Saturday, 24 December 2016

Readings for Matins of Christmas






from the Hortus Deliciarum of Herrad of Landsberg, c12th
Merry Christmas!

The Matins readings and responsories  for Christmas the Benedictine Office are as follows:

 Nocturn I (Isaiah 9:1-6; 40: 1-3, 4-8; 52: 1-6)

[Psalms: 2, 18, 23, 44, 47, 71]

Reading 1: At the first time the land of Zabulon, and the land of Nephtali was lightly touched: and at the last the way of the sea beyond the Jordan of the Galilee of the Gentiles was heavily loaded.  The people that walked in darkness, have seen a great light: to them that dwelt in the region of the shadow of death, light is risen.  Thou hast multiplied the nation, and hast not increased the joy. They shall rejoice before thee, as they that rejoice in the harvest, as conquerors rejoice after taking a prey, when they divide the spoils.  For the yoke of their burden, and the rod of their shoulder, and the sceptre of their oppressor thou hast overcome, as in the day of Median. For every violent taking of spoils, with tumult, and garment mingled with blood, shall be burnt, and be fuel for the fire.  For a CHILD IS BORN to us, and a son is given to us, and the government is upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called, Wonderful, Counsellor, God the Mighty, the Father of the world to come, the Prince of Peace.

R. This is the day whereon the King of heaven was pleased to be born of a Virgin, that He might bring back to heaven man who was lost. * There is joy among the hosts of Angels, because eternal salvation hath appeared unto men.
V. Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, to men of goodwill.
R. There is joy among the hosts of Angels, because eternal salvation hath appeared unto men.

Reading 2: Be comforted, be comforted, my people, saith your God. Speak ye to the heart of Jerusalem, and call to her: for her evil is come to an end, her iniquity is forgiven: she hath received of the hand of the Lord double for all her sins.  The voice of one crying in the desert: Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the wilderness the paths of our God.

R. This day is the true peace come down unto us from heaven.* This day throughout the whole world the skies drop down sweetness.
V. This day is the daybreak of our new redemption, of the restoring of the old, of everlasting joy.
R. This day throughout the whole world the skies drop down sweetness.

Reading 3: Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low, and the crooked shall become straight, and the rough ways plain.  And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh together shall see, that the mouth of the Lord hath spoken. The voice of one, saying: Cry. And I said: What shall I cry? All flesh is grass, and all the glory thereof as the flower of the held. The grass is withered, and the dower is fallen, because the spirit of the Lord hath blown upon it. Indeed the people is grass: The grass is withered, and the flower is fallen: but the word of our Lord endureth for ever.

R. O ye shepherds, speak, and tell us what ye have seen; who is appeared in the earth? * We saw the new-born Child, and Angels singing praise to the Lord.
V. Speak; what have ye seen? And tell us of the Birth of Christ.
R. We saw the new-born Child, and Angels singing praise to the Lord.

Reading 4:  Arise, arise, put on thy strength, O Sion, put on the garments of thy glory, O Jerusalem, the city of the Holy One: for henceforth the uncircumcised, and unclean shall no more pass through thee. Shake thyself from the dust, arise, sit up, O Jerusalem: loose the bonds from off thy neck, O captive daughter of Sion.  For thus saith the Lord: You were sold gratis, and you shall be redeemed without money.  For thus saith the Lord God: My people went down into Egypt at the beginning to sojourn there: and the Assyrian hath oppressed them without any cause at all.  And now what have I here, saith the Lord: for my people is taken away gratis. They that rule over them treat them unjustly, saith the Lord, and my name is continually blasphemed all the day long. Therefore my people shall know my name in that day: for I myself that spoke, behold I am here.

R. How great is this mystery, how wonderful is the teaching of the faith! The beasts saw the new-born Lord lying in a manger. * Blessed is that Virgin whose womb was made meet to bear our Lord Christ.
V. Hail, Mary, full of grace the Lord is with thee.
R. Blessed is that Virgin whose womb was made meet to bear our Lord Christ.
V. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, * and to the Holy Ghost.
R. Blessed is that Virgin whose womb was made meet to bear our Lord Christ.

