Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Ash Wednesday

Today's Gospel at Mass in the Extraordinary Form is St Matthew 6:16-21:

And when you fast, be not as the hypocrites, sad. For they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast. Amen I say to you, they have received their reward.  But thou, when thou fastest anoint thy head, and wash thy face;  That thou appear not to men to fast, but to thy Father who is in secret: and thy Father who seeth in secret, will repay thee.  Lay not up to yourselves treasures on earth: where the rust, and moth consume, and where thieves break through and steal. But lay up to yourselves treasures in heaven: where neither the rust nor moth doth consume, and where thieves do not break through, nor steal. For where thy treasure is, there is thy heart also.

Matins readings

Reading 1 (St Augustine from Bk. ii. on the Lord's Sermon on the Mounts ch. xii., torn. 4.):
It is evident that by these precepts we are bidden to seek for inner gladness, lest, by running after that reward which is without, we should become conformed to the fashion of this world, and should so lose the promise of that blessing which is all the truer and more stable that it is inward, that blessing wherein God hath chosen us to be conformed to the likeness of His Son. In this chapter we will principally consider the fact that vain-glory findeth a ground for its exercise in struggling poverty as much as in worldly distinction and display; and this development is the most dangerous, because it entices under pretence of being the serving of God.

R. I came this day unto the well, and I besought the Lord, and said:* O Lord God of Abraham, Thou hast prospered my way.
V. Therefore the virgin to whom I shall say: Give me water of thy pitcher to drink; and she shall say to me: Drink, my lord, and I will give thy camels drink also; let the same be the woman whom the Lord hath appointed out for my master's son.
R. O Lord God of Abraham, Thou hast prospered my way.

Reading 2: He that is characterised by unbridled indulgence in luxury or in dress, or any other display, is by these very things easily shown to be a follower of worldly vanities, and deceiveth no one by putting on an hypocritical mask of godliness. But those professors of Christianity, who turn all eyes on themselves by an eccentric show of grovelling and dirtiness, not suffered by necessity, but by their own choice, of them we must judge by their other works whether their conduct really proceedeth from the desire of mortification by giving up unnecessary comfort, or is only the mean of some ambition the Lord biddeth us beware of wolves in sheep's clothing, but by their fruits, saith He, ye shall know them.

R. The word of the Lord came unto Abram, saying: * Fear not, Abram I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward.
V. For I am the Lord thy God That brought thee out of Ur of the Chaldees.
R. Fear not, Abram I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward.

Reading 3: The test is when, by divers trials, such persons lose those things which under the cover of seeming unworldliness they have either gained or sought to gain. Then must it needs appear whether they be wolves in sheep's clothing, or indeed sheep in their own. But that hypocrites do the contrary maketh it no duty of a Christian to shine before the eyes of men with a display of needless luxury the sheep need not to lay aside their own clothing because wolves sometimes falsely assume it.

Saturday, 25 February 2017

Quinquagesima Sunday

The Matins Readings in the Benedictine Office for Quinquagesima Sunday are set out below.

Nocturn I (Genesis 12)

Reading 1: And the Lord said to Abram: Go forth out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and out of thy father' s house, and come into the land which I shall shew thee. And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and magnify thy name, and thou shalt be blessed.  I will bless them that bless thee, and curse them that curse thee, and IN THEE shall all the kindred of the earth be blessed:  So Abram went out as the Lord had commanded him, and Lot went with him: Abram was seventy-five years old when he went forth from Haran.  And he took Sarai his wife, and Lot his brother' s son, and all the substance which they had gathered, and the souls which they had gotten in Haran: and they went out to go into the land of Chanaan.

R. The Lord spake unto Abram, saying: Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and go unto the land that I will show thee,
* And I will make of thee a great nation.
V. I will surely bless thee and make thy name great, and thou shalt be blessed.
R. And I will make of thee a great nation.

Reading 2: And when they were come into it, Abram passed through the country into the place of Sichem, as far as the noble vale: now the Chanaanite was at that time in the land.  And the Lord appeared to Abram, and said to him: To thy seed will I give this land. And he built there an altar to the Lord, who had appeared to him.  And passing on from thence to a mountain, that was on the east side of Bethel, he there pitched his tent, having Bethel on the west, and Hai on the east; he built there also an altar to the Lord, and called upon his name.

R. Abraham stood by the oak of Mamre, and he saw three men coming up by the path.
* He saw three, and worshipped One.
V. Behold, Sarah thy wife shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name Isaac.
R. He saw three, and worshipped One.

Reading 3: And Abram went forward, going, and proceeding on to the south.  And there came a famine in the country; and Abram went down into Egypt, to sojourn there: for the famine was very grievous in the land.  And when he was near to enter into Egypt, he said to Sarai his wife: I know that thou art a beautiful woman: And that when the Egyptians shall see thee, they will say: She is his wife: and they will kill me, and keep thee.

R. The Lord did tempt Abraham, and said unto him:* Take thy son Isaac whom thou lovest, and offer him there for a burnt-offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of.
V. And when the Lord called him, he answered Behold, here I am. And the Lord said unto him:
R. Take thy son Isaac whom thou lovest, and offer him there for a burnt-offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of.

Reading 4: Say, therefore, I pray thee, that thou art my sister: that I may be well used for thee, and that my soul may live for thy sake.  And when Abram was come into Egypt, the Egyptians saw the woman that she was very beautiful.  And the princes told Pharao, and praised her before him: and the woman was taken into the house of Pharao. And they used Abram well for her sake. And he had sheep and oxen, and he asses, and men servants and maid servants, and she asses, and camels.  But the Lord scourged Pharao and his house with most grievous stripes for Sarai, Abram' s wife. And Pharao called Abram, and said to him: What is this that thou hast done to me? Why didst thou not tell me that she was thy wife?  For what cause didst thou say, she was thy sister, that I might take her to my wife? Now, therefore, there is thy wife, take her, and go thy way.



Nocturn II (St Ambrose)

Reading 5: Abraham was truly a great man, illustrious as an example of many virtues; one the like of whom the day-dreams of Philosophy have not been able to produce. That which she imagineth is less than that which he did; his simple truth and faith were something grander than her lying rounded periods. Let us then consider what this man's loyalty was.

R. The Angel of the Lord called unto Abraham and said:
* Lay not thine hand upon the lad; for now I know that thou fearest God.
V. And Abraham stretched forth his hand to slay his son; and, behold, the Angel of the Lord called unto him out of heaven, and said:
R. Lay not thy hand upon the lad; for now I know that thou fearest God.

