Monday, 29 February 2016

Tuesday in the third week of Lent

The Gospel at Mass today is St Matthew 18:15-22:

But if thy brother shall offend against thee, go, and rebuke him between thee and him alone. If he shall hear thee, thou shalt gain thy brother.[16] And if he will not hear thee, take with thee one or two more: that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may stand. [17] And if he will not hear them: tell the church. And if he will not hear the church, let him be to thee as the heathen and publican. [18] Amen I say to you, whatsoever you shall bind upon earth, shall be bound also in heaven; and whatsoever you shall loose upon earth, shall be loosed also in heaven. [19] Again I say to you, that if two of you shall consent upon earth, concerning any thing whatsoever they shall ask, it shall be done to them by my Father who is in heaven. [20] For where there are two or three gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.[20] There am I in the midst of them: This is understood of such assemblies only as are gathered in the name and authority of Christ; and in unity of the church of Christ. St. Cyprian, De Unitate Ecclesiae.[21] Then came Peter unto him and said: Lord, how often shall my brother offend against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? [22] Jesus saith to him: I say not to thee, till seven times; but till seventy times seven times.

The Matins readings are from St Augustine:

Reading 1: Why tell him his fault? Because he hath made thee smart by trespassing against thee? God forbid. If thou tell him his fault because thou lovest thyself, thou dost nothing. But if thou tell it him because thou lovest him, then dost thou do exceeding well. Hear now, in the words of the Gospel itself, for love of whom, thou oughtest to do it, of thyself, or of him. The Lord saith If he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. Therefore it behoveth thee to do it for his sake, that thou mayest gain him; since, if thou so do, haply thou mayest gain him; whereas, if thou do it not, he may haply perish. Why then are there so many who reckon lightly of a trespass against their brother, and say I have done no great offence, for I have trespassed only against my fellow man? Deem it not light; thou hast trespassed, though it be against thy fellow man.

R. They told Jacob, saying thy son Joseph is yet alive, and he is governor over all the land of Egypt; and, when he heard it, his spirit revived, and he said* It is enough; I will go, and see him before I die.
V. And when Jacob heard that his son yet lived, he was as one that awakeneth from a deep sleep, and said
R. It is enough; I will go, and see him before I die.

Reading 2: Wouldest thou know that thy trespass against thy brother hath destroyed thee? If he against whom thou hast trespassed tell thee thy fault between himself and thee alone, and thou hear him, he hath gained thee. Gained thee! And what signify those words, if it be not that thou, if thou be not gained, shalt perish? For if thou shouldest not otherwise perish, in what sense can he be said to gain thee? Therefore let no man deem it a light thing when he trespasseth against his brother. For the Apostle Paul saith in a certain place When ye sin so against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, ye sin against Christ. We are all members of Christ. How dost thou not trespass against Christ, which trespassest against one of His members?

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

Reading 3: Let no man therefore say I have not trespassed against God, but only against my brother; that is, I have trespassed against my fellowman; and so the sin is light, if any at all. And perchance thou wilt argue that it is light, because it is quickly mended; thou hast trespassed against thy brother, but thou canst make satisfaction, and be right again; thou hast done the deadly thing quickly, and quickly canst thou find a remedy. O my brethren, which of us can hope for the kingdom of heaven, when we remember that the Gospel saith Whosoever shall say to his brother Thou fool shall be in danger of hell fire? It is a thought full of dread; but, lo! the remedy If thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath aught against thee, leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift. God is not wroth that thou tarry or ever thou offer thy gift; for God seeketh thyself more than thy gift.

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

Sunday, 28 February 2016

Monday in the third week of Lent

Today's Gospel is St Luke 4:23-30:

23 Et ait illis: Utique dicetis mihi hanc similitudinem: Medice cura teipsum: quanta audivimus facta in Capharnaum, fac et hic in patria tua. 24 Ait autem: Amen dico vobis, quia nemo propheta acceptus est in patria sua. 25 In veritate dico vobis, multæ viduæ erant in diebus Eliæ in Israël, quando clausum est cælum annis tribus et mensibus sex, cum facta esset fames magna in omni terra: 26 et ad nullam illarum missus est Elias, nisi in Sarepta Sidoniæ, ad mulierem viduam. 27 Et multi leprosi erant in Israël sub Eliseo propheta: et nemo eorum mundatus est nisi Naaman Syrus. 28 Et repleti sunt omnes in synagoga ira, hæc audientes. 29 Et surrexerunt, et ejecerunt illum extra civitatem: et duxerunt illum usque ad supercilium montis, super quem civitas illorum erat ædificata, ut præcipitarent eum. 30 Ipse autem transiens per medium illorum, ibat.

[23] And he said to them: Doubtless you will say to me this similitude: Physician, heal thyself: as great things as we have heard done in Capharnaum, do also here in thy own country. [24] And he said: Amen I say to you, that no prophet is accepted in his own country. [25] In truth I say to you, there were many widows in the days of Elias in Israel, when heaven was shut up three years and six months, when there was a great famine throughout all the earth. [26] And to none of them was Elias sent, but to Sarepta of Sidon, to a widow woman. [27] And there were many lepers in Israel in the time of Eliseus the prophet: and none of them was cleansed but Naaman the Syrian. [28] And all they in the synagogue, hearing these things, were filled with anger. [29] And they rose up and thrust him out of the city; and they brought him to the brow of the hill, whereon their city was built, that they might cast him down headlong. [30] But he passing through the midst of them, went his way.

The Matins readings are from St Ambrose:

Reading 1: Here we have a display of a spite not very common. Their hatred of Christ, and their desire to find grounds for that hatred in what in Him appealed for their love, had made them forget their local friendliness to a fellow-citizen. By this example as well as by God's declaration, thou mayest learn that thou wilt wait in vain to be holpen of His mercy, whilst thou art envious of the spiritual good of thy neighbour. Yea, the Lord turneth Him away from the envious, and will not show the mighty works of His power to such as are bitter against His gifts to others. The example of Himself which God hath been pleased to set before us is that of His doings in the Flesh, and it is by these His doings which He suffered to be seen, that we are taught touching those which are unseen.

R. Take hence presents with you, and go unto the lord of the land, and when ye be come into his presence, bow yourselves to him to the earth.
* And my God give you mercy before the man, that he may send away again this your brother, and him which he keepeth in ward.
V. Take of the best fruits of the land in your vessels, and carry down the man a present.
R. And my God give you mercy before the man, that he may send away again this your brother, and him which he keepeth in ward.

Reading 2: The Saviour then doth not lightly excuse Himself that He had wrought none of His mighty works in His own country, lest perchance any should thence learn to think lightly of our duty to love our Fatherland. Neither was it possible that He Who loved all, should not love His own countrymen; they it was who failed in that love because of their very envy. I tell you of a truth, many widows were in Israel in the days of Elias. The days of Elias not that the said days belonged to Elias, but either because those were the days when Elias lived and worked; or, else, this is a mystic phrase, meaning that Elias by his works made many souls to awake spiritually from the night of sin to the day of grace, and turn to the Lord. In this latter sense that holy Prophet was a mean whereby heaven was opened to such as looked to the eternal and mysterious things of God, and again was shut, (and there was a famine,) when there were no means of knowing God through outward ordinances. This subject, however, I have treated before at full length, when I was writing on the subject of widows.

R. Is this your younger brother, of whom ye spake unto me? God be gracious unto thee, my son.
* And he made haste, and entered into the house, and wept there, for his tears brake forth, and he could not refrain himself.
V. And Joseph lifted up his eyes, and saw his brother Benjamin, and his bowels yearned upon his brother.
R. And he made haste, and entered into the house, and wept there, for his tears brake forth, and he could not refrain himself.

Reading 3: And many lepers were in Israel in the days of Eliseus the Prophet, and none of them was cleansed, saving Naaman the Syrian. By these words of the Lord our great Physician, we are plainly taught and urged to put our trust in the Adorable God, since we see that none was healed, or cleansed from bodily plague- spots, save him who took a religious means to regain health. For the blessings of God are not given to them who close their eyes in sleep, but to them that look to Him. We have remarked in our other book, alluded to above, that the widow to whom Elias was sent was a type of the Church. And next after (the mention of the type of) the Church cometh meetly the (mention of him who was a type of the Gentile) people, (her converts.) Yea, the Gentiles were a people foreigners by birth, leprous, and covered with plague-spots, till they were baptized in the stream (of the) mystic (Jordan;) but from the sacramental waters they rise, lepers no more, but cleansed in body and soul, a glorious virgin Church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing.

R. Joseph said unto his eleven brethren I am Joseph whom ye sold into Egypt; is our father yet alive, the old man of whom ye spake unto me?
* Go, bring him down unto me, that he may live.
V. For these two years hath the famine been in the land; and yet there are five years, in the which there shall neither be earing nor harvest.
R. Go, bring him down unto me, that he may live.
V. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, * and to the Holy Ghost.

R. Go, bring him down unto me, that he may live.

Saturday, 27 February 2016

Third Sunday of Lent

Nocturn 1: Genesis 37

Reading 1: By now, Joseph was sixteen years old, and helped his brethren to feed the flocks, young though he was. He worked with the sons of his father’s wives, Bala and Zelpha; and against these brothers of his he told his father ill tales. 3 Among his children, Jacob loved Joseph best, as old men love the sons old age has brought them; and he dressed him in a coat that was all embroidery. 4 Whereupon his brethren, who saw that he was his father’s favourite, bore him a grudge, and never had a good word for him.

