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.

Saturday, 29 October 2016

Matins readings for the feast of Christ the King

Nocturn I: Colossians 1:3-23

Reading 1: Grace be to you and peace from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ. We give thanks to God, and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you. Hearing your faith in Christ Jesus, and the love which you have towards all the saints. For the hope that is laid up for you in heaven, which you have heard in the word of the truth of the gospel, Which is come unto you, as also it is in the whole world, and bringeth forth fruit and groweth, even as it doth in you, since the day you heard and knew the grace of God in truth. As you learned of Epaphras, our most beloved fellow servant, who is for you a faithful minister of Christ Jesus;Who also hath manifested to us your love in the spirit.

R. He shall sit upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom forever.* And His name shall be called God, the Mighty, the Prince of peace.
V. His dominion is vast and forever peaceful.
R. And His name shall be called God, the Mighty, the Prince of peace.

Reading 2: Therefore we also, from the day that we heard it, cease not to pray for you, and to beg that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will, in all wisdom, and spiritual understanding: That you may walk worthy of God, in all things pleasing; being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God:Strengthened with all might, according to the power of his glory, in all patience and longsuffering with joy, Giving thanks to God the Father, who hath made us worthy to be partakers of the lot of the saints in light: Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of the Son of his love, In whom we have redemption through his blood, the remission of sins;

R. In the vision during the night I saw the Son of man coming on the clouds of heaven; and He was given kingship and glory.
* Nations and people of every language serve Him.
V. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that shall not be taken away, His kingship shall not be destroyed.
R. Nations and people of every language serve Him.

Reading 3: Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: For in him were all things created in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones, or dominations, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him and in him. And he is before all, and by him all things consist. And he is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he may hold the primacy: Because in him, it hath well pleased the Father, that all fullness should dwell; And through him to reconcile all things unto himself, making peace through the blood of his cross, both as to the things that are on earth, and the things that are in heaven.

R. You, Bethlehem-Ephrata, too small among the clans of Juda, from you shall come forth for Me one who is to be ruler in Israel;* And He shall be Peace.
V. His origin is from old, from ancient times. He shall stand firm and shepherd his flock by the strength of the Lord.
R. And He shall be Peace.

Reading 4:  And you, whereas you were some time alienated and enemies in mind in evil works: Yet now he hath reconciled in the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unspotted, and blameless before him: If so ye continue in the faith, grounded and settled, and immoveable from the hope of the gospel which you have heard, which is preached in all the creation that is under heaven, whereof I, Paul, am made a minister.

R. Rejoice heartily, o daughter Sion, and shout for you, o daughter Jerusalem! See your King shall come to you; a just Savior is He!
* And He shall proclaim peace to the nations.
V. His dominion shall be from sea to sea, and from the river, to the ends of the earth.
R. And He shall proclaim peace to the nations.
Gloria Patri et Filio et Spiritui Sancto
R. And He shall proclaim peace to the nations.

Nocturn II: from the Encyclical of Pope Pius XI

Reading 5: Since this Holy Year therefore has provided more than one opportunity to enhance the glory of the kingdom of Christ, we deem it in keeping with our Apostolic office to accede to the desire of many of the Cardinals, Bishops, and faithful, made known to Us both individually and collectively, by closing this Holy Year with the insertion into the Sacred Liturgy of a special feast of the Kingship of Our Lord Jesus Christ. This matter is so dear to Our heart, Venerable Brethren, that I would wish to address to you a few words concerning it. It will be for you later to explain in a manner suited to the understanding of the faithful what We are about to say concerning the Kingship of Christ, so that the annual feast which We shall decree may be attended with much fruit and produce beneficial results in the future. It has long been a common custom to give to Christ the metaphorical title of "King," because of the high degree of perfection whereby he excels all creatures. So he is said to reign "in the hearts of men," both by reason of the keenness of his intellect and the extent of his knowledge, and also because he is very truth, and it is from him that truth must be obediently received by all mankind.

R. He must reign, for God has put all things under His feet,* That God may be all in all!
V. When all things are made subject to Him, then the Son Himself will also be made subject to the Father.
R. That God may be all in all!

Reading 6: He reigns, too, in the wills of men, for in him the human will was perfectly and entirely obedient to the Holy Will of God, and further by his grace and inspiration he so subjects our free-will as to incite us to the most noble endeavors. He is King of hearts, too, by reason of his "charity which exceedeth all knowledge." And his mercy and kindness which draw all men to him, for never has it been known, nor will it ever be, that man be loved so much and so universally as Jesus Christ. But if we ponder this matter more deeply, we cannot but see that the title and the power of King belongs to Christ as man in the strict and proper sense too. For it is only as man that he may be said to have received from the Father "power and glory and a kingdom," since the Word of God, as consubstantial with the Father, has all things in common with him, and therefore has necessarily supreme and absolute dominion over all things created.

R. He has made us to be a kingdom, and priest to God His Father;
* To Him belong glory and dominion forever and ever!
V. He is the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth.
R. To Him belong glory and dominion forever and ever!

