Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Matins readings for feast of St Andrew



Nocturn I: Romans 10:4-21

(Psalms from the Common an Apostle, viz Ps 18, 33, 44, 46, 60, 63)

Reading 1:  For the end of the law is Christ, unto justice to every one that believeth. For Moses wrote, that the justice which is of the law, the man that shall do it, shall live by it. But the justice which is of faith, speaketh thus: Say not in thy heart, Who shall ascend into heaven? that is, to bring Christ down; Or who shall descend into the deep? that is, to bring up Christ again from the dead. But what saith the scripture? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart. This is the word of faith, which we preach.For if thou confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and believe in thy heart that God hath raised him up from the dead, thou shalt be saved.

R. The Lord, walking by the Sea of Galilee, saw Peter and Andrew casting their nets into the sea, and He called them saying
* Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.
V. For they were fishers, and He saith unto them
R. Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.

Reading 2: For, with the heart, we believe unto justice; but, with the mouth, confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith: Whosoever believeth in him, shall not be confounded. For there is no distinction of the Jew and the Greek: for the same is Lord over all, rich unto all that call upon him.
For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord, shall be saved.

R. As soon as the blessed Andrew heard the voice of the Lord calling him, he left his nets, by the exercise and use whereof he lived
* And followed Him Who giveth life everlasting.
V. This is that disciple who for the love of Christ hung upon the cross, and suffered for the law of his God.
R. And followed Him Who giveth life everlasting.

Reading 3: How then shall they call on him, in whom they have not believed? Or how shall they believe him, of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear, without a preacher?And how shall they preach unless they be sent, as it is written: How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, of them that bring glad tidings of good things! But all do not obey the gospel. For Isaias saith: Lord, who hath believed our report? Faith then cometh by hearing; and hearing by the word of Christ.

R. Andrew the good teacher, the friend of God, was led to the cross, and when he saw it afar off, he said God bless thee, O cross
* Welcome to the follower of Him That hung on thee, even my Master Christ.
V. God bless thee, O cross, thou art hallowed by the Body of Christ; His Members make thee goodly as with pearls.
R. Be welcome to the follower of Him That hung on thee, even my Master Christ.

Reading 4: But I say: Have they not heard? Yes, verily, their sound hath gone forth into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the whole world.  But I say: Hath not Israel known? First, Moses saith: I will provoke you to jealousy by that which is not a nation; by a foolish nation I will anger you. But Isaias is bold, and saith: I was found by them that did not seek me: I appeared openly to them that asked not after me. But to Israel he saith: All the day long have I spread my hands to a people that believeth not, and contradicteth me.

Nocturn II

(Ps 74, 95, 96, 97, 98, 100)

Reading 5: The Apostle Andrew was born at Bethsaida, a town of Galilee, and was the brother of Peter. He was a disciple of John the Baptist, and heard him say of Christ, Behold the Lamb of God, whereupon he immediately followed Jesus, bringing his brother also with him. Some while after, they were both fishing in the Sea of Galilee, and the Lord Christ, going by, called them both, before any other of the Apostles, in the words, Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men. They made no delay, but left their nets, and followed Him. After the death and Resurrection of Christ, Andrew was allotted Scythia as the province of his preaching, and, after labouring there, he went through Epirus and Thrace, where he turned vast multitudes to Christ by his teaching and miracles.

R. The man of God was led to be crucified, and the people cried with a loud voice, saying
* The innocent blood of this just person is condemned without a cause.
V. And when they led him out to crucify him, all the people ran together and cried, saying
R. The innocent blood of this just person is condemned without a cause.

Reading 6: Finally he went to Patras in Achaia, and there also he brought many to the knowledge of Gospel truth. Aegeas the Pro-consul resisted the preaching of the Gospel, and the Apostle freely rebuked him, bidding him know that while he held himself a judge of his fellow men, he was himself hindered by devils from knowing Christ our God, the Judge of all.Then Egeas, being angry, answered him, Boast no more of this thy Christ. He spake words even such as thine, but they availed Him not, and He was crucified by the Jews. Whereto Andrew boldly answered that Christ had given Himself up to die for man's salvation; but the Pro-consul blasphemously interrupted him, and bade him look to himself, and sacrifice to the gods. Then said Andrew, We have an altar, whereon day by day I offer up to God, the Almighty, the One, and the True, not the flesh of bulls nor the blood of goats, but a Lamb without spot and when all they that believe have eaten of the Flesh Thereof, the Lamb That was slain abideth whole and liveth.

R. O precious cross, which the Members of my Lord have made so fair and goodly, welcome me from among men, and join me again to my Master,
* That, as by thee He redeemed me, so by thee also He may take me unto Himself.
V. The blessed Andrew stretched forth his hands to heaven and prayed, saying Precious cross, be my salvation,
R. That, as by thee He redeemed me, so by thee also He may take me unto Himself.

Reading 7: Then Aegeas being filled with wrath, bound the Apostle in prison. Now, the people would have delivered him, but he himself calmed the multitude, and earnestly besought them not to take away from him the crown of martyrdom, for which he longed and which was now drawing near.Come short while after, he was brought before the judgment-seat, where he extolled the mystery of the cross, and rebuked Aegeas for his ungodliness. Then Aegeas could bear with him no longer, but commanded him to be crucified, in imitation of Christ.

R. All day long I have stretched forth my hands upon the cross unto a disobedient and gainsaying people* Which walketh in a way that is not good, but after their own sins.
V. The Lord God to Whom vengeance belongeth, the God to Whom vengeance belongeth, hath shown Himself: lift up thyself, Thou Judge of the earth, render a reward to the proud.
R. Which walketh in a way that is not good, but after their own sins.

Reading 8: Andrew, then, was led to the place of martyrdom, and, as soon as he came in sight of the cross, he cried out, O precious cross, which the Members of my Lord have made so goodly, how long have I desired thee! how warmly have I loved thee! how constantly have I sought thee! And, now that thou art come to me, how is my soul drawn to thee! Welcome me from among men, and join me again to my Master, that as by thee He redeemed me, so by thee also He may take me unto Himself. So he was fastened to the cross, whereon he hung living for two days, during which time he ceased not to preach the faith of Christ, and, finally, passed into the Presence of Him the likeness of Whose death he had loved so well. All the above particulars of his last sufferings were written by the Priests and Deacons of Achaia, who bear witness to them of their own knowledge. Under the Emperor Constantine the bones of the Apostle were first taken to Constantinople, whence they were afterwards brought to Amalfi. In the Pontificate of Pope Pius II. his head was carried to Rome, where it is kept in the Basilica of St Peter.

Nocturn III: Homily of St Gregory the Great

(Canticles: Is 61: 6-9; Wisdom 3:7-9; Wisdom 10: 17-21)

Reading 9: From the Holy Gospel according to Matthew - At that time Jesus walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea (for they were fishers). And so on.

Dearly beloved brethren, ye hear how that Peter and Andrew, having once heard the Lord call them, left their nets, and followed their Saviour. As yet they had seen none of His miracles, as yet they had received no promise of their exceeding and eternal reward; nevertheless, at one word of the Lord they forgot all those things which they seemed to have. We have seen many of His miracles; we have received many of His gracious chastenings; many times hath He warned us of the wrath to come and yet Christ calleth and we do not follow.

R. The holy Andrew lifted up his eyes to heaven, and prayed, and cried with a loud voice, and said Thou art my God, Whom I have seen; suffer not the unjust judge to take me down from the cross
* For now I know what the power of thy holy Cross is.
V. Thou art Christ my Master, Whom I have loved, Whom I have known, Whom I have confessed in this thing hear me.
R. For now I know what the power of thy holy Cross is.