Nocturn II - Sermon of St Leo

Reading 5 - Dearly beloved brethren, Unto us is born this day a Saviour, Let us rejoice. It would be unlawful to be sad to-day, for to - day is Life's Birthday the Birthday of that Life, Which, for us dying creatures, taketh away the sting of death, and bringeth the bright promise of the eternal gladness hereafter. It would be unlawful for any man to refuse to partake in our rejoicing. All men have an equal share in the great cause of our joy, for, since our Lord, Who is the destroyer of sin and of death, findeth that all are bound under the condemnation, He is come to make all free.

R. How great is this mystery, how wonderful is the teaching of the faith! The beasts saw the new-born Lord lying in a manger.* Blessed is that Virgin whose womb was made meet to bear our Lord Christ.
V. Hail, Mary, full of grace the Lord is with thee.
R. Blessed is that Virgin whose womb was made meet to bear our Lord Christ.

Reading 6 - Rejoice, O thou that art holy, thou drawest nearer to thy crown! Rejoice, O thou that art sinful, thy Saviour offereth thee pardon! Rejoice also, O thou Gentile, God calleth thee to life! For the Son of God, when the fulness of the time was come, which had been fixed by the unsearchable counsel of God, took upon Him the nature of man, that He might reconcile that nature to Him Who made it, and so the devil, the inventor of death, is met and beaten in that very flesh which hath been the field of his victory.

R. Blessed is God's holy Mother, Mary, maiden undefiled.* This day hath she brought forth the Saviour of the world.
V. Blessed is she that believed; for there is a performance of all those things which were told her from the Lord.
R. This day hath she brought forth the Saviour of the world.

Reading 7 - When our Lord entered the field of battle against the devil, He did so with a great and wonderful fairness. Being Himself the Almighty, He laid aside His uncreated Majesty to fight with our cruel enemy in our weak flesh. He brought against him the very shape, the very nature of our mortality, yet without sin. His birth however was not a birth like other births for no other is born pure, nay, not the little child whose life endureth but a day on the earth. To His birth alone the throes of human passion had not contributed, in His alone no consequence of sin had had -part. For His Mother was chosen a Virgin of the kingly lineage of David, and when she was to grow heavy with the sacred Child, her soul had already conceived Him before her body. She knew the counsel of God announced to her by the Angel, lest the unwonted events should alarm her. The future Mother of God knew what was to be wrought in her by the Holy Ghost, and that her modesty was absolutely safe.

R. O Mary, how holy and how spotless is thy virginity I am too dull to praise thee!* For thou hast borne in thy breast Him Whom the heavens cannot contain.
V. Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb.
R. For thou hast borne in thy breast Him Whom the heavens cannot contain.

Reading 8 - Therefore, dearly beloved brethren, let us give thanks to God the Father, through His Son, in the Holy Ghost: Who, for His great love wherewith He loved us, hath had mercy on us and, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, that in Him we might be a new creature, and a new workmanship. Let us then put off the old man with his deeds and, having obtained a share in the Sonship of Christ, let us renounce the deeds of the flesh. Learn, O Christian, how great thou art, who hast been made partaker of the Divine nature, and fall not again by corrupt conversation into the beggarly elements above which thou art lifted. Remember Whose Body it is Whereof thou art made a member, and Who is its Head. Remember that it is He That hath delivered thee from the power of darkness hath translated thee into God's light, and God's kingdom.

Nocturn III

Reading 9 - (Mt 1: 1-16; Homily of St Jerome on Matthew 1, 1)

[not available online]

Reading 10 - Luke 2:1-14:

In that time Jesus said to his disciples: And it came to pass, that in those days there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that the whole world should be enrolled. This enrolling was first made by Cyrinus, the governor of Syria. And so on.