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

Reading 2: They hated him the more, when he recounted to them a dream of his; 6 Listen, he said, to this dream I have had. 7 I dreamt that we were all binding sheaves in a field, and my sheaf seemed to lift itself up and stand erect, while all your sheaves stood about it and did reverence to mine. 8 What, said his brethren, art thou to be our king? Are we to be thy subjects? So this talk about his dream fed the fires of their envious anger. 9 Then he had another dream which he disclosed to his brethren; In this dream of mine, he said, it seemed to me that the sun and the moon and eleven stars did reverence to me. 10 When he reported this to his father and his brethren, his father said, in reproof, What means this dream of thine? Must I and thy mother and thy brethren bow down to earth before thee?

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

Reading 3:  So his brethren eyed him with jealousy, while his father pondered over the story in silence.12 One day, when his brethren were away at Sichem, feeding their father’s flocks, 13 Israel said to him, Thy brethren are pasturing the sheep at Sichem; I have an errand for thee there. And when Joseph answered, 14 I am here, at thy command, he said to him, Go and see whether all is well with thy brethren, and with the flock, then come back and tell me their news. So he set out from Hebron valley and reached Sichem, 15 where a stranger found him wandering on the open plain, and asked what was his errand. 16 I am looking for my brethren, he said; Canst thou tell me where they are feeding their flocks? 17 They have left this part, the man answered; I heard them say, Let us go to Dothain. So Joseph went on in search of his brethren, and it was at Dothain he found them. 18 Before he came up to them, they caught sight of him in the distance, and began plotting against his life. 19 They said to one another, Here comes the dreamer; 20 how if we kill him, and throw his body into a dry well? We can pretend he has fallen a prey to some wild beast. Now we shall see what good these dreams of his can do him!

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

Reading 4: Upon this, Ruben began scheming to save Joseph from their violence; No, he said, 22 do not take his life, there must be no bloodshed. Throw him down into this well here, far from all help, and so keep clear of any murderous act. His meaning was to rescue Joseph out of their hands, and restore him safe to his father. 23 As soon, then, as Joseph reached his brethren, they stripped him of his long, embroidered coat, 24 and threw him into a disused well, which had no water left in it.25 And now, as they sat down to take their meal, they saw a company of Ismaelites mounted on camels, who were on their way from Galaad to Egypt, with a load of spices, balm, and myrrh.

Nocturn II: St Ambrose on the Patriarch Joseph

Reading 5: The lives of the saints are the models for the lives of others. This is one of the reasons why we have been given the wise tale of the Scriptures, that while, by reading therein, we come to know Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and others of the righteous, we may follow them in that path of innocency which is opened to us for our imitation by the record of their godly conversation. Of them I have often treated, and to-day the story of the holy Joseph cometh before me. In that story there are patterns of many virtues, but chiefly is he glorious on account of his clean living.

R. When Jacob saw Joseph's coat he rent his clothes, and mourned; and he said* An evil beast hath devoured my son Joseph.
V. And his brethren took his coat, and sent it to his father and he knew it, and said
R. An evil beast hath devoured my son Joseph.

Reading 6:  Right is it then that ye who have learnt in Abraham the devotedness of a faith that nothing could daunt, in Isaac the transparency of an upright soul, in Jacob a wonderful patience of spirit in great travails, should now turn from their worthy deeds, to see the bright example of Joseph's self-control. The holy Joseph is put before us as a pattern of chastity. Modesty shineth in his manners and in his deeds, and a certain loveliness, which is found with chastity, shineth there also. Hence his parents loved him more than their other children.

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

Reading 7: But this love caused him to be the object of an envy, which we must needs not pass by, and upon this the whole story turneth. Yet, at the same time, we learn how that just man was not swayed by any desire to avenge his own sufferings, neither repaid evil for evil. Whence also David saith If I have rewarded evil. In what would Joseph have been worthy to be chosen before others, if he had harmed them which harmed him, and loved them which loved him? For this do many do. But it is a wonder if one do that which the Saviour teacheth, and love his enemy.

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

Reading 8: Well, then, may we wonder at him who did this before the Gospel came; who, being injured, spared; being assailed, forgave; being sold, returned no evil; but repaid insult with favour. We, from the Gospel, have been taught to do all this, and we cannot. Let us also, then, learn how that there was envy even among some of the holy (Patriarchs), that we may follow the example of the patience (wherewith others of them bore it;) and let us feel that they were not men of another and higher nature than ours, but only more heedful; that they were not sinless, but that they repented. But if the passion of envy scorched even some of the holy race, how much more need is there for the sinful to take heed lest it set fire to them?

Nocturn III

Reading 9: We read in Matthew that the devil, by which this poor creature was possessed, was not only dumb, but also blind; and that, when he was healed by the Lord, he saw as well as spake. Three miracles, therefore, were performed on this one man; the blind saw, the dumb spake, and the possessed was delivered. This mighty work was then indeed wrought carnally, but it is still wrought spiritually in the conversion of believers, when the devil is cast out of them, so that their eyes see the light of faith, and the lips, that before were dumb, are opened that their mouth may show forth the praise of God. 

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

R. Therefore is this distress come upon us.

Reading 10: But some of them said He casteth out devils through Beelzebub, the chief of the devils. These some were not of the multitude, but liars among the Pharisees and Scribes, as we are told by the other Evangelist. While the multitude, who were less instructed, wondered ever at the works of the Lord, the Pharisees and Scribes, on the other hand, denied the facts when they could, and when they were not able, twisted them by an evil interpretation, and asserted that the works of God were the works of an unclean spirit. 

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

Reading 11: And others, tempting Him, sought of Him a sign from heaven. They would have had Christ either to call down fire from heaven like Elias, to have made thunder roll, and lightning flash, and rain fall at midsummer. And yet and if he had so done, they had been still able to explain away these signs also, as being the natural result of some unusual, though, till that moment, unremarked state of the atmosphere. O thou, who stubbornly deniest that which thine eye seeth, thine hand holdeth, and thy sense perceiveth, what wilt thou say to a sign from heaven? In good sooth, thou wilt say that the magicians in Egypt also wrought divers signs from heaven.

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

R. I pray the King of heaven in my distress, that He may make me to see them yet again.

Reading 12: But He, knowing their thoughts, said unto them: Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and an house divided against an house falleth. He answered not their words, but their thoughts; as though He would compel them to believe in the power of Him Who seeth the secrets of the heart. But if every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, then have not the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost a divided kingdom, since His is a kingdom that, without all contradiction, shall never be brought to desolation by any shock, but abideth unchanged and unchangeable for ever. If Satan also be divided against himself, how shall his kingdom stand? Because ye say that I cast out devils by Beelzebub. In saying this, He sought to draw from their own mouth a confession that they had chosen for themselves to be part of that devil's kingdom, which, if it be divided against itself, cannot stand.

This Sunday's Gospel is St Luke 11:14-28:

14 Et erat ejiciens dæmonium, et illud erat mutum. Et cum ejecisset dæmonium, locutus est mutus, et admiratæ sunt turbæ. 15 Quidam autem ex eis dixerunt: In Beelzebub principe dæmoniorum ejicit dæmonia. 16 Et alii tentantes, signum de cælo quærebant ab eo. 17 Ipse autem ut vidit cogitationes eorum, dixit eis: Omne regnum in seipsum divisum desolabitur, et domus supra domum cadet. 18 Si autem et Satanas in seipsum divisus est, quomodo stabit regnum ejus? quia dicitis in Beelzebub me ejicere dæmonia. 19 Si autem ego in Beelzebub ejicio dæmonia: filii vestri in quo ejiciunt? ideo ipsi judices vestri erunt. 20 Porro si in digito Dei ejicio dæmonia: profecto pervenit in vos regnum Dei. 21 Cum fortis armatus custodit atrium suum, in pace sunt ea quæ possidet. 22 Si autem fortior eo superveniens vicerit eum, universa arma ejus auferet, in quibus confidebat, et spolia ejus distribuet. 23 Qui non est mecum, contra me est: et qui non colligit mecum, dispergit. 24 Cum immundus spiritus exierit de homine, ambulat per loca inaquosa, quærens requiem: et non inveniens dicit: Revertar in domum meam unde exivi. 25 Et cum venerit, invenit eam scopis mundatam, et ornatam. 26 Tunc vadit, et assumit septem alios spiritus secum, nequiores se, et ingressi habitant ibi. Et fiunt novissima hominis illius pejora prioribus. 27 Factum est autem, cum hæc diceret: extollens vocem quædam mulier de turba dixit illi: Beatus venter qui te portavit, et ubera quæ suxisti. 28 At ille dixit: Quinimmo beati, qui audiunt verbum Dei et custodiunt illud.

[14] And he was casting out a devil, and the same was dumb: and when he had cast out the devil, the dumb spoke: and the multitudes were in admiration at it: [15] But some of them said: He casteth out devils by Beelzebub, the prince of devils.[16] And others tempting, asked of him a sign from heaven. [17] But he seeing their thoughts, said to them: Every kingdom divided against itself, shall be brought to desolation, and house upon house shall fall. [18] And if Satan also be divided against himself, how shall his kingdom stand? because you say, that through Beelzebub I cast out devils. [19] Now if I cast out devils by Beelzebub; by whom do your children cast them out? Therefore they shall be your judges. [20] But if I by the finger of God cast out devils; doubtless the kingdom of God is come upon you.[21] When a strong man armed keepeth his court, those things are in peace which he possesseth. [22] But if a stronger than he come upon him, and overcome him; he will take away all his armour wherein he trusted, and will distribute his spoils. [23] He that is not with me, is against me; and he that gathereth not with me, scattereth. [24] When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through places without water, seeking rest; and not finding, he saith: I will return into my house whence I came out. [25] And when he is come, he findeth it swept and garnished. [26] Then he goeth and taketh with him seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and entering in they dwell there. And the last state of that man becomes worse than the first. [27] And it came to pass, as he spoke these things, a certain woman from the crowd, lifting up her voice, said to him: Blessed is the womb that bore thee, and the paps that gave thee suck. [28] But he said: Yea rather, blessed are they who hear the word of God, and keep it.