Reading 10: He who calleth us to be converted is now enthroned in heaven; He hath broken the necks of the Gentiles to the yoke of the faith, He hath laid low the glory of the world, and the wrecks thereof, falling ever more and more to decay, do preach unto us that the coming of that day when He is to be revealed as our Judge is drawing nigh and yet, so stubborn is our mind, that we will not yet freely abandon that which, will we, nill we, we lose day by day.

R. When Andrew saw the cross he cried, saying How wonderful art thou, O cross! O cross, how loveable art thou! O cross, thy bright beams enlighten the darkness of the whole world!
* Welcome a follower of Jesus, that, as by thee He died to redeem me, so by thee also He may take me unto Himself.
V. O precious cross, which the Members of my Lord have made so fair and goodly,
R. Welcome a follower of Jesus, that, as by thee He died to redeem me, so by thee also He may take me unto Himself.

Reading 11: Dearly beloved brethren, what shall we answer at His judgment seat, we whom no lessons can persuade, and no stripes can break of the love of this present world? Come one perchance will ask in his heart, what Peter or Andrew had to lose by obeying the call of the Lord?

Reading 12: Dearly beloved brethren, we must consider here rather the intention than the loss incurred by this obedience. He that keepeth nothing for himself, giveth up much; he that sacrificeth his all, sacrificed! what is to him a great deal. Beyond doubt, we cling to whatever we have, and what we have least, that we desire most. Peter and Andrew therefore gave up much when they gave up even the desire of possessing anything.

R. Dilexit Andream Dominus in odorem suavitatis, dum penderet in cruce, dignum sibi computavit Martyrem. quem vocabit Apostolum, dum esset in mari* Et ideo amicus Dei appellatus est.
V. Andreas, Christi famulus, dignus Dei Apostolus, germanus Petri, et in passione socius.
R. Et ideo amicus Dei appellatus est.
V. Glória Patri, et Fílio, * et Spirítui Sancto.
R. Et ideo amicus Dei appellatus est.

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Isaiah 2:1-9 (Tuesday in the first week of Advent)

Reading 1: Verbum quod vidit Isaias, filius Amos, super Juda et Jerusalem.Et erit in novissimis diebus:præparatus mons domus Domini in vertice montium, et elevabitur super colles; et fluent ad eum omnes gentes, et ibunt populi multi, et dicent: Venite, et ascendamus ad montem Domini, et ad domum Dei Jacob; et docebit nos vias suas, et ambulabimus in semitis ejus, quia de Sion exibit lex, et verbum Domini de Jerusalem.

The word that Isaias the son of Amos saw, concerning Juda and Jerusalem. And in the last days the mountain of the house of the Lord shall be prepared on the top of mountains, and it shall be exalted above the hills, and all nations shall flow unto it.  And many people shall go, and say: Come and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, and to the house of the God of Jacob, and he will teach us his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for the law shall come forth from Sion, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.

Reading 2: Et judicabit gentes, et arguet populos multos; et conflabunt gladios suos in vomeres,
et lanceas suas in falces. Non levabit gens contra gentem gladium, nec exercebuntur ultra ad prælium. Domus Jacob, venite, et ambulemus in lumine Domini. Projecisti enim populum tuum, domum Jacob, quia repleti sunt ut olim, et augeres habuerunt ut Philisthiim, et pueris alienis adhæserunt.

And he shall judge the Gentiles, and rebuke many people: and they shall turn their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into sickles: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they be exercised any more to war.  O house of Jacob, come ye, and let us walk in the light of the Lord.  For thou hast cast off thy people, the house of Jacob: because they are filled as in times past, and have had soothsayers as the Philistines, and have adhered to strange children.

Reading 3: Repleta est terra argento et auro, et non est finis thesaurorum ejus. Et repleta est terra ejus equis, et innumerabiles quadrigæ ejus. Et repleta est terra ejus idolis; opus manuum suarum adoraverunt, quod fecerunt digiti eorum.   Et incurvavit se homo, et humiliatus est vir; ne ergo dimittas eis.

Their land is filled with silver and gold: and there is no end of their treasures.  And their land is filled with horses: and their chariots are innumerable. Their land also is full of idols: they have adored the work of their own hands, which their own fingers have made.  And man hath bowed himself down, and man hath been debased: therefore forgive them not.

Reflection

The Fathers interpret these verses as the announcement of the Incarnation: Christ and his Church and the mountain of strength; and through him a new age of peace will be ushered in.

How do we ascend to Christ?  St Benedict points us to the image of Jacob's ladder, particularly apposite here given the repeated references to Jacob's house, where by we ascend by humility, and descend by self-exaltation.

St Bede links the degrees of humility with the key messages of the fifteen Gradual Psalms (which correspond to the fifteen steps to the top of the inner court of the Temple, and ten of which are said Tuesday to Saturday in the Benedictine Office), noting that:
For the steps that come down from the city of David to the lower parts of the city of Jerusalem are the aids of divine inspiration or protection by which we should ascend to his kingdom. For David made the steps by which we should ascend to his city when divine mercy taught us the order of the virtues by which we may seek heavenly things and when it granted us the gift of seeking these same virtues….Benedict, a father very reverend both in his name and in his life, realized that these steps especially consist in humility when, interpreting our journey to celestial things to be designated by the ladder shown to the Patriarch Jacob, by which angels ascended and descended, he distinguished in a very careful and pious examination the steps of the ladder itself as the increments and stages of good works that are performed through humility. (On Ezra and Nehemiah, trans DeGregorio, pg 172)
We need then, to return to Chapter 7 of the Benedictine Rule, and the Gradual Psalms (Psalm 119-133) and work on our ascent through humility, for only by converting ourselves can we convert others.

Isaiah 1:16-28 (Monday in the first week of Advent)


Reading 1: Wash yourselves, be clean, take away the evil of your devices from my eyes: cease to do perversely,  Learn to do well: seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge for the fatherless, defend the widow. And then come, and accuse me, saith the Lord: if your sins be as scarlet, they shall be made as white as snow: and if they be red as crimson, they shall be white as wool.

Reading 2: If you be willing, and will hearken to me, you shall eat the good things of the land. But if you will not, and will provoke me to wrath: the sword shall devour you because the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it. How is the faithful city, that was full of judgment, become a harlot? justice dwelt in it, but now murderers.  Thy silver is turned into dross: thy wine is mingled with water. Thy princes are faithless, companions of thieves: they all love bribes, the run after rewards. They judge not for the fatherless: and the widow' s cometh not in to them.

Reading 3: Therefore saith the Lord the God of hosts, the mighty one of Israel: Ah! I will comfort myself over my adversaries: and I will be revenged of my enemies. And I will turn my hand to thee, and I will clean purge away thy dress, and I will take away all thy tin.  And I will restore thy judges as they were before, and thy counsellors as of old. After this thou shalt be called the city of the just, a faithful city.  Sion shall be redeemed in judgment, and they shall bring her back in justice. And he shall destroy the wicked, and the sinners together: and they that have forsaken the Lord, shall be consumed.

Reflection

This passage paints a vivid picture of corruption in the Church, and its causes, namely leaders running after earthly acclaim rather than seeking God.

The remedy is clear and uncompromising: turn away from evil and do good, or be expelled from any hope of heaven.

And on the subject of law-givers and princes of the Church (though they mostly disdain that title these days),  The Catholic Thing has an interesting post well worth a read called The Silence of the Lions.  It poses the question of what would have happened if all the bishops, and not just one or two had stood firm at key points in history: if more had stood with St John Fisher against Henry VIII, or with Bishop von Galen against the Nazis for example.

We live in a world where secularism reigns, and many in the Church seem bent on a policy of appeasement rather than defence of truth.  Scripture and the Fathers offer many warnings about the consequences of such a policy, not least in these readings set for Advent, when we contemplate not just the first coming of Christ, but also his return in judgment.


