Saturday, 8 October 2016

Matins readings for the second Sunday of October

The readings in the Benedictine Office for the second Sunday of October (ie Nocturns I&II of Matins) are set out below.

Nocturn I: 1 Maccabies 4: 36-51

Reading 1: Then Judas, and his brethren said: Behold our enemies are discomfited: let us go up now to cleanse the holy places and to repair them. And all the army assembled together, and they went up into mount Sion. And they saw the sanctuary desolate, and the altar profaned, and the gates burnt, and shrubs growing up in the courts as in a forest, or on the mountains, and the chambers joining to the temple thrown down.

R. The Lord open your hearts in His law and commandments, and send peace in your days.* May He grant you salvation and redeem you out of all evil.
V. The Lord hear your prayers, and be at one with you, and never forsake you in the time of trouble.
R. May He grant you salvation and redeem you out of all evil.

Reading 2: And they rent their garments, and made great lamentation, and put ashes on their heads:
And they fell face down to the ground on their faces, and they sounded with the trumpets of alarm, and they cried towards heaven. Then Judas appointed men to fight against them that were in the castle, till they had cleansed the holy places. And he chose priests without blemish, whose will was set upon the law of God: And they cleansed the holy places, and took away the stones that had been defiled into an unclean place.

R. The Lord hear your prayers, and be at one with you, and never forsake you in the time of trouble
* Even He, the Lord our God.
V. Give you all an heart to serve Him, and to do His will.
R. Even He, the Lord our God.

Reading 3: And he considered about the altar of holocausts that had been profaned, what he should do with it. And a good counsel came into their minds, to pull it down: lest it should be a reproach to them, because the Gentiles had defiled it; so they threw it down. And they laid up the stones in the mountain of the temple in a convenient place, till there should come a prophet, and give answer concerning them.

R. Our enemies are gathered together, and make their boast of their own strength. O Lord, break their power, and scatter them
* That they may know that there is none other that fighteth for us, but only Thou, O our God!
V. Scatter them in thy strength, and destroy them, O Lord our Shield.
R. That they may know that there is none other that fighteth for us, but only Thou, O our God!

Reading 4: Then they took whole stones according to the law, and built a new altar according to the former: And they built up the holy places, and the things that were within the temple: and they sanctified the temple, and the courts.  And they made new holy vessels, and brought in the candlestick, and the altar of incense, and the table into the temple. And they put incense upon the altar, and lighted up the lamps that were upon the candlestick, and they gave light in the temple. And they set the loaves upon the table, and hung up the veils, and finished all the works that they had begun to make.

R. Judas said unto Simon his brother: Choose thee out men, and go, and deliver thy brethren that are in Galilee and I, and Jonathan thy brother, will go into the country of Galaad.* As the Will is in heaven, so let it be.
V. Arm yourselves, ye valiant men, and be in readiness for it is better for us to die in battle, than to behold the calamities of our people, and our sanctuary.
R. As the Will is in heaven, so let it be.
V. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, * and to the Holy Ghost.
R. As the Will is in heaven, so let it be.

Nocturn II (from St Augustine's City of God)

Reading 5:  The Jewish nation no doubt became worse after it ceased to have prophets, just at the very time when, on the rebuilding of the temple after the captivity in Babylon, it hoped to become better. For so, indeed, did that carnal people understand what was foretold by Haggai the prophet, saying, The glory of this latter house shall be greater than that of the former. Now, that this is said of the new testament, he showed a little above, where he says, evidently promising Christ, And I will move all nations, and the desired One shall come to all nations.

R. Be ye not afraid of the assault of the enemy; remember how our fathers were delivered.* Now, therefore, let us cry unto heaven, and our God will have mercy upon us.
V. Remember His marvellous works that He hath done unto Pharaoh and his host in the Red Sea.

R. Now, therefore, let us cry unto heaven, and our God will have mercy upon us.

Reading 6: For by such chosen ones of the nations there is built, through the new testament, with living stones, a house of God far more glorious than that temple was which was constructed by king Solomon, and rebuilt after the captivity. For this reason, then, that nation had no prophets from that time, but was afflicted with many plagues by kings of alien race, and by the Romans themselves, lest they should fancy that this prophecy of Haggai was fulfilled by that rebuilding of the temple.

R. The heathen are assembled together to fight against us, and we know not what we should do.
* Our eyes look unto thee, O Lord our God, that we should not perish.
V. What things they imagine against us, Thou knowest. How shall we be able to stand against them, except Thou be our help.
R. Our eyes look unto thee, O Lord our God, that we should not perish.

Reading 7: For not long after, on the arrival of Alexander, it was subdued, when, although there was no pillaging, because they dared not resist him, and thus, being very easily subdued, received him peaceably, yet the glory of that house was not so great as it was when under the free power of their own kings. Then Ptolemy son of Lagus, after Alexander's death carried them captive into Egypt. His successor, Ptolemy Philadelphus, most benevolently dismissed them; and by him it was brought about, as I have narrated a little before, that we should have the Septuagint version of the Scriptures.