Friday, 26 February 2016

Saturday in the second week of Lent

Today's Gospel is St Luke 15:11-32:

11 Ait autem: Homo quidam habuit duos filios: 12 et dixit adolescentior ex illis patri: Pater, da mihi portionem substantiæ, quæ me contingit. Et divisit illis substantiam. 13 Et non post multos dies, congregatis omnibus, adolescentior filius peregre profectus est in regionem longinquam, et ibi dissipavit substantiam suam vivendo luxuriose. 14 Et postquam omnia consummasset, facta est fames valida in regione illa, et ipse cœpit egere. 15 Et abiit, et adhæsit uni civium regionis illius: et misit illum in villam suam ut pasceret porcos. 16 Et cupiebat implere ventrem suum de siliquis, quas porci manducabant: et nemo illi dabat. 17 In se autem reversus, dixit: Quanti mercenarii in domo patris mei abundant panibus, ego autem hic fame pereo! 18 surgam, et ibo ad patrem meum, et dicam ei: Pater, peccavi in cælum, et coram te: 19 jam non sum dignus vocari filius tuus: fac me sicut unum de mercenariis tuis. 20 Et surgens venit ad patrem suum. Cum autem adhuc longe esset, vidit illum pater ipsius, et misericordia motus est, et accurrens cecidit super collum ejus, et osculatus est eum. 21 Dixitque ei filius: Pater, peccavi in cælum, et coram te: jam non sum dignus vocari filius tuus. 22 Dixit autem pater ad servos suos: Cito proferte stolam primam, et induite illum, et date annulum in manum ejus, et calceamenta in pedes ejus: 23 et adducite vitulum saginatum, et occidite, et manducemus, et epulemur: 24 quia hic filius meus mortuus erat, et revixit: perierat, et inventus est. Et cœperunt epulari. 25 Erat autem filius ejus senior in agro: et cum veniret, et appropinquaret domui, audivit symphoniam et chorum: 26 et vocavit unum de servis, et interrogavit quid hæc essent. 27 Isque dixit illi: Frater tuus venit, et occidit pater tuus vitulum saginatum, quia salvum illum recepit. 28 Indignatus est autem, et nolebat introire. Pater ergo illius egressus, cœpit rogare illum. 29 At ille respondens, dixit patri suo: Ecce tot annis servio tibi, et numquam mandatum tuum præterivi: et numquam dedisti mihi hædum ut cum amicis meis epularer. 30 Sed postquam filius tuus hic, qui devoravit substantiam suam cum meretricibus, venit, occidisti illi vitulum saginatum. 31 At ipse dixit illi: Fili, tu semper mecum es, et omnia mea tua sunt: 32 epulari autem, et gaudere oportebat, quia frater tuus hic mortuus erat, et revixit; perierat, et inventus est.

11] And he said: A certain man had two sons: [12] And the younger of them said to his father: Father, give me the portion of substance that falleth to me. And he divided unto them his substance. [13] And not many days after, the younger son, gathering all together, went abroad into a far country: and there wasted his substance, living riotously. [14] And after he had spent all, there came a mighty famine in that country; and he began to be in want. [15] And he went and cleaved to one of the citizens of that country. And he sent him into his farm to feed swine. [16] And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks the swine did eat; and no man gave unto him. [17] And returning to himself, he said: How many hired servants in my father' s house abound with bread, and I here perish with hunger? [18] I will arise, and will go to my father, and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee: [19] I am not worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants. [20] And rising up he came to his father. And when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and was moved with compassion, and running to him fell upon his neck, and kissed him.[21] And the son said to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee, I am not now worthy to be called thy son. [22] And the father said to his servants: Bring forth quickly the first robe, and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet: [23] And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it, and let us eat and make merry: [24] Because this my son was dead, and is come to life again: was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry. [25] Now his elder son was in the field, and when he came and drew nigh to the house, he heard music and dancing:[26] And he called one of the servants, and asked what these things meant. [27] And he said to him: Thy brother is come, and thy father hath killed the fatted calf, because he hath received him safe. [28] And he was angry, and would not go in. His father therefore coming out began to entreat him. [29] And he answering, said to his father: Behold, for so many years do I serve thee, and I have never transgressed thy commandment, and yet thou hast never given me a kid to make merry with my friends: [30] But as soon as this thy son is come, who hath devoured his substance with harlots, thou hast killed for him the fatted calf. [31] But he said to him: Son, thou art always with me, and all I have is thine. [32] But it was fit that we should make merry and be glad, for this thy brother was dead and is come to life again; he was lost, and is found.

Matins readings

Reading 1 (Homily by St Ambrose): Thou seest how that the heavenly goods are given to such as seek them. Neither oughtest thou to think the father to blame, because he gave to his younger son. In the kingdom of God there is no age of weakness, neither doth faith wax infirm with years. He, surely, who asked, deemed himself of sufficient age. And would that he had not left his father! then had he been ignorant of the obstacle of his age! But after that he had left his father's house, and had gone into a far country, he began to be in want. Well is he said to have wasted his substance, who hath cut himself off from the Church!

R. Father, I have sinned against heaven and before thee, and am no more worthy to be called thy son.
* Make me as one of thine hired servants.
V. How many hired servants of my father's have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! I will arise and go to my father and will say unto him

R. Make me as one of thine hired servants.

Reading 2: He took his journey into a far country. No man can go farther than to abandon his own better self, to leave, not his country, but his morals, and, as it were, in an hideous fever of lust after the world, to divorce himself from the ties that bind him to holy things. Yea, he that turneth his back on Christ, banisheth himself from his Fatherland, and becometh a citizen of the world. But we are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God, since we who sometimes were afar off, are made nigh by the Blood of Christ. Let us not envy the pleasures of them who remain in the far country. We too have once been there, but, as saith Isaiah, they that dwelt in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined. And that far country is the land of the shadow of death.

R. I have seen God face to face* And my life is preserved.
V. And he said unto me thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel shall be thy name.

R. And my life is preserved.

Reading 3: But we to whom the Lord Christ is the breath of life, are alive under the shadow of Christ. And therefore it is that the Church saith I sat down under His shadow with great delight. The prodigal son by riotous living wasted all the gifts of nature. Take warning, O thou who art made in the image and likeness of God, lest thou waste the same by brutish wallowing. Thou art the work of God; say not to a stock Thou art my father, lest thou grow into the likeness of a stock, as it is written They that make them are like unto them.

R. When Jacob heard that Esau came to meet him, he divided his sons and his wives, saying If Esau smite the one company, then the other shall escape.
* Deliver me, O Lord, Which saidst unto me I will multiply thy seed as the stars of heaven, and as the sand of the sea, which cannot be numbered for multitude.
V. O Lord, Which saidst unto me Return unto thy country O Lord, Which feedest me still from my youth up
R. Deliver me, O Lord.
V. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, * and to the Holy Ghost.
R. Which saidst unto me I will multiply thy seed as the stars of heaven, and as the sand of the sea, which cannot be numbered for multitude.

Thursday, 25 February 2016

Friday in the second week of Lent

The Gospel at Mass today is St Matthew 21: 33-46:

Listen to another parable. There was a rich man who planted a vineyard; he walled it in, and dug a wine-press and built a tower in it, and then let it out to some vine-dressers, while he went on his travels. 34 When vintage-time drew near, he sent his own servants on an errand to the vine-dressers, to claim its revenues. 35 Whereupon the vine-dressers laid hands upon his servants; one they beat, one they killed outright, one they stoned. 36 And he sent other servants on a second errand, more than he had sent at first, but they were used no better. 37 After that, he sent his own son to them; They will have reverence, he said, for my son. 38 But when the vine-dressers found his son coming to them, they said among themselves, This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and seize upon the inheritance. 39 And they laid hands on him, thrust him out from the vineyard, and killed him. 40 And now, what will the owner of the vineyard do to those vine-dressers when he returns? 41 They said, He will bring those wretches to a wretched end, and will let out the vineyard to other vine-dressers, who will pay him his due when the season comes. 42 And Jesus said to them, Have you never read those words in the scriptures, The very stone which the builders rejected has become the chief stone at the corner; this is the Lord’s doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes? 43 I tell you, then, that the kingdom of God will be taken away from you, and given to a people which yields the revenues that belong to it. 44 As for the stone, when a man falls against it, he will break his bones; when it falls upon him, it will scatter him like chaff.[8] 45 The chief priests and the Pharisees saw clearly, when they heard his parables, that it was of themselves he was speaking, 46 and would gladly have laid hands on him, but they were afraid of the people, who looked upon him as a prophet.

Aliam parabolam audite: Homo erat paterfamilias, qui plantavit vineam, et sepem circumdedit ei, et fodit in ea torcular, et ædificavit turrim, et locavit eam agricolis, et peregre profectus est. 34 Cum autem tempus fructuum appropinquasset, misit servos suos ad agricolas, ut acciperent fructus ejus. 35 Et agricolæ, apprehensis servis ejus, alium ceciderunt, alium occiderunt, alium vero lapidaverunt. 36 Iterum misit alios servos plures prioribus, et fecerunt illis similiter. 37 Novissime autem misit ad eos filium suum, dicens: Verebuntur filium meum. 38 Agricolæ autem videntes filium dixerunt intra se: Hic est hæres, venite, occidamus eum, et habebimus hæreditatem ejus. 39 Et apprehensum eum ejecerunt extra vineam, et occiderunt. 40 Cum ergo venerit dominus vineæ, quid faciet agricolis illis? 41 Aiunt illi: Malos male perdet: et vineam suam locabit aliis agricolis, qui reddant ei fructum temporibus suis. 42 Dicit illis Jesus: Numquam legistis in Scripturis: Lapidem quem reprobaverunt ædificantes, hic factus est in caput anguli: a Domino factum est istud, et est mirabile in oculis nostris? 43 Ideo dico vobis, quia auferetur a vobis regnum Dei, et dabitur genti facienti fructus ejus. 44 Et qui ceciderit super lapidem istum, confringetur: super quem vero ceciderit, conteret eum. 45 Et cum audissent principes sacerdotum et pharisæi parabolas ejus, cognoverunt quod de ipsis diceret. 46 Et quærentes eum tenere, timuerunt turbas: quoniam sicut prophetam eum habebant.

