, and from thy vexation, and from the hard bondage, wherewith thou didst serve before, Thou shalt take up this parable against the king of Babylon, and shalt say: How is the oppressor come to nothing, the tribute hath ceased? The Lord hath broken the staff of the wicked, the rod of the rulers,  That struck the people in wrath with an incurable wound, that brought nations under in fury, that persecuted in a cruel manner.

R. Let the mountains break forth into singing, and the hills bring forth righteousness * For the Lord, the Light of the world, cometh with power.
V. Out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.
R. For the Lord, the Light of the world, cometh with power.

Reading 3: Quomodo cecidisti de caelo, lucifer, qui mane oriebaris? corruisti in terram, qui vulnerabas gentes? Qui dicebas in corde tuo: In caelum conscendam, super astra Dei exaltabo solium meum; sedebo in monte testamenti, in lateribus Aquilonis. Ascendam super altitudinem nubium, similis ero Altissimo? Verumtamen ad infernum detraheris, in profundum laci.

How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, who didst rise in the morning? how art thou fallen to the earth, that didst wound the nations? And thou saidst in thy heart: I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God, I will sit in the mountain of the covenant, in the sides of the north.  I will ascend above the height of the clouds, I will be like the most High.  But yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, into the depth of the pit.

R. Behold, I, the Lord your God, come from the South * To visit you in peace.
V. I will look again upon you and make you to increase ye shall be multiplied, and I will establish My covenant with you.
R. To visit you in peace.
V. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, * and to the Holy Ghost.
R. To visit you in peace.

Notes

Today's chapter prophesies the return from Exile in Babylon and fall of Satan, as a type of the Second Coming.  The story of the return is told in the books of Ezra and Nehemiah.

Times of exile and the need for restoration have not been infrequent in the history of the Church or for ourselves individually, who exile ourselves through sin.

So it is worth noting that not all returned at once; there were at least two waves of returnees.

Nor was the restoration process straightforward - those in neighbouring areas consistently opposed the restoration process, causing the rebuilding of Jerusalem to halt altogether for fifty years at one point, and then for a division of labour where half guarded while the other half of the labourers rebuilt the walls, swords strapped on at the ready.

There are lessons for us in this, as St Bede saw in his own time, asking the question, why was it so hard to rebuild the temple, when the first construction process went so smoothly?  The answer he gives is that it is much easier for the newly converted to maintain their fervour and stay on the path of righteousness than it is to recover from sin and the rejection of the sacraments, for:
The very habit of vices fights like a hostile crowd of Samaritans against the purification of such a person and is harder to conquer the longer it has occupied a land of heart empty of virtue. (On Ezra and Nehemiah, p;g 106)

Monday, 5 December 2016

Matins readings and notes for Monday in the second week of Advent (Isaiah 13)

Reading 1: Onus Babylonis, quod vidit Isaias, filius Amos.Super montem caliginosum levate signum:
exaltate vocem, levate manum, et ingrediantur portas duces.  Ego mandavi sanctificatis meis,
et vocavi fortes meos in ira mea, exsultantes in gloria mea. Vox multitudinis in montibus,
quasi populorum frequentium; vox sonitus regum, gentium congregatarum.

The burden of Babylon, which Isaias the son of Amos saw.  Upon the dark mountain lift ye up a banner, exalt the voice, lift up the hand, and let the rulers go into the gates.  I have commanded my sanctified ones, and have called my strong ones in my wrath, them that rejoice in my glory.  The noise of a multitude in the mountains, as it were of many people, the noise of the sound of kings, of nations gathered together:

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 2: Dominus exercituum præcepit militiæ belli, venientibus de terra procul, a summitate cæli;
Dominus, et vasa furoris ejus, ut disperdat omnem terram. Ululate, quia prope est dies Domini;
quasi vastitas a Domino veniet. Propter hoc omnes manus dissolventur, et omne cor hominis contabescet, et conteretur. Torsiones et dolores tenebunt; quasi parturiens dolebunt: unusquisque ad proximum suum stupebit, facies combustæ vultus eorum.

the Lord of hosts hath given charge to the troops of war. To them that come from a country afar off, from the end of heaven: tile Lord and the instruments of his wrath, to destroy the whole land. Howl ye, for the day of the Lord is near: it shall come as a destruction from the Lord.  Therefore shall all hands be faint, and every heart of man shall melt,  And shall be broken. Gripings and pains shall take hold of them, they shall be in pain as a woman in labour. Every one shall be amazed at his neighbour, their countenances shall be as faces burnt.