Reading 7: But a thought that must give us even greater joy and consolation is this that Christ is our King by acquired, as well as by natural right, for he is our Redeemer. Would that they who forget what they have cost their Savior might recall the words: "You were not redeemed with corruptible things, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb unspotted and undefiled." We are no longer our own property, for Christ has purchased us "with a great price"; our very bodies are the "members of Christ." Let Us explain briefly the nature and meaning of this lordship of Christ. It consists, We need scarcely say, in a threefold power which is essential to lordship. This is sufficiently clear from the scriptural testimony already adduced concerning the universal dominion of our Redeemer, and moreover it is a dogma of faith that Jesus Christ was given to man, not only as our Redeemer, but also as a law-giver, to whom obedience is due. Not only do the gospels tell us that he made laws, but they present him to us in the act of making them. Those who keep them show their love for their Divine Master, and he promises that they shall remain in his love. He claimed judicial power as received from his Father, when the Jews accused him of breaking the Sabbath by the miraculous cure of a sick man. "For neither doth the Father judge any man; but hath given all judgment to the Son." In this power is included the right of rewarding and punishing all men living, for this right is inseparable from that of judging. Executive power, too, belongs to Christ, for all must obey his commands; none may escape them, nor the sanctions he has imposed.

R. The kingdom of this world has became the kingdom of our Lord, and of His Christ,
* And He shall reign for ever and ever.
V. All the families of the nations shall bow down before Him; for dominion is the Lord's.
R. And He shall reign for ever and ever.

Reading 8: This kingdom is spiritual and is concerned with spiritual things. That this is so the above quotations from Scripture amply prove, and Christ by his own action confirms it. On many occasions, when the Jews and even the Apostles wrongly supposed that the Messiah would restore the liberties and the kingdom of Israel, he repelled and denied such a suggestion. When the populace thronged around him in admiration and would have acclaimed him King, he shrank from the honor and sought safety in flight. Before the Roman magistrate he declared that his kingdom was not of this world. The gospels present this kingdom as one which men prepare to enter by penance, and cannot actually enter except by faith and by baptism, which, though an external rite, signifies and produces an interior regeneration. This kingdom is opposed to none other than to that of Satan and to the power of darkness. It demands of its subjects a spirit of detachment from riches and earthly things, and a spirit of gentleness. They must hunger and thirst after justice, and more than this, they must deny themselves and carry the cross. Christ as our Redeemer purchased the Church at the price of his own blood; as priest he offered himself, and continues to offer himself as a victim for our sins. Is it not evident, then, that his kingly dignity partakes in a manner of both these offices? It would be a grave error, on the other hand, to say that Christ has no authority whatever in civil affairs, since, by virtue of the absolute empire over all creatures committed to him by the Father, all things are in his power.

R. The ten horns that you saw are the kings. These will fight with the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them.* For He is the Lord of lords and the King of Kings.
V. The Lord our God Almighty now reigns, Let us be glad and rejoice, and give glory to Him.
R. For He is the Lord of lords and the King of Kings.
V. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, * and to the Holy Ghost.
R. For He is the Lord of lords and the King of Kings.

Nocturn III: St Augustine


Reading 9 (Tract 51): But what honor was it to the Lord to be King of Israel? What great thing was it to the King of eternity to become the King of men? For Christ's kingship over Israel was not for the purpose of exacting tribute, of putting swords into His soldiers' hands, of subduing His enemies by open warfare; but He was King of Israel in exercising kingly authority over their inward natures, in consulting for their eternal interests, in bringing into His heavenly kingdom those whose faith, and hope, and love were centred in Himself. Accordingly, for the Son of God, the Father's equal, the Word by whom all things were made, in His good pleasure to be King of Israel, was an act of condescension and not of promotion; a token of compassion, and not any increase of power. For He who was called on earth the King of the Jews, is in the heavens the Lord of angels.

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 10 (Tract 117): But is Christ king only of the Jews, or of the Gentiles also? Yes, of the Gentiles also. For when He said in prophecy, I am set king by Him upon His holy hill of Zion, declaring the decree of the Lord, that no one might say, because of the hill of Zion, that He was set king over the Jews alone, He immediately added, The Lord said unto me, You are my Son; this day have I begotten You. Ask of me, and I will give You the Gentiles for Your inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for Your possession.

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

Reading 11 (tract. 115 on John): Jesus answered: My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should be delivered to the Jews; but now is my kingdom not from hence. This it is which was the will of our Good Master that we should know: but first we were to be shown the vanity of the opinion concerning his kingdom, entertained by men, whether Gentiles or Jews,from whom Pilate had heard that: as if the reason why he must be punished by death, were that he had affected a kingdom to which he had no right; or because the reigning are wont to look with an evil eye upon those destined to reign; and there were indeed need to beware lest his kingdom should be adverse either to the Romans or the Jews.

(responsory not available)

Reading 12: Now the Lord might have answered at once: My kingdom is not from hence: to the first question put by the Governor, Art thou the King of the Jews ? But in putting a question in return, namely, whether he spake this of himself, or had been told it by others, it was his will to show by Pilate's reply that this had been laid up to him as a crime by the Jews in their conference with the Governor: thus laying open to us, The thoughts of men, which he knew: that they are vain: and to them after Pilate's answer, making a reply which was more reasonable and suitable both to Jews and to Gentiles: My kingdom is not of this world.

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.
Gloria Patri et Filio et Spiritui Sancto
 R. And His train filled the temple.