Reading 6: For that virtue is first to be taken which was the source of all the others, and thus this was the first which God called for from him, when He said: Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house. It would have been enough to have said, Get thee out of thy country, for there were his kindred, and there his father's house.But He gave the details of his sacrifice one by one, that He might see whether he loved Him, lest also he should begin rashly, or should seek to evade the heavenly commandment.

R. The Angel of the Lord called unto Abraham out of heaven the second time,* And said: I will bless thee, and I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven.
V. Thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies, and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed.
R. And I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven.

Reading 7: But as the whole of the precept was plainly set forth, lest anything should be unconsidered, so also were the rewards set forth, lest the burden should seem hopeless. He was tried as one that is strong, he was roused as one that is true, he was called as one that is righteous; and he departed loyally as the Lord had spoken unto him. And Lot went forth with him. That saying of the Seven Wise Men of Greece is much spoken of Follow God. But this did Abraham before the Seven Wise Men were thought of; he followed God, and went out of his own land.

R. O God of my master Abraham, prosper my way which I go;* That I may return again in safety unto the house of my master.
V. O Lord, I pray thee, be merciful unto thy servant.
R. That I may return again in safety unto the house of my master.

Reading 8: But, forasmuch as Abraham had before had another country, namely, the land of the Chaldees, whence went forth Terah the father of Abraham, and came unto Haran, and forasmuch as he to whom it had been said, Get thee out from thy kindred, took Lot, his brother's son, with him, let us consider whether this Get thee out of thy country signifieth not get thee out of this earthly dwelling, namely, our body, from which Paul came forth, who said, Our conversation is in heaven.

Nocturn III (St Gregory the Great)

Reading 9: Our Redeemer, foreseeing that the minds of His disciples would be troubled by His suffering, told them long before both of the pains of that suffering, and of the glory of His rising again, to the end that, when they should see Him die as He had prophesied, they might not doubt that He was likewise to rise again. But, since His disciples were yet carnal, and could not receive the words telling of this mystery, He wrought a miracle before them. A blind man received his sight before their eyes, that if they could not receive heavenly things by words, they might be persuaded of heavenly things by deeds.

R. I came this day unto the well, and I besought the Lord, and said: * O Lord God of Abraham, Thou hast prospered my way.
V. Therefore the virgin to whom I shall say: Give me water of thy pitcher to drink; and she shall say to me: Drink, my lord, and I will give thy camels drink also; let the same be the woman whom the Lord hath appointed out for my master's son.
R. O Lord God of Abraham, Thou hast prospered my way.

Reading 10: But, dearly beloved brethren, we must so take the miracles of our Lord and Saviour, as believing both that they were actually wrought, and that they have some mystic interpretation for our instruction. For in His works, power speaketh one thing and mystery again another. Behold here, for instance. We know not historically who this blind man was, but we do know of what he was mystically the figure.

R. The word of the Lord came unto Abram, saying:* Fear not, Abram I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward.
V. For I am the Lord thy God That brought thee out of Ur of the Chaldees.
R. Fear not, Abram I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward.

Reading 11: Mankind is blind, driven out from Eden in the persons of his first parents, knowing not the light of heaven, and suffering the darkness of condemnation. But, nevertheless, through the coming of his Redeemer, he is enlightened, so that now he seeth by hope already the gladness of inward light, and walketh by good works in the path of life.One must note that as Jesus drew to Jericho a blind man received his sight. Now, this name Jericho, being interpreted, signifieth the city of the moon and in Holy Scripture the moon is used as a figure of our imperfect flesh, of whose gradual corruption her monthly waning is a type.

Reading 12: As, therefore, our Maker draweth nigh to Jericho, a blind man receiveth his sight. While the Godhead taketh. into itself our weak manhood, man receiveth again the light which he had lost. By God's suffering in the Manhood, man is raised up toward God. This blind man is also well described as sitting by the wayside begging, for the Truth saith: “I am the Way.”

R. As the Lord passed by, a certain blind man sat by the way-side, and cried unto Him. And the Lord asked him, saying:* What wilt thou that I shall do unto thee? * Lord, that I may receive my sight.
V. And Jesus stood, and commanded him to be brought unto Him; and when he was come near, He asked him, saying:
R. What wilt thou that I shall do unto thee?
V. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, * and to the Holy Ghost.
R. Lord, that I may receive my sight.

Gospel: St Luke 18:31-43

Then Jesus took unto him the twelve, and said to them: Behold, we go up to Jerusalem, and all things shall be accomplished which were written by the prophets concerning the Son of man.  For he shall be delivered to the Gentiles, and shall be mocked, and scourged, and spit upon:  And after they have scourged him, they will put him to death; and the third day he shall rise again.  And they understood none of these things, and this word was hid from them, and they understood not the things that were said.  Now it came to pass, when he drew nigh to Jericho, that a certain blind man sat by the way side, begging. And when he heard the multitude passing by, he asked what this meant.  And they told him, that Jesus of Nazareth was passing by.  And he cried out, saying: Jesus, son of David, have mercy on me.  And they that went before, rebuked him, that he should hold his peace: but he cried out much more: Son of David, have mercy on me.  And Jesus standing, commanded him to be brought unto him. And when he was come near, he asked him, Saying: What wilt thou that I do to thee? But he said: Lord, that I may see.  And Jesus said to him: Receive thy sight: thy faith hath made thee whole.  And immediately he saw, and followed him, glorifying God. And all the people, when they saw it, gave praise to God.

Thursday, 23 February 2017

Matins readings for the Feast of St Matthias


Nocturn I: Acts 1:15-26

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

Reading 1: In those days Peter rising up in the midst of the brethren, said: now the number of persons together was about an hundred and twenty: Men, brethren, the scripture must needs be fulfilled, which the Holy Ghost spoke before by the mouth of David concerning Judas, who was the leader of them that apprehended Jesus: Who was numbered with us, and had obtained part of this ministry.

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

Reading 2: And he indeed hath possessed a field of the reward of iniquity, and being hanged, burst asunder in the midst: and all his bowels gushed out. And it became known to all the inhabitants of Jerusalem: so that the same field was called in their tongue, Haceldama, that is to say, The field of blood.  For it is written in the book of Psalms: Let their habitation become desolate, and let there be none to dwell therein. And his bishopric let another take.