Saturday, 26 November 2016

Matins readings for the First Sunday of Advent

The readings and responsories for the first Sunday of Advent according to the 1963 breviary are set out below - note that that the first responsory is more elaborate than usual, and includes the Gloria Patri.  Here is a version of it to meditate to.



Nocturn I: Isaiah 1: 1-11

Reading 1: The vision of Isaias the son of Amos I which he saw concerning Juda and Jerusalem in the days of Ozias, Joathan, Achaz, and Ezechias, kings of Juda.  Hear, O ye heavens, and give ear, O earth, for the Lord hath spoken. I have brought up children, and exalted them: but they have despised me. The ox knoweth his owner, and the ass his master's crib: but Israel hath not known me, and my people hath not understood.

R. look from afar, and, behold, I see the Power of God coming, and a cloud covering all the land.
* Go ye out to meet Him, and say Tell us if Thou art He, That shalt reign over God's people Israel.
V. Both low and high, rich and poor together.
R. Go ye out to meet Him, and say.
V. Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel, Thou That leadest Joseph like a flock.
R. Tell us if Thou art He.
V. Lift up your gates, O ye princes; and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors, and the King of glory shall come in.
R. That shalt reign over God's people Israel.
V. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, * and to the Holy Ghost.
R. I look from afar, and, behold, I see the Power of God coming, and a cloud covering all the land.
* Go ye out to meet Him, and say Tell us if Thou art He, That shalt reign over God's people Israel.

Reading 2: Woe to the sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity, a wicked seed, ungracious children: they have forsaken the Lord, they have blasphemed the Holy One of Israel, they are gone away backwards. For what shall I strike you any more, you that increase transgression? the whole head is sick, and the whole heart is sad. From the sole of the foot unto the top of the head, there is no soundness therein: wounds and bruises and swelling sores: they are not bound up, nor dressed, nor fomented with oil.

R. I saw in the night visions, and, behold, the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and there was given Him a Kingdom, and glory* And all people, nations, and languages shall serve Him.
V. His dominion is an everlasting dominion which shall not pass away, and His Kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.
R. And all people, nations, and languages shall serve Him.

Reading 3: Your land is desolate, your cities are burnt with fire: your country strangers devour before your face, and it shall be desolate as when wasted by enemies. And the daughter of Sion shall be left as a covert in a vineyard, and as a lodge in a garden of cucumbers, and as a city that is laid waste.
Except the Lord of hosts had left us seed, we had been as Sodom, and we should have been like to Gomorrha.

R. The Angel Gabriel was sent to Mary, a Virgin espoused to Joseph, to bring unto her the word of the Lord and when the Virgin saw the light she was afraid. Fear not, Mary, for thou hast found grace from the Lord.* Behold, thou shalt conceive and bring forth a son, and He shall be called the Son of the Highest.
V. The Lord God shall give unto Him the throne of His father David, and He shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever.
R. Behold, thou shalt conceive, and bring forth a son, and He shall be called the Son of the Highest.

Reading 4: Hear the word of the Lord, ye rulers of Sodom, give ear to the law of our God, ye people of Gomorrha. To what purpose do you offer me the multitude of your victims, saith the Lord? I am full, I desire not holocausts of rams, and fat of fatlings, and blood of calves, and lambs, and buck goats.

R. Receive, O Virgin Mary, receive the word of the Lord, which is sent thee by His Angel thou shalt conceive, and shalt bring forth God and Man together.* And thou shalt be called blessed among all women.
V. Thou shalt bring forth a son, and remain a maiden undefiled thou shalt conceive and be a Mother, still Virgin unspotted.
R. And thou shalt be called blessed among all women.
V. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, * and to the Holy Ghost.
R. And thou shalt be called blessed among all women.

Nocturn II: Sermon 19 of St Leo the Great

Reading 5: Our Saviour Himself instructed His disciples concerning the times and seasons of the coming of the Kingdom of God and the end of the world, and He hath given the same teaching to the Church by the mouth of His Apostles. In connection with this subject then, Our Lord biddeth us beware lest we let our hearts grow heavy through excess of meat and drink, and worldly thoughts. Dearly beloved brethren, we know how that this warning applieth particularly to us. We know that that day is coming, and though for a season we know not the very hour> yet this we know, that it is near.

R. Hail, Mary, full of grace; the Lord is with thee* The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee therefore also that Holy Thing Which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.
V. How shall this be, seeing I know not a man? And the Angel answered and said unto her,
R. The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee; therefore also that Holy Thing Which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.

Reading 6:  Let every man then make himself ready against the coming of the Lord, so that He may not find him making his belly his god, or the world his chief care. Dearly beloved brethren, it is a matter of every day experience that fulness of drink dulleth the keenness of the mind, and that excess of eating unnerveth the strength of the will. The very stomach protesteth that gluttony doth harm to the bodily health, unless temperance get the better of desire, and the thought of the indigestion afterward check the indulgence of the moment.

R. We look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ* Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto His glorious Body.
V. We should live soberly, and righteously, and godly in this present world, looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God.
R. Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto His glorious Body.

Reading 7: The body without the soul hath no desires; its sensibility cometh from the same source as its movements. And it is the duty of a man with a reasonable soul to deny something to his lower nature and to keep back the outer man from things unseemly. Then will his soul, free from fleshly cravings, sit often at leisure in the palace of the mind, dwelling on the wisdom of God. There, when the roar and rattle of earthly cares are stilled, will she feed on holy thoughts and entertain herself with the expectation of the everlasting joy.

R. O my Lord, send I pray thee, Him Whom Thou wilt send; see the affliction of thy people. As Thou hast promised, come* And deliver us.
V. Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel, Thou That leadest Joseph like a flock, Thou That sittest upon the Cherubim!
R. As Thou hast promised, come.

Reading 8: And, although this is difficult to maintain in this life, yet the attempt can frequently be renewed, in order that we may the oftener and longer be occupied with spiritual rather than fleshly cares; and by our spending ever greater portions of our time on higher cares, even our temporal actions may end in gaining the incorruptible riches.

R. Sing, O heavens; and be joyful, O earth; and break forth into singing, O mountains, for our Lord will come * And will have mercy on His afflicted.
V. In His days shall righteousness flourish and abundance of peace.
R. And will have mercy upon His afflicted.
V. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, * and to the Holy Ghost.
R. And will have mercy upon His afflicted.

Nocturn III: St Gregory the Great, Homily 1 on the Gospels

Reading 9: Our Lord and Saviour wisheth to find us ready at His second coming. Therefore He telleth us what will be the evils of the world as it groweth old, that He may wean our hearts from worldly affections. Here we read what great convulsions will go before the end, that, if we will not fear God in our prosperity, we may at least be scourged into fearing His judgment when it is at hand.

R. Behold, the Virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, saith the Lord* And His name shall be called Wonderful, the Mighty God.
V. He shall sit upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom for ever.
R. And His name shall be called Wonderful, the Mighty God.

Reading 10: Immediately before the passage which hath just been read from the Gospel, are found the following words of our Lord, Nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and great earthquakes shall be in divers places, and pestilences and famines. Then, after a few more verses, cometh to-day's Gospel. There shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations with perplexity, the sea and the waves roaring. Now some of these things are come to pass already, and we fear the others are not far off.

R. Hear the word of the Lord, O ye nations, and declare it in the ends of the earth
* And in the isles afar off, and say Our Saviour shall come.
V. Declare it and make it known, lift up your voice and cry aloud.
R. And in the isles afar off, and say Our Saviour shall come.