Thursday, 27 October 2016

SS Simon and Jude

Nocturn I: Jude 1: 1-13

Reading 1: Jude, the servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James: to them that are beloved in God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ, and called. Mercy unto you, and peace, and charity be fulfilled.  Dearly beloved, taking all care to write unto you concerning your common salvation, I was under a necessity to write unto you: to beseech you to contend earnestly for the faith once delivered to the saints. For certain men are secretly entered in, (who were written of long ago unto this judgment,) ungodly men, turning the grace of our Lord God into riotousness, and denying the only sovereign Ruler, and our Lord Jesus Christ.

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

Reading 2: I will therefore admonish you, though ye once knew all things, that Jesus, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, did afterwards destroy them that believed not: And the angels who kept not their principality, but forsook their own habitation, he hath reserved under darkness in everlasting chains, unto the judgment of the great day. As Sodom and Gomorrha, and the neighbouring cities, in like manner, having given themselves to fornication, and going after other flesh, were made an example, suffering the punishment of eternal fire. In like manner these men also defile the flesh, and despise dominion, and blaspheme majesty.

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

Reading 3: When Michael the archangel, disputing with the devil, contended about the body of Moses, he durst not bring against him the judgment of railing speech, but said: The Lord command thee. But these men blaspheme whatever things they know not: and what things soever they naturally know, like dumb beasts, in these they are corrupted.

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

Reading 4: Woe unto them, for they have gone in the way of Cain: and after the error of Balaam they have for reward poured out themselves, and have perished in the contradiction of Core. These are spots in their banquets, feasting together without fear, feeding themselves, clouds without water, which are carried about by winds, trees of the autumn, unfruitful, twice dead, plucked up by the roots, Raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own confusion; wandering stars, to whom the storm of darkness is reserved for ever.

Nocturn II

Reading 5: Simon the Canaanite, called also Zelotes, went through Egypt preaching the Gospel, whileas the like was done in Mesopotamia by Thaddaeus, called also in the Gospel Judas the brother of James, and the writer of one of the Catholic Epistles. They met together afterwards in Persia, where they begat countless children in Jesus Christ, spread the faith far and wide in those lands, amid raging heathens, and glorified together by their teaching and miracles, and, in the end, by a glorious martyrdom, the most holy name of Jesus Christ.

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

Reading 6 (Sermon of St Gregory): It is written: By His Spirit the Lord hath adorned the heavens. Now the ornament of the heavens are the godly powers of preachers, and this ornament, what it is, Paul teacheth us thus To one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom, to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; to another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another divers kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. But all these worketh that one and the self-same Spirit, dividing to every man severally as He will.

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

Reading 7: So much power then as have preachers, so much ornament have the heavens. Wherefore again it is written By the word of the Lord were the heavens made. For the Word of the Lord is the Son of the Father. But, to the end that all the Holy Trinity may be made manifest as the Maker of the heavens, that is, of the Apostles, it is straightway added touching God the Holy Ghost: you and all the host of them by the Breath of His mouth. Therefore the might of the same heavens is the might of the Spirit, for they had not braved the powers of this world, unless the strength of the Holy Ghost had comforted them.

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

Reading 8: For we know what manner of men the Teachers of the Holy Church were before the coming of this Spirit and since He came we see in Whose strength they are made strong. [rest not available online]

Nocturn III: St. Augustine, 87th Tract on John.

Reading 9: From the holy Gospel according to John: at that time, Jesus said to his disciples: These things I command you, that you love one another. If the world hate you, know ye, that it hath hated me before you. And so on.

In the reading from the Gospel, the last before this, the Lord had said: Ye have not chosen Me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go, and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in My Name, He may give it you. And here He saith These things I command you, that ye love one another. And by this it is that we must understand what fruit from us it is, whereof He saith I have chosen, that ye should go, and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain, and so the words added

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

Reading 10: That whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in My Name, He may give it you. He will give unto us when we love one another, since this (mutual love) is itself the gift of Him Who hath chosen us when as yet we were fruitless, since it hath not been we who have chosen Him, (but He Who hath chosen us,) and ordained us, that we should go, and bring forth fruit, that is to say, should love one another.Love then, is the fruit which we should bring forth, and the Apostle Paul telleth us 1 Tim. i. 5 that this love is love out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned. This is the love wherewith we love our neighbour, the love wherewith we love God, for we do not really love our neighbour unless we love God. For if any man love God, he loveth his neighbour as himself, since he that loveth not God loveth not himself. For on these two commandments hangeth all the law and the Prophets. Love, then, is the fruit which we should bring forth.

R. These men are saints, whom the Lord hath chosen in love unfeigned, and hath given them glory everlasting. These are they* By the light of whose teaching the Church is glorified, even as the moon is glorified by the light of the sun.
V. The saints through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness.
R. By the light of whose teaching the Church is glorified, even as the moon is glorified by the light of the sun.

Reading 11: And concerning this fruit, the Lord giveth us this commandment These things (saith He) I command you, that ye love one another. Hence also the Apostle Paul Gal. v. 22 when he is about praising up the fruits of the Spirit as opposed to the works of the flesh, saith first of all: The fruit of the Spirit is love. And from that as the beginning he draweth out a string of other fruits, as thence begotten and thereto bound, namely, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance, chastity.

Reading 12: Who is really joyful that loveth not the cause of his joy? Who can really be at one with another, unless he loveth that other? Who is cheerful under long toil for a good work, unless he loveth the aim? Who is kind, unless he love the object of his tenderness? Who is good, unless by the persuasion of love? Who is truly faithful, unless by the faith which worketh by love? Who is gentle to any use, unless love move him? Who turneth away from baseness unless he love honour? Well, then, doth the Good Master so often command us to love, as though that commandment were all-sufficient, for love is that gift without which all other good things avail nothing, and which cannot be without having every other good gift which maketh a good man good.