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

Reading 3: Wherefore of these men who have companied with us all the time that the Lord Jesus came in and went out among us,  Beginning from the baptism of John, until the day wherein he was taken up from us, one of these must be made a witness with us of his resurrection. And they appointed two, Joseph, called Barsabas, who was surnamed Justus, and Matthias.

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

Reading 4:  And praying, they said: Thou, Lord, who knowest the hearts of all men, shew whether of these two thou hast chosen, To take the place of this ministry and apostleship, from which Judas hath by transgression fallen, that he might go to his own place.  And they gave them lots, and the lot fell upon Matthias, and he was numbered with the eleven apostles.

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

Nocturn II: St Augustine on Psalm 86

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

Reading 5: Her foundation is in the holy mountains the Lord loveth the gates of Zion. Wherefore hath the city twelve foundations, and in them the names of the Prophets and of the Apostles of the Lamb? Because their authority is the foundation whereon our weakness resteth. Wherefore are they the gates? Because through them we enter in unto the kingdom of God, since they have preached the same unto us, and when we enter in through their preaching, we enter in by Christ, Who is Himself The Door. And, whereas it is written that the city hath twelve gates, and, again, that Christ is the one Door, Christ is all the twelve, for He is in all the twelve and therefore were twelve Apostles chosen.

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

Reading 6: There lieth a great mystery in the signification of this number twelve: Ye shall sit, said the Lord upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. If then there be set there twelve thrones of judgment, Paul, in that he is the thirteenth Apostle, hath not where to sit, nor wherein to judge. Nevertheless, he hath said of himself that he will judge not men only, but angels. Know ye not, saith he, that we shall judge angels?, that is, the fallen angels. Then might they have answered him: Wherefore boastest thou thyself to be a judge? For where is thy seat? The Lord hath said that for the twelve Apostles there shall be twelve thrones one of the twelve, even Judas, is indeed fallen, but holy Matthias is chosen into his place; for the twelve thrones there are still twelve to sit thereon first find whereon thou shalt sit, and afterward give thyself out for a judge.

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

Reading 7: Let us see, then, what is the meaning of these twelve thrones. By them is signified in a mystery the whole world, since the Church shall be through all the earth, whence this building is called to be built up together in Christ. Therefore is it said that there shall be twelve thrones, because from all quarters shall there come men to be judged; even as it is said that the city hath twelve gates, because from all quarters shall the nations of them which are saved, enter into it.

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

Reading 8: So, not the twelve only, and the Apostle Paul, but all, as many as shall judge, have part in these twelve thrones, this signifying, that they shall judge all men; even as all that enter into the city, have part in her twelve gates. For there are four quarters of the world, the East, and the West, and the North, and the South of which four quarters is mention often made in the Scriptures. From the four winds shall the elect be gathered together, as saith the Lord in the Gospel: And He shall send His Angels with a great sound of a trumpet; and they shall gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. From the four winds, therefore, is the Church called together; and how are they called? Everywhere are they called in the Trinity; for they are called no otherwise than by baptizing them in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Now four being multiplied by three is twelve.

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

Nocturn III: St Augustine Homily 69

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

Reading 9: From the holy Gospel according to Matthew - At that time, Jesus answered and said: I confess to thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them to the little ones. And so on.

Come unto Me, all ye that labour! And wherefore labour we all, but because we are frail, sickly, dying creatures, burdened with earthen vessels which distress us? But if these fleshly vessels be distressful, let the open expanse of love be free and wide. Come unto Me, all ye that labour! and why? That we may labour no more. His promise is an instant promise, for He calleth such as are labouring. Perchance they will ask Him what shall be their reward? And I, saith He, will give you rest.

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

Reading 10: Take My yoke upon you, and learn of me not how to make the world, not how to create all things visible and invisible, not to work wonders in the earth, nor to raise the dead but for I am meek and lowly in heart.  Wilt thou be great? Begin by being little. Dost thou think to raise up a lofty building? Then lay the foundations thereof in lowliness.

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

Reading 11: The greater soever, and the more mass, be that which any man thinketh to build, so much the deeper doth he dig his foundation. And when the house is built, it towereth heavenward; but he which layeth the foundation goeth down into the earth. The building, therefore, is low before it is high, and, after it is low, it riseth high to the roof.

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

Reading 12: What is the roof of the house on which we labour? Whither do its spires rise? I answer you at once; to the presence of God. You see how high it is, yea, what it is to see God. He that will, understandeth what I say, and he heareth. What is promised you is to see God, God, the True, God, the Supreme. Blessed is he who seeth Him by Whom he is seen. Such as worship false gods see them easily, but they see them who have eyes and see not. But unto us it is promised that we shall see that God Who liveth and seeth.

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

Gospel: Matthew 11:25-30

At that time Jesus answered and said: I confess to thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them to little ones. Yea, Father; for so hath it seemed good in thy sight. All things are delivered to me by my Father. And no one knoweth the Son, but the Father: neither doth any one know the Father, but the Son, and he to whom it shall please the Son to reveal him. Come to me, all you that labor, and are burdened, and I will refresh you. Take up my yoke upon you, and learn of me, because I am meek, and humble of heart: and you shall find rest to your souls. For my yoke is sweet and my burden light.

Saturday, 18 February 2017

Sexagesima Sunday

Matins readings in the traditional Benedictine Office for Sunday are set out below.  You can find the readings for the rest of the week here..

Nocturn I: Genesis 5:32 - 6:15

Reading 1: And Noe, when he was five hundred years old, begot Sem, Cham, and Japheth.And after that men began to be multiplied upon the earth, and daughters were born to them,  The sons of God seeing the daughters of men, that they were fair, took to themselves wives of all which they chose. And God said: My spirit shall not remain in man for ever, because he is flesh, and his days shall be a hundred and twenty years.

R. (Dixit Dominus ad Noe) The Lord said unto Noah: The end of all flesh is come before Me; for the earth is filled with violence through them.* And I will destroy them with the earth.
V. Make thee an ark of planed timber, rooms shalt thou make in it.
R. And I will destroy them with the earth.

Reading 2: Now giants were upon the earth in those days. For after the sons of God went in to the daughters of men, and they brought forth children, these are the mighty men of old, men of renown.  And God seeing that the wickedness of men was great on the earth, and that all the thought of their heart was bent upon evil at all times,It repented him that he had made man on the earth.

R. (Noe vir iustus)Noah was a just man and perfect; he walked with God.* According to all that God commanded him, so did he.
V. He made him an ark, that a seed of every sort might be saved alive.
R. According to all that God commanded him, so did he.