Homily by Pope St Gregory the Great: By God's mercy we are to say three Masses to-day, so that there is not much time left for preaching; but at the same time the occasion of the Lord's Birth-day itself obliges me to speak a few words. I will first ask why, when the Lord was to be born, the world was enrolled? Was it not to herald the appearing of Him by Whom the elect are enrolled in the book of life? Whereas the Prophet saith of the reprobate Let them be blotted out of the book of the living, and not be written with the righteous. Ps. lxviii. 29. Then, the Lord is born in Bethlehem. Now the name Bethlehem signifieth the House of Bread, and thus it is the birth-place of Him Who hath said, I am the Living Bread, Which came down from heaven. John vi. 51. We see then that this name of Bethlehem was prophetically given to the place where Christ was born,.because it was there that He was to appear in the flesh by Whom the souls of the faithful are fed unto life eternal. He was born, not in His Mother's house, but away from home. And this is a mystery, showing that this our mortality into which He was born was not the home of Him Who is begotten of the Father before the worlds.

R. Blessed be the womb of the Virgin Mary, which bore the Son of the Eternal Father, and blessed be the paps which give suck to Christ our Lord.* This day hath He been pleased for the salvation of the world to be born of a Virgin.
V. This day which is breaking is holy O come, ye Gentiles, and worship the Lord.
R. This day hath He been pleased for the salvation of the world to be born of a Virgin.

Reading 11 - Luke 2:15-20: In that time the shepherds said one to another: Let us go over to Bethlehem, and let us see this word that is come to pass, which the Lord hath showed to us. And so on

Behold the beginning of the Church. Christ is born, and the shepherds watch; shepherds, to gather together the scattered sheep of the Gentiles, and to lead them into the fold of Christ, that they might no longer be a prey to the ravages of spiritual wolves in the night of this world's darkness. And that shepherd is wide awake, whom the Good Shepherd stirreth up. The flock then is the people, the night is the world, and the shepherds are the Priests. And perhaps he is a shepherd to whom it is said, Be watchful and strengthen, for God hath ordained as the shepherds of His flock not Bishops only, but also Angels.

R. In principio erat Verbum, et Verbum erat apud Deum, et Deus erat Verbum.* Hoc erat in principio apud Deum
V. Omnia per ipsum facta sunt, et sine ipso factum est nihil
R. Hoc erat in principio apud Deum

Reading 12 -  In that time Jesus said to his disciples: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. And so on.

Homily by St Augustine: Lest thou shouldest think all things mean, as thou art accustomed to think of things human, hear and digest this The Word was God. Now perhaps there will come forward some Arian unbeliever, and say that the Word of God was a creature. How can the Word of God be a creature, when it was by the Word that all creatures were made? If He be a creature, then there must have been some other Word, not a creature, by which He was made. And what Word is that? If thou sayest that it was by the word of the Word Himself that He was made, I tell thee that God had no other, but One Only begotten Son. But if thou say not that it was by the word of the Word Himself that He was made, thou art forced to confess that. He by Whom all things were made was not Himself made at all. Believe the Gospel.

R. The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us.* And we beheld His glory, the glory as of the Only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.
V. All things were made by Him, and without Him was not anything made.
R. And we beheld His glory, the glory as of the Only -begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.
V. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, * and to the Holy Ghost.
R. And we beheld His glory, the glory as of the Only -begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.

Gospel: St Matthew 1:1-6

The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham:  Abraham begot Isaac. And Isaac begot Jacob. And Jacob begot Judas and his brethren.  And Judas begot Phares and Zara of Thamar. And Phares begot Esron. And Esron begot Aram.  And Aram begot Aminadab. And Aminadab begot Naasson. And Naasson begot Salmon.  And Salmon begot Booz of Rahab. And Booz begot Obed of Ruth. And Obed begot Jesse. And Jesse begot David the king. And David the king begot Solomon, of her that had been the wife of Urias. And Solomon begot Roboam. And Roboam begot Abia. And Abia begot Asa.  And Asa begot Josaphat. And Josaphat begot Joram. And Joram begot Ozias.  And Ozias begot Joatham. And Joatham begot Achaz. And Achaz begot Ezechias.  And Ezechias begot Manasses. And Manasses begot Amon. And Amon begot Josias. And Josias begot Jechonias and his brethren in the transmigration of Babylon.  And after the transmigration of Babylon, Jechonias begot Salathiel. And Salathiel begot Zorobabel.  And Zorobabel begot Abiud. And Abiud begot Eliacim. And Eliacim begot Azor.  And Azor begot Sadoc. And Sadoc begot Achim. And Achim begot Eliud.  And Eliud begot Eleazar. And Eleazar begot Mathan. And Mathan begot Jacob. And Jacob begot Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ.