Monday, 24 October 2016

Office of St Benedict on Tuesday: Readings for October

Over at Saints Will Arise blog, I've been describing the old votive Office of St Benedict that was traditionally said on Tuesdays without feasts (outside of Advent and Lent etc).

The readings for that Office at Matins in October are set out below.

Reading 1 (2 Corinthinas 12: 1-9): If we are to boast (although boasting is out of place), I will go on to the visions and revelations the Lord has granted me.  There is a man I know who was carried out of himself in Christ, fourteen years since; was his spirit in his body? I cannot tell. Was it apart from his body? I cannot tell; God knows. This man, at least, was carried up into the third heaven.  I can only tell you that this man, with his spirit in his body, or with his spirit apart from his body, God knows which, not I, was carried up into Paradise, and heard mysteries which man is not allowed to utter. That is the man about whom I will boast; I will not boast about myself, except to tell you of my humiliations. It would not be vanity, if I had a mind to boast about such a man as that; I should only be telling the truth. But I will spare you the telling of it; I have no mind that anybody should think of me except as he sees me, as he hears me talking to him. And indeed, for fear that these surpassing revelations should make me proud, I was given a sting to distress my outward nature, an angel of Satan sent to rebuff me.  Three times it made me entreat the Lord to rid me of it; but he told me, My grace is enough for thee; my strength finds its full scope in thy weakness. More than ever, then, I delight to boast of the weaknesses that humiliate me, so that the strength of Christ may enshrine itself in me.

Reading 2 (St Gregory Dialogues 2:35): The man of God, Benedict, being diligent in watching, rose early before the time of matins (his monks being yet at rest) and came to the window of his chamber where he offered up his prayers to almighty God. Standing there, all of a sudden in the dead of the night, as he looked forth, he saw a light that banished away the darkness of the night and glittered with such brightness that the light which shone in the midst of darkness was far more clear than the light of the day.

During this vision a marvelously strange thing followed, for, as he himself afterward reported, the whole world, gathered together, as it were, under one beam of the sun, was presented before his eyes. While the venerable father stood attentively beholding the brightness of that glittering light, he saw the soul of Germanus, Bishop of Capua, in a fiery globe, carried up by Angels into heaven.

Then, desiring to have some witness of this notable miracle, he called Servandus the Deacon with a very loud voice two or three times by his name. Servandus, troubled at such an unusual crying out by the man of God, went up in all haste.  Looking out the window he saw nothing else but a little remnant of the light, but he wondered at so great a miracle.

The man of God told him all that he had seen in due order. In the the town of Cassino, he commanded the religious man, Theoprobus, to dispatch someone that night to the city of Capua, to learn what had become of Germanus their Bishop. This being done, the messenger learned that the reverent prelate had departed this life. Enquiring curiously the time, the messenger discovered that he died at the very instant in which the man of God beheld him ascending up to heaven.

Reading 3 (Dialogues continued): Assure yourself, Peter, of that which I speak. All creatures are, as it were, nothing to that soul that beholds the Creator. For though it sees but a glimpse of that light which is in the Creator, yet all things that are created seem very small.

By means of that supernatural light, the capacity of the inward soul is enlarged, and is so extended in God, that it is far above the world. The soul of one who sees in this manner, is also above itself; for being rapt up in the light of God, it is inwardly in itself enlarged above itself. When it is so exalted and looks downward, it comprehends how little all creation is. The soul, in its former baseness, could not so comprehend.

The man of God, therefore, who saw the fiery globe, and the Angels returning to heaven, could, no doubt, not see those things but in the light of God. What marvel is it, then, that he who saw the world gathered together before him -- rapt up in the light of his soul -- was at that time out of the world? Although we say that the world was gathered together before his eyes, yet it is not that heaven and earth were drawn into any lesser room than they are of themselves.

The soul of the beholder was more enlarged, rapt in God, so that it might see without difficulty that which is under God.  Therefore, in that light which appeared to his outward eyes, the inward light which was in his soul ravished the mind of the beholder to supernatural things  and showed him how small all earthly things are.

Saturday, 22 October 2016

Matins readings for the fourth Sunday of October

Nocturn I: 2 Maccabees I

Reading 1: To the brethren the Jews that are I throughout Egypt, the brethren, the Jews that are in Jerusalem, and in the land of Judea, send health, and good peace. May God be gracious to you, and remember his covenant that he made with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, his faithful servants: And give you all a heart to worship him, and to do his will with a great heart, and a willing mind. May he open your heart in his law, and in his commandments, and send you peace.  May he hear your prayers, and be reconciled unto you, and never forsake you in the evil time.  And now here we are praying for you.

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: Therefore whereas we purpose to keep the purification of the temple on the five and twentieth day of the month of Casleu, we thought it necessary to signify it to you: that you also may keep the day of Scenopegia, and the day of the fire, that was given when Nehemias offered sacrifice, after the temple and the altar was built.