Reading 3: And being touched inwardly with sorrow of heart,  He said: I will destroy man, whom I have created, from the face of the earth, from man even to beasts, from the creeping thing even to the fowls of the air, for it repenteth me that I have made them.  But Noe found grace before the Lord.  These are the generations of Noe: Noe was a just and perfect man in his generations, he walked with God.  And he begot three sons, Sem, Cham, and Japheth.

R. (Quadraginta dies) Forty days and forty nights were the heavens opened; and there went into the ark two and two of all flesh wherein is the breath of life.* And the Lord shut them in.
V. In the self-same day entered Noah into the ark, and his sons, and his wife, and the wives of his sons.
R. And the Lord shut them in.

Reading 4: And the earth was corrupted before God, and was filled with iniquity. And when God had seen that the earth was corrupted (for all flesh had corrupted its way upon the earth,)  He said to Noe: The end of all flesh is come before me, the earth is filled with iniquity through them, and I will destroy them with the earth.  Make thee an ark of timber planks: thou shalt make little rooms in the ark, and thou shalt pitch it within and without.  And thus shalt thou make it: The length of the ark shall be three hundred cubits: the breadth of it fifty cubits, and the height of it thirty cubits.

(R (In articula diei):  In the self-same day entered Noah into the ark, and his sons, * And his wife and the wives of his sons.
V. Every living substance was destroyed from the earth, and Noah only remained alive, and they that were with him in the ark.
R. And his wife, and the wives of his sons.
V Glroy be...
R And his wife...

Nocturn II: From the book of St Ambrose on Noah and the Arc

Reading 5: We read that the Lord was angry. It is in the thoughts, that is to say, in the knowledge of God, that man being put on earth and weighted with the body cannot be without sin, for earth is the home of temptations, and the flesh is a bait for corruption. Yet man had a reasonable soul, and his soul had power to control his body; and, being so made, he made no struggle to keep himself from falling into that from whence he would not return.

R. (Aedificavit Noe): Noah built an Altar unto the Lord, and offered burnt offerings on the Altar; and the Lord smelled a sweet savour, and blessed Noah, and said:
* Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth.
V. Behold, I establish My covenant with you, and with your seed after you.
R. Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth.

Reading 6: God's thoughts are not as man's thoughts; in Him there is no such thing as change of mind, no such thing as to be angry and then cool down again. These things are written that we may know the bitterness of our sins, whereby we have earned the Divine wrath. To such a degree had iniquity grown that God, Who by His nature cannot be moved by anger, or hatred, or any passion whatsoever, is represented as provoked to anger.

R. (Ponam arcum): The Lord said unto Noah: I do set My bow in the clouds of heaven,
* And I will remember My covenant which is between Me and you.
V. And it shall come to pass, when I bring a cloud over the heaven, that My bow shall be seen in the cloud.
R. And I will remember My covenant which is between Me and you

Reading 7: And God threatened that He would destroy man. He said: I will destroy man, whom I have created, from the face of the earth; both man and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air. What harm had the animals done? For man's use had they been created, and, when man was wiped away, they were of use no longer. And there is an higher reason. Man is a living soul, capable of reason, who may be described as a living animal, subject to death, and endowed with reason. When then the highest animal is gone, why should the lower branches remain? Why should anything be saved alive, when righteousness, the basis of salvation, is to be no more?

R.(Per memipsum) By Myself have I sworn, saith the Lord. I will not again bring the waters of the flood upon the earth, I will remember My covenant.
* And the waters shall become no more a flood to destroy all flesh.
V. I do set My bow in the clouds, and it shall be for a token of a covenant between Me and the earth.
R. And the waters shall no more become a flood to destroy all flesh.

Reading 8: But more effectually to condemn the rest of men, and to manifest the goodness of God, it is written that Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord. Here we learn also that the sin of his neighbour casteth no shadow on the righteous, when he is kept as a stock from whence the whole race are to spring. He is praised, not because he was of a noble race, but because he was a just man and perfect. The stock of a just man yieldeth men of just souls; for virtues, like blood, are hereditary. Among men are some families illustrious for honourable pedigrees, and so there are also races of souls whose comeliness is the lustre of virtues.

R: (Recordatus Dominus Noe): The Lord remembered Noah, and made a wind to pass over the earth, and the waters assuaged, * And the rain from heaven was restrained.
V. And the waters returned from off the earth continually, and after the end of the hundred and fifty days the waters were abated.
R. And the rain from heaven was restrained.

Nocturn III: Homily 15 on the Gospels of St Gregory

Reading 9: Dearly beloved brethren, the passage from the Holy Gospel which ye have just heard, needeth not so much that I should explain it, as that I should seek to enforce its lesson. The Truth Himself hath explained it, and, after that, it beseemeth not man's frailty to fritter away His exposition by any further comment. But there is, in that very explanation by the Lord, somewhat, which it behoveth us well to weigh. If it were but we who bade you believe that by the seed is signified the word; by the field, the world; by the birds, the devils; and by the thorns, riches ye would perchance doubt of the truth of our explanation.

R. (Benedixit Deus Noe) God blessed Noah and his sons, and said unto them:* Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth.
V. Behold, I establish My covenant with you, and with your seed after you.
R. Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth.

Reading 10: Therefore the Lord Himself hath vouchsafed to give this explanation, and that, not for this parable only, but that ye may know in what manner to interpret others, whereof He hath not given the meaning.Beginning His explanation, the Lord saith that He speaketh in parables. Hereby He doth certify us, when our weakness would unveil to you the hidden meaning of His words.

R. (Ecce ego) Behold, I establish My covenant with you, and with your seed after you. * Neither shall there any more be a flood to destroy the earth.
V. I do set My bow in the clouds, and it shall be for a token of a covenant between Me and the earth.
R. Neither shall there any more be a flood to destroy the earth.

Reading 11: If I spake of myself, who would believe me when I say that riches are thorns? Thorns prick, but riches lull to rest. And yet riches are indeed thorns, for the anxiety they bring is a ceaseless pricking to the minds of their owners, and, if they lead into sin, they are thorns which bloodily tear the soul. But we understand from another Evangelist that in this place the Lord speaketh, not of riches themselves, but of the deceitfulness of riches.