Reading 11: In these our days we see nation rise against nation, and their distress over all the earth, more than we read in books hath ever come to pass of old time. Ye know also how often we hear of earthquakes overwhelming countless cities in other parts of the world. As for pestilences, we suffer from them ourselves, with hardly any intermission. As yet we do not see signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; but the changes of seasons and climates warn us that we may look for these also before long.

R. Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch; and a King shall reign in wisdom and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth * and this is His name whereby He shall be called The Lord our Righteous one.
V. In His days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely.
R. and this is His name whereby He shall be called The Lord our Righteous one.

Reading 12: There has not yet arisen any new disturbance of the sea and of the waves.  But since many prophecies have already been fulfulled, there is no doubt that the few which remain will also follow, for the accomplishment of that which has gone before is our certitude of that which is to follow.  For this reason, dearest brethren, that your minds may be alrt and zealous for your safety, lest, feeling secure, they remain inactive, and on account of ignorance they become weak.  But in all things let fear, on the one hand, rouse them up, and on the other hand, let solicitude for doing good strengthen them.

R. There shall no strangers pass through Jerusalem any more* For in that day the mountains shall drop down sweet wine, and the hills shall flow with milk and honey, saith the Lord.
V. God shall come from Lebanon, and the Holy One from the thick and shady mountain.
R. For in that day the mountains shall drop down sweet wine, and the hills shall flow with milk and honey, saith the Lord.
V. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, * and to the Holy Ghost.

Gospel: St Luke 21:25-33 - 

And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, by reason of the confusion of the roaring of the sea and of the waves;  Men withering away for fear, and expectation of what shall come upon the whole world. For the powers of heaven shall be moved; And then they shall see the Son of man coming in a cloud, with great power and majesty. But when these things begin to come to pass, look up, and lift up your heads, because your redemption is at hand.  And he spoke to them in a similitude. See the fig tree, and all the trees:  When they now shoot forth their fruit, you know that summer is nigh; So you also, when you shall see these things come to pass, know that the kingdom of God is at hand. Amen, I say to you, this generation shall not pass away, till all things be fulfilled.  Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.

Saturday, 19 November 2016

Matins readings for the last Sunday after Pentecost (Nocturn III and Gospel)

Nocturn III: Homily of St Jerome

Reading 9: At that time Jesus said unto his disciples: When ye shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the Prophet, stand in the Holy Place, (whoso readeth, let him understand,) And so on.

This injunction to whoso readeth, to understand, showeth that there is here something mysterious. In Daniel we read as followeth And in the midst of the week the sacrifice and the oblations shall be taken away and in the temple there shall be the abomination of desolation, even until the consummation of the time and a consummation shall be given to the desolation.

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

Reading 10: It is of this same thing that the Apostle speaketh, when he saith that a man of iniquity, even an adversary, shall be exalted against whatsoever is called God, or is worshipped so that he shall even dare to stand in the temple of God, and to show himself as God whose coming shall, according to the working of Satan, destroy and banish away from God all who shall receive him.

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

Reading 11: This prophecy may be understood either (first) simply of Antichrist, (secondly) of the statue of Caesar, which Pilate set up in the Temple, or (thirdly) of the statue of Hadrian on horse-back, which hath stood, even until our own day, upon the site of the Holy of Holies. In the Scriptures of the Old Testament "abomination" is a word very often used for an idol, and the farther title "of desolation" is added to identify an idol erected upon the site of the desolate and ruined temple.

R. I will show thee, O man, what is good, and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to * Do justice and judgment, and to walk humbly with thy God.
V. Trust in the Lord, and do good, and dwell in the land.
R. Do justice and judgment, and walk humbly with thy God.

Reading 12: But we may also understand by the abomination of desolation, any bad doctrine and when we see such a thing get a standing in the Holy Place, that is, in the Church, and showing itself that it is God, that is, pretending that it is His revealed truth, then will be the time when it will be our duty to flee from Judea into the mountains, that is to say, to leave the letter, which passeth away, and all guise of Jewish superstition, and to hie us unto the everlasting hills, from whence God doth right wondrously cause His light to shine forth. Then will it be our duty to find ourselves under a roof and in an house, wherethrough the fiery darts of the wicked one can never pierce to smite us, and not to come down to take anything out of the house of our old conversation, or to have regard unto those things which are behind but rather to sow in the field of the spiritual Scriptures, that we may reap thereof a bountiful harvest neither to have two coats, that thing forbidden to Apostles.

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 24:15-35

When therefore you shall see the abomination of desolation, which was spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place: he that readeth let him understand.

Then they that are in Judea, let them flee to the mountains: And he that is on the housetop, let him not come down to take any thing out of his house: And he that is in the field, let him not go back to take his coat.

And woe to them that are with child, and that give suck in those days. But pray that your flight be not in the winter, or on the sabbath. For there shall be then great tribulation, such as hath not been from the beginning of the world until now, neither shall be.

 And unless those days had been shortened, no flesh should be saved: but for the sake of the elect those days shall be shortened.

Then if any man shall say to you: Lo here is Christ, or there, do not believe him. For there shall arise false Christs and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders, insomuch as to deceive (if possible) even the elect.

Behold I have told it to you, beforehand.  If therefore they shall say to you: Behold he is in the desert, go ye not out: Behold he is in the closets, believe it not. For as lightning cometh out of the east, and appeareth even into the west: so shall the coming of the Son of man be. Wheresoever the body shall be, there shall the eagles also be gathered together.

And immediately after the tribulation of those days, the sun shall be darkened and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of heaven shall be moved: And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all tribes of the earth mourn: and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with much power and majesty. And he shall send his angels with a trumpet, and a great voice: and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from the farthest parts of the heavens to the utmost bounds of them.

And from the fig tree learn a parable: When the branch thereof is now tender, and the leaves come forth, you know that summer is nigh. So you also, when you shall see all these things, know ye that it is nigh, even at the doors.

Amen I say to you, that this generation shall not pass, till all these things be done. Heaven and earth shall pass, but my words shall not pass.

Matins readings for the fifth Sunday of November

The readings for Nocturns I&II arranged as for the 1963 Benedictine Office are set out below.

Nocturn I: Micah 1:1-9

Reading 1: The word of the Lord that came to Micheas the Morasthite, in the days of Joathan, Achaz, and Ezechias, kings of Juda: which he saw concerning Samaria and Jerusalem. Hear, all ye people: and let the earth give ear, and all that is therein: and let the Lord God be a witness to you, the Lord from his holy temple.

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: For behold the Lord will come forth out of his place: and he will come down, and will tread upon the high places of the earth. And the mountains shall be melted under him: and the valleys shall be cleft, as wax before the fire, and as waters that run down a steep place. For the wickedness of Jacob is all this, and for the sins of the house of Israel.

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

Reading 3: What is the wickedness of Jacob? is it not Samaria? and what are the high places of Juda? are they not Jerusalem.  And I will make Samaria as a heap of stones in the field when a vineyard is planted: and I will bring down the stones thereof into the valley, and will lay her foundations bare.

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

Reading 4:  And all her graven things shall be cut in pieces, and all her wages shall be burnt with fire, and I will bring to destruction all her idols: for they were gathered together of the hire of a harlot, and unto the hire of a harlot they shall return. Therefore will I lament and howl: I will go stripped and naked: I will make a wailing like the dragons, and a mourning like the ostriches. Because her wound is desperate, because it is come even to Juda, it hath touched the gate of my people even to Jerusalem.

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

Nocturn II: Sermon of St Basil the Great on Psalm 33

Reading 5: Whenever the desire to sin cometh over thee, I would that thou couldest think of the awful and overwhelming judgment-seat of Christ. There the Judge shall sit upon a throne high and lifted up. Every creature shall stand before Him, quaking because of the glory of His presence. There are we to be led up, one by one, to give account for those things which we have done in life.