Vigil of the Nativity

From St Jerome.

Reading 1: Continuation of the Holy Gospel according to Matthew - When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child, of the Holy Ghost. And so on.

Why was the Lord conceived of an espoused virgin rather than of a free? First, for the sake of the genealogy of Mary, which we have obtained by that of Joseph. Secondly, because she was thus saved from being stoned by the Jews as an adulteress. Thirdly, that Himself and His mother might have a guardian on their journey into Egypt. To these, Ignatius, the martyr of Antioch, has added a fourth reason namely, that the birth might take place unknown to the devil, who would naturally suppose that Mary had conceived by Joseph.

R. Sanctify yourselves today, and be ready for on the morrow ye shall see * The majesty of God upon you.
V. This day ye shall know that the Lord cometh, and in the morning, then ye shall see
R. The majesty of God upon you.

Reading 2: Before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost. She was found, that is, by Joseph, but by no one else. He had already almost an husband's privilege to know all that concerned her. Before they came together. This doth not imply that they ever did come together the Scripture merely showeth the absolute fact that up to this time they had not done so.

R. Stand still, and ye shall see the help of the Lord with you O Judah and Jerusalem, fear not.
* Tomorrow ye shall go out, and the Lord will be with you.
V. Sanctify yourselves, O ye children of Israel, and be ready.
R. Tomorrow ye shall go out, and the Lord will be with you.

Reading 3: Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away privily. If any man be joined to a fornicatress they become one body; and according to the law they that are privy to a crime are thereby guilty. How then can it be that Joseph is described as a just man, at the very time he was compounding the criminality of his espoused? It must have been that he knew her to be pure, and yet understood not the mystery of her pregnancy, but, while he wondered at that which had happened, was willing to hold his peace.

R. Sanctify yourselves, O ye children of Israel, saith the Lord, for on the morrow the Lord will come down. * And will take away from you all sickness.
V. On the morrow the sins of the earth shall be washed away, and the Saviour of the world will be our King.
R. And will take away from you all sickness.
V. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, * and to the Holy Ghost.
R. And will take away from you all sickness.

Nocturn II

Chapter verse: Who was predestinated the Son of God in power, according to the spirit of sanctification, by the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ from the dead.

Friday, 23 December 2016

Friday in the fourth week of Advent (Isaiah 66)

Reading 1:  Hear the word of the Lord, you that tremble at his word: Your brethren that hate you, and cast you out for my name's sake, have said: Let the Lord be glorified, and we shall see in your joy: but they shall be confounded.  A voice of the people from the city, a voice from the temple, the voice of the Lord that rendereth recompense to his enemies.  Before she was in labour, she brought forth; before her time came to be delivered, she brought forth a man child. Who hath ever heard such a thing? and who hath seen the like to this? shall the earth bring forth in one day? or shall a nation be brought forth at once, because Sion hath been in labour, and hath brought forth her children?

R. Unto us shall a Child be born, and His name shall be called the Mighty God. * He shall sit upon the throne of His father David, and shall reign, and the government shall be upon His shoulder.
V. In Him shall all the kindreds of the earth be blessed; all nations shall serve Him.
R. He shall sit upon the throne of His father David, and shall reign, and the government shall be upon His shoulder.