Matins readings (Homily by St Ambrose, Bk. ix. on Luke xx)

Reading 1: Many derive divers spiritual meanings from the term vineyard, but Isaias giveth us to know that the vineyard of the Lord of Sabaoth is the house of Israel, Who but God planted that vineyard? He it was that let it out to husbandmen, and went into a far country; not that the Lord, Who is everywhere present, moveth from place to place; but because He is nigh unto them that seek Him, and from such as regard Him not He standeth afar off. For a long time He tarried away, lest He might seem to ask too early for the fruits of His vineyard. For where kindness is greatest, there ingratitude is worst.

R. As Jacob went out from his own land, he saw the glory of God, and said How dreadful is this place
* This is none other but the house of God and this is the gate of heaven.
V. Surely God is in this place, and I knew it not.
R. This is none other but the house of God and this is the gate of heaven.

Reading 2: Therefore it is well written in Matthew, for our instruction, that He hedged it round about, that is, He girded it with the fortifications of His own Divine protection, that it might not easily lie open to the ravages of spiritual wild beasts. And digged a wine-press in it. What sense are we to put upon the wine-press, unless it be that the Psalms are here described under that title, because in them the mysteries of the Lord's Passion flow over like new wine, working under the power of the Holy Ghost? Whence also, they upon whom the Holy Ghost was outpoured were deemed to be drunken God therefore digged a wine-press, whereinto the reasonable grapes of inward fruitfulness poured their spiritual richness.

R. If the Lord my God will be with me, in this way that I go, and will keep me, and will give me bread to eat, and raiment to put on, and will bring me again safely* The Lord shall be my refuge, and this stone shall be a sign.
V. So Jacob rose up early in the morning, and took the stone that he had put for his pillow, and set it up for a pillar, and poured oil upon the top of it, and said
R. The Lord shall be my refuge, and this shall be a sign.

Reading 3: And built a tower that is, He raised up the goodly structure of the Law. And so this His vineyard, thus fortified, furnished, and garnished, He gave over to the Jews. And when the time of the fruit drew near, He sent His servants to the husbandmen. Well doth He call it the time of the fruit, not the time of the in-gathering. For the Jews yielded Him no fruit; the Lord had no ingathering from that vineyard of which He said: When I looked that it should bring forth grapes, it brought forth wild grapes. Not that wine that maketh glad the heart of man, not with the new wine of the spirit, reeked that wine-press, but with the blood of the Prophets, brutally shed.

R. The Lord shall be my God, and this stone, which I have set for a pillar, shall be called God's house, and of all that Thou shalt give me
* I will offer tithes and peace-offerings to thee.
V. If I come again to my father's house in peace.
R. I will offer tithes and peace-offerings unto thee.
V. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, * and to the Holy Ghost.
R. I will offer tithes and peace-offerings unto thee.

Wednesday, 24 February 2016

Thursday in the Second Week of Lent (&St Matthias)

Today is the feast of St Matthias and so the Mass and Office are of that feast, viz:

Nocturn I: Acts 1: 15-17, 18-20, 21-23 and 24-26
Nocturn II:: From the commentary on Psalm 86 of St Augustine
Nocturn III: Homily 69 of St Augustine
Gospel: Matthew 11: 25-30.

The daily texts for the Lent day are set out below.

Today's Gospel is St Luke 16:19-31:

9 Homo quidam erat dives, qui induebatur purpura et bysso, et epulabatur quotidie splendide. 20 Et erat quidam mendicus, nomine Lazarus, qui jacebat ad januam ejus, ulceribus plenus, 21 cupiens saturari de micis quæ cadebant de mensa divitis, et nemo illi dabat: sed et canes veniebant, et lingebant ulcera ejus. 22 Factum est autem ut moreretur mendicus, et portaretur ab angelis in sinum Abrahæ. Mortuus est autem et dives, et sepultus est in inferno. 23 Elevans autem oculos suos, cum esset in tormentis, vidit Abraham a longe, et Lazarum in sinu ejus: 24 et ipse clamans dixit: Pater Abraham, miserere mei, et mitte Lazarum ut intingat extremum digiti sui in aquam, ut refrigeret linguam meam, quia crucior in hac flamma. 25 Et dixit illi Abraham: Fili, recordare quia recepisti bona in vita tua, et Lazarus similiter mala: nunc autem hic consolatur, tu vero cruciaris: 26 et in his omnibus inter nos et vos chaos magnum firmatum est: ut hi qui volunt hinc transire ad vos, non possint, neque inde huc transmeare. 27 Et ait: Rogo ergo te, pater, ut mittas eum in domum patris mei: 28 habeo enim quinque fratres: ut testetur illis, ne et ipsi veniant in hunc locum tormentorum. 29 Et ait illi Abraham: Habent Moysen et prophetas: audiant illos. 30 At ille dixit: Non, pater Abraham: sed si quis ex mortuis ierit ad eos, pœnitentiam agent. 31 Ait autem illi: Si Moysen et prophetas non audiunt, neque si quis ex mortuis resurrexerit, credent.

 [19] There was a certain rich man, who was clothed in purple and fine linen; and feasted sumptuously every day. [20] And there was a certain beggar, named Lazarus, who lay at his gate, full of sores,
[21] Desiring to be filled with the crumbs that fell from the rich man' s table, and no one did give him; moreover the dogs came, and licked his sores. [22] And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham' s bosom. And the rich man also died: and he was buried in hell. [23] And lifting up his eyes when he was in torments, he saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom: [24] And he cried, and said: Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, to cool my tongue: for I am tormented in this flame. [25] And Abraham said to him: Son, remember that thou didst receive good things in thy lifetime, and likewise Lazareth evil things, but now he is comforted; and thou art tormented.[26] And besides all this, between us and you, there is fixed a great chaos: so that they who would pass from hence to you, cannot, nor from thence come hither. [27] And he said: Then, father, I beseech thee, that thou wouldst send him to my father' s house, for I have five brethren, [28] That he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torments. [29] And Abraham said to him: They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them. [30] But he said: No, father Abraham: but if one went to them from the dead, they will do penance. [31] And he said to him: If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they believe, if one rise again from the dead.

Matins readings

Reading 1 (Homily by Pope St Gregory the Great): Whom, dearly beloved brethren, whom are we to understand as signified by that rich man which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day, whom, I ask, are we to understand, but the Jewish people, who had all the outward life of religious ordinances, and who turned the treasure of the law they had received to show and not to use? What but the herd of the Gentiles is figured in Lazarus, full of sores? Whosoever turneth himself to God and is not ashamed to confess his sin, hath his sores on the skin, for in a sore on the skin breaketh out the corruption, which is drawn from within.

Reading 2: What is, then, the confession of our sins but the breaking out of our sores? The corrupt matter of sin is healthily opened in confession, instead of remaining in the mind to rot it. Open sores on the skin bring the poisonous matter to the surface, and when we confess our sins, what do we but open up the evil that there is lurking in us? But Lazarus desired to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man's table, and no man gave unto him; even so did that proud people scorn to admit a Gentile to the knowledge of their law.

Reading 3: The teaching of the law moved them to pride, and not to love, as though they swelled with self-importance at the thought of their riches, and the words which some Gentiles caught of their knowledge were as crumbs falling from their sumptuous table. On the other hand, the dogs came and licked the sores of the beggar that was laid at their gate. Sometimes in Holy Writ, under the figure of dogs, preachers are understood. A dog's tongue healeth the sore which it licketh, and so do holy teachers, when we confess our sins, and they speak to us, mollify by their tongues the sores of our souls.

Tuesday, 23 February 2016

Mass and Matins readings for Wednesday in the second week of Lent


The Gospel at Mass in the EF is St Matthew 20: 17-28:

Et ascendens Jesus Jerosolymam, assumpsit duodecim discipulos secreto, et ait illis: 18 Ecce ascendimus Jerosolymam, et Filius hominis tradetur principibus sacerdotum, et scribis, et condemnabunt eum morte, 19 et tradent eum gentibus ad illudendum, et flagellandum, et crucifigendum, et tertia die resurget. 20 Tunc accessit ad eum mater filiorum Zebedæi cum filiis suis, adorans et petens aliquid ab eo. 21 Qui dixit ei: Quid vis? Ait illi: Dic ut sedeant hi duo filii mei, unus ad dexteram tuam, et unus ad sinistram in regno tuo. 22 Respondens autem Jesus, dixit: Nescitis quid petatis. Potestis bibere calicem, quem ego bibiturus sum? Dicunt ei: Possumus. 23 Ait illis: Calicem quidem meum bibetis: sedere autem ad dexteram meam vel sinistram non est meum dare vobis, sed quibus paratum est a Patre meo. 24 Et audientes decem, indignati sunt de duobus fratribus. 25 Jesus autem vocavit eos ad se, et ait: Scitis quia principes gentium dominantur eorum: et qui majores sunt, potestatem exercent in eos. 26 Non ita erit inter vos: sed quicumque voluerit inter vos major fieri, sit vester minister: 27 et qui voluerit inter vos primus esse, erit vester servus. 28 Sicut Filius hominis non venit ministrari, sed ministrare, et dare animam suam redemptionem pro multis.