R (Requievit arca):

Reading 12: Those riches are deceitful riches, which can be ours only for a little while; those riches are deceitful riches, which cannot relieve the poverty of our souls. They are the only true riches, which make us rich in virtues. If then, dearly beloved brethren, ye seek to be rich, earnestly desire the true riches. If ye would be truly honourable, strive after the kingdom of heaven. If ye love the bravery of titles, hasten to have your names written down at Court above, where Angels are. Take to heart the Lord's words which your ear heareth. The food of the soul is the word of God when the stomach is sick it throweth up again the food which is put into it, and so is the soul sick when a man heareth and digesteth not in his memory the Word of God. And if any man cannot keep his food, that man's life is in desperate case.

R. (Cum turba) When much people were gathered together to Jesus, and were come to Him out of every city, He spake by a parable:* A sower went out to sow his seed.
V. And, as he sowed, some fell on good ground, and sprang up, and bare fruit an hundred-fold.
R. A sower went out to sow his seed.
V. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, * and to the Holy Ghost.
R. A sower went out to sow his seed.

This Sunday's Gospel is St Luke 8: 4-15:

 And when a very great multitude was gathered together, and hastened out of the cities unto him, he spoke by a similitude.  The sower went out to sow his seed. And as he sowed, some fell by the way side, and it was trodden down, and the fowls of the air devoured it. And other some fell upon a rock: and as soon as it was sprung up, it withered away, because it had no moisture.  And other some fell among thorns, and the thorns growing up with it, choked it.  And other some fell upon good ground; and being sprung up, yielded fruit a hundredfold. Saying these things, he cried out: He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.  And his disciples asked him what this parable might be.  To whom he said: To you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God; but to the rest in parables, that seeing they may not see, and hearing may not understand. Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. And they by the way side are they that hear; then the devil cometh, and taketh the word out of their heart, lest believing they should be saved.  Now they upon the rock, are they who when they hear, receive the word with joy: and these have no roots; for they believe for a while, and in time of temptation, they fall away.  And that which fell among thorns, are they who have heard, and going their way, are choked with the cares and riches and pleasures of this life, and yield no fruit.  But that on the good ground, are they who in a good and perfect heart, hearing the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit in patience.

Saturday, 11 February 2017

Matins readings for Septuagesima Sunday

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

Nocturn I (Genesis 1)

Reading 1: In the beginning God created heaven, and earth.  And the earth was void and empty, and darkness was upon the face of the deep; and the spirit of God moved over the waters. And God said: Be light made. And light was made. And God saw the light that it was good; and he divided the light from the darkness. And he called the light Day, and the darkness Night; and there was evening and morning one day. And God said: Let there be a firmament made amidst the waters: and let it divide the waters from the waters.  And God made a firmament, and divided the waters that were under the firmament, from those that were above the firmament, and it was so.  And God called the firmament, Heaven; and the evening and morning were the second day.

R. (In principio): In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth, wherein He made man also * After His own image and likeness.
V. So God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his face the breath of life.
R. After His own image and likeness.

Reading 2: God also said: Let the waters that are under the heaven, be gathered together into one place: and let the dry land appear. And it was so done.  And God called the dry land, Earth; and the gathering together of the waters, he called Seas. And God saw that it was good. And he said: Let the earth bring forth the green herb, and such as may seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after its kind, which may have seed in itself upon the earth. And it was so done.  And the earth brought forth the green herb, and such as yieldeth seed according to its kind, and the tree that beareth fruit, having seed each one according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.  And the evening and the morning were the third day.

R. (In principio) In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth, and the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.* And God saw everything that He had made, and it was very good.
V. Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the hosts of them.
R. And God saw everything that He had made, and it was very good.

Reading 3: And God said: Let there be lights made in the firmament of heaven, to divide the day and the night, and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days and years:  To shine in the firmament of heaven, and to give light upon the earth. And it was so done. And God made two great lights: a greater light to rule the day; and a lesser light to rule the night: and the stars.  And he set them in the firmament of heaven to shine upon the earth.  And to rule the day and the night, and to divide the light and the darkness. And God saw that it was good.  And the evening and morning were the fourth day.

R. (Formavit) The Lord formed man of the dust of the ground* And breathed into his face the breath of life, and man became a living soul.
V. In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth, wherein He made man also.
R. And breathed into his face the breath of life, and man became a living soul.

Reading 4:  God also said: Let the waters bring forth the creeping creature having life, and the fowl that may fly over the earth under the firmament of heaven. And God created the great whales, and every living and moving creature, which the waters brought forth, according to their kinds, and every winged fowl according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.  And he blessed them, saying: Increase and multiply, and fill the waters of the sea: and let the birds be multiplied upon the earth.  And the evening and morning were the fifth day.  And God said: Let the earth bring forth the living creature in its kind, cattle and creeping things, and beasts of the earth, according to their kinds. And it was so done.  And God made the beasts of the earth according to their kinds, and cattle, and every thing that creepeth on the earth after its kind. And God saw that it was good. And he said: Let us make man to our image and likeness: and let him have dominion over the fishes of the sea, and the fowls of the air, and the beasts, and the whole earth, and every creeping creature that moveth upon the earth.

R (Igitur perfecti sunt):

Nocturn II (From the Enchirion of St Augustine)

Reading 5: The Lord threatened man with the punishment of death, in case he sinned. Thus did He gift him with free will, while He yet kept His lordship over him, and helped him with the dread of destruction. And so He put him in that happy garden, under the very shadow of the tree of life, in that good place from whence, had he kept his righteousness, he might have passed to a better.

R. (Tulit Dominus) God took the man and put him into the garden of Eden * To dress it and to keep it.
V. And the Lord God had planted a garden aforetime in Eden, and there He put the man whom He had formed.
R. To dress it and to keep it.

Reading 6: But the first man sinned, and was banished from Eden, and infected all his descendants with the disease of sin, poisoning their very root, and bringing upon all that sentence of death and damnation, which he had earned for himself. So that all that descend by fleshly generation from Adam, and from the guilty woman, who was the cause of his sin and the partaker of his punishment, derive from them original sin; whereby they are drawn through a way of divers sins and sorrows, towards that final ruin which they shall share with the rebel angels who are at once their corrupters, their lords, and their comrades.

R. (Dixit Dominus) The Lord God said: It is not good that the man should be alone.
* Let Us make an help meet for him.
V. But for Adam there was not found an help meet for him; and God said:
R. Let Us make an help meet for him.

Reading 7: So by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin, (and so death passed upon all men,) in whom all have sinned. By the world the Apostle signified! in this place all mankind. Thus then hath the matter stood. The damned mass of humanity lay in misery, or rather wallowed in it, and fell from bad to worse, till it joined the company of the sinning angels, and both together suffered the deserved punishment of their vile treason.