Reading 2: Shall not I that make others to bring forth children, myself bring forth, saith the Lord? shall I, that give generation to others, be barren, saith the Lord thy God? Rejoice with Jerusalem, and be glad with her, all you that love her: rejoice for joy with her, all you that mourn for her. That you may suck, and be filled with the breasts of her consolations: that you may milk out, and flow with delights, from the abundance of her glory. For thus saith the Lord: Behold I will bring upon her as it were a river of peace, and as an overflowing torrent the glory of the Gentiles, which you shall suck; you shall be carried at the breasts, end upon the knees they shall caress you.

R. Behold, the fullness of the time is come, wherein God hath sent forth His Son into the world, born of a Virgin, made under the law; * To redeem them that were under the law.
V. God, for His great love wherewith He loved us, hath sent His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh.
R. To redeem them that were under the law.

Reading 3: As one whom the mother caresseth, so will I comfort you, and you shall be comforted in Jerusalem. You shah see and your heart shall rejoice, and your bones shall flourish like an herb, and the hand of the Lord shall be known to his servants, and he shall be angry with his enemies. For behold the Lord will come with fire, and his chariots are like a whirlwind, to render his wrath in indignation, and his rebuke with flames of fire. For the Lord shall judge by fire, and by his sword unto all flesh, and the slain of the Lord shall be many.  They that were sanctified, and thought themselves clean in the gardens behind the gate within, they that did eat swine's flesh, and the abomination, and the mouse: they shall be consumed together, saith the Lord. But I know their works, and their thoughts: I come that I may gather them together with all nations and tongues: and they shall come and shall see my glory.

R. O virgin of Israel, turn again to thy cities. * How long wilt thou go about sorrowing? Thou shalt bring forth the Lord thy Saviour, a new offering in the earth; men shall walk in paths of salvation.
V. I have loved thee with an everlasting love; therefore with loving-kindness have I drawn thee.
R. How long wilt thou go about sorrowing? Thou shalt bring forth the Lord thy Saviour, a new offering in the earth.
V. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, * and to the Holy Ghost.
R. Men shall walk in paths of salvation.

Thursday, 22 December 2016

Thursday in the fourth week of Advent (Isaiah 64)

Reading 1:That thou wouldst rend the heavens, and wouldst come down: the mountains would melt away at thy presence. They would melt as at the burning of fire, the waters would burn with fire, that thy name might be made known to thy enemies: that the nations might tremble at thy presence. When thou shalt do wonderful things, we shall not bear them: thou didst come down, and at thy presence the mountains melted away.  From the beginning of the world they have not heard, nor perceived with the ears: the eye hath not seen, O God, besides thee, what things thou hast prepared for them that wait for thee.

R. Blow ye the trumpet in Zion, call together the nations, tell it out among the people, and say:
* Behold, God our Saviour cometh.
V. Tell it out and make it to be heard; speak aloud and cry.
R. Behold, God our Saviour cometh.

Reading 2: Thou hast met him that rejoiceth, and doth justice: in thy ways they shall remember thee: behold thou art angry, and we have sinned: in them we have been always, and we shall be saved. And we are all become as one unclean, and all our justices as the rag of a menstruous woman: and we have all fallen as a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away. There is none that calleth upon thy name: that riseth up, and taketh hold of thee: thou hast hid thy face from us, and hast crushed us in the hand of our iniquity.

R. The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor the law-giver from his loins, until he that shall be sent cometh. * And unto him shall the longing of the Gentiles be.
V. His eyes shall be bright with wine, and his teeth white with milk.
R. And unto him shall the desire of the Gentiles be.

Reading 3: And now, O Lord, thou art our father, and we are clay: and thou art our maker, and we all are the works of thy hands. Be not very angry, O Lord, and remember no longer our iniquity: behold, see we are all thy people. The city of thy sanctuary is become a desert, Sion is made a desert, Jerusalem is desolate. The house of our holiness, and of our glory, where our fathers praised thee, is burnt with fire, and all our lovely things are turned into ruins.

R. I must decrease, but He must increase; He it is Who, coming after me is preferred before me;
* Whose shoe's latchet I am not worthy to unloose.
V. I baptize you with water; but He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost.
R. Whose shoe's latchet I am not worthy to unloose.
V. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, * and to the Holy Ghost.
R. Whose shoe's latchet I am not worthy to unloose.

