Saturday, 5 November 2016

Matins readings for the Fifth Sunday remaining after Epiphany (third nocturn)

Towards the end of the year the lectionary runs out of readings for the season after Pentecost, and returns to those omitted earlier in the year by virtue of the arrival of Septuagesima.

Keep in mind, however, that this year the responsories are for the third Sunday of November.

Nocturn III

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

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

R. Blessed is the people* Whom the Lord of hosts hath blessed, saying O Israel thou art the work of Mine own hands, thou art Mine own inheritance.
V. Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, and the people whom He hath chosen for His own inheritance.
R. Whom the Lord of hosts hath blessed, saying O Israel thou art the work of Mine own hands, thou art Mine own inheritance.

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

R. The Lord hath sent His angel, and hath shut the lions' mouths, that* They have not hurt me forasmuch as before Him innocency was found in me.
V. God hath sent forth His mercy and His truth, (and delivered) my soul from among the lions' whelps.
R. They have not hurt me forasmuch as before Him innocency was found in me.

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

R: I will shew thee, O man, what is good, and what the Lord requireth of thee: *Verily, to do judgment, and to love mercy, and to walk solicitous with thy God.
V: Trust in the Lord, and do good, and dwell in the land
R: Verily, to do judgment, and to love mercy, and to walk solicitous with thy God.

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

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

Gospel: Matthew 8:23-27

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

Matins readings for the third Sunday of November

**The rubrics dictate that if the first Sunday of November falls on the 6th or 7th day of the month, the Scripture readings for the first and second Sundays are omitted.

Nocturn I: Daniel 1:1-15

Reading 1: In the third year of the reign of Joakim king of Juda, Nabuchodonosor king of Babylon came to Jerusalem, and besieged it. And the Lord delivered into his hands Joakim the king of Juda, and part of the vessels of the house of God: and he carried them away into the land of Sennaar, to the house of his god, and the vessels he brought into the treasure house of his god. And the king spoke to Asphenez the master of the eunuchs, that he should bring in some of the children of Israel, and of the king's seed and of the princes, Children in whom there was no blemish, well favoured, and skilful in all wisdom, acute in knowledge, and instructed in science, and such as might stand in the king's palace, that he might teach them the learning, and the tongue of the Chaldeans.

R. I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and the whole earth was full of His glory;
* And His train filled the temple.
V. Above it stood the Seraphim each one had six wings.
R. And His train filled the temple.

Reading 2: And the king appointed them a daily provision, of his own meat, and of the wine of which he drank himself, that being nourished three years, afterwards they might stand before the king. Now there were among them of the children of Juda, Daniel, Ananias, Misael, and Azarias. And the master of the eunuchs gave them names: to Daniel, Baltassar: to Ananias, Sidrach: to Misael, Misach: and to Azarias, Abdenago.

R. Look down, O Lord, from the dwelling-place of thine holiness, and take thought for us. O my God, incline thine ear, and hear.
* Open thine eyes, and behold our desolation.
V. Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel, Thou That leadest Joseph like a flock.
R. Open thine eyes, and behold our desolation.

Reading 3: But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not be defiled with the king's table, nor with the wine which he drank: and he requested the master of the eunuchs that he might not be defiled. And God gave to Daniel grace and mercy in the sight of the prince of the eunuchs. And the prince of the eunuchs said to Daniel: I fear my lord the king, who hath appointed you meat and drink: who if he should see your faces leaner than those of the other youths your equals, you shall endanger my head to the king.

R. Consider, O Lord, how that the city sitteth solitary that was full of riches; how is she become as a widow, she that was great among the nations;
* She hath none to comfort her, save thee, O our God.
V. She weepeth sore in the night, and her tears are on her cheeks.
R. She hath none to comfort her, save thee, O our God.

Reading 4: And Daniel said to Malasar, whom the prince of the eunuchs had appointed over Daniel, Ananias, Misael, and Azarias: Try, I beseech thee, thy servants for ten days, and let pulse be given us to eat, and water to drink: And look upon our faces, and the faces of the children that eat of the king's meat: and as thou shalt see, deal with thy servants. And when he had heard these words, he tried them for ten days. And after ten days their faces appeared fairer and fatter than all the children that ate of the king's meat.

R. He hath redeemed His people, and ransomed them therefore they shall come and sing in the height of Zion, and shall rejoice in the goodness of the Lord, for wheat, and for wine, and for oil* And they shall hunger no more.
V. And their soul shall be as a watered garden.
R. And they shall hunger no more.