R. (Immisit): The Lord caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and He took one of his ribs.* And the rib which the Lord had taken from Adam made He a woman, and brought her unto Adam, to see what he would call her. And he called her name Woman, because she was taken out of Man.
V. And while he slept He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof.
R. And the rib which the Lord had taken from Adam made He a woman, and brought her unto Adam, to see what he would call her.

Reading 8: So the wrath of God appertained whatever sin man, through the blind and untamed sting of his flesh, willingly committeth, and whatever punishment, declared and open, he unwillingly suffereth. There is, indeed, no pause in that goodness of the Creator whereby He giveth even to the traitor angels life and strength, (which if He gave not, they would be annihilated,) and whereby He formeth the seed of men, though they come of a corrupt and condemned stock, quickeneth them, strengtheneth and fitteth their limbs for the changing seasons of their life, extendeth their knowledge in divers places, and giveth them whereon to live. It hath been His will rather to draw good out of evil, than to suffer that there should be no evil.

R (Dixit Dominus ad Adam)

Nocturn III (Homily 19 of St Gregory on the Gospels)

Reading 9: From the Holy Gospel according to Matthew: In that time, Jesus said to his disciples: The kingdom of heaven is like to an householder, who went out early in the morning to hire labourers into his vineyard. And so on.

We hear that the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is an householder, which went out early in the morning, to hire labourers into his vineyard. Who indeed is more justly to be likened to an householder than our Maker, Who is the Head of the household of faith, bearing rule over them whom He hath made, and being Master of His chosen ones in the world, as a Master over those that are in his house? He it is That hath the Church for a vineyard, a vineyard that ceaseth not to bring forth branches of the True Vine, from righteous Abel to the last of the elect that shall be born in the world.

R. (Plantaverat) And the Lord God had planted a garden aforetime in Eden,
* And there He put the man whom He had formed.
V. And out of the ground made the Lord God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food, the tree of life also in the midst of the garden.
R. And there He put the man whom He had formed.

Reading 10: This householder, then, for the cultivation of his vineyard, goeth out early in the morning, and at the third hour, and the sixth hour, and the ninth hour, and the eleventh hour, to hire labourers into his vineyard. Thus the Lord, from the beginning to the end of the world, ceaseth not to gather together preachers for the instruction of His faithful people. The early morning of the world was from Adam until Noah; the third hour from Noah until Abraham; the sixth hour from Abraham until Moses; the ninth hour from Moses until the coming of the Lord; the eleventh hour from the coming of the Lord until the end of the world. At this eleventh hour are sent forth as preachers the Holy Apostles, who have received full wages, albeit they be come in late.

R. (Ecce Adam) Behold, Adam is become as One of Us, to know good and evil.
* See lest he take of the tree of life and live for ever.
V. Unto Adam also did the Lord God make a coat of skins, and clothed him, and said:
R. See lest he take of the tree of life and live for ever.

Reading 11: Nor the cultivation of His vineyard, (that is, the instruction of His people,) the Lord hath never ceased to send into it labourers. First, by the Fathers, then, by the Prophets and Teachers of the Law, and lastly, by the Apostles He hath dressed and tended the lives of His people, as the owner of a vineyard dresseth and tendeth it by means of workmen.

R. (Ubi est) The Lord said unto Cain: Where is Abel thy brother? Lord, I know not am I my brother's keeper? And He said unto him What hast thou done?
* Behold, the voice of thy brother Abel's blood crieth unto Me from the ground.
V. Cursed shalt thou be upon the earth, which hath opened her mouth to receive thy brother's blood from thy hand.
R. Behold, the voice of thy brother Abel's blood crieth unto Me from the ground.

Reading 12: Whoever in whatever degree joined to a right faith the teaching of righteousness, was so far one of God's labourers in God's vineyard. By the labourers at early morning, and at the third hour, the sixth hour, and the ninth hour, may be understood God's ancient people, the Hebrews, who strove to worship Him with a right faith in company with His chosen ones from the very beginning of the world, and thus continually laboured in His vineyard. And now, at the eleventh hour, it is said unto the Gentiles also Why stand ye here all the day idle?

R. (In sudore) The Lord said unto Adam; In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread; when thou tillest the ground it shall not henceforth yield unto thee her fruits.* Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee.
V. Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree which I commanded thee, saying Thou shalt not eat of it, cursed is the ground whereon thou shalt labour.
R. Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee.

Gospel: Matthew 20:1-16

THE kingdom of heaven is like to an householder, who went out early in the morning to hire labourers into his vineyard. And having agreed with the labourers for a penny a day, he sent them into his vineyard. And going about the third hour, he saw others standing in the market place idle. And he said to them: Go you also into my vineyard, and I will give you what shall be just. And they went their way. And again he went out about the sixth and the ninth hour, and did in like manner. But about the eleventh hour he went out and found others standing, and he saith to them: Why stand you here all the day idle? They say to him: Because no man hath hired us. He saith to them: Go you also into my vineyard.And when evening was come, the lord of the vineyard saith to his steward: Call the labourers and pay them their hire, beginning from the last even to the first.When therefore they were come, that came about the eleventh hour, they received every man a penny. But when the first also came, they thought that they should receive more: and they also received every man a penny. And receiving it they murmured against the master of the house, Saying: These last have worked but one hour, and thou hast made them equal to us, that have borne the burden of the day and the heats. But he answering said to one of them: Friend, I do thee no wrong: didst thou not agree with me for a penny? Take what is thine, and go thy way: I will also give to this last even as to thee. Or, is it not lawful for me to do what I will? is thy eye evil, because I am good? So shall the last be first, and the first last. For many are called, but few chosen.

Thursday, 9 February 2017

Feast of St Scholastica

Unfortunately, most of the readings and responsories for this Office are not available online, and I don't have a scanner, sorry!  The Roman Office version of the feast, though, can be found on Divinum Officium.

Nocturn I: Songs of Songs 2; 8

(Ps 8, 18, 23, 44, 45, 47)

Reading 1:  I am the flower of the field, and the lily of the valleys. As the lily among thorns, so is my love among the daughters. As the apple tree among the trees of the woods, so is my beloved among the sons. I sat down under his shadow, whom I desired: and his fruit was sweet to my palate. He brought me into the cellar of wine, he set in order charity in me. Stay me up with flowers, compass me about with apples: because I languish with love.