Tuesday, 20 December 2016

St Thomas (December 21)

The Matins readings for the feast of St Thomas in the Benedictine Office are as follows:

Nocturn I (from the Common of Apostles, 1 Cor 4:1-15)

[Psalms 18, 33, 44, 46, 60, 63]

Reading 1: Let a man so account of us as of the ministers of Christ, and the dispensers of the mysteries of God. Here now it is required among the dispensers, that a man be found faithful.
 But to me it is a very small thing to be judged by you, or by man's day; but neither do I judge my own self. For I am not conscious to myself of any thing, yet am I not hereby justified; but he that judgeth me, is the Lord.

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

Reading 2: Therefore judge not before the time; until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts; and then shall every man have praise from God. But these things, brethren, I have in a figure transferred to myself and to Apollo, for your sakes; that in us you may learn, that one be not puffed up against the other for another, above that which is written. For who distinguisheth thee? Or what hast thou that thou hast not received? And if thou hast received, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it?

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

Reading 3: You are now full; you are now become rich; you reign without us; and I would to God you did reign, that we also might reign with you. For I think that God hath set forth us apostles, the last, as it were men appointed to death: we are made a spectacle to the world, and to angels, and to men. We are fools for Christ's sake, but you are wise in Christ; we are weak, but you are strong; you are honourable, but we without honour.

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

Reading 4: Even unto this hour we both hunger and thirst, and are naked, and are buffeted, and have no fixed abode; And we labour, working with our own hands: we are reviled, and we bless; we are persecuted, and we suffer it. We are blasphemed, and we entreat; we are made as the refuse of this world, the offscouring of all even until now. I write not these things to confound you; but I admonish you as my dearest children.  For if you have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet not many fathers. For in Christ Jesus, by the gospel, I have begotten you.

R. They were found without blemish before the Lord, and from each other they were not divided. * They drank the chalice of the Lord, and were made friends of God.
V. They gave up their flesh to torment for God's sake; now they are crowned and receive palms.
R. They drank the chalice of the Lord, and were made friends of God.
V. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost
R. They drank the chalice of the Lord, and were made friends of God.

Nocturn II - On the saint's life; Homily of St Gregory

[Psalms 74, 95, 96, 97, 98, 100]

Reading  5 - The Apostle Thomas, called Didymus, or the Twin, was a Galilean. After the descent of the Holy Ghost, he went into many provinces to preach Christ's Gospel. He gave knowledge of the rules of Christian faith and life to the Parthians, Medes, Persians, Hyrcanians, and Bactrians. He went last to the East Indies, and instructed the inhabitants in the Christian religion. Here he provoked the anger of one of the idolatrous kings, because the holiness of his life and teaching, and the number of his miracles, drew many after him, and brought them to the love of Christ Jesus.   The king of that nation,a  worshipper of idols, was furiously angry, and gave orders that Thomas should be pierced with javelins, and thus, at Calmina, the crown of martyrdom adorned the glory of his apostolate.

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

Reading  6 - (Sermon of St. Gregory, Sermon 30 on the Gospels): It is written: By His Spirit the Lord hath adorned the heavens. Now the ornament of the heavens are the godly powers of preachers, and this ornament, what it is, Paul teacheth us thus To one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom, to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; to another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another divers kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. But all these worketh that one and the self-same Spirit, dividing to every man severally as He will.

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

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

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

Reading  8 - And it must be considered that He whom, when bound on earth, Peter denied, when suspended from the cross, the thief confessed.  But let us hear what kind of person this man of great timidity became after the coming of the Holy Spirit.  There was a gathering of the magistrates and seniors and it was commanded the apostles, with blows, that they cease preaching in the name of Jesus.  With great authority Peter answered: It behooveth us to obey God rather than men."