Nocturn II: Pseudo-Athanasius, To Virgins

Reading 5: If any should come and say unto thee, Fast not so often, lest thou injure thine health, believe them not,neither listen to them. They are but the tools of the great enemy to suggest such a thing unto thee. Remember how it is written that when the three children, and Daniel, and the other lads, were led captives by Nebuchadnezzar King of Babylon, and it was commanded them to eat of his Royal table, and to drink of his wine, Daniel and those three children would not defile themselves with the King's table, but said unto the eunuch into whose keeping they had been given, Give us of the fruits of the earth, and we will eat. And the eunuch answered them, I fear my lord the King, who hath appointed your meat and your drink, lest perchance your faces should appear unto the King worse - liking than the other children, who are fed from his Royal table, and he should punish me.

R. I have set watchmen upon thy walls, O Jerusalem;* Which shall never hold their peace day nor night, to praise the name of the Lord.
V. They shall proclaim My might unto the nations, and declare My glory unto the Gentiles.
R. Which shall never hold their peace day nor night, to praise the name of the Lord.

Reading 6: Then they said unto him Prove thy servants ten days, and give us herbs. And he gave them pulse to eat and water to drink and, when he brought them in before the King, their countenances appeared fairer than all the children which did eat the portion of the King's meat. Seest thou what fasting doth It healeth diseases, it drieth up the humours of the body, it scareth away devils, it purgeth forth unclean thoughts, it maketh the intellect clearer, it purifieth the heart, it sanctifieth the body, and in the end it leadeth a man unto the throne of God.

R. Hedge us about with thy wall that cannot be broken down, O Lord, and shield us continually with the arms of thy might.* O Lord God of Israel, deliver them that cry unto thee.
V. Deliver us also according to thy marvellous works, and give glory to thy Name.
R. O Lord God of Israel, deliver them that cry unto thee.

Reading 7: Think not that this is rash talking. Thou hast the testimony of this in the Gospels under the sanction of the Saviour Himself. His disciples asked Him why they could not cast out an evil spirit, and He said unto them This kind can come forth by nothing but by prayer and fasting.If any man therefore be troubled with an unclean spirit, if he bethink him of this, and have recourse to this remedy, namely, fasting, the evil spirit will be forthwith compelled to leave him from dread of the power of fasting. Devils take great delight in fulness, and drunkenness, and bodily comfort.

R. We looked for peace, and it came not we asked for good, and behold trouble. We acknowledge, O Lord, our wickedness.* Forget us not for ever.
V. O Lord (our God) we have sinned, we have done ungodly, we have dealt unrighteously in all thine ordinances.
R. Forget us not for ever.

Reading 8: There is great power in fasting, and great and glorious things are wrought thereby. How cometh it that men work such wonders, and that signs are done by them, and that God through them giveth health to the sick, unless it be from their ghostly exercises, and the meekness of their souls, and their godly conversation To fast is to banquet with Angels, and he that fasteth is to be reckoned, so far, among the Angelic host.

R. I am straitened on every side, and know not what to choose.
* It is better for me to fall into the hands of men, than to sin against the law of my God.
V. For if I do this thing, it is death unto me and if I do it not, I cannot escape your hands.
R. It is better for me to fall into the hands of men, than to sin against the law of my God.
 V. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, * and to the Holy Ghost.
R. For if I do this thing, it is death unto me and if I do it not, I cannot escape your hands.

Monday, 31 October 2016

Matins readings for the feast of All Saints



Nocturn I: Revelation 4:2-8;5:1-14

Reading 1: And immediately I was in the spirit: and behold there was a throne set in heaven, and upon the throne one sitting. And he that sat, was to the sight like the jasper and the sardine stone; and there was a rainbow round about the throne, in sight like unto an emerald. And round about the throne were four and twenty seats; and upon the seats, four and twenty ancients sitting, clothed in white garments, and on their heads were crowns of gold. And from the throne proceeded lightnings, and voices, and thunders; and there were seven lamps burning before the throne, which are the seven spirits of God. And in the sight of the throne was, as it were, a sea of glass like to crystal; and in the midst of the throne, and round about the throne, were four living creatures, full of eyes before and behind. And the first living creature was like a lion: and the second living creature like a calf: and the third living creature, having the face, as it were, of a man: and the fourth living creature was like an eagle flying.

R. I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up and the whole earth was full of His glory
* And His train filled the temple.
V. Above it stood the Seraphim each one had six wings.
R. And His train filled the temple.