Reading 2: Who shall give thee to me for my brother, sucking the breasts of my mother, that I may find thee without, and kiss thee, and now no man may despise me? I will take hold of thee, and bring thee into my mother’s house: there thou shalt teach me, and I will give thee a cup of spiced wine and new wine of my pomegranates.

Reading 3: His left hand under my head, and his right hand shall embrace me. I adjure you, O daughters of Jerusalem, that you stir not up, nor awake my love till she please. Who is this that cometh up from the desert, flowing with delights, leaning upon her beloved? Under the apple tree I raised thee up: there thy mother was corrupted, there she was defloured that bore thee.

Reading 4: Put me as a seal upon thy heart, as a seal upon thy arm, for love is strong as death, jealousy as hard as hell, the lamps thereof are fire and flames. Many waters cannot quench charity, neither can the floods drown it: if a man should give all the substance of his house for love, he shall despise it as nothing.

Nocturn II: St Gregory the Great, Dialogues ch 33

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

Reading 5: The worshipful Scholastica, the sister of our Father Benedict, was hallowed unto the Lord Almighty from a child. Her custom was to come to see her brother once every year. And when she came, the man of God went down unto her, not far from the gate, but, as it were, within the borders of his monastery. And there was a day when she came, as her custom was, and her worshipful brother went down to her, and his disciples with him. Then they passed the whole day together, praising God, and speaking one to the other of spiritual things. And when the night came, they brake bread together. And while they were yet at table, and conversed together on spiritual things, the hour was late. Then the holy woman his sister besought him, saying Leave me not, I pray thee, this night, but let us speak even until morning of the gladness of the eternal life. He answered her: What is it that thou sayest, my sister? I can by no means remain out of my cell. Now the firmament was so clear that there were no clouds in the sky.

Reading 6: Then the holy nun, when she had heard the words of her brother, that he would not abide with her, clasped her hands on the table, and laid her face on her hands, and besought the Lord Almighty. And it came to pass that when she lifted up her head from the table, there were great thunderings and lightnings, and a flood of rain, insomuch that neither the worshipful Benedict nor the brethren that were with him could move as much as a foot over the threshold of the place where they sat.Now when the holy woman laid her head in her hands upon the table, she wept bitterly, and as she wept, the clearness of the sky was turned to a tempest. As she prayed, immediately the flood followed. And the time was so, that she lifted up her head when it thundered, and when she had lifted up her head, the rain came.

Reading 7: When the man of God saw that he could not return to his monastery, because of the lightnings, and thunderings, and the great rain, he was sorrowful and grieved, saying Almighty God forgive thee, my sister; what is this that thou hast done? She answered him Behold, I besought thee, and thou wouldest not hear; I besought my God, and He hath heard me; if, therefore, thou wilt, go forth, leave me alone, and go thy way to thy monastery. But he could not, and so he tarried in the same place, not willingly, but of necessity. And so it came to pass that they slept not all that night, but fed one another with discourse on spiritual things.

Reading 8: And when the morning was come, the worshipful woman arose, and went unto her own cell, and the man of God went back to his monastery. And, behold, after three days he was sitting in his cell, and he lifted up his eyes to heaven, and saw the soul of his sister, delivered from the body, fly to heaven in a bodily shape like a dove. Wherefore he rejoiced because of the glory that was revealed in her, and gave thanks to Almighty God in hymns and praises, and made known to the brethren that she was dead. He commanded them also to go and take up her body, and bring it to his monastery, and lay it in the grave which he had made ready for himself. Whereby it came to pass that they twain who had ever been of one mind in the Lord, even in death were not divided.

Nocturn III: Sermon of St Hilary 

Not available online

Gospel: St Matthew 25:1-13

Then shall the kingdom of heaven be like to ten virgins, who taking their lamps went out to meet the bridegroom and the bride.  And five of them were foolish, and five wise.  But the five foolish, having taken their lamps, did not take oil with them:  But the wise took oil in their vessels with the lamps.  And the bridegroom tarrying, they all slumbered and slept. And at midnight there was a cry made: Behold the bridegroom cometh, go ye forth to meet him.  Then all those virgins arose and trimmed their lamps.  And the foolish said to the wise: Give us of your oil, for our lamps are gone out.  The wise answered, saying: Lest perhaps there be not enough for us and for you, go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves.  Now whilst they went to buy, the bridegroom came: and they that were ready, went in with him to the marriage, and the door was shut.  But at last come also the other virgins, saying: Lord, Lord, open to us.  But he answering said: Amen I say to you, I know you not. Watch ye therefore, because you know not the day nor the hour.

Saturday, 4 February 2017

Matins readings for the Fifth Sunday after the Epiphany

Nocturn I (1 Timothy 1)

Reading 1: Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the commandment of God our Savior, and of Christ Jesus our hope: To Timothy, his beloved son in faith. Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father, and from Christ Jesus our Lord. As I desired thee to remain at Ephesus when I went into Macedonia, that thou mightest charge some not to teach otherwise,  Not to give heed to fables and endless genealogies: which furnish questions rather than the edification of God, which is in faith.

R. (Domine ne in ira tua) O Lord, rebuke me not in thine anger, neither chasten me in thine hot displeasure. * Have mercy upon me, O Lord, for I am weak.
V. Fearfulness and trembling are come upon me, and darkness hath overwhelmed me.
R. Have mercy upon me, O Lord, for I am weak.

Reading 2: Now the end of the commandment is charity, from a pure heart, and a good conscience, and an unfeigned faith. From which things some going astray, are turned aside unto vain babbling:
 Desiring to be teachers of the law, understanding neither the things they say, nor whereof they affirm  But we know that the law is good, if a man use it lawfully: Knowing this, that the law is not made for the just man, but for the unjust and disobedient, for the ungodly, and for sinners, for the wicked and defiled, for murderers of fathers, and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, For fornicators, for them who defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and whatever other thing is contrary to sound doctrine, Which is according to the gospel of the glory of the blessed God, which hath been committed to my trust.

R. (Deus qui sedes) O God, Which satest in the throne judging right, be Thou a refuge for the poor, a refuge in times of trouble.* For Thou alone beholdest mischief and spite.
V. The poor leaveth himself unto thee; Thou wilt be the helper of the fatherless.
R. For Thou alone beholdest mischief and spite.

Reading 3: I give thanks who hath strengthened me, even to Christ Jesus our Lord, for that he hath counted me faithful, putting me in the ministry; Who before was a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and contumelious. But I obtained the mercy of God, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief.  Now the grace of our Lord hath abounded exceedingly with faith and love, which is in Christ Jesus.