R. Thou shalt make them princes in all the lands, they shall remember Thy name O Lord * Throughout all generations
V. Exceedingly honoured are they friends O God, firmly established is their princedom.
R. Throughout all generations
V. Glory be...
R Throughout all generations

Nocturn III: Homily of St Gregory 

[Canticles: Isaiah 61:6-9; Wisdom 3:7-9; Wisdom 10: 17-21]

Reading 9: From the Holy Gospel according to John - In that time, Thomas, one of the twelve, who is called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came. And so on.

Dearly beloved brethren, what is it in this passage which particularly claimeth our attention? Think ye that it was by accident that this chosen Apostle was not with them when Jesus came? or, when he came, heard? or, when he heard, doubted? or, when he doubted, felt? or when he had felt, believed? All these things were not accidental, but Providential. It was a wonderful provision of Divine mercy, that this incredulous disciple, by thrusting his fingers into the bodily Wounds of his Master, should apply a remedy to the spiritual wounds of unbelief in our souls.

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

Reading 10: The doubts of Thomas have done us more good than the faith of all the disciples that believed. While he feeleth his way to faith, our minds are freed from doubt, and settled in faith.Even as the Lord before His birth willed that Mary should be espoused, and yet never lose her virginity, so, after His Resurrection, He willed that His disciple should doubt, and yet not lose his faith. For, even as the espoused husband was the keeper of the virginity of the Mother, so was the disciple who doubted and felt, the witness of the truth of the Resurrection.

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

Reading 11: He felt, and cried out My Lord and my God. Jesus saith unto him Thomas, because thou hast seen Me, thou hast believed. When the Apostle Paul saith: Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen he plainly meaneth that faith is the evidence of things that cannot be seen. When they are seen, there remaineth not faith, but knowledge.

R. Who are these that fly like a cloud * And as the doves to their windows?
V. Their sound has gone out into all lands and their words unto the ends of the earth.
R.  And as the doves...

Reading 12: Thomas, then, seeth, and believeth. Why is it said to him Because thou hast seen Me, thou hast believed? The truth is, he saw one thing, and so believed another. To mortal man it is not given to see God. He therefore saw only the Manhood, and yet had faith in the Godhead My Lord and my God. This he said, seeing and believing, seeing Perfect Man, and yet believing in Perfect God, Whom he could not see. O what a comfort are the words which follow! Blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed. These words are specially meant for us, who have not seen even the Flesh, and who yet do believe. They are specially meant for us if we believe and do not, by our lives, give the lie to our belief. He only hath a saving faith, whose faith beareth fruit.

R.  There is neither speech, nor language, but their voices are heard among them.  * Their sound is gone out unto the ends of the earth.
V. Exceedingly honoured are thy friends, O God; firmly established is their princedom.
R. Their sound is gone out unto the ends of the earth.
V Glory be...
R. Their sound is gone out unto the ends of the earth.

Gospel: St John 20: 24-29

There was one of the twelve, Thomas, who is also called Didymus, who was not with them when Jesus came.  And when the other disciples told him, We have seen the Lord, he said to them, Until I have seen the mark of the nails on his hands, until I have put my finger into the mark of the nails, and put my hand into his side, you will never make me believe.  So, eight days afterwards, once more the disciples were within, and Thomas was with them; and the doors were locked. Jesus came and stood there in their midst; Peace be upon you, he said.  Then he said to Thomas, Let me have thy finger; see, here are my hands. Let me have thy hand; put it into my side. Cease thy doubting, and believe.  Thomas answered, Thou art my Lord and my God.  And Jesus said to him, Thou hast learned to believe, Thomas, because thou hast seen me. Blessed are those who have not seen, and yet have learned to believe.

Tuesday in the fourth week of Advent (Isaiah 42)

Reading 1: Behold my servant, I will uphold him: my elect, my soul delighteth in him: I have given my spirit upon him, he shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles. He shall not cry, nor have respect to person, neither shall his voice be heard abroad. The bruised reed he shall not break, and smoking flax he shall not quench: he shall bring forth judgment unto truth. He shall not be sad, nor troublesome, till he set judgment in the earth: and the islands shall wait for his law.