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

Reading 6: Presently there will be found, by the sides of those who have in life wrought much evil, dreadful and hideous angels with faces of fire, and burning breath, appointed thereto, and showing their evil will, in appearance like the night, in their despair and hatred of mankind.

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

Reading 7: Think again of the bottomless pit, the impenetrable darkness, the lightless fire, burning, but not glowing the poisonous mass of worms, preying upon the flesh, ever feeding, and never filled, causing by their gnawing unbearable agony lastly, the greatest punishment of all, shame and confusion for ever. Have a dread of these things, and let that dread correct thee, and be as a curb to thy mind to hold it in from the hankering after sin.

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

Reading 8: This fear of the Lord the Prophet hath promised to teach. But he hath not promised to teach it to all, but only to such as will hear him not to such as have fallen far away, but to such as run to him, hungry for salvation, not to such as have no part in the promises, but to such as by baptism are born children of adoption, set at peace and oneness with the Word. Come, ye children, saith he, that is to say, Draw nigh unto me by good works, all ye who by the new birth have become the worthy children of light, hearken unto me, all ye who have the ears of your heart opened, I will teach you the fear of the Lord, even the fear of that Being of Whom we have just been speaking.

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

Wednesday, 16 November 2016

Feast of St Gertrude the Great (November 17)

The readings (and psalms of) Matins for the feast of St Gertrude depend on whether the feast is Class III or II - for Oblates attached to women's monasteries it will be Class II in the 1963 rubrics, and therefore have three Nocturns.

If it is Class III, are as follows:

(Nocturn I)

Reading 1 (Song of songs 2:1-5): I am the flower of the field, and the lily of the valleys. As the lily among thorns, so is my love among the daughters.  As the apple tree among the trees of the woods, so is my beloved among the sons. I sat down under his shadow, whom I desired: and his fruit was sweet to my palate.  He brought me into the cellar of wine, he set in order charity in me. Stay me up with flowers, compass me about with apples: because I languish with love.

Reading 2 (Songs 8:6-7): Put me as a seal upon thy heart, as a seal upon thy arm, for love is strong as death, jealousy as hard as hell, the lamps thereof are fire and flames.  Many waters cannot quench charity, neither can the floods drown it: if a man should give all the substance of his house for love, he shall despise it as nothing.

Reading 3: Born at Eisleben in Saxony, Gertrude offered her virginity and herself to Jesus Christ in the Benedictine monastery of Rossdorf, when she was five. She had St. Mechtilde for her teacher, and under this guidance attained the highest gifts of contemplation. She burned with such love for the most holy Sacrament of the Eucharist and the Passion of the Lord that when she thought of them she shed tears in profusion. She wrote many things to foster devotion, and was known for the gift of divine revelation and of prophecy. Finally, consumed more by her burning love of God than by sickness, she departed this life, famous for miracles both before and after her death.

(Nocturn II)

Chapter: Put me as a seal upon thy heart, as a seal upon thy arm, for love is strong as death, jealousy as hard as hell, the lamps thereof are fire and flames.

If the feast is Class II


Nocturn I: Songs 2:1-5; 8:1-7

(Psalms from the common of virgins: 8, 18, 23, 44, 45, 47)

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

Reading 2 (Songs 8:1-2): Who shall give thee to me for my brother, sucking the breasts of my mother, that I may find thee without, and kiss thee, and now no man may despise me? I will take hold of thee, and bring thee Into my mother' s house: there thou shalt teach me, and I will give thee a cup of spiced wine and new wine of my pomegranates.

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

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

Nocturn II

(Psalms: 84, 86, 95, 96, 97, 98)

Reading 5-8: On the life of the saint, not online (though the one's for Roman Office with older rubrics on Divinum Officium for November 16 cover similar ground)

Nocturn III: St Augustine Sermon 93 on the words of the Lord: Not available online

(Canticles from the Common, viz Ecclesiaticus 39:17-21; Isaiah 61:10-11, 62:1-3; Isaiah 62:4-7)

Gospel: St Matthew 25:1-13

Saturday, 12 November 2016

Matins readings for the fourth Sunday of November

Nocturn I: Hosea 1:1-11

Reading 1: The word of the Lord, that came to Osee the son of Beeri, in the days of Ozias, Joathan, Achaz, and Ezechias kings of Juda, and in the days of Jeroboam the son of Joas king of Israel.  The beginning of the Lord's speaking by Osee: and the Lord said to Osee: Go, take thee a wife of fornications, and have of her children of fornications: for the land by fornication shall depart from the Lord. So he went, and took Gomer the daughter of Debelaim: and she conceived and bore him a son.

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 Lord said to him: Call his name Jezrahel: for yet a little while, and I will visit the blood of Jezrahel upon the house of Jehu, and I will cause to cease the kingdom of the house of Israel. And in that day I will break in pieces the bow of Israel in the valley of Jezrahel. And she conceived again, and bore a daughter, and he said to him: Call her name, Without mercy: for I will not add any more to have mercy on the house of Israel, but I will utterly forget them.

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

Reading 3: And I will have mercy on the house of Juda, and I will save them by the Lord their God: and I will not save them by bow, nor by sword, nor by battle, nor by horses, nor by horsemen. And she weaned her that was called Without mercy. And she conceived, and bore a son. And he said: Call his name, Not my people: for you are not my people, and I will not be yours.

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

Reading 4: And the number of the children of Israel shall be as the sand of the sea, that is without measure, and shall not be numbered. And it shall be in the place where it shall be said to them: You are not my people: it shall be said to them: Ye are the sons of the living God. And the children of Juda, and the children of Israel shall be gathered together: and they shall appoint themselves one head, and shall come up out of the land: for great is the day of Jezrahel.

Nocturn II: St Augustine, City of God Book 18 ch 28

Reading 5: As to the Prophet Hosea, the deeper his meaning, the harder to pierce. But somewhat may be gotten out of him, and, as I promised, I will give it here. He saith And it shall come to pass that, in the place where it shall be said unto them, Ye are not My people, there it shall be said unto them Ye are the sons of the living God. This was understood even by the Apostles as a Prophetic witness to the call of the Gentiles, who erst had not been God's people.

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

Reading 6: And since the converted Gentiles are the spiritual children of Abraham, and are therefore rightly called Israelites, therefore he goeth on, and saith: Then shall the children of Judah and the children of Israel be gathered together, and appoint themselves one head, and they shall come up out of the land.

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

Reading 7: If we went on expounding this, we should water down the flavour of the prophetic draught. Let there be remembered, however, that Corner Stone, and let there be acknowledged those twain walls, (which It bindeth in one,) the Jews and the Gentiles, one called the children of Judah and the other the children of Israel, bound together under One Head, and coming up out of the land.

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

R. Forget us not for ever.

Reading 8: Concerning them that are now Israelites according to the flesh, that will not now believe in Christ, but shall believe hereafter, (that is, their children shall believe, for these shall die, and go to their own place,) this same Prophet giveth witness, where he saith The children of Israel shall abide many days without a King, and without a Prince, and without a sacrifice, and without an Altar, and without a Priest, and without oracles. To whom is it not manifest that such is the state of the Jews now.

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

Matins readings for the Sixth Sunday remaining after Epiphany (Nocturn III and Gospel)

Nocturn III: Homily of St Jerome

Reading 9: From the Holy Gospel according to Matthew - At that time, Jesus said to to the people a parable: The kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of mustard seed, which a man took and sowed in his field. And so on.

The kingdom of heaven is the proclamation of the Gospel, and that knowledge of the Scriptures, which leadeth unto life, and whereof it is said to the Jews: The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof. Therefore is this kingdom like to a grain of mustard-seed, which a man took and sowed in his field.