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: For when our fathers were led in Persia, the priests that then were worshippers of God took privately the fire from the altar, and hid it in a valley where there was a deep pit without water, and there they kept it safe,

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: But when many years had passed, and it pleased God that Nehemias should be sent by the king of Persia, he sent some of the posterity of those priests that had hid it, to seek for the fire: and as they told us, they found no fire, but thick water. Then he bade them draw it up, and bring it to him: and the priest Nehemias commanded the sacrifices that were laid on, to be sprinkled with the same water, both the wood, and the things that were laid upon it. And when this was done, and the time came that the sun shone out, which before was in a cloud, there was a great fire kindled, so that all wondered.

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: St John Chrysostom on Psalm 43

Reading 5: We have heard with our ears, O God, our fathers have told us, what thou hast done in their time of old.”  The Prophet speaks thus in the Psalm, yet not in his own person, but in the person of the Maccabees, relating and foretelling what events were to happen at the time.  For such are the Prophets: they outrun all times, past, present, and future.  

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: But in order that our discussion of the subject may be more intelligible, we must first state who were these Maccabees, and what they suffered, and what they did.  For when Antiochus, surnamed Epiphanes, had invaded Judaea, and laid everything waste, and had forced many who then dwelt there to fall away from the laws of their fathers, the Maccabees remained unsullied by these temptations.  And when a serious war broke out, and they could do nothing to help themselves, they hid themselves, as also in aftertimes the Apostles did.  For they did not always rush openly into the midst of dangers, but sometimes fled, withdrawing thus to hide.  

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: However, after one such short respite, they were like eager animals leaping out of their caves and coming forth from their lairs, and they thereupon resolved for the future, not to win safety for themselves only, but for others, whomsoever they could.  And going through all that city and country, they gathered together as many as they found who were still healthy and stedfast; and even many who were weak, and had been corrupted, they persuaded to return to the Law of their fathers.

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: For they told them that God is merciful and gracious, and that he has never deprived men of that salvation which is obtained by penitence.  And, so saying, they raised a levy of the most valiant men.  For they fought not for their wives, their children and servants, or because of the ruin and captivity of their fatherland, but for the Law, and the religion of their fathers.  Now their leader was God.  Therefore, when they arrayed their battle line, and put their lives in jeopardy, they overthrew their adversaries because they trusted not in arms, but considered that the just cause of their war was in itself a good armour.  Moreover, when they went forth to the conflict, they uttered no bombast, nor sang battle songs, as some do; nor did they call together musicians, as is done in other armies; but they invoked the help of the Most High God, that he might be with them, and aid them, and strengthen their hand, because that war which they waged was for his glory.

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 23rd Sunday after Pentecost

Nocturn III: Homily by St. Jerome

Reading 9: From the Holy Gospel according to Matthew.  At that time: While Jesus spake these things unto the multitudes, behold, there came a certain ruler, and worshipped Him, saying Lord, my daughter is even now dead. And so on.

The eighth miracle took place upon the occasion when a certain ruler, desiring not to be kept out of the mystery of the true circumcision, besought Christ to recall his daughter to life. But a woman, which was diseased with an issue of blood, thrust herself in, and her cure occupieth the eighth place, so that the resurrection of the ruler's daughter is postponed and made the ninth in enumeration even as it is written in the Psalms: "Ethiopia shall soon stretch forth her hands unto God."  And again: "Blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles is come in and so all Israel shall be saved."

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: And, behold, a woman, which was diseased with an issue of blood, twelve years, came behind Him, and touched the hem of His garment." In the Gospel according to Luke it is written that the ruler's daughter was about twelve years of age. Note therefore that this woman, who typifies the Gentiles, had been diseased for the same time that the Jewish nation, typified by the ruler's daughter, had been living in faith. We see not clearly the hideousness of evil, until we compare it with good.

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: This woman with the issue of blood came not to the Lord in an house or in a city, for such as she were by the Law banished out of cities, but in the way, as He walked so that the Lord healed one, even while He was on the road to heal another. Whence also the Apostles said: "It was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you but, seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles."

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: na

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

Gospel: St Matthew 9: 18-26

As he was speaking these things unto them, behold a certain ruler came up, and adored him, saying: Lord, my daughter is even now dead; but come, lay thy hand upon her, and she shall live.  And Jesus rising up followed him, with his disciples. And behold a woman who was troubled with an issue of blood twelve years, came behind him, and touched the hem of his garment. For she said within herself: If I shall touch only his garment, I shall be healed.  But Jesus turning and seeing her, said: Be of good heart, daughter, thy faith hath made thee whole. And the woman was made whole from that hour.  And when Jesus was come into the house of the ruler, and saw the minstrels and the multitude making a rout,  He said: Give place, for the girl is not dead, but sleepeth. And they laughed him to scorn. And when the multitude was put forth, he went in, and took her by the hand. And the maid arose. And the fame hereof went abroad into all that country.

Monday, 17 October 2016

Matins readings for the feast of St Luke the Evangelist, Class II

Nocturn I: Ezekiel 1:1-12 (Common of Evangelists)

Reading 1:  Now it came to pass in the thirtieth year, in the fourth month, on the fifth day of the month, when I was in the midst of the captives by the river Chobar, the heavens were opened, and I saw the visions of God. On the fifth day of the month, the same was the fifth year of the captivity of king Joachin, The word of the Lord came to Ezechiel the priest the son of Buzi in the land of the Chaldeans, by the river Chobar: and the hand of the Lord was there upon him.