And now Jesus was going up to Jerusalem, and he took his twelve disciples aside on the way, and warned them, 18 Now we are going up to Jerusalem; and there the Son of Man will be given up into the hands of the chief priests and scribes, who will condemn him to death. 19 And these will give him up into the hands of the Gentiles, to be mocked and scourged and crucified; but on the third day he will rise again.[1] 20 Thereupon the mother of the sons of Zebedee brought them to him, falling on her knees to make a request of him. 21 And when he asked her, What is thy will? she said to him, Here are my two sons; grant that in thy kingdom one may take his place on thy right and the other on thy left. 22 But Jesus answered, You do not know what it is you ask. Have you strength to drink of the cup I am to drink of? They said, We have. 23 And he told them, You shall indeed drink of my cup; but a place on my right hand or my left is not mine to give; it is for those for whom my Father has destined it. 24 The ten others were angry with the two brethren when they heard it; 25 but Jesus called them to him, and said, You know that, among the Gentiles, those who bear rule lord it over them, and great men vaunt their power over them; 26 with you it must be otherwise; whoever would be a great man among you, must be your servant, 27 and whoever has a mind to be first among you, must be your slave. 28 So it is that the Son of Man did not come to have service done him; he came to serve others, and to give his life as a ransom for the lives of many.

Matins (Homily by St Ambrose, Bishop of Milan. Bk. v. to Gratian, on Faith)

Reading 1: Consider what it was that the mother of Zebedee's children came to Christ desiring, with, and for her sons. She was a mother, who, longing for the honour of her sons, preferred a request immoderate, and yet pardonable. She was a mother who, albeit stricken in years and comfortless, at an age when she had sore need of the strength of her offspring to help and keep her, was yet so earnest in godliness and motherly love, that she had liefer suffer the loss of her sons, that they might gain the reward of following Christ still, as we read they had already done, when, at the first call of the Lord, they left their nets and their father.

R. The Angel said unto Jacob
* Let me go, for the day breaketh. And he said I will not let thee go, except thou bless me. And he blessed him there.
V. And when Jacob arose, behold there wrestled a man with him, until the breaking of the day and, when he saw that he prevailed not, he said unto him
R. Let me go, for the day breaketh. And he said I will not let thee go, except thou bless me. And he blessed him there.

Reading 2: She, then, yielding to the intensity of her motherly love, besought the Saviour, saying, Grant that these my two sons may sit, the one at thy right hand and the other at thy left hand, in thy kingdom. Although it was a mistake, it was a mistake of love. For a mother's love knoweth no moderation. Yet, although it was a greedy prayer, that was a pardonable greed, which hungered, not for riches, but for grace. Neither was that request shameless which sought, not her own good, but her children's. Remember that she was a mother. Think how that she was a mother.

R. I have seen God face to face* And my life is preserved.
V. And he said unto me thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel shall be thy name.
R. And my life is preserved.

Reading 3: Christ took into His consideration that mother's love of hers, which made her sons' reward the comfort of her own old age, and which could bear the loss of her loved ones, broken as she was by a mother's yearnings. Consider also that she was a woman, that is, of the weaker sex, to which the Lord had not yet given strength by His Passion. Consider, I say, that she was an heiress of Eve, and weakened by that transmission of the unbridled covetousness of the first woman, which the Lord had not yet disarmed by His Blood, even that craving for undue dignity, wherewith all our natures are imbued, and which Christ's Bloodshedding had not yet washed away. She erred indeed, but the mistake was an inherited weakness.

R. When Jacob heard that Esau came to meet him, he divided his sons and his wives, saying If Esau smite the one company, then the other shall escape.
* Deliver me, O Lord, Which saidst unto me I will multiply thy seed as the stars of heaven, and as the sand of the sea, which cannot be numbered for multitude.
V. O Lord, Which saidst unto me Return unto thy country O Lord, Which feedest me still from my youth up
R. Deliver me, O Lord.
V. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, * and to the Holy Ghost.
R. Which saidst unto me I will multiply thy seed as the stars of heaven, and as the sand of the sea, which cannot be numbered for multitude.

Monday, 22 February 2016

Tuesday in the second week of Lent

Today's Gospel is St Matthew 23: 1-12:

1 Tunc Jesus locutus est ad turbas, et ad discipulos suos, 2 dicens: Super cathedram Moysi sederunt scribæ et pharisæi. 3 Omnia ergo quæcumque dixerint vobis, servate, et facite: secundum opera vero eorum nolite facere: dicunt enim, et non faciunt. 4 Alligant enim onera gravia, et importabilia, et imponunt in humeros hominum: digito autem suo nolunt ea movere. 5 Omnia vero opera sua faciunt ut videantur ab hominibus: dilatant enim phylacteria sua, et magnificant fimbrias. 6 Amant autem primos recubitus in cœnis, et primas cathedras in synagogis, 7 et salutationes in foro, et vocari ab hominibus Rabbi. 8 Vos autem nolite vocari Rabbi: unus est enim magister vester, omnes autem vos fratres estis. 9 Et patrem nolite vocare vobis super terram: unus est enim pater vester qui in cælis est. 10 Nec vocemini magistri: quia magister vester unus est, Christus. 11 Qui major est vestrum, erit minister vester. 12 Qui autem se exaltaverit, humiliabitur: et qui se humiliaverit, exaltabitur.


[1] Then Jesus spoke to the multitudes and to his disciples, [2] Saying: The scribes and the Pharisees have sitten on the chair of Moses. [3] All things therefore whatsoever they shall say to you, observe and do: but according to their works do ye not; for they say, and do not. [4] For they bind heavy and insupportable burdens, and lay them on men' s shoulders; but with a finger of their own they will not move them. [5] And all their works they do for to be seen of men. For they make their phylacteries broad, and enlarge their fringes. [6] And they love the first places at feasts, and the first chairs in the synagogues, [7] And salutations in the market place, and to be called by men, Rabbi. [8] But be not you called Rabbi. For one is your master; and all you are brethren. [9] And call none your father upon earth; for one is your father, who is in heaven. [10] Neither be ye called masters; for one is your master, Christ. [11] He that is the greatest among you shall be your servant. [12] And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be humbled: and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.

Matins readings

Reading 1 (Homily by St Jerome): Was there ever man gentler and kinder than the Lord? The Pharisees tempted Him; their craft was confounded, and, in the words of the Psalmist, The arrows of babes have pierced them, Ps. lxiii. 8, and nevertheless, because of the dignity of their priesthood and name, He exhorteth the people to be subject to them, by doing according to their words, though not according to their works. By the words Moses' seat we are to understand the teaching of the law. Thus also must we mystically take, Sitteth in the seat of the scornful, Ps. i. 1, and likewise, overthrew the seats of them that sold doves, Matth. xxi. 12, to describe doctrine.

R. As Jacob went out from his own land, he saw the glory of God, and said How dreadful is this place
* This is none other but the house of God and this is the gate of heaven.
V. Surely God is in this place, and I knew it not.
R. This is none other but the house of God and this is the gate of heaven.

Reading 2: How they bind heavy burdens, and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men's shoulders, but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers. This is generally directed against all teachers who command things hard, and themselves do not even things easy. But it is to be remarked that the shoulders, the fingers, and the binding of the burdens, have a spiritual interpretation. But all their works they do for to be seen of men. Whosoever therefore doth anything for to be seen of men, the same is, so far, a Scribe and a Pharisee.

R. If the Lord my God will be with me, in this way that I go, and will keep me, and will give me bread to eat, and raiment to put on, and will bring me again safely
* The Lord shall be my refuge, and this stone shall be a sign.
V. So Jacob rose up early in the morning, and took the stone that he had put for his pillow, and set it up for a pillar, and poured oil upon the top of it, and said

R. The Lord shall be my refuge, and this shall be a sign.

Reading 3: They make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments. And love the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues, and greetings in the markets, and to be called of men, Rabbi. Woe to us miserable sinners who have inherited the vices of the Pharisees! When the Lord had given the commandments of the law to Moses He added afterwards Thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes, Deut. vi. 8. The sense of these words is My Law shall be in thine hand to order whatsoever thou doest, and ever before thine eyes that thou mayest meditate therein day and night. But the Pharisees, by a bad interpretation, were accustomed to write on pieces of parchment the Decalogue of Moses, that is, the Ten Words of the Law, and to tie these pieces of parchment, plaited in a peculiar manner, on their foreheads, so as to make a sort of crown round their heads, which projected in front of their eyes, and always moved before them.

R. The Lord shall be my God, and this stone, which I have set for a pillar, shall be called God's house, and of all that Thou shalt give me
* I will offer tithes and peace-offerings to thee.
V. If I come again to my father's house in peace.
R. I will offer tithes and peace-offerings unto thee.
V. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, * and to the Holy Ghost.
R. I will offer tithes and peace-offerings unto thee.

Sunday, 21 February 2016

Monday in the second week of Lent

The Gospel at Mass for Monday in the second week of Lent are for St John 8:21-29:

21 Dixit ergo iterum eis Jesus: Ego vado, et quæretis me, et in peccato vestro moriemini. Quo ego vado, vos non potestis venire. 22 Dicebant ergo Judæi: Numquid interficiet semetipsum, quia dixit: Quo ego vado, vos non potestis venire? 23 Et dicebat eis: Vos de deorsum estis, ego de supernis sum. Vos de mundo hoc estis, ego non sum de hoc mundo. 24 Dixi ergo vobis quia moriemini in peccatis vestris: si enim non credideritis quia ego sum, moriemini in peccato vestro. 25 Dicebant ergo ei: Tu quis es? Dixit eis Jesus: Principium, qui et loquor vobis. 26 Multa habeo de vobis loqui, et judicare; sed qui me misit, verax est; et ego quæ audivi ab eo, hæc loquor in mundo. 27 Et non cognoverunt quia Patrem ejus dicebat Deum. 28 Dixit ergo eis Jesus: Cum exaltaveritis Filium hominis, tunc cognoscetis quia ego sum, et a meipso facio nihil, sed sicut docuit me Pater, hæc loquor: 29 et qui me misit, mecum est, et non reliquit me solum: quia ego quæ placita sunt ei, facio semper.