Reading 2: And the four living creatures had each of them six wings; and round about and within they are full of eyes. And they rested not day and night, saying: Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, who was, and who is, and who is to come.And I saw in the right hand of him that sat on the throne, a book written within and without, sealed with seven seals. And I saw a strong angel, proclaiming with a loud voice: Who is worthy to open the book, and to loose the seals thereof? And no man was able, neither in heaven, nor on earth, nor under the earth, to open the book, nor to look on it.  And I wept much, because no man was found worthy to open the book, nor to see it. And one of the ancients said to me: Weep not; behold the lion of the tribe of Juda, the root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof.

R. Blessed art thou, O Virgin Mary, Mother of God, that didst believe the Lord. There hath been a performance in thee of those things which were told thee. Lo, thou hast been exalted above the choirs of Angels.* Pray for us unto the Lord our God.
V. Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee.
R. Pray for us unto the Lord our God.

Reading 3: And I saw: and behold in the midst of the throne and of the four living creatures, and in the midst of the ancients, a Lamb standing as it were slain, having seven horns and seven eyes: which are the seven Spirits of God, sent forth into all the earth. And he came and took the book out of the right hand of him that sat on the throne. And when he had opened the book, the four living creatures, and the four and twenty ancients fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints:And they sung a new canticle, saying: Thou art worthy, O Lord, to take the book, and to open the seals thereof; because thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God, in thy blood, out of every tribe, and tongue, and people, and nation. And hast made us to our God a kingdom and priests, and we shall reign on the earth.

R. Before the Angels will I sing praise unto thee, and will worship toward thy holy temple.
* And I will praise thy Name, O Lord.
V. For thy lovingkindness and for thy truth; for Thou hast glorified thine holy Name on us.
R. And I will praise thy Name, O Lord.

Reading 4: And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne, and the living creatures, and the ancients; and the number of them was thousands of thousands, Saying with a loud voice: The Lamb that was slain is worthy to receive power, and divinity, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and benediction. And every creature, which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them: I heard all saying: To him that sitteth on the throne, and to the Lamb, benediction, and honour, and glory, and power, for ever and ever. And the four living creatures said: Amen. And the four and twenty ancients fell down on their faces, and adored him that liveth for ever and ever.

R. The Fore-runner of the Lord cometh, to whom He Himself bare witness, saying:* Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist.
V. A Prophet? Yea, and much more than a Prophet. This is he of whom the Saviour saith
R. Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist.
V. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, * and to the Holy Ghost.
R. Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist.

Nocturn II: St Bede Homily 70

Reading 5: Dearly beloved brethren: This day we keep, with one great cry of joy, a Feast in memory of all God's holy children; His children, whose presence is a gladness to heaven; His children, whose prayers are a blessing to earth; His children, whose victories are the crown of the Holy Church; His chosen, whose testifying is the more glorious in honour, as the agony in which it was given was the sterner in intensity, for as the dreader grew the battle, so the grander grew the fighters, and the triumph of martyrdom waxed the more incisive by the multiplicity of suffering, and the heavier the torment the heavier the prize.

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

Reading 6: And it is our Mother, the Catholic Church, spread far and wide throughout all this planet, it is she that hath learnt, in Christ Jesus her Head, not to fear shame, nor cross, nor death, but hath waxed lealer and lealer, and, not by fighting, but by enduring, hath breathed into all that noble band who have come up to the bitter starting-post the hope of conquest and glory which hath warmed them manfully to accept the race.


R. O ye My Saints, who, being in the flesh, didst have striving* I will render unto you a reward of your labours.
V. Come, ye blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom!
R. I will render unto you a reward of your labours.

Reading 7: If a verity thou art blessed, O my Mother the Church! The blaze of God's mercy beateth full upon thee; thine adornment is the glorious blood of victorious Martyrs, and thy raiment the virgin whiteness of untarnished orthodoxy. thy garlands lack neither roses nor lilies. And now, dearly beloved brethren, let each one of us strive to gain the goodly crown of one sort or the other, either the glistening whiteness of purity, or the red dye of suffering. In the army in heaven peace and war have both chaplets of their own, to crown Christ's soldiers withal.

R. Let your loins be girded about, and your lights burning;* And ye yourselves like unto men that wait for their lord, when he will return from the wedding.
V. Watch therefore, for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.
R. And ye yourselves like unto men that wait for their lord, when he will return from the wedding.

Reading 8: Moreover, to this also hath the unutterable and boundless goodness of God seen, that He spreadeth not the time of working and wrestling, neither maketh it long, nor everlasting, and, as it were, but for a moment, so that in this short and scanty life there is wrestling and working, but the crown and the prize is in a life which is eternal. So the work is soon over, but the wage is paid for ever. And when the night of this world is over, the Saints are to see the clearness of the essential light, and to receive a blessedness outweighing the pangs of any torment, as testifieth the Apostle Paul, where he saith: The sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.