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

Reading 10: By the man that sowed it in his field, many understand to be meant the Saviour, because He is the Sower That soweth in the souls of believers; others understand every man that soweth good seed in his own field, that is, in himself and in his own heart.  Who is he that soweth, but our own mind and soul, which take the grain from preaching, and by nourishing it in the soil, cause it to sprout in the field of our own breast?

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

Reading 11: The preaching of the Gospel is the least of all doctrines. He that preacheth, for his first lesson, God made man, Christ dead, and the stumbling-block of the Cross, receiveth at first but little credit. Compare such teaching as this with the doctrines of the Philosophers, with their books, their magnificent eloquence, and their rounded sentences, and thou shalt see how the grain of the Gospel, when it is sown, is the humblest of all seeds.

R. I will show thee, O man, what is good, and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to * Do justice and judgment, and to walk humbly with thy God.
V. Trust in the Lord, and do good, and dwell in the land.
R. Do justice and judgment, and walk humbly with thy God.

Reading 12: But when the doctrines of men grow up, there is therein nothing piercing, nothing healthy, nothing life-giving. The plant is drooping, and delicate, and soft. There are herbs and grass whereof it may truly be said that the grass withereth and the flower fadeth. . But the grain of Gospel seed, though, when it was sown, it seemed to be the least of all seeds, when once it is rooted in the soul of man, or in the whole world, groweth not into an herb, but becometh a tree so that the birds of the air (whereby we may understand, either the souls of believers, or the (angelic) powers bound to the service of God,) come and lodge in the branches thereof. I consider that the branches of the Gospel tree, which groweth from the grain of mustard-seed, are the divers developments of doctrine, on which the birds above mentioned find resting-places.

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 13:31-35

Another parable he proposed unto them, saying: The kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of mustard seed, which a man took and sowed in his field. Which is the least indeed of all seeds; but when it is grown up, it is greater than all herbs, and becometh a tree, so that the birds of the air come, and dwell in the branches thereof.  Another parable he spoke to them: The kingdom of heaven is like to leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal, until the whole was leavened.  All these things Jesus spoke in parables to the multitudes: and without parables he did not speak to them.  That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying: I will open my mouth in parables, I will utter things hidden from the foundation of the world.

Thursday, 10 November 2016

Feast of St Martin of Tours

The readings for the feasts in the Benedictine Office are set out below.

Nocturn I: 1 Timothy 3:1-9; Titus 1:7-11, 2:1-8

(Psalms of the feast: 1, 2, 4, 5, 8, 10)

Reading 1: A faithful saying: if a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work.  It behoveth therefore a bishop to be blameless, the husband of one wife, sober, prudent, of good behaviour, chaste, given to hospitality, a teacher,  Not given to wine, no striker, but modest, not quarrelsome, not covetous, but One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all chastity.

R. This is that Martin whom God chose to be an High Priest unto Himself, he upon whom the Lord was pleased to bestow favour like as upon His Apostles* So that he prevailed gloriously in the power of the Divine Trinity three times to raise the dead to life.
V. Martin confessed the faith of the Holy Trinity.
R. So that he prevailed gloriously in the power of the Divine Trinity three times to raise the dead to life.

Reading 2: But if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God? Not a neophyte: lest being puffed up with pride, he fall into the judgment of the devil.  Moreover he must have a good testimony of them who are without: lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.  Deacons in like manner chaste, not double tongued, not given to much wine, not greedy of filthy lucre:  Holding the mystery of faith in a pure conscience.

R. Lord, if I be still needful to thy people, I refuse not to work for them.* Thy will be done.
V. With eyes and hands lifted up to heaven, he never let his mighty spirit slacken in prayer.
R. Thy will be done.

Reading 3: For a bishop must be without crime, as the steward of God: not proud, not subject to anger, not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre: But given to hospitality, gentle, sober, just, holy, continent:  Embracing that faithful word which is according to doctrine, that he may be able to exhort in sound doctrine, and to convince the gainsayers. For there are also many disobedient, vain talkers, and seducers: especially they who are of the circumcision: Who must be reproved, who subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought not, for filthy lucre's sake.

R. Oh, how blessed a man was Bishop Martin* He neither feared to die, nor refused to live.
V. Lord, if I be still needful to thy people, I refuse not to work for them. thy will be done.
R. He neither feared to die, nor refused to live.

Reading 4: But speak thou the things that become sound doctrine: That the aged men be sober, chaste, prudent, sound in faith, in love, in patience. The aged women, in like manner, in holy attire, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teaching well: That they may teach the young women to be wise, to love their husbands, to love their children, To be discreet, chaste, sober, having a care of the house, gentle, obedient to their husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.  Young men, in like manner, exhort that they be sober.  In all things shew thyself an example of good works, in doctrine, in integrity, in gravity, The sound word that can not be blamed: that he, who is on the contrary part, may be afraid, having no evil to say of us.

[Responsory: Dum sacramenta offerret beatus Martinus globus igneus apparuit super caput ejus...]

Nocturn II

(Psalms of the feast: 14, 20, 23, 95, 96, 97)

Reading 5: Martin was born at Sabaria in Pannonia. When he was ten years old he went to the Church, in the spite of his (heathen) father and mother, and by his own will was numbered among the Catechumens. At fifteen years of age he joined the army, and served as a soldier first under Constantius and then under Julian. Once at the gate of Amiens a poor man asked him for an alms for Christ's name's sake, and since he had nothing to his hand but his arms and his clothes, he gave him half of his cloak. In the night following Christ appeared to him clad in the half of his cloak, and saying (to the angels who bare Him company) While Martin is yet a Catechumen, he hath clad Me in this garment.

R. With eyes and hands lifted up to heaven* He never let his mighty spirit slacken in prayer.
V. While as blessed Martin was offering up the mysteries, a ball of fire appeared above his head.
R. He never let his mighty spirit slacken in prayer.

Reading 6: At eighteen years of age he was baptized. He gave up thereupon the life of a soldier, and betook himself to Hilary, Bishop of Poitiers, by whom he was placed in the order of Acolytes. Being afterwards made Bishop of Tours, he built a monastery wherein he lived in holiness for a while in company of four-score monks.

R. Blessed Martin knew of his own death of a long time before it came to pass, and he said unto the brethren* That the dissolution of his body was nigh at hand, for he deemed himself to be already breaking up.
V. His bodily strength gave way all of a sudden, and he called his disciples together, and said unto them
R. That the dissolution of his body was nigh at hand, for he deemed himself to be already breaking up.

Reading 7: At the last he fell sick of a grievous fever at Cande, a village in his diocese, and besought God in constant prayer to set him free from the prison of this dying body. His disciples heard him and said Father, why wilt thou go away from us? unto whom wilt thou bequeath us in our sorrow? Their words moved Martin, and he said Lord, if I be still needful to thy people, I refuse not to work.

R. His disciples said unto blessed Martin: Father, why wilt thou go away from us, and with whom wilt thou leave us orphans?* For ravening wolves will break in upon thy flock.
V. We know that thou wouldest fain be with Christ, but, sooner or later, thy reward is sure. Rather, then, have pity upon us, whom thou art leaving.
R. For ravening wolves will break in upon thy flock.

Reading 8: When his disciples saw him, in the height of the fever, lying upon his back and praying, they entreated him to turn over and take a little rest upon his side while the violence of his sickness would allow him. But Martin answered them Suffer me to look heavenward rather than earthward, that my spirit may see the way whereby it is so soon going to the Lord. At the moment of death he saw the enemy of mankind, and cried out: What are you come here for, you bloody brute? You murderer, you'll find nothing in me. With these words on his lips, he gave up his soul to God, being aged eighty years. He was received by a company of Angels, who were heard praising God by many persons, especially by holy Severinus, Bishop of Cologne.