In the Douay-Rheims translation:

[21] Again therefore Jesus said to them: I go, and you shall seek me, and you shall die in your sin. Whither I go, you cannot come. [22] The Jews therefore said: Will he kill himself, because he said: Whither I go, you cannot come? [23] And he said to them: You are from beneath, I am from above. You are of this world, I am not of this world. [24] Therefore I said to you, that you shall die in your sins. For if you believe not that I am he, you shall die in your sin. [25] They said therefore to him: Who art thou? Jesus said to them: The beginning, who also speak unto you.[26] Many things I have to speak and to judge of you. But he that sent me, is true: and the things I have heard of him, these same I speak in the world. [27] And they understood not, that he called God his Father. [28] Jesus therefore said to them: When you shall have lifted up the Son of man, then shall you know, that I am he, and that I do nothing of myself, but as the Father hath taught me, these things I speak: [29] And he that sent me, is with me, and he hath not left me alone: for I do always the things that please him.

Matins readings


Reading 1 (Tract 38 on John by St Augustine): The Lord spake unto the Jews, saying I go My way for, to the Lord Christ, death was a departure to that place whence He had come, and whence He had never departed. I go My way, saith He, and ye shall seek Me not from love, but from hatred. Yea after He had withdrawn Himself from the sight of men, two classes sought Him, even they that loved, and they that hated Him; the one because they longed for His presence, the other because they were fain to hunt Him down. In the Psalms the Lord Himself saith by His Prophet: Refuge failed me, and no man cared for my soul. Ps. cxli. 5. And again He said in another Psalm Let them be confounded and put to shame that seek after my soul.

R. While as Jacob went from Beersheba, and hasted unto Haran, the Lord spake unto him, saying
* The land whereon thou sleepest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed.
V. He built an altar of stones unto the Name of the Lord, and poured oil upon the top of it; and God blessed him and said,:
R. The land whereon thou sleepest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed.

Reading 2: Thus doth He blame them that seek not, and condemn such as seek. Yea, it is a good thing to seek the soul of Christ, as the disciples sought it; and an evil thing to seek it, as the Jews sought it; the first sought it to possess, the second to destroy it. What then doth He bid us know will be the reward of such as seek it evilly in a perverse heart? Ye shall seek Me, and lest ye think that ye shall do well so to seek Me, I tell you that ye shall die in your sins. To seek Christ with bad intent, is as much as to die in sin, for it is to hate Him through Whom alone we can be saved.

R. God appeared unto Jacob, and blessed him, and said I am the God of Bethel, where thou anointedst the pillar, and where thou vowedst a vow unto Me.
* I will make thee fruitful, and multiply thee.
V. Surely the Lord is in this place, and I knew it not.
R. I will make thee fruitful, and multiply thee.

Reading 3: Whereas men whose hope is in God ought to return good even for evil, those men returned evil for good. The Lord therefore told them beforehand, and, because He knew it, He let them know their coming end, how that they should die in their sins. Then He said farther Whither I go, ye cannot come. This He said in another place xiii. 33 to His disciples, but He never said to them Ye shall die in your sins. What said He? The same words as to the Jews Whither I go, ye cannot come. Yet, to the disciples, these words only deferred, they cut not away hope for they, though for a little while they could not come whither He was to go, were yet in the end to go there. Not so they to whom He foretold and said Ye shall die in your sins.

R. God give thee of the dew of heaven and the fatness of the earth. Let people and nations serve thee.
* Be lord over thy brethren.
V. And let thy mother's sons bow down to thee.
R. Be lord over thy brethren.
V. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, * and to the Holy Ghost.
R. Be lord over thy brethren.

Saturday, 20 February 2016

Matins readings for the Second Sunday of Lent

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

Nocturn I: Genesis 27

Reading 1: And now Isaac was old, and his eyes had grown so dim that he saw nothing. One day he called to his elder son Esau, My son! and when he answered, I am here, at thy command, 2 See, his father said, how old a man I have grown; there is no telling how soon I may be overtaken by death. 3 Come, fetch that armoury of thine, thy quiver and thy bow, and go out hunting; when thou hast slain thy quarry, 4 make me a roast dish, such as I love well, and bring it me to eat. And so thou shalt have my blessing, against the time of my death.

R. Take thy weapons, thy quiver and thy bow, and bring me some of thy venison, that I may eat,
* and my soul may bless thee.
V. And when thou hast taken somewhat, make me thereof savoury meat, that I may eat.
R. And my soul may bless thee.

Reading 2: To all this, Rebecca listened; and when Esau had gone out hunting, to do as his father had bidden him, 6 she said to her son Jacob, I heard thy father talking to thy brother Esau, and thus he spoke to him; 7 Bring my venison from the chase, and make me a dish of meat; so thou shalt have my blessing, with the Lord to witness it, against the time of my death. 8 Nothing remains for thee, my son, but to fall in with this plan of mine. 9 Make thy way to the herd, and bring me two choice kids; of these I will make such a dish as thy father loves to eat, 10 and thou shalt take it in to him; so, when he has eaten it, his dying benediction shall be thine instead. 11 Bethink thee, answered Jacob, how hairy my brother Esau’s skin is, and mine how smooth! 12 What if my father should feel it? He will think that I have been trying to make game of him, and it is a curse, not a blessing, I shall win. 

R. See the smell of my son is as the smell of a field which the Lord hath blessed may my God multiply thee as the sand of the sea
* and give thee a blessing of the dew of heaven
V. And God Almighty bless thee, and multiply thee
R. And give thee a blessing of the dew of heaven.

Reading 3: A curse, my son? said his mother. Let it fall on me; do but attend to my bidding, and fetch me what I ask for. 14 So he went and brought them to his mother, and she made a dish of meat, such as she knew his father loved. 15 She had fine clothes of Esau’s by her in the house, and she dressed Jacob in these; 16 enclosed his hands, too in skin he had taken from the kids, and covered his bare neck with it; 17 then she gave him the dish, and some loaves which she had cooked, to carry with him.18 So he brought them in, and said, Father. Yes, my son, he said; who is it? 19 I am Esau, said Jacob, Esau, thy first-born; I have done thy bidding. Rise up, I pray thee, sit at table, and eat this venison of mine, and give me a father’s blessing. 20 Why, answered Isaac, how didst thou come to find thy quarry in so short a time, my son? It was God’s pleasure, said he, to send it in my way.

R. God give thee of the dew of heaven and the fatness of the earth. Let people and nations serve thee.
* Be lord over thy brethren.
V. And let thy mother's sons bow down to thee.
R. Be lord over thy brethren.

Reading 4:Then Isaac said, Come near, and let me feel thee, to make sure whether thou art my son Esau or not. 22 So he went close to his father; and he, upon feeling the touch of him, said, The voice is Jacob’s voice, but the hands are the hands of Esau. 23 There was no recognizing Jacob, since his hands were hairy like Esau’s hands, and he must needs give his blessing. 24 Thou art my son, he said, my son Esau? Yes, he answered, I am. 25 Why then, said he, bring it here; let me eat my son’s venison, and give him a father’s blessing. So he ate what was brought him, and Jacob offered him wine too, and he drank.26 Then he said to Jacob, Come here, my son, and kiss me. 27 And when he came near, and kissed him, all at once Isaac caught the smell of his garments, and this was the blessing he gave him: How it breathes about this son of mine, the fragrance of earth when the Lord’s blessing is on it! 28 God give thee dew from heaven and fruitful soil, corn and wine in plenty. 29 Let nations serve thee, and peoples bow before thee; mayst thou be lord over thy brethren, receive obeisance from thy own mother’s sons; a curse on those who curse, a blessing on those who bless thee! 

Nocturn II: St Augustine, Against Liars

Reading 5: If we consider faithfully and carefully what it was that Jacob did by the advice of his mother, and wherein he seemeth to have deceived his father, it will appear that (it hath an aspect in which) it is not a lie, but an allegory. If we denounce this (its mystic sense) as a lie, then must we also give the name of lies to even all parable, and to every figure devised to set forth the nature of anything, which is not to be taken in its literal sense, but in which one thing is to be understood under the name of another. And this be far from us. 

R. As Jacob went out from his own land, he saw the glory of God, and said How dreadful is this place
* This is none other but the house of God and this is the gate of heaven.
V. Surely God is in this place, and I knew it not.
R. This is none other but the house of God and this is the gate of heaven.

Reading 6: Whoso should do this, would bring the charge of falsehood against very many figures of speech, including that one called metaphor (in which a word is transferred from that meaning which belongeth to it, to some other) to which would, by such reasoning, be given the name of a lie. The deep meaning is given; but what is considered is the lie because men do not understand the way in which that signification, which is a truth, is set forth but the falsehood is plainly expressed, and believed.

R. If the Lord my God will be with me, in this way that I go, and will keep me, and will give me bread to eat, and raiment to put on, and will bring me again safely
* The Lord shall be my refuge, and this stone shall be a sign.
V. So Jacob rose up early in the morning, and took the stone that he had put for his pillow, and set it up for a pillar, and poured oil upon the top of it, and said
R. The Lord shall be my refuge, and this shall be a sign.