R. Thine, O Lord, is the power, thine is the kingdom, O Lord, and Thou art exalted above all the heathen.* Give peace in our time, O Lord.
V. O Lord God, Creator of all things, Who art fearful and strong, righteous and merciful.
R. Give peace in our time, O Lord.

Reading 8: Then they were crushed by the wars which are explained in the books of the Maccabees. Afterward they were taken captive by Ptolemy king of Alexandria, who was called Epiphanes. Then Antiochus king of Syria compelled them by many and most grievous evils to worship idols, and filled the temple itself with the sacrilegious superstitions of the Gentiles. Yet their most vigorous leader Judas, who is also called Maccabæus, after beating the generals of Antiochus, cleansed it from all that defilement of idolatry.

R. They decked the fore-front of the Temple with crowns of gold, and dedicated the Altar unto the Lord. * And there was very great gladness among the people.
V. They praised the Lord with Psalms and thanksgiving.
R. And there was very great gladness among the people.
V. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, * and to the Holy Ghost.
R. And there was very great gladness among the people.






Matins Readings for the 21st Sunday after Pentecost

The third Nocturn readings for Matins in the 1963 Benedictine Office are from a Homily of St Jerome on St Matthew 3

Reading 9: It is a way much in use with the Syrians, and especially with the inhabitants of Palestine, to illustrate their discourse with parables, that what their hearers may not be able to catch so easily when spoken plainly, they may lay hold on by dint of comparisons and examples. Thus it was that the Lord, by an allegory about a Royal master and a servant who owed him ten thousand talents, and who obtained by entreaty forgiveness of the debt, taught Peter how it was his duty to forgive his fellow-servants their comparatively trifling offences.

R. The sun shone upon the shields of gold, and the mountains glistered therewith;
* And the army of the heathens was spread abroad.
V. For the army was very great and mighty then Judas and his host drew near and entered into battle.
R. And the army of the heathens was spread abroad.

Reading 10: For if that Royal master so readily forgave his servant his debt of ten thousand talents, should not his servants much more forgive lesser debts unto their fellows?Let put this more clearly, let us take a case. If one of us were to commit adultery, or murder, or sacrilege, our sin, great like a debt of ten thousand talents, would be forgiven us in answer to prayer, if we also from our heart forgive our brethren their trespasses against us.

R. They praised the Lord with psalms and thanksgiving
* Who had done so great things in Israel, and given them the victory the Lord Almighty.
V. They decked the fore-front of the Temple with crowns of gold, and dedicated the Altar unto the Lord.
R. Who had done so great things for Israel, and given them the victory the Lord Almighty.

Reading 11: But if we refuse to forgive a slight, and keep up unceasing enmity because of an unkind word, how just doth it appear that we should be cast into prison, and entail on ourselves, by the example of our own deeds, that our great debt should not be forgiven unto us.

R. This is a lover of the brethren, and of the people of Israel
* This is one who prayeth much for the people, and for all the Holy City, Jerusalem.
V. There appeared a man most gentle toward all his people.
R. This is one who prayeth much for the people, and for all the Holy City, Jerusalem.

Reading 12: So likewise shall My heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses.” God's awful purpose can be turned and changed but if we will not forgive unto our brethren small things, God will not forgive us great things. And if we forgive them, it must be from our hearts. Any one can say: I have nothing against such-an-one he knoweth what he hath done, and God will judge him for it I do not care what he doeth I have forgiven him. But the Lord maketh His sentence clear, and destroyeth such a mockery of peace as this, where He saith: "So likewise shall My heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses."

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

Gospel: Matt 18:23-35

Therefore is the kingdom of heaven likened to a king, who would take an account of his servants.  And when he had begun to take the account, one was brought to him, that owed him ten thousand talents. And as he had not wherewith to pay it, his lord commanded that he should be sold, and his wife and children and all that he had, and payment to be made. But that servant falling down, besought him, saying: Have patience with me, and I will pay thee all. And the lord of that servant being moved with pity, let him go and forgave him the debt.  But when that servant was gone out, he found one of his fellow servants that owed him an hundred pence: and laying hold of him, throttled him, saying: Pay what thou owest. And his fellow servant falling down, besought him, saying: Have patience with me, and I will pay thee all. And he would not: but went and cast him into prison, till he paid the debt.  Now his fellow servants seeing what was done, were very much grieved, and they came and told their lord all that was done. Then his lord called him; and said to him: Thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all the debt, because thou besoughtest me: Shouldst not thou then have had compassion also on thy fellow servant, even as I had compassion on thee? And his lord being angry, delivered him to the torturers until he paid all the debt. So also shall my heavenly Father do to you, if you forgive not every one his brother from your hearts.