[Responsory: O virum ineffabilem nec labore victum nec morte vincendum qui nec mori timuit nec vivere recusavit sed conversus ad dominum dixit...]

Nocturn III: Homily of St Ambrose

(Canticles: Sirach 14:22; 15:3-4, 6; Jeremiah 17:7-8; Sirach 31: 8-11)

Reading 9: From the Holy Gospel according to Luke - In that time: Jesus said to his discoples: No man lighteth a candle, and putteth it in a hidden place, nore under a bushel; but upon a candlestick, that they that come in, may see the light. And so on.

In that which goeth before, Christ hath set the Church before the synagogue, and He exhorteth us rather to trust in the Church. The candle is faith, even as it is written thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.  Our faith is the word of God. The word of God is light. Faith is the candle. It is written concerning the Word of God, that That was the true Light, Which lighteth every man that cometh into this world. But a candle cannot shine, unless it be lighted from some other fire.

R. Blessed indeed was this man, at the time of whose passing the Saints sang in company, a band of Angels shouted aloud for joy* And an army of all the Powers of heaven came out to meet him, singing praises.
V. His strength is a stay to the Church, his manifestation a glory to the Priests of God; Michael and his Angels took him away.
R. And an army of all the Powers of heaven came out to meet him, singing praises.

Reading 10: Also it is written What woman, having ten pieces of silver, if she lose one piece, doth not light a candle, and sweep the house, and seek diligently till she find it? And here the candle lighted to find the lost piece is the strength in our understandings and affections. Let no man therefore seek faith under the law. For the law is by measure, but grace without measure; the law overshadoweth, but grace enlighteneth. And therefore let no man shut up his faith within the measure of the law, but give it unto the Church, the Church, wherein shineth the sevenfold grace of the Spirit, and whereon the Divine glory of the Great High Priest doth strike from heaven, lest the shadow of the law should rest any more at all upon her.

R. Martin was carried joyfully into Abraham's bosom. Martin, who was poor here and of small estimation,* Etereth rich into heaven, and the songs of heaven are raised in his honour.
V. Bishop Martin, that jewel of Priests, goeth away from time, liveth in Christ.
R. Entereth rich into heaven, and the songs of heaven are raised in his honour.

Reading 11: Under the old law there was the sevenfold lamp which the Priest of the Jews lighted every morning and every evening, and this was as it were a candle put under a bushel. That Jerusalem which is upon earth, that Jerusalem which killed the Prophets, lieth hid, as it were, in a dark place in the valley of tears. 

[Responsory: Martinus sacerdos dei cui post apostolos tantam gratiam dominus contulit ut tres mortuos suscitaret et alias virtutes praeclaras ostendit et inter alios confessores et martyres et rosa fulget in Gallia...]

Reading 12: But that Jerusalem which is in heaven, whereof by faith we are soldiers, is a city set upon the highest of all mountains, even upon Christ. Her the darkness and tempests of earth cannot hide, but she blazeth with the glory of the Eternal Sun, and maketh to fall upon us the light of spiritual grace.

[Responsory: Elegit te dominus sacerdotem sibi ad sacrificandum ei hostiam laudis...]

Gospel: Luke 11:33-36

Nobody lights a lamp, and then puts it away in a cellar or under a bushel measure; it is put on the lamp-stand, so that its light may be seen by all who come in.  Thy body has the eye for its lamp; and if thy eye is clear, the whole of thy body will be lit up; when it is diseased, the whole of thy body will be in darkness.  Take good care then, that this principle of light which is in thee is light, not darkness;  then, if thy whole body is in the light, with no part of it in darkness, it will all be lit up as if by a bright lamp enlightening thee.

Wednesday, 9 November 2016

Feast of the Dedication of St John Lateran

5,The first two Nocturns of today's readings at Matins are for the feast; the third is from the Common for the Dedication of a Church.

Nocturn I: Rev 21: 9-18

Psalms of the feast: 5, 10, 23, 28, 45, 47

Reading 1: And there came one of the seven angels, who had the vials full of the seven last plagues, and spoke with me, saying: Come, and I will shew thee the bride, the wife of the Lamb. And he took me up in spirit to a great and high mountain: and he shewed me the holy city Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God,  Having the glory of God, and the light thereof was like to a precious stone, as to the jasper stone, even as crystal.

R. When the Temple was dedicated the people sang praise;* And sweet in their mouths was the sound.
V. The Lord's house is established in the top of the mountains; and all nations shall flow unto it.
R. And sweet in their mouths was the sound.

Reading 2: And it had a wall great and high, having twelve gates, and in the gates twelve angels, and names written thereon, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel. On the east, three gates: and on the north, three gates: and on the south, three gates: and on the west, three gates. And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and in them, the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.

R. The Lord's house is established in the top of the mountains, and exalted above the hills;* And all nations shall flow unto it, and shall say: Glory be to thee, O Lord!
V. They shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing their sheaves with them.
R. And all nations shall flow unto it, and shall say: Glory be to thee, O Lord!

Reading 3: And he that spoke with me, had a measure of a reed of gold, to measure the city and the gates thereof, and the wall. And the city lieth in a foursquare, and the length thereof is as great as the breadth: and he measured the city with the golden reed for twelve thousand furlongs, and the length and the height and the breadth thereof are equal.

R. O Lord, bless this house which I have built unto thy name. whosoever shall come unto this place and pray, then* Hear thou from the excellent throne of thy glory.
V. O Lord, if thy people turn and pray toward thy sanctuary.
R. Hear thou from the excellent throne of thy glory.

Reading 4: And he measured the wall thereof an hundred and forty-four cubits, the measure of a man, which is of an angel.  And the building of the wall thereof was of jasper stone: but the city itself pure gold, like to clear glass.

[Terribilis est locus iste non est hic aliud nisi domus dei et porta caeli *vere etenim dominus est in loco isto et ego nesciebam...]

Nocturn II

Psalms of the feast: 83, 86, 87, 90,95, 98

Reading 5: The Rites whereof the Church of Rome maketh use for the hallowing of Churches and Altars were first instituted by the blessed Pope Sylvester. From the very time of the Apostles there had been places set apart for God, where assemblies took place upon the first day of every week, and where the Christians were used to pray, to hear the word of God, and to receive the Eucharist, which places were by some called Oratories and by others Churches. But these places were not dedicated with so solemn a form, nor did they set up therein an Altar for a pillar, and pour chrism thereon, for a figure of our Lord Jesus Christ, Who is Himself our Altar, our Victim, and our Priest.

R. If they pray toward this place,* Forgive the sin of thy people, O God, and teach them the good way wherein they should walk, and manifest forth thy glory in this place.
V. Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel, thou that leadest Joseph like a flock, thou that sittest upon the cherubim.
R. Forgive the sin of thy people, O God, and teach them the good way wherein they should walk, and manifest forth thy glory in this place.

Reading 6: But when the Emperor Constantine had by the Sacrament of Baptism received health both of body and soul, then first in a law by him published was it allowed to the Christians throughout the whole world to build Churches, to the which holy building he exhorted them by his example as well as by his decree. He dedicated in his own Lateran Palace a Church to the Saviour, and built hard by it a Cathedral in the name of St John the Baptist, upon the place where he had been baptized by holy Sylvester and cleansed from his leprosy. This Cathedral was hallowed by the said Pope upon the 9th day of November. It is this consecration, the memory whereof is still celebrated upon this day, the first whereon the public consecration of a Church ever took place in Rome, and the image of the Saviour was seen by the Roman people painted upon the wall.
V. But thou, O Lord, have mercy upon us.
R. Thanks be to God.

