Saturday, 18 March 2017

Matins readings for the Third Sunday of Lent

The Matins readings and responsories for this Sunday, arranged as for the Benedictine Office are set out below.  Note that you can also find them here, along with notes on where you can find the rest of the texts and chants.

Nocturn 1: Genesis 37

Reading 1: By now, Joseph was sixteen years old, and helped his brethren to feed the flocks, young though he was. He worked with the sons of his father’s wives, Bala and Zelpha; and against these brothers of his he told his father ill tales.  Among his children, Jacob loved Joseph best, as old men love the sons old age has brought them; and he dressed him in a coat that was all embroidery.  Whereupon his brethren, who saw that he was his father’s favourite, bore him a grudge, and never had a good word for him.

R. And when his brethren saw Joseph afar off, they said one to another Behold, this dreamer cometh. * Come, let us slay him; and we shall see what will become of his dreams.
V. And when his brethren saw that their father loved Joseph more than all his brethren, they hated him, and could not speak peaceably unto him; therefore they said
R. Come, let us slay him; and we shall see what will become of his dreams.

Reading 2: They hated him the more, when he recounted to them a dream of his; Listen, he said, to this dream I have had. I dreamt that we were all binding sheaves in a field, and my sheaf seemed to lift itself up and stand erect, while all your sheaves stood about it and did reverence to mine. What, said his brethren, art thou to be our king? Are we to be thy subjects? So this talk about his dream fed the fires of their envious anger.  Then he had another dream which he disclosed to his brethren; In this dream of mine, he said, it seemed to me that the sun and the moon and eleven stars did reverence to me. When he reported this to his father and his brethren, his father said, in reproof, What means this dream of thine? Must I and thy mother and thy brethren bow down to earth before thee?

R. Judah said unto his brethren Behold, the Ishmaelites pass by; come, let us sell him, and let not our hands be defiled.* For he is our flesh, and our brother.
V. What profit is it if we slay our brother, and conceal his blood? It is better to sell him.
R. For he is our flesh, and our brother.

Reading 3:  So his brethren eyed him with jealousy, while his father pondered over the story in silence. One day, when his brethren were away at Sichem, feeding their father’s flocks,  Israel said to him, Thy brethren are pasturing the sheep at Sichem; I have an errand for thee there. And when Joseph answered, I am here, at thy command, he said to him, Go and see whether all is well with thy brethren, and with the flock, then come back and tell me their news. So he set out from Hebron valley and reached Sichem,  where a stranger found him wandering on the open plain, and asked what was his errand.  I am looking for my brethren, he said; Canst thou tell me where they are feeding their flocks?  They have left this part, the man answered; I heard them say, Let us go to Dothain. So Joseph went on in search of his brethren, and it was at Dothain he found them.  Before he came up to them, they caught sight of him in the distance, and began plotting against his life. They said to one another, Here comes the dreamer; 20 how if we kill him, and throw his body into a dry well? We can pretend he has fallen a prey to some wild beast. Now we shall see what good these dreams of his can do him!

R. They drew up Joseph out of the pit, and sold him to the Ismaelites for twenty pieces of silver. * And Reuben returned unto the pit, and when he found not Joseph, he rent his clothes, and wept, and said The child is not, and I, whither shall I go?
V. And they took Joseph's coat, and dipped it in the blood of a kid of the goats, and they sent one that brought the coat unto their father, and said See now whether this be thy son's coat or no.
R. And Reuben returned unto the pit, and when he found not Joseph, he rent his clothes, and wept.

Reading 4: Upon this, Ruben began scheming to save Joseph from their violence; No, he said, do not take his life, there must be no bloodshed. Throw him down into this well here, far from all help, and so keep clear of any murderous act. His meaning was to rescue Joseph out of their hands, and restore him safe to his father.  As soon, then, as Joseph reached his brethren, they stripped him of his long, embroidered coat,  and threw him into a disused well, which had no water left in it. And now, as they sat down to take their meal, they saw a company of Ismaelites mounted on camels, who were on their way from Galaad to Egypt, with a load of spices, balm, and myrrh.

R. Take hence presents with you, and go unto the lord of the land, and when ye be come into his presence, bow yourselves to him to the earth.* And my God give you mercy before the man, that he may send away again this your brother, and him which he keepeth in ward.
V. Take of the best fruits of the land in your vessels, and carry down the man a present.
R. And my God give you mercy before the man, that he may send away again this your brother, and him which he keepeth in ward.
V: Glory be...
R. And my God give you mercy before the man, that he may send away again this your brother, and him which he keepeth in ward.

Nocturn II: St Ambrose on the Patriarch Joseph

Reading 5: The lives of the saints are the models for the lives of others. This is one of the reasons why we have been given the wise tale of the Scriptures, that while, by reading therein, we come to know Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and others of the righteous, we may follow them in that path of innocency which is opened to us for our imitation by the record of their godly conversation. Of them I have often treated, and to-day the story of the holy Joseph cometh before me. In that story there are patterns of many virtues, but chiefly is he glorious on account of his clean living.