Reading 7: That we may understand this more plainly by taking some points in illustration, consider with me what Jacob did. It is certain that he covered his limbs with the skins of goats. If we consider his object in point of fact, we shall find that it was to lie, because he did this that he might be thought to be he who he was not. But if we consider this his deed in that deep typical sense which it undoubtedly possesseth, we find that by the goat-skins are represented sins, and by him who covered himself therewith Him Who bore not His own sins, but the sins of others.

R. The Lord shall be my God, and this stone, which I have set for a pillar, shall be called God's house, and of all that Thou shalt give me
* I will offer tithes and peace-offerings to thee.
V. If I come again to my father's house in peace.
R. I will offer tithes and peace-offerings unto thee.

Reading 8: It is impossible to apply the term a " lie " to that mystic aspect of this transaction in which it was true and such an aspect there is, not only in the acts, but in the words. When Isaac said to Jacob: "Who art thou, my son " and Jacob answered " I am Esau, thy first-born, if we take this in its sense relative to the two brothers, it will be apparent that it was a lie. If, however, we look at it relatively to that for the sake of which these words and deeds were written down, we shall see that Christ is here signified in His mystic body, the Church. Concerning her, (the younger covenant,) He saith (to them of the older covenant) " Ye shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the Prophets in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrust out. And they shall come from the east, and from the west, and from the north, and from the south, and shall sit down in the kingdom of God. And, behold, there are last which shall be first, and there are first which shall be last." Thus did the younger take away the title and inheritance from the elder, and acquire it to himself.

R. As Jacob went out from his own land, he saw the glory of God, and said How dreadful is this place
* This is none other but the house of God and this is the gate of heaven.
V. Surely God is in this place, and I knew it not.
R. This is none other but the house of God and this is the gate of heaven.

Nocturn III: Homily 51 by St Leo the Great 

Reading 9: Jesus took Peter, and James, and John his brother, and brought them up into an exceeding high mountain apart, and manifested forth the brightness of His glory. Hitherto, though they understood that there was in Him the Majesty of God, they knew not the power of that Body which veiled the Godhead. And therefore He had individually and markedly promised to some of the disciples that had stood by Him that they should "not taste of death till they had seen the Son of Man coming in His kingdom, that is, in the kingly splendour, which is the right of the Manhood taken into God, and which He willed to make visible to those three men.

R. The Angel said unto Jacob* Let me go, for the day breaketh. And he said I will not let thee go, except thou bless me. And he blessed him there.
V. And when Jacob arose, behold there wrestled a man with him, until the breaking of the day and, when he saw that he prevailed not, he said unto him

R. Let me go, for the day breaketh. And he said I will not let thee go, except thou bless me. And he blessed him there.

Reading 10: This it was that they saw, for the unspeakable and unapproachable vision of the Godhead Himself which will be the everlasting life of the pure in heart, can no man, who is still burdened with a dying body, see and live. When the Father saith "This is My beloved Son, in Whom I am well pleased hear ye Him did they not plainly hear Him say This is My Son, Whose it is to be of Me and with Me without all time " For neither is He That begetteth, before Him That is begotten, neither He That is begotten, after Him That begetteth Him. " This is My Son between Whom and Me, to be God is not a point of difference to be Almighty, a point of separation nor to be Eternal, a point of distinction. "

R. I have seen God face to face
* And my life is preserved.
V. And he said unto me thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel shall be thy name.

R. And my life is preserved.

Reading 11: This is My Son not by adoption, but My very Own not created from, or of another substance, or out of nothing, but begotten of Me not of another nature, and made like unto Me, but of Mine own Being, born of Me, equal unto Me.This is My Son by Whom all things were made, and without Whom was not anything made that was made, Who maketh likewise all things whatsoever I make and what things soever I do He doeth likewise, inseparably and indifferently."

R. When Jacob heard that Esau came to meet him, he divided his sons and his wives, saying If Esau smite the one company, then the other shall escape.
* Deliver me, O Lord, Which saidst unto me I will multiply thy seed as the stars of heaven, and as the sand of the sea, which cannot be numbered for multitude.
V. O Lord, Which saidst unto me Return unto thy country O Lord, Which feedest me still from my youth up
R. Deliver me, O Lord.

Reading 12: This is My Son Who thought it not robbery, nor hath taken it by violence, to be equal with Me, but, abiding still in the form of My glory, that He may fulfil Our common decree for the restoration of mankind, hath bowed the unchangeable Godhead even to the form of a servant. Him therefore in Whom I am in all things well pleased, by Whose preaching I am manifested, and by Whose lowliness I am glorified, Him instantly hear ye. For He is the Truth and the Life My Power, and My Wisdom.

Gospel:  St Matthew 17:1-9

1 Et post dies sex assumit Jesus Petrum, et Jacobum, et Joannem fratrem ejus, et ducit illos in montem excelsum seorsum: 2 et transfiguratus est ante eos. Et resplenduit facies ejus sicut sol: vestimenta autem ejus facta sunt alba sicut nix. 3 Et ecce apparuerunt illis Moyses et Elias cum eo loquentes. 4 Respondens autem Petrus, dixit ad Jesum: Domine, bonum est nos hic esse: si vis, faciamus tria tabernacula, tibi unum, Moysi unum, et Eliæ unum. 5 Adhuc eo loquente, ecce nubes lucida obumbravit eos. Et ecce vox de nube, dicens: Hic est Filius meus dilectus, in quo mihi bene complacui: ipsum audite. 6 Et audientes discipuli ceciderunt in faciem suam, et timuerunt valde. 7 Et accessit Jesus, et tetigit eos: dixitque eis: Surgite, et nolite timere. 8 Levantes autem oculos suos, neminem viderunt, nisi solum Jesum.9 Et descendentibus illis de monte, præcepit eis Jesus, dicens: Nemini dixeritis visionem, donec Filius hominis a mortuis resurgat.

(Douay-Rheims):

1] And after six days Jesus taketh unto him Peter and James, and John his brother, and bringeth them up into a high mountain apart: [2] And he was transfigured before them. And his face did shine as the sun: and his garments became white as snow. [3] And behold there appeared to them Moses and Elias talking with him. [4] And Peter answering, said to Jesus: Lord, it is good for us to be here: if thou wilt, let us make here three tabernacles, one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias. [5] And as he was yet speaking, behold a bright cloud overshadowed them. And lo, a voice out of the cloud, saying: This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased: hear ye him. [6] And the disciples hearing, fell upon their face, and were very much afraid. [7] And Jesus came and touched them: and said to them, Arise, and fear not. [8] And they lifting up their eyes saw no one but only Jesus. [9] And as they came down from the mountain, Jesus charged them, saying: Tell the vision to no man, till the Son of man be risen from the dead. 

Friday, 19 February 2016

Ember Saturday in the first week of Lent

Today's Gospel is St Matthew 17:1-9, on the Transfiguration:

1 Et post dies sex assumit Jesus Petrum, et Jacobum, et Joannem fratrem ejus, et ducit illos in montem excelsum seorsum: 2 et transfiguratus est ante eos. Et resplenduit facies ejus sicut sol: vestimenta autem ejus facta sunt alba sicut nix. 3 Et ecce apparuerunt illis Moyses et Elias cum eo loquentes. 4 Respondens autem Petrus, dixit ad Jesum: Domine, bonum est nos hic esse: si vis, faciamus tria tabernacula, tibi unum, Moysi unum, et Eliæ unum. 5 Adhuc eo loquente, ecce nubes lucida obumbravit eos. Et ecce vox de nube, dicens: Hic est Filius meus dilectus, in quo mihi bene complacui: ipsum audite. 6 Et audientes discipuli ceciderunt in faciem suam, et timuerunt valde. 7 Et accessit Jesus, et tetigit eos: dixitque eis: Surgite, et nolite timere. 8 Levantes autem oculos suos, neminem viderunt, nisi solum Jesum.9 Et descendentibus illis de monte, præcepit eis Jesus, dicens: Nemini dixeritis visionem, donec Filius hominis a mortuis resurgat.

 And after six days Jesus taketh unto him Peter and James, and John his brother, and bringeth them up into a high mountain apart: [2] And he was transfigured before them. And his face did shine as the sun: and his garments became white as snow. [3] And behold there appeared to them Moses and Elias talking with him. [4] And Peter answering, said to Jesus: Lord, it is good for us to be here: if thou wilt, let us make here three tabernacles, one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias. [5] And as he was yet speaking, behold a bright cloud overshadowed them. And lo, a voice out of the cloud, saying: This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased: hear ye him.[6] And the disciples hearing, fell upon their face, and were very much afraid. [7] And Jesus came and touched them: and said to them, Arise, and fear not. [8] And they lifting up their eyes saw no one but only Jesus. [9] And as they came down from the mountain, Jesus charged them, saying: Tell the vision to no man, till the Son of man be risen from the dead.

Matins readings (from Divinum Officium):

Reading 1 (Homily by Pope St Leo the Great): Dearly beloved brethren, the Lesson from the Holy Gospel which, entering in by our bodily ears, hath knocked at the door of our inner mind, calleth us to understand a great mystery. This, by the grace of God, we shall the more readily do, if we return to consider what hath been told us just before. The Saviour of mankind, even Jesus Christ, laying the foundations of that faith whereby the ungodly are called to righteousness and the dead to life, instilled into the minds of His disciples, both by the voice of His teaching and the wonder of His works, that they should believe Him, the one Christ, to be both the Only-begotten Son of God and the Son of man. Had they believed Him one of these and not the other, it had availed them nothing to salvation; and the danger was equally great, of holding the Lord Jesus Christ to be God without the Manhood, or Man only without the Godhead, since we are constrained to acknowledge that He is perfect God and perfect Man, and that as there is in the Godhead perfect Manhood, so there is in the Manhood perfect Godhead.

R.br. Rend your hearts and not your garments, and turn unto the Lord your God;
* For He is gracious and merciful.
V. Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts, and let him return' unto the Lord, and He will have mercy upon him.