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

Reading 2: And I saw, and behold a whirlwind came out of the north: and a great cloud, and a fire infolding it, and brightness was about it: and out of the midst thereof, that is, out of the midst of the fire, as it were the resemblance of amber. And in the midst thereof the likeness of four living creatures: and this was their appearance: there was the likeness of a man in them. Every one had four faces, and every one four wings. Their feet were straight feet, and the sole of their foot was like the sole of a calf's foot, and they sparkled like the appearance of glowing brass.

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

Reading 3: And they had the hands of a man under their wings on their four sides: and they had faces, and wings on the four sides, And the wings of one were joined to the wings of another. They turned not when they went: but every one went straight forward. And as for the likeness of their faces: there was the face of a man, and the face of a lion on the right side of all the four: and the face of an ox, on the left side of all the four: and the face of an eagle over all the four.

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

Reading 4: And their faces, and their wings were stretched upward: two wings of every one were joined, and two covered their bodies: And every one of them went straight forward: whither the impulse of the spirit was to go, thither they went: and they turned not when they went.


Nocturn II  - From the Book on Ecclesiastical Writers of St Jerome

Reading 5: Luke was a physician of Antioch, who, as appeareth from his writings, knew the Greek language. He was a follower of the Apostle Paul, and his fellow traveller in all his wanderings. He wrote a Gospel, whereof the same Paul saith We have sent with him the brother, whose praise is in the Gospel throughout all the Churches. Of him, he writeth unto the Colossians, the beloved physician, greeteth you. And again, unto Timothy: Only Luke is with me.

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

Reading 6: He also published another excellent book entitled The Acts of the Apostles, wherein the history is brought down to Paul's two years sojourn at Rome, that is to say, until the fourth year of Nero, from which we gather that it was at Rome that the said book was composed. The silence of Luke is one of the reasons why we reckon among Apocryphal books The Acts of Paul and Thecla, and the whole story about the baptism of Leo. For why should the fellow traveller of the Apostle, who knew other things, be ignorant only of this?

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

Reading 7: At the same time there is against these documents the statement of Tertullian, almost a contemporary writer, that the Apostle John convicted a certain Priest in Asia, who was a great admirer of the Apostle Paul, of having written them, and that the said Priest owned that he had been induced to compose them through his admiration for Paul, and that he was deposed in consequence. There are some persons who suspect that when Paul in his Epistles useth the phrase: "According to my Gospel" he meaneth the Gospel written by Luke.

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

Reading 8: However, Luke learned his Gospel not from the Apostle Paul only, who had not companied with the Lord in the flesh, but also from other Apostles, as himself declareth at the beginning of his work, where he saith: “They delivered them unto us, which from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word.”  According to what he had heard, therefore, did he write his Gospel. As to the Acts of the Apostles, he composed them from his own personal knowledge. He was never married. He lived eighty-four years. He is buried at Constantinople, whither his bones were brought from Achaia in the twentieth year of Constantine, together with the relics of the Apostle Andrew.

Nocturn III: Homily of St Greogry (Common of Evangelists)

Reading 9: From the Holy Gospel according to Luke: At that time, the Lord appointed other seventy-two also, and sent them two and two before His face into every city and place, whither He Himself would come. And so on.

Dearly beloved brethren, our Lord and Saviour doth sometimes admonish us by words, and sometimes by works. Yea, His very works do themselves teach us for that which He doth silently His example still moveth us to copy. Behold how He sendeth forth His disciples to preach by two and two since there are two commandments to love, that is, a commandment to love God, and a commandment to love our neighbour and where there are not two, the one, being alone, hath not whereon to do the Lord's commandment.

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

Reading 10: And no man can properly be said to love himself: for love tendeth outward toward our neighbour, if it be the love whereto the Gospel doth oblige us. Behold, the Lord sendeth forth His disciples to preach by two and two and thus doing, He doth silently teach us that whosoever loveth not his neighbour, such a one it behoveth not to take upon him the office of a preacher.

R. These men are saints, whom the Lord hath chosen in love unfeigned, and hath given them glory everlasting. These are they
* By the light of whose teaching the Church is glorified, even as the moon is glorified by the light of the sun.
V. The saints through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness.
R. By the light of whose teaching the Church is glorified, even as the moon is glorified by the light of the sun.

Reading 11: Well also is it said that He sent them before His face into every city and place whither He Himself would come. The Lord followeth His preachers first cometh preaching, and then the Lord Himself cometh to the house of our mind, whither the word of exhortation hath come before and so cometh the truth into our mind.

Reading 12: Therefore, to preachers saith Isaiah: "Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight an highway for our God.". And again the Psalmist saith: "Spread a path before him that rideth upon the West."The Lord rideth upon the West above that from which in death He veiled His glory, hath He royally exalted that glory that excelleth, even the glory of His rising again. He rideth upon the West, Who, being risen again from the dead, is throned high above the death to which He bowed. Before Him, therefore, That rideth upon the West, we spread a path, when we set forth His glory before the eyes of your mind, to the end that He Himself may come after, and Himself enlighten the same your minds by His presence and His love.

Gospel: Luke 10:1-9

Saturday, 15 October 2016

Matins readings for the third Sunday of October

Nocturn I: 1 Maccabees 9:1-20

Reading 1: In the mean time when Demetrius heard that Nicanor and his army were fallen in battle, he sent again Bacchides and Alcimus into Judea; and the right wing of his army with them.
And they took the road that leadeth to Galgal, and they camped in Masaloth, which is in Arabella: and they made themselves masters of it, and slew many people. In the first month of the hundred and fifty-second year they brought the army to Jerusalem: And they arose, and went to Berea with twenty thousand men, and two thousand horsemen.