R. Sing, O heavens; and be joyful, O earth; and break forth into singing, O mountains, for our Lord will come; * And will have mercy on His afflicted.
V. In His days shall righteousness flourish and abundance of peace.
R. And will have mercy upon His afflicted.

Reading 3: Ecce dies Domini veniet, crudelis, et indignationis plenus, et iræ, furorisque, ad ponendam terram in solitudinem, et peccatores ejus conterendos de ea. Quoniam stellæ cæli, et splendor earum, non expandent lumen suum; obtenebratus est sol in ortu suo, et luna non splendebit in lumine suo. Et visitabo super orbis mala, et contra impios iniquitatem eorum; et quiescere faciam superbiam infidelium, et arrogantiam fortium humiliabo.

Behold, the day of the Lord shall come, a cruel day, and full of indignation, and of wrath, and fury, to lay the land desolate, and to destroy the sinners thereof out of it.  For the stars of heaven, and their brightness shall not display their light: the sun shall be darkened in his rising, and the moon shall not shine with her light. And I will visit the evils of the world, and against the wicked for their iniquity: and I will make the pride of infidels to cease, and will bring down the arrogancy of the mighty.

R. There shall no strangers pass through Jerusalem any more * For in that day the mountains shall drop down sweet wine, and the hills shall flow with milk and honey, saith the Lord.
V. God shall come from Lebanon, and the Holy One from the thick and shady mountain.
R. For in that day the mountains shall drop down sweet wine, and the hills shall flow with milk and honey, saith the Lord.
V. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, * and to the Holy Ghost.
R. For in that day the mountains shall drop down sweet wine, and the hills shall flow with milk and honey, saith the Lord.

Notes

Today's readings focus mainly on the second coming, the 'day of the Lord'.

Babylon and the dark mountain stand for the darkness of apostasy and sin; the banner we are told to lift, St Gregory the Great instructs, is the virtue of the cross, which is above all humility, hence the condemnation of the proud and arrogant at the end of these verses.

Many failed to recognise the Lord at his first coming, or rejected his message.  The key message here is, there will be no warning, so we must always watch and be ready.

Saturday, 3 December 2016

Matins readings for the second Sunday of Advent

The Matins readings for the Second Sunday of Advent in the traditional form of the Benedictine Office are set out below.


Nocturn I: Isaiah 11:1-13

Reading 1:  And there shall come forth a rod out of the root of Jesse, and a flower shall rise up out of his root.  And the spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him: the spirit of wisdom, and of understanding, the spirit of counsel, and of fortitude, the spirit of knowledge, and of godliness. And he shall be filled with the spirit of the fear of the Lord. He shall not judge according to the sight of the eyes, nor reprove according to the hearing of the ears. But he shall judge the poor with justice, and shall reprove with equity for the meek of the earth

R. thy salvation cometh quickly, O Jerusalem; why art thou wasted with sorrow? Is there no counselor in thee, that pangs have taken thee?
* Fear not, for I will save thee and deliver thee.
V. For I am the Lord, thy God, the Holy One of Israel, thy Saviour.
R. Fear not, for I will save thee, and deliver thee.

Reading 2: Land he shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips he shall slay the wicked. And justice shall be the girdle of his loins: and faith the girdle of his reins. The wolf shall dwell with the lamb: and the leopard shall lie down with the kid: the calf and the lion, and the sheep shall abide together, and a little child shall lead them. The calf and the bear shall feed: their young ones shall rest together: and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.

R. Behold, the Lord shall come, and all His saints with Him, and it shall come to pass in that day that the light shall be great; and they shall go out from Jerusalem like clean water; and the Lord shall be King for ever,* Over all the earth.
V. Behold, the Lord cometh with an host, and in His hand are the kingdom, and power, and dominion.
R. Over all the earth.

Reading 3: And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp: and the weaned child shall thrust his hand into the den of the basilisk. They shall not hurt, nor shall they kill in all my holy mountain, for the earth is filled with the knowledge of the Lord, as the covering waters of the sea. In that day the root of Jesse, who standeth for an ensign of the people, him the Gentiles shall beseech, and his sepulchre shall be glorious.