R. How dreadful is this place! * Surely this is none other but the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven.
V. This is the house of God, stoutly builded, well founded upon a sure rock.
R. Surely this is none other but the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven.

Reading 7: The Blessed Sylvester afterwards decreed, when he was consecrating the Altar of the Prince of the Apostles, that Altars were thenceforward to be made of stone only, but notwithstanding this the Lateran Cathedral hath the altar made of wood. This is not surprising. From St. Peter to Sylvester the Popes had not been able, by reason of persecutions, to abide fixedly in one place, and they celebrated the Holy Liturgy in cellars, in burying-places, in the houses of godly persons, or wherever need drove them, upon a wooden altar made like an empty box.

R. Jacob rose up early in the morning, and set up the stone for a pillar, and poured oil upon the top of it, and vowed a vow unto the Lord.
* Surely this place is holy, and I knew it not.
V. And Jacob awaked out of his sleep, and he said
R. Surely this place is holy, and I knew it not.

Reading 8: When peace was given to the Church, holy Sylvester took this box, and to do honour to the Prince of the Apostles, who is said to have offered sacrifice thereon, and to the other Popes who thereon had been used to execute the mystery even unto that time, set it in the first Church, even the Lateran, and ordained that no one but the Bishop of Rome should celebrate the Liturgy thereon for all time coming. The original Lateran Cathedral, cast down and destroyed by fires, pillage, and earthquakes, and renewed by the constant care of the Popes, was at last rebuilt afresh, and solemnly consecrated by Pope Benedict XIII, a Friar Preacher, upon the 28th day of April, in the year 1726, the memory of which Festival he ordained to be kept upon this day. In the year 1884 Leo XIII took in hand a work which had received the sanction of his predecessor Pius IX. The great sanctuary, the walls of which were giving way with age, was lengthened and widened, a task of immense labour. The ancient mosaic had been renewed previously in several places; it was now restored according to the original design, and transferred to the new apse, the embellishment of which was carried out with great magnificence. The transept was redecorated, and its ceiling and woodwork repaired. A sacristy, a residence for the canons, and a portico connecting with the baptistery of Constantine, were added to the existing buildings.

[Quam dilecta...]

Nocturn III: Homily of St Ambrose

Canticles: Tobit 13:1-17; Isaiah 2:2-3; Jeremiah 7:2-7

Reading 9: From the Holy Gospel according to Luke - At that time: Jesus entered and passed through Jericho. And, behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus, which was the chief among the publicans, and he was rich. And so on.

Zacchaeus was little of stature, that is, he was not raised aloft among men by nobility of birth, and, like the most of the world, he possessed few merits. When he heard that the Lord and Saviour, Who had come unto His Own, and Whom His Own had not received, was coming, he desired to see Him. But the sight of Jesus is not easy; to any on the earth it is impossible. And since Zacchaeus had neither the Prophets, nor yet the Law, as a gracious help to his nature, he climbed up into a sycamore tree, raising his feet above the vanity of the Jews, and straightening the crooked branches of his former life, and therefore he received Jesus to lodge within his house.

R. My house shall be called the house of prayer, saith the Lord. Therein, he that asketh, receiveth; he that seeketh, findeth;* And to him that knocketh, it shall be opened.
V. Ask, and ye shall receive; seek, and ye shall find.
R. And to him that knocketh, it shall be opened.

Reading 10: He did well to climb up into a tree, that a good tree might bring forth good fruits, and that the slip of the wild olive, grafted, contrary to nature, into the good olive, might bring forth the fruits of the law. For the root is holy, however unprofitable the branches. Their barren beauty hath now been overshadowed by the belief of the Gentiles in the Resurrection, as by a material upgrowth.

R. All thy walls are of stones most precious.* The towers of Jerusalem shall be built up with jewels.
V. The gates of Jerusalem shall be built up with the sapphire stone, and the emerald, and all her walls round about with stones most precious.
R. The towers of Jerusalem shall be built up with jewels.

Reading 11: Zacchaeus, then, was in the sycamore tree, and the blind man by the way-side. For the one, Jesus stood waiting to show mercy, and asked him before He healed him, what he would that He should do for him; being unbidden of the other, He bade Himself to be his Guest, knowing how rich was the reward of receiving Him. Nevertheless, albeit He had heard no words of invitation, yet had He seen how his heart went.

[Benedictus es...]

Reading 12: But lest we should seem haughtily to pass by the poor blind man, and to hurry on to the rich one, let us stand waiting for him, as the Lord stood and waited; let us ask of him, as Christ asked of him. Let us ask, because we are ignorant; Christ asked, because He knew. Let us ask, that we may know whence he received his cure; Christ asked, that all of us may know from one ensample where through we are to earn a sight of the Lord. Christ asked, that we might believe that none, save they that confess Him, can be saved.

[Vidi civitatem...]

Gospel: Luke 19:1-10

And entering in, he walked through Jericho. And behold, there was a man named Zacheus, who was the chief of the publicans, and he was rich.  And he sought to see Jesus who he was, and he could not for the crowd, because he was low of stature. And running before, he climbed up into a sycamore tree, that he might see him; for he was to pass that way.  And when Jesus was come to the place, looking up, he saw him, and said to him: Zacheus, make haste and come down; for this day I must abide in thy house.  And he made haste and came down; and received him with joy. And when all saw it, they murmured, saying, that he was gone to be a guest with a man that was a sinner. But Zacheus standing, said to the Lord: Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have wronged any man of any thing, I restore him fourfold.  Jesus said to him: This day is salvation come to this house, because he also is a son of Abraham.  For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.

Monday, 7 November 2016

Office of St Benedict on Tuesday - Readings for November

In November, the old Votive Office of St Benedict used the ferial readings of the Office for the first reading.  The current rubric is to combine the ferial readings when replacing the third with that of a saint, so I imagine that was done in previous versions of the breviary as well.

Accordingly, on Tuesday November 8 2016, the first reading would be Daniel 3:14-24, and on November 15, Joel 1:1-11.

Appropriately for the season, the votive Office then uses Chapter 37 of St Gregory's Life of the saint, which deals with St Benedict's death, for the second and third readings, as set out below:

Reading 2: In the year that was to be his last, the man of God foretold the day of his holy death to a number of his disciples. In mentioning it to some who were with him in the monastery, he bound them to strict secrecy. Some others, however, who were stationed elsewhere he only informed of the special sign they would receive at the time of his death.  Six days before he died, he gave orders for his tomb to be opened. Almost immediately he was seized with a violent fever that rapidly wasted his remaining energy. Each day his condition grew worse until finally, on the sixth day, he had his disciples carry him into the chapel where he received the Body and Blood of our Lord to gain strength for his approaching end. Then, supporting his weakend body on the arms of his brethren, he stood with his hands raised to heaven and, as he prayed, breathed his last.

Reading 3:That day two monks, one of them at the monastery, the other some distance away, received the very same revelation.  They both saw a magnificent road covered with rich carpeting and glittering with thousands of lights. From his monastery it stretched eastward in a straight line until it reached up into heaven. And there in the brightness stood a man of majestic appearance, who asked them, "Do you know who passed this way?" "No," they replied. "This, he told them, is the road taken by blessed Benedict, the Lord's beloved, when he went to heaven." Thus, while the brethren who were with Benedict witnessed his death, those who were absent knew about it through the sign he had promised them. His body was laid to rest in the Chapel of St. John the Baptist, which he had built to replace the altar of Apollo.



Saturday, 5 November 2016

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

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

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

Nocturn III

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Gospel: Matthew 8:23-27

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

Matins readings for the third Sunday of November

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

Nocturn I: Daniel 1:1-15

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nocturn II: Pseudo-Athanasius, To Virgins

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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