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:  Now Judas had pitched his tents in Laisa, and three thousand chosen men with him:
And they saw the multitude of the army that they were many, and they were seized with great fear: and many withdrew themselves out of the camp, and there remained of them no more than eight hundred men.  And Judas saw that his army slipped away, and the battle pressed upon him, and his heart was cast down: because he had not time to gather them together, and he was discouraged.  Then he said to them that remained: Let us arise, and go against our enemies, if we may be able to fight against them. But they dissuaded him, saying: We shall not be able, but let us save our lives now, and return to our brethren, and then we will fight against them: for we are but few.

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: Then Judas said: God forbid we should do this thing, and flee away from them: but if our time be come, let us die manfully for our brethren, and let us not stain our glory. And the army removed out of the camp, and they stood over against them: and the horsemen were divided into two troops, and the slingers, and the archers went before the army, and they that were in the front were all men of valour. And Bacchides was in the right wing, and the legion drew near on two sides, and they sounded the trumpets: And they also were on Judas' side, even they also cried out, and the earth shook at the noise of the armies: and the battle was fought from morning even unto the evening.

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:  And Judas perceived that the stronger part of the army of Bacchides was on the right side, and all the stout of heart came together with him: And the right wing was discomfited by them, and he pursued them even to the mount Azotus. And they that were in the left wing saw that the right wing was discomfited, and they followed after Judas, and them that were with him, at their back: And the battle was hard fought, and there fell many wounded of the one side and of the other. And Judas was slain, and the rest fled away. And Jonathan and Simon took Judas their brother, and buried him in the sepulchre of their fathers in the city of Modin.  And all the people of Israel bewailed him with great lamentation, and they mourned for him many days.

R. Dixit Judas Simoni fratri suo: Elige tibi viros, et vade, libera fratres tuos in Galilaeam: ego autem, et Jonathas frater tuus, ibimus in Galaaditim: * Sicut fuerit voluntas in caelo, sic fiat.
V. Accingimini filii potentes, et estote parati: quoniam melius est nobis mori in bello, quam videre mala gentis nostrae, et sanctorum.
R. Sicut fuerit voluntas in caelo, sic fiat.
V. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, * and to the Holy Ghost.
R. Sicut fuerit voluntas in caelo, sic fiat.

Nocturn II: From St Ambrose, On the Duties of the Clergy

Reading 5: But as fortitude is proved not only by prosperity but also in adversity, let us now consider the death of Judas Maccabæus. For he, after Nicanor, the general of King Demetrius, was defeated, boldly engaged 20,000 of the king's army with 900 men who were anxious to retire for fear of being overcome by so great a multitude, but whom he persuaded to endure a glorious death rather than to retire in disgraceful flight. Let us not leave, he says, any stain upon our glory.

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: Thus, then, engaging in battle after having fought from sunrise till evening, he attacks and quickly drives back the right wing, where he sees the strongest troop of the enemy to be. But while pursuing the fugitives from the rear he gave a chance for a wound to be inflicted. Thus he found the spot of death more full of glory for himself than any triumph.Why need I further mention his brother Jonathan, who fought against the king's force, with but a small troop. Though forsaken by his men, and left with only two, he retrieved the battle, drove back the enemy, and recalled his own men, who were flying in every direction, to share in his triumph.

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: Here, then, is fortitude in war, which bears no light impress of what is virtuous and seemly upon it, for it prefers death to slavery and disgrace. But what am I to say of the sufferings of the martyrs? Not to go too far abroad, did not the children of Maccabæus gain triumphs over the proud King Antiochus, as great as those of their fathers? The latter in truth were armed, but they conquered without arms.

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: The company of the seven brothers stood unconquered, though surrounded by the legions of the king — tortures failed, tormentors ceased; but the martyrs failed not. One, having had the skin of his head pulled off, though changed in appearance, grew in courage. Another, bidden to put forth his tongue, so that it might be cut off, answered: The Lord hears not only those who speak, for He heard Moses when silent. He hears better the silent thoughts of His own than the voice of all others. Do you fear the scourge of my tongue— and do you not fear the scourge of blood spilt upon the ground? Blood, too, has a voice whereby it cries aloud to God— as it did in the case of Abel.

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 22nd Sunday after Pentecost (Nocturn III)


Nocturn III: (St Hilary on Matt 23)

Reading 9: At that time The Pharisees went and took counsel how they might entangle Jesus in His talk. And so on.

The Pharisees had oftentimes been put to confusion, and were not able to find any ground to accuse Him out of anything that He had hitherto said or done. His words and works are, of necessity, faultless, but still,from spite, they set themselves to seek in every direction for. some cause to accuse Him. He was calling all to turn away from the corruptions of the world, and the superstitious practices of devotion invented by men, and to fix their hopes upon the kingdom of heaven.

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: They therefore arranged a question calculated to entrap Him into an offence against civil government, namely " Is it lawful to give tribute unto Caesar or not ". But Jesus perceived their wickedness, for in sooth there is nothing hidden in the heart of man, but what God seeth it, " and said Why tempt ye Me, ye hypocrites Show Me the tribute-money. And they brought unto Him a penny. And He saith unto them Whose is this image and superscription.