R. For He is gracious and merciful.

Reading 2: To strengthen, therefore, the saving knowledge of this faith, the Lord had asked His disciples what, among the differing opinions of men, it was their own belief and judgment as to Who He was. Then did the Apostle Peter, by the revelation of That Father Who is above all, rising above fleshly things, yea, outstripping the thoughts of men, then did he fix the eyes of his mind upon the Son of the living God, and confess the glory of the Godhead, for he looked not on the substance of the flesh and blood only. And in all the exaltation of this faith so well did he please God, that he was gifted with that joyous blessing, the hallowed establishment of that impregnable rock, whereon the Church being founded, should prevail against the gates of hell and the laws of death; neither, when anything is to be bound or loosed, is any bound or loosed in heaven, otherwise than as the judgment of Peter hath bound or loosed it upon earth.

R.br. Deal thy bread to the hungry, and bring the poor and the wanderer to thine house.
* Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thy righteousness shall go before thee.
V. When thou seest the naked, cover him; and hide not thyself from thine own flesh.
R. Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thy righteousness shall go before thee.

Reading 3: But, dearly beloved brethren, it behoved that the height of this understanding, which the Lord praised, should rest upon a foundation, and that foundation, the mystery of the lower nature, lest the faith of the Apostle, carried away by the glorious acknowledgment of the Godhead in Christ, should deem it unworthy and unnatural for the impassible God to take into Himself the frailty of our nature; and should thus believe that in Christ the Manhood had been so glorified as to be no longer able to suffer pain, or be dissolved in death. And therefore it was that, when the Lord said how that He must go up unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests, and scribes, and be killed, and rise again the third day, and the blessed Peter, bright with heavenly illumination, and still glowing from the passionate acknowledgment of the Divine Sonship, by a natural, and, as seemed to him, a godly shrinking, could not bear the mention of mockery and insult and a cruel death, he was corrected by the merciful rebuke of Jesus, and moved rather to desire to be a partaker in the sufferings of his Master.

Thursday, 18 February 2016

Ember Friday in the first week of Lent

Today's Gospel is from St John 5:1-15:

1 Post hæc erat dies festus Judæorum, et ascendit Jesus Jerosolymam. 2 Est autem Jerosolymis probatica piscina, quæ cognominatur hebraice Bethsaida, quinque porticus habens. 3 In his jacebat multitudo magna languentium, cæcorum, claudorum, aridorum, exspectantium aquæ motum. 4 Angelus autem Domini descendebat secundum tempus in piscinam, et movebatur aqua. Et qui prior descendisset in piscinam post motionem aquæ, sanus fiebat a quacumque detinebatur infirmitate. 5 Erat autem quidam homo ibi triginta et octo annos habens in infirmitate sua. 6 Hunc autem cum vidisset Jesus jacentem, et cognovisset quia jam multum tempus haberet, dicit ei: Vis sanus fieri? 7 Respondit ei languidus: Domine, hominem non habeo, ut, cum turbata fuerit aqua, mittat me in piscinam: dum venio enim ego, alius ante me descendit. 8 Dicit ei Jesus: Surge, tolle grabatum tuum et ambula. 9 Et statim sanus factus est homo ille: et sustulit grabatum suum, et ambulabat. Erat autem sabbatum in die illo. 10 Dicebant ergo Judæi illi qui sanatus fuerat: Sabbatum est, non licet tibi tollere grabatum tuum. 11 Respondit eis: Qui me sanum fecit, ille mihi dixit: Tolle grabatum tuum et ambula. 12 Interrogaverunt ergo eum: Quis est ille homo qui dixit tibi: Tolle grabatum tuum et ambula? 13 Is autem qui sanus fuerat effectus, nesciebat quis esset. Jesus enim declinavit a turba constituta in loco. 14 Postea invenit eum Jesus in templo, et dixit illi: Ecce sanus factus es; jam noli peccare, ne deterius tibi aliquid contingat. 15 Abiit ille homo, et nuntiavit Judæis quia Jesus esset, qui fecit eum sanum.

In English:

After these things was a festival day of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. [2] Now there is at Jerusalem a pond, called Probatica, which in Hebrew is named Bethsaida, having five porches. [3] In these lay a great multitude of sick, of blind, of lame, of withered; waiting for the moving of the water. [4] And an angel of the Lord descended at certain times into the pond; and the water was moved. And he that went down first into the pond after the motion of the water, was made whole, of whatsoever infirmity he lay under. [5] And there was a certain man there, that had been eight and thirty years under his infirmity.[6] Him when Jesus had seen lying, and knew that he had been now a long time, he saith to him: Wilt thou be made whole? [7] The infirm man answered him: Sir, I have no man, when the water is troubled, to put me into the pond. For whilst I am coming, another goeth down before me. [8] Jesus saith to him: Arise, take up thy bed, and walk. [9] And immediately the man was made whole: and he took up his bed, and walked. And it was the sabbath that day. [10] The Jews therefore said to him that was healed: It is the sabbath; it is not lawful for thee to take up thy bed.[11] He answered them: He that made me whole, he said to me, Take up thy bed, and walk. [12] They asked him therefore: Who is that man who said to thee, Take up thy bed, and walk? [13] But he who was healed, knew not who it was; for Jesus went aside from the multitude standing in the place. [14] Afterwards, Jesus findeth him in the temple, and saith to him: Behold thou art made whole: sin no more, lest some worse thing happen to thee. [15] The man went his way, and told the Jews, that it was Jesus who had made him whole.

Matins readings (St Augustine, via Divinum Officium):

Reading 1: Let us see what is mystically signified by that one infirm man whom alone the Lord, keeping to a mysterious unity, chose out of so many sufferers, to be the subject of His healing power. He found in him a certain number of years of sickness. He had had an infirmity thirty and eight years. How this number is proper rather to weakness than to health, will now be the subject of a few careful remarks. I bespeak your attention; the Lord will be present, that I may speak fitly, and you may understand. The number forty is put before us as hallowed, and, in a way, perfect. I think that your love knoweth this God's Scriptures often and; often witness it. Ye well know that a Fast of this number of days is hallowed. Moses fasted forty days. Elias did the same. And our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ Himself fasted this number of days complete. Moses representeth the Law, Elias the Prophets, and the Lord the Gospel. And therefore these three appeared on the Mount of the Transfiguration. There the Lord showed Himself to His disciples with His Face shining as the sun, and His raiment glistering; and He stood between Moses and Elias; as it were, the Gospel receiving testimony, on the one hand from the Law, and, on the other, from the Prophets.

R.br. Let us amend for the better in that wherein we have sinned unknowingly, or ever the day of death suddenly prevent us, and we seek a place of repentance, and find none.
* Give heed, O Lord, and have mercy upon us, for we have sinned against thee.
V. Help us, O God of our salvation, and for the glory of thy Name deliver us, O Lord.
R. Give heed, O Lord, and have mercy upon us, for we have sinned against thee.

Reading 2: Whether, therefore, it be in the Law, or in the Prophets, or in the Gospel, the number of forty is recommended to us for Fast-days. The great and general Fast is this to abstain from the iniquity of the world, and her forbidden pleasures. This is the perfect Fast, that, denying ungodliness, and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world. After such a Fast, what is the Feast that followeth? Hear what the Apostle saith in continuation Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of our great God and Saviour Jesus Christ. Titus ii. 12, 13. We, then, make our pilgrimage in this world a Lent, by living good lives, and abstaining from her iniquities and her forbidden pleasures. But at the end of this life-long Lent there will be an Easter indeed. We look for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of our great God and Saviour Jesus Christ When that hope is realised, when that faith is swallowed up in knowledge, then indeed shall we receive every man a penny. In good sooth, it is true that every labourer in the vineyard will get his wages witness that Gospel which I believe ye have not forgotten, and which it is not my business to quote again as if ye were ignorant children. Now, the word used in the original for this penny which the labourers received is denarion. And the derivation of the word denarion is the numeral decem, ten. There are forty days in Lent, and if we add ten, we get fifty. So do we toil in fasting for the forty days of Lent before Easter, and, then, when we have, as it were, received our reward, we keep holiday for the fifty days of Easter- tide.

R.br. Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts, and let him return unto the Lord, and He will have mercy upon him;
* For the Lord our God is gracious, and merciful, and repenteth Him of the evil.
V. The Lord hath no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that he turn from his way and live.

R. For the Lord our God is gracious, and merciful, and repenteth Him of the evil.

Reading 3: Remember how I remarked, that the man healed by our Lord at the pool of Bethesda had had an infirmity thirty and eight years. I wish to explain why this number of thirty-eight is proper rather to weakness than to health. Love is the fulfilling of the law Rom. xiii. 10; to the fulfilling of the law belongeth in every work the number forty. But in love we have given us two precepts Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets. Matth. xxii. 37-40. When the widow gave all she had for an offering to God she gave two mites Mark xii. 42; the inn-keeper received two pence wherewith to cure him that had fallen among thieves (Luke x. 35;) Jesus abode for two days among the Samaritans John iv. 40, that He might establish them in love. When, then, anything good is spoken of as two, the two great divisions of love are the chief mystic interpretation. If, then, the law is fulfilled in the number forty, and it is not fulfilled if there be lacking the two precepts of love, what wonder is it that he was infirm who lacked two of forty?

R.br. The season of the Fast openeth unto us the gates of heaven; let us enter thereon in prayer and supplication,
* that on the day when the Lord riseth again we may rejoice with Him
V. In all things let us approve ourselves the ministers of God, in much patience.
R. That on the day when the Lord riseth again we may rejoice with Him.
V. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, * and to the Holy Ghost.
R. That on the day when the Lord riseth again we may rejoice with Him.