R. O, thou city of Jerusalem, weep not, for the Lord hath repented Him concerning thee.* And He will take away from thee all distress.
V. Behold, the Lord shall come with might, and His arm shall rule.
R. And He will take away from thee all distress.

Reading 4: And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord shall set his hand the second time to possess the remnant of his people, which shall be left from the Assyrians, and from Egypt, and from Phetros, and from Ethiopia, and from Elam, and from Sennaar, and from Emath, and from the islands of the sea.  And he shall set up a standard unto the nations, and shall assemble the fugitives of Israel, and shall gather together the dispersed of Juda from the four quarters of the earth. And the envy of Ephraim shall be taken away, and the enemies of Juda shall perish: Ephraim shall not envy Juda, and Juda shall not fight against Ephraim

R. Christ our King cometh* And John hath testified of Him, that He is the Lamb that should come!
V. The kings shall shut their mouths at Him, all nations shall serve Him.
R. And John hath testified of Him, that He is the Lamb that should come!
V. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, * and to the Holy Ghost.
R. And John hath testified of Him, that He is the Lamb that should come!

Nocturn II: Exposition of St Jerome on Isaiah

Reading 5: And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse. From the beginning of the Book of this Prophet till the xiiith chapter, where commenceth the vision, or burden of Babylon, the whole of the vision of Isaiah, the son of Amoz, is one continual prophecy of Christ. We must explain it part by part, for if we were to take it all at once, the memory of the reader would be confused. According to the Jewish commentators, the rod and the flower would both relate to the Lord Himself. They take the rod to mean the sceptre of His Royal dominion, and the flower the loveliness of His beauty.

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

Reading 6: We, however, understand that the rod out of the root of Jesse signifieth the holy Virgin Mary. She was a clean stem that had as yet put forth no shoot; as we have read above Behold, the Virgin shall conceive and bear a son.  And the flower we believe to mean the Lord our Redeemer, Who hath elsewhere compared Himself to a flower; I am a flower of the plain, and a lily of the valleys.

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

Reading 7: The Spirit of the Lord then shall rest upon this flower; this flower which shall come forth from the stem and roots of Jesse by means of the Virgin Mary. And truly the Spirit of the Lord did rest upon our Redeemer. It is written that In Him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. The Spirit was not shed on Him by measure, as it is upon the Saints. To Him we may apply the words of the Hebrew Gospel used by the Nazarenes; The whole fountain of the Holy Ghost shall be poured forth upon Him The Lord is a spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.

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

Reading 8: In that same Gospel of St Matthew we read: Behold my Son whom I have chosen;my elect in whom my soul is well pleased; I shall place my Spirit over him and he will mete out judgment to the Gentiles.  This is to be understood of the Saviour, on whom the Spirit of the Lord rested, that is, remained eternally.

R. Sing, O heavens; and be joyful, O earth; and break forth into singing, O mountains, for our Lord will come* And will have mercy on His afflicted.
V. In His days shall righteousness flourish and abundance of peace.
R. And will have mercy upon His afflicted.
V. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, * and to the Holy Ghost.
R. And will have mercy upon His afflicted.

Nocturn III:  Homily of St Gregory the Great

Reading 9: From the Holy Gospel according to Matthew - In that time when John had heard in prison the works of Christ: sending two of his disciples he said to him: Art thou he that art to come, or look we for another? And so on.

The sight of so many signs and so many mighty works should have been a source of wonder, and not a stumbling-block. And yet the unfaithful found these very works a rock of offence, when they afterwards saw Him Who had worked so many miracles dying on the Cross. Hence Paul saith We preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumbling-block and unto the Gentiles foolishness.

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

Reading 10: It is indeed folly in the eyes of men to say that the Author of life died for men and thus men put as a stumbling-block to hinder them from coming to Jesus, the very thing that doth oblige them the most unto Him. For the more humbling God hath undergone for man's sake, the more worthy is He that man should worship Him.

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

Reading 11: And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in Me. Now what is this, but a plain mention of that time, when He afterwards humbled Himself, becoming obedient unto death, even the death of the Cross? It is as if He said I indeed do wonderful works, but the day will come when I shall not refuse to suffer shame and evil treatment. Take heed then, ye who now worship Me for the works' sake, that when I come to die ye despise Me not for My death's sake.