R. When Jacob saw Joseph's coat he rent his clothes, and mourned; and he said * An evil beast hath devoured my son Joseph.
V. And his brethren took his coat, and sent it to his father and he knew it, and said
R. An evil beast hath devoured my son Joseph.

Reading 6:  Right is it then that ye who have learnt in Abraham the devotedness of a faith that nothing could daunt, in Isaac the transparency of an upright soul, in Jacob a wonderful patience of spirit in great travails, should now turn from their worthy deeds, to see the bright example of Joseph's self-control. The holy Joseph is put before us as a pattern of chastity. Modesty shineth in his manners and in his deeds, and a certain loveliness, which is found with chastity, shineth there also. Hence his parents loved him more than their other children.

R. When Joseph came into the land of Egypt, he heard a language that he understood not; his hands were burdened with labour;* And his tongue spake wisdom among princes.
V. Whose feet they hurt with fetters; the iron entered into his soul, until the time that his word came
R. And his tongue spake wisdom among princes.

Reading 7: But this love caused him to be the object of an envy, which we must needs not pass by, and upon this the whole story turneth. Yet, at the same time, we learn how that just man was not swayed by any desire to avenge his own sufferings, neither repaid evil for evil. Whence also David saith If I have rewarded evil. In what would Joseph have been worthy to be chosen before others, if he had harmed them which harmed him, and loved them which loved him? For this do many do. But it is a wonder if one do that which the Saviour teacheth, and love his enemy.

R. Think on me when it shall be well with thee * And make mention of me unto Pharaoh, that he may bring me out of this prison. For I was stolen away; and here have I done nothing, that they should put me into the dungeon.
V. For yet three days, and then Pharaoh shall remember thy service, and restore thee unto thy place; then think of me
R. And make mention of me unto Pharaoh, that he may bring me out of this prison.

Reading 8: Well, then, may we wonder at him who did this before the Gospel came; who, being injured, spared; being assailed, forgave; being sold, returned no evil; but repaid insult with favour. We, from the Gospel, have been taught to do all this, and we cannot. Let us also, then, learn how that there was envy even among some of the holy (Patriarchs), that we may follow the example of the patience (wherewith others of them bore it;) and let us feel that they were not men of another and higher nature than ours, but only more heedful; that they were not sinless, but that they repented. But if the passion of envy scorched even some of the holy race, how much more need is there for the sinful to take heed lest it set fire to them?

R. Is this your younger brother, of whom ye spake unto me? God be gracious unto thee, my son. * And he made haste, and entered into the house, and wept there, for his tears brake forth, and he could not refrain himself.
V. And Joseph lifted up his eyes, and saw his brother Benjamin, and his bowels yearned upon his brother.
R. And he made haste, and entered into the house, and wept there, for his tears brake forth, and he could not refrain himself.
V: Glory be...
R. And he made haste, and entered into the house, and wept there, for his tears brake forth, and he could not refrain himself.

Nocturn III (Homily of St Bede)

Reading 9: We read in Matthew that the devil, by which this poor creature was possessed, was not only dumb, but also blind; and that, when he was healed by the Lord, he saw as well as spake. Three miracles, therefore, were performed on this one man; the blind saw, the dumb spake, and the possessed was delivered. This mighty work was then indeed wrought carnally, but it is still wrought spiritually in the conversion of believers, when the devil is cast out of them, so that their eyes see the light of faith, and the lips, that before were dumb, are opened that their mouth may show forth the praise of God.

R. We are verily guilty concerning our brother, in that we saw the anguish of his soul, when he besought us, and we would not hear. * Therefore is this distress come upon us.
V. And Reuben answered his brethren, saying Spake I not unto you, saying: Do not sin against the child; and ye would not hear?
R. Therefore is this distress come upon us.

Reading 10: But some of them said He casteth out devils through Beelzebub, the chief of the devils. These some were not of the multitude, but liars among the Pharisees and Scribes, as we are told by the other Evangelist. While the multitude, who were less instructed, wondered ever at the works of the Lord, the Pharisees and Scribes, on the other hand, denied the facts when they could, and when they were not able, twisted them by an evil interpretation, and asserted that the works of God were the works of an unclean spirit.

R. And Reuben answered his brethren, saying Spake I not unto you, saying Do not sin against the child; and ye would not hear? * Behold, his blood is required.
V. We are verily guilty concerning our brother, in that we saw the anguish of his soul, when he besought us, and we would not hear.
R. Behold, his blood is required.

Reading 11: And others, tempting Him, sought of Him a sign from heaven. They would have had Christ either to call down fire from heaven like Elias, to have made thunder roll, and lightning flash, and rain fall at midsummer. And yet and if he had so done, they had been still able to explain away these signs also, as being the natural result of some unusual, though, till that moment, unremarked state of the atmosphere. O thou, who stubbornly deniest that which thine eye seeth, thine hand holdeth, and thy sense perceiveth, what wilt thou say to a sign from heaven? In good sooth, thou wilt say that the magicians in Egypt also wrought divers signs from heaven.