R. Sanctissime confessor Christi Benedicte monachorum pater et dux * intercede pro nostra omniumque
V: Devotae plebi subveni sancta intercessione ut tuis adjuta precibus regna caelestia consequatur
R: intercede pro nostra omniumque
V Gloria Patri et Filio et Spiritui Sancto
R: intercede pro nostra omniumque

Nocturn III: St Augustine on the sermon on the mount

Reading 9: From the Holy Gospel according to Matthew - At that time: Jesus, seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain, and when he was set down, his disciples came unto him. And so on.

If it be asked what is signified by the mountain, the said mountain may well be understood to figure the higher and greater commandments of righteousness, since those that have been given to the Jews are the lesser. The one God, in an excellent order of times, gave, by His holy Prophets and servants, His lesser commandments unto the people whom it still behoved to be bound by fear, but by His Son He gave the greater unto the people whom it now beseemed to set free by love. But whether it be the lesser to the lesser, or the greater to the greater, all are alike the gift of Him Who alone knoweth what is in each epoch the seasonable medicine of mankind.

R. At midnight there was a cry made:
* Behold! the Bridegroom cometh! go ye out to meet him!
V. Trim your lamps, O ye wise virgins.
R. Behold! the Bridegroom cometh! go ye out to meet Him!

Reading 10: Neither is it marvel that the greater commandments be given touching the kingdom of heaven, and the lesser touching a commonwealth upon earth, since both are alike the gifts of that one God Who is the Maker alike of heaven and of earth. The higher and greater righteousness, then, is that whereof the Prophet saith: Thy righteousness is like the mountains of God.  Thus is that Teacher, Who alone can give such teaching, mystically represented as teaching upon a mountain.

R: Beata vere mater ecclesia quam sic honor divinae dignationis illuminat quam victoriosorum gloriosus martyrum sanguis exornat * quam inviolata confessionis candida induit virginitas
V: Floribus ejus nec rosae nec lilia desunt
R: quam inviolata confessionis candida induit virginitas

Reading 11: And when He was set. The attitude of sitting while teaching appertaineth to the majesty of His instruction. His disciples came unto Him nearer in the body, to hear those precepts, by the fulfillment of which they should be nearer in spirit. And He opened His Mouth, and taught them, saying These words And He opened His Mouth, appear redundant to the sense. It may possibly be that this more pompous introduction is adopted on account of the exceptional length of the discourse to follow. But it may also be that these words are not really redundant, but the pointed declaration that He now opened His Own Mouth, Who, under the Old Law, had been used to open the mouths of the Prophets.

R: Beati estis sancti dei omnes qui meruistis consortes fieri caelestium virtutum et perfrui aeternae claritatis gloria * ideoque precamur ut memores nostri intercedere dignemini pro nobis ad dominum deum nostrum
V: gaudete et exultate quoniam merces vestra copiosa est in caelis
R: ideoque precamur ut memores nostri intercedere dignemini pro nobis ad dominum deum nostrum

Reading 12: And now, what saith He? Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. We have read where it is written concerning the lusting after temporal things: The wandering of the desire is vanity and presumption of spirit. Eccl. vi. 9. Presumption of spirit signifieth rashness and pride. We are used to say of proud people that they are men of high spirit, and we say well, since spirit is only one of the Latin names for wind. (It is so used, for instance, in Ps. cxlviii. 8, Fire, hail, snow, ice, stormy wind). Who hath not heard the proud spoken of as puffed up, as if they were blown out with wind? Hence, alas, the Apostle saith: Knowledge puffeth up, but charity edifieth. ( 1 Cor. viii. 1.) By the poor in spirit, who are here called blessed, are rightly to be understood such as are lowly and fear God, that is, have not got minds puffed up with windy vanity.

R: And I saw another angel ascending from the rising of the sun, having the sign of the living God; and he cried with a loud voice to the four angels, to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea, Saying: Hurt not the earth, nor the sea, nor the trees, till we sign the servants of our God in their foreheads.  *And I heard the number of them that were signed, an hundred forty-four thousand were signed, of every tribe of the children of Israel.
V And they shall see his face: and his name shall be on their foreheads
R: And I heard the number of them that were signed, an hundred forty-four thousand were signed, of every tribe of the children of Israel.
V: Glory be...
R: And I heard the number of them that were signed, an hundred forty-four thousand were signed, of every tribe of the children of Israel.