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

Reading 12: And, as the disciples of John departed, what did Jesus say unto the multitudes concerning this same John? Let us hear. What went ye out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken with the wind? Here our Lord teacheth not by assertion, but by negation. Now a reed is a thing so made that as soon as the wind bloweth upon it, it bendeth it over toward the opposite quarter. And the fleshly-minded man is like a human reed. As he is praised or blamed so he bendeth himself in the one direction or the other.

R: The root of Jesse, which shall rise to judge the Gentiles, in him shall the Gentiles trust * and his name shall be blessed throughout all ages
V: Out of the stem of Jesse shall come forth a leader, and a branch shall grow out of his roots.
R: And his name shall be blessed throughout all ages
V. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost.
R: And his name shall be blessed throughout all ages

Isaiah 7 (Saturday in Advent 1) - A virgin shall conceive

Reading 1: And it came to pass in the days of Achaz the son of Joathan, the son of Ozias, king of Juda, that Basin king of Syria, and Phacee the son of Romelia king of Israel, came up to Jerusalem, to fight against it: but they could not prevail over it. And they told the house of David, saying: Syria hath rested upon Ephraim, and his heart was moved, and the heart of his people, as the trees of the woods are moved with the wind. And the Lord said to Isaias: Go forth to meet Achaz, thou and Jasub thy son that is left, to the conduit of the upper pool, a in the way of the fuller' s held.

[Et factum est in diebus Achaz, filii Joathan, filii Oziæ, regis Juda, ascendit Rasin, rex Syriæ, et Phacee, filius Romeliæ, rex Israël, in Jerusalem, ad præliandum contra eam: et non potuerunt debellare eam. Et nuntiaverunt domui David, dicentes: Requievit Syria super Ephraim. Et commotum est cor ejus, et cor populi ejus, sicut moventur ligna silvarum a facie venti. Et dixit Dominus ad Isaiam: Egredere in occursum Achaz, tu et qui derelictus est Jasub, filius tuus, ad extremum aquæductus piscinæ superioris in via agri Fullonis;]

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 2: And thou shalt say to him: See thou be quiet: fear not, and let not thy heart be afraid of the two tails of these fire brands, smoking with the wrath of the fury of Rasin king of Syria, and of the son of Romelia. Because Syria hath taken counsel against thee, unto the evil of Ephraim and the son of Romelia, saying: Let us go up to Juda, and rouse it up, and draw it away to us, and make the son of Tabeel king in the midst thereof.

R. Hear the word of the Lord, O ye nations, and declare it in the ends of the earth
* And in the isles afar off, and say Our Saviour shall come.
V. Declare it and make it known, lift up your voice and cry aloud.
R. And in the isles afar off, and say Our Saviour shall come.

[Et dices ad eum: Vide ut sileas; noli timere, et cor tuum ne formidet a duabus caudis titionum fumigantium istorum, in ira furoris Rasin, regis Syriae, et filii Romeliae;  Eo quod consilium inierit contra te Syria in malum, Ephraim, et filius Romeliae, dicentes: Ascendamus ad Judam, et suscitemus eum, et avellamus eum ad nos, et ponamus regem in medio ejus filium Tabeel.]

Reading 3: And the Lord spoke again to Achaz, saying: Ask thee a sign of the Lord thy God either unto the depth of hell, or unto the height above. And Achaz said: I will not ask, and I will not tempt the Lord. And he said: Hear ye therefore, O house of David: Is it a small thing for you to be grievous to men, that you are grievous to my God also? Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign. Behold a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and his name shall be called Emmanuel. He shall eat butter and honey, that he may know to refuse the evil, and to choose the good.

R. Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch; and a King shall reign in wisdom and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth and this is His name whereby He shall be called* The Lord our Righteous one.
V. In His days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely.
R. And this is His name whereby He shall be called.
V. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, * and to the Holy Ghost.
R. The Lord our Righteous one.

[Et adjecit Dominus loqui ad Achaz, dicens: Pete tibi signum a Domino Deo tuo, in profundum inferni, sive in excelsum supra. Et dixit Achaz: Non petam, et non tentabo Dominum. Et dixit: Audite ergo, domus David. Numquid parum vobis est molestos esse hominibus, quia molesti estis et Deo meo? Propter hoc dabit Dominus ipse vobis signum: ecce virgo concipiet, et pariet filium, et vocabitur nomen ejus Emmanuel.  Butyrum et mel comedet, ut sciat reprobare malum, et eligere bonum.]