R. Unto us shall a Child be born, and His name shall be called the Mighty God. * He shall sit upon the throne of His father David, and shall reign, and the government shall be upon His shoulder.
V. In Him shall all the kindreds of the earth be blessed; all nations shall serve Him.
R. He shall sit upon the throne of His father David, and shall reign, and the government shall be upon His shoulder.

Reading 2: Thus saith the Lord God that created the heavens, and stretched them out: that established the earth, and the things that spring out of it: that giveth breath to the people upon it, and spirit to them that tread thereon. I the Lord have called thee in justice, and taken thee by the hand, and preserved thee. And I have given thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles: That thou mightest open the eyes of the blind, and bring forth the prisoner out of prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house.

R. Behold, the fullness of the time is come, wherein God hath sent forth His Son into the world, born of a Virgin, made under the law; * To redeem them that were under the law.
V. God, for His great love wherewith He loved us, hath sent His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh.
R. To redeem them that were under the law.

Reading 3:  Sing ye to the Lord a new song, his praise is from the ends of the earth: you that go down to the sea, and all that are therein: ye islands, and ye inhabitants of them. Let the desert and the cities thereof be exalted: Cedar shall dwell in houses: ye inhabitants of Petra, give praise, they shall cry from the top of the mountains. They shall give glory to the Lord, and shall declare his praise in the islands. The Lord shall go forth as a mighty man, as a man of war shall he stir up zeal: he shall shout and cry: he shall prevail against his enemies.

R. O virgin of Israel, turn again to thy cities. * How long wilt thou go about sorrowing? Thou shalt bring forth the Lord thy Saviour, a new offering in the earth; men shall walk in paths of salvation.
V. I have loved thee with an everlasting love; therefore with loving-kindness have I drawn thee.
R. How long wilt thou go about sorrowing? Thou shalt bring forth the Lord thy Saviour, a new offering in the earth.
V. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, * and to the Holy Ghost.
R. Men shall walk in paths of salvation.

Monday, 19 December 2016

Monday in the fourth week of Advent (Isaiah 41)

Reading 1: But thou Israel, art my servant, Jacob whom I have chosen, the seed of Abraham my friend:  In whom I have taken thee from the ends of the earth, and from the remote parts thereof have called thee, and said to thee: Thou art my servant, I have chosen thee, and have not cast thee away. Fear not, for I am with thee: turn not aside, for I am thy God: I have strengthened thee, and have helped thee, and the right hand of my just one hath upheld thee.

R. Blow ye the trumpet in Zion, call together the nations, tell it out among the people, and say:
* Behold, God our Saviour cometh.
V. Tell it out and make it to be heard; speak aloud and cry.
R. Behold, God our Saviour cometh.

Reading 2: Behold all that fight against thee shall be confounded and ashamed, they shall be as nothing, and the men shall perish that strive against thee. Thou shalt seek them, and shalt not find the men that resist thee: they shall be as nothing: and as a thing consumed the men that war against thee. For I am the Lord thy God, who take thee by the hand, and say to thee: Fear not, I have helped thee.

R. The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor the law-giver from his loins, until he that shall be sent cometh. * And unto him shall the longing of the Gentiles be.
V. His eyes shall be bright with wine, and his teeth white with milk.
R. And unto him shall the desire of the Gentiles be.

Reading 3: Fear not, thou worm of Jacob, you that are dead of Israel: I have helped thee, saith the Lord: and thy Redeemer the Holy One of Israel. I have made thee as a new thrashing wain, with teeth like a saw: thou shall thrash the mountains, and break them in pieces: and shalt make the hills as chaff.  Thou shalt fan them, and the wind shall carry them away, and the whirlwind shall scatter them: and thou shalt rejoice in the Lord, in the Holy One of Israel thou shalt be joyful.

R. I must decrease, but He must increase; He it is Who, coming after me is preferred before me; * Whose shoe's latchet I am not worthy to unloose.
V. I baptize you with water; but He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost.
R. Whose shoe's latchet I am not worthy to unloose.
V. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, * and to the Holy Ghost.
R. Whose shoe's latchet I am not worthy to unloose.