R. (A dextris) The Lord is at my right hand, I shall never be moved.
* Therefore my heart is glad, and my tongue rejoiceth.
V. The Lord is the portion of mine inheritance, and of my cup.
R. Therefore my heart is glad, and my tongue rejoiceth.

Reading 4: A faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into this world to save sinners, of whom I am the chief. But for this cause have I obtained mercy: that in me first Christ Jesus might shew forth all patience, for the information of them that shall believe in him unto life everlasting.

R (Custodi me) Keep me O Lord as the apple of an eye * Hide me under the shadow of your wings
V: Show your marvellous loving-kindness, thou that art the saviour of them that put their trust in you
R: Hide me under the shadow of your wings
V: Glory be...
R: Hide me under the shadow of your wings

Nocturn II (Homily 174 of St Augustine)

Reading 5: This is a saying made for man, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into this world to save sinners. Listen to the words of the Gospel The Son of man is come to seek, and to save that which was lost. If man had not been lost, the Son of man would not have come. Wherefore, man had been lost; God came made Man, and man was found; man had perished by his own free will God made Man came by grace which setteth free.

R.(Notas mihi) O Lord, Thou hast shown me the path of life.
* Thou shalt fill me with joy in thy presence, at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.
V. Thou art He That shalt restore mine inheritance unto me.
R. Thou shalt fill me with joy in thy presence, at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.

Reading 6: Dost thou ask how free-will availeth to evil? Call to mind a sinner Dost thou ask what God made Man availeth to help? Consider in Him the grace which setteth free. There is no example which so showeth what availeth the free will of man, when it is taken possession of by pride, to use it without God's help, of evil is there no greater and plainer example, than the first man.

R. (Diligam te) I will love thee, O Lord, my strength; the Lord is my rock * And my fortress.
V. My Deliverer, my God, mine Helper.
R. And my fortress.

Reading 7: The first man fell and where had he been if the second Man had not come? As the first was man, so was the second Man,. and therefore is this saying a saying. made for man.  Neither is there any example which so showeth what availeth the tenderness of the grace and the abundance of the All-might of God, as the Man That is the Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus.

R. (Domini est terra) The earth is the Lord's, and the fulness thereof * The world, and they that dwell therein.
V. For He hath founded it upon the seas, and established it upon the floods.
R. The world, and they that dwell therein.

Reading 8:For what do we say, my brethren? I speak to them that have been bred up in the Catholic Church, or who have been reconciled to that Church. We know and hold that the Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, as touching His Manhood, is of the same nature as we. For our flesh is not of one nature, and His Flesh of another nature, neither our soul of one nature and His Soul of another nature. He took upon Himself the same nature which He had freely ordained to save.

R (Vias tuas) Show me your ways O Lord and teach me your paths; lead me forth in your truth * For you are the God of my salvation; in you has been my hope all the day long
V: O remember not the sins and offences of my youth, O Lord
R:For you are the God of my salvation; in you has been my hope all the day long
V Glory be...
R:For you are the God of my salvation; in you has been my hope all the day long

Nocturn III (Homily of St Augustine, Question 17 on St Mt 11)

Reading 9: From the holy Gospel according to Matthew - In that time Jesus said to the people a parable: The kingdom of heaven is likened to a man that sowed good seeds in his field. And so on.

When the Shepherds of the Church wax careless, and since the Apostles sleep the sleep of death, cometh the devil, and soweth them whom the Lord calleth a seed of evil-doers. Now, are these seed of evil-doers the heretics, or Catholics of bad lives? It is possible to call even the heretics a seed of evil-doers because they have sprung up from the seed of the Gospel, and been begotten in the Name of Christ, though afterwards they have turned after crooked ways and lying doctrines.

R. (Ad te Domine) Unto thee, O Lord, do I lift up my soul. * O my God, I trust in thee, let me not be ashamed.
V. O keep my soul and deliver me.
R. O my God, I trust in thee, let me not be ashamed.

Reading 10: But whereas it is written that they were sown in the midst of the wheat, we ought haply to understand that they are of one communion with the righteous. Nevertheless, forasmuch as the Lord saith, The field is the world, (and not, the Church,) we may well understand that the seed of evil doers are the heretics, since in this world they are mingled together with the good, not in one common Communion, but only under one common name of Christian.

R (Afflicti pro peccatis nostris) You have afflicted us for our sins, every day we expect our end with tears; let the sorrows of our heart come before you O Lord * That you may deliver us from the evils that have come upon us
V: O Lord God of Israel, hear our prayers, hearken unto the sorrows of our heart
R: That you may deliver us from the ills that are come upon us

Reading 11: But they which are of one faith with the good seed, and yet are themselves worthless, may more fitly be likened to straw than to tares, since the straw springeth from one soil and one root with the good ear. However, as touching the net cast into the sea, and enclosing a great multitude of fishes, both bad and good, we may well understand that by the bad are meant Catholics of bad lives.

R. (Peccata mea) My sins, O Lord, are fixed in me, like arrows, but before they caused wounds in me,
* Heal me, O God, with the medicine of repentance.
V. For I know my iniquity, * and my sin is always before me.
R. Heal me, O God, with the medicine of repentance.

Reading 12: For the sea is one thing whereby we may understand to be signified the world; and the net another, which seemeth to signify our faith, or the Communion of one Church. Between heretics and sinful Catholics there is this difference, that heretics believe a lie, and sinful Catholics believe the truth, but live not as they believe.

R. One Seraph cried unto another * Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord God of hosts the whole earth is full of His glory.
V. There are Three That bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost and these Three are One.
R. Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord God of hosts
V. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, * and to the Holy Ghost.
R. The whole earth is full of His glory.

Gospel: St Matthew 13:24-30

Another parable he proposed to them, saying: The kingdom of heaven is likened to a man that sowed good seeds in his field.  But while men were asleep, his enemy came and oversowed cockle among the wheat and went his way.  And when the blade was sprung up, and had brought forth fruit, then appeared also the cockle.  And the servants of the goodman of the house coming said to him: Sir, didst thou not sow good seed in thy field? whence then hath it cockle?  And he said to them: An enemy hath done this. And the servants said to him: Wilt thou that we go and gather it up?  And he said: No, lest perhaps gathering up the cockle, you root up the wheat also together with it.  Suffer both to grow until the harvest, and in the time of the harvest I will say to the reapers: Gather up first the cockle, and bind it into bundles to burn, but the wheat gather ye into my barn.