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: They say unto Him Caesar's. Then saith He unto them Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's, and unto God the things that are God's." How wonderful is this answer How perfect the fulfilment of the Divine Law herein prescribed So beautifully doth He here strike the balance between caring not for the things of the world, on the one hand, and the offence of injuring Caesar, on the other, that He proveth the perfect freedom of minds, however devoted to God, to discharge all human cares and duties, by commanding them to render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's.If we have nothing which is Caesar's, then we have nothing which we are bound to render unto him.

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: But if we are concerned with the things which are his, if we are entrusted by him with the use of delegated power, if we are subject to him as paid servants to take care of property which is not our own, there can be no dispute but that it is our duty to render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's. But unto God all of us are bound always to render the things that are God's, that is to say, our body, soul, and will. These are things which we hold from Him, and whereof He is the Author and Maker. It is therefore simply just that they, who acknowledge that they owe to Him their being and creation, should render to Him all that they are.

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 22:15-21

Then the Pharisees going, consulted among themselves how to insnare him in his speech.  And they sent to him their disciples with the Herodians, saying: Master, we know that thou art a true speaker, and teachest the way of God in truth, neither carest thou for any man: for thou dost not regard the person of men. Tell us therefore what dost thou think, is it lawful to give tribute to Caesar, or not? But Jesus knowing their wickedness, said: Why do you tempt me, ye hypocrites? Shew me the coin of the tribute. And they offered him a penny. And Jesus saith to them: Whose image and inscription is this? They say to him: Caesar's. Then he saith to them: Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar's; and to God, the things that are God's.

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.

Saturday, 1 October 2016

Matins readings for the first Sunday of October


Nocturn I: I Maccabees 1:1-16

Reading 1: Now it came to pass, after that Alexander the son of Philip the Macedonian, who first reigned in Greece, coming out of the land of Cethim, had overthrown Darius king of the Persians and Medes: He fought many battles, and took the strong holds of all, and slew the kings of the earth: And he went through even to the ends of the earth, and took the spoils of many nations: and the earth was quiet before him.

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 he gathered a power, and a very strong army: and his heart was exalted and lifted up.
And he subdued countries of nations, and princes: and they became tributaries to him. And after these things, he fell down upon his bed, and knew that he should die. And he called his servants the nobles that were brought up with him from his youth: and he divided his kingdom among them, while he was yet alive.

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 Alexander reigned twelve years, and he died. And his servants made themselves kings every one in his place: And they all put crowns upon themselves after his death, and their sons after them many years, and evils were multiplied in the earth. And there came out of them a wicked root, Antiochus the Illustrious, the son of king Antiochus, who had been a hostage at Rome: and he reigned in the hundred and thirty-seventh year of the kingdom of the Greeks.

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: In those days there went out of Israel wicked men, and they persuaded many, saying: Let us go, and make a covenant with the heathens that are round about us: for since we departed from them, many evils have befallen us.And the word seemed good in their eyes. And some of the people determined to do this, and went to the king: and he gave them license to do after the ordinances of the heathens. And they built a place of exercise in Jerusalem, according to the laws of the nations: And they made themselves prepuces, and departed from the holy covenant, and joined themselves to the heathens, and were sold to do evil.

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.

Nocturn II: St Ambrose (Book of Duties I: 40)

Reading 5: There may perchance be some who are so blinded by the glory of war as to think there is no valour but warlike valour, and that the reason why I have taken up other subjects is that among us there is no warlike valour whereof to speak. But what was the valour of Josue the son of Nun, when in one battle he laid low five nations, and took prisoners their kings when he was fighting against the Gibeonites, and feared lest the closing in of night should cut short his victory, he cried aloud in the greatness of his mind and of his faith, And he said, in the sight of Israel Sun stand thou still over against Gibeon, and thou Moon over against the valley of Ajalon and the sun stood still, and the moon stayed, until the people had avenged themselves upon their enemies. Gideon, with three hundred men, won the victory over the vast people, and the savage enemy. The lad Jonathan waxed valiant in fight.

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: Shall I speak of the Maccabees But before I speak of them, I will speak of their fathers, even of them who, when they were ready to fight for the Temple of God and for their own rights, were assailed by a trick of their enemies upon the Sabbath day, and were willing rather to offer their bodies naked to the sword than to strike back again and break the Sabbath, and so they gave themselves up gladly to death but when the Maccabees bethought them that the whole nation might thus perish, avenged the innocent blood of their brethren even upon the Sabbath day when they were provoked to battle, and afterward, when King Antiochus had been stirred up to make war on them by his generals, even Lysias and Nicanor and Gorgias, he and his Eastern and Assyrian forces were so crushed that forty and eight thousand were laid low on the field by three thousand.

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: What was the valour of Judas the Maccabean leader we may judge by the type of one of his men. When Eleazar saw an elephant bigger than the rest, and adorned with the King's harness, he thought that the King was riding thereon, and he threw himself into the midst of the enemy, and cast away his shield and slew on either hand until he was come to the beast, and ran underneath it, and killed it with his sword, and so the beast fell upon Eleazar and crushed him, and he died.

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: What valour was here To begin with, he feared not to die, and when the enemy surrounded him he cast himself into the midst of their ranks, pierced their column, and becoming all the fiercer through his mockery of death, he threw away his shield and upheld with both hands the huge bulk of the wounded monster beneath which he had gone the better to spite it, so that when he died with it he might well have been said not so much to be crushed as to be swallowed up in victory.

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.