R. Jacob lamented for his two sons, saying Woe is me; I am bereaved of Joseph, for he is not; and afflicted because of Benjamin, because he is taken away for bread. * I pray the King of heaven in my distress, that He may make me to see them yet again.
V. And Jacob cast him down upon his face upon the ground, and wept sore; and he prayed, saying
R. I pray the King of heaven in my distress, that He may make me to see them yet again.

Reading 12: But He, knowing their thoughts, said unto them: Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and an house divided against an house falleth. He answered not their words, but their thoughts; as though He would compel them to believe in the power of Him Who seeth the secrets of the heart. But if every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, then have not the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost a divided kingdom, since His is a kingdom that, without all contradiction, shall never be brought to desolation by any shock, but abideth unchanged and unchangeable for ever. If Satan also be divided against himself, how shall his kingdom stand? Because ye say that I cast out devils by Beelzebub. In saying this, He sought to draw from their own mouth a confession that they had chosen for themselves to be part of that devil's kingdom, which, if it be divided against itself, cannot stand.

R. Joseph said unto his eleven brethren I am Joseph whom ye sold into Egypt; is our father yet alive, the old man of whom ye spake unto me? * Go, bring him down unto me, that he may live.
V. For these two years hath the famine been in the land; and yet there are five years, in the which there shall neither be earing nor harvest.
R. Go, bring him down unto me, that he may live.
V. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, * and to the Holy Ghost.
R. Go, bring him down unto me, that he may live.

Gospel

This Sunday's Gospel is St Luke 11:14-28:

Et erat ejiciens dæmonium, et illud erat mutum. Et cum ejecisset dæmonium, locutus est mutus, et admiratæ sunt turbæ. Quidam autem ex eis dixerunt: In Beelzebub principe dæmoniorum ejicit dæmonia. Et alii tentantes, signum de cælo quærebant ab eo.  Ipse autem ut vidit cogitationes eorum, dixit eis: Omne regnum in seipsum divisum desolabitur, et domus supra domum cadet.  Si autem et Satanas in seipsum divisus est, quomodo stabit regnum ejus? quia dicitis in Beelzebub me ejicere dæmonia.  Si autem ego in Beelzebub ejicio dæmonia: filii vestri in quo ejiciunt? ideo ipsi judices vestri erunt. Porro si in digito Dei ejicio dæmonia: profecto pervenit in vos regnum Dei. Cum fortis armatus custodit atrium suum, in pace sunt ea quæ possidet. Si autem fortior eo superveniens vicerit eum, universa arma ejus auferet, in quibus confidebat, et spolia ejus distribuet. Qui non est mecum, contra me est: et qui non colligit mecum, dispergit. Cum immundus spiritus exierit de homine, ambulat per loca inaquosa, quærens requiem: et non inveniens dicit: Revertar in domum meam unde exivi.  Et cum venerit, invenit eam scopis mundatam, et ornatam.  Tunc vadit, et assumit septem alios spiritus secum, nequiores se, et ingressi habitant ibi. Et fiunt novissima hominis illius pejora prioribus.  Factum est autem, cum hæc diceret: extollens vocem quædam mulier de turba dixit illi: Beatus venter qui te portavit, et ubera quæ suxisti.  At ille dixit: Quinimmo beati, qui audiunt verbum Dei et custodiunt illud.
And he was casting out a devil, and the same was dumb: and when he had cast out the devil, the dumb spoke: and the multitudes were in admiration at it:  But some of them said: He casteth out devils by Beelzebub, the prince of devils. And others tempting, asked of him a sign from heaven.  But he seeing their thoughts, said to them: Every kingdom divided against itself, shall be brought to desolation, and house upon house shall fall.  And if Satan also be divided against himself, how shall his kingdom stand? because you say, that through Beelzebub I cast out devils.  Now if I cast out devils by Beelzebub; by whom do your children cast them out? Therefore they shall be your judges.  But if I by the finger of God cast out devils; doubtless the kingdom of God is come upon you. When a strong man armed keepeth his court, those things are in peace which he possesseth.  But if a stronger than he come upon him, and overcome him; he will take away all his armour wherein he trusted, and will distribute his spoils.  He that is not with me, is against me; and he that gathereth not with me, scattereth.  When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through places without water, seeking rest; and not finding, he saith: I will return into my house whence I came out.  And when he is come, he findeth it swept and garnished.  Then he goeth and taketh with him seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and entering in they dwell there. And the last state of that man becomes worse than the first.  And it came to pass, as he spoke these things, a certain woman from the crowd, lifting up her voice, said to him: Blessed is the womb that bore thee, and the paps that gave thee suck. But he said: Yea rather, blessed are they who hear the word of God, and keep it.



Friday, 17 March 2017

Saturday in the Second Week of Lent

Today's Gospel is St Luke 15:11-32:

And he said: A certain man had two sons: And the younger of them said to his father: Father, give me the portion of substance that falleth to me. And he divided unto them his substance.  And not many days after, the younger son, gathering all together, went abroad into a far country: and there wasted his substance, living riotously.  And after he had spent all, there came a mighty famine in that country; and he began to be in want. And he went and cleaved to one of the citizens of that country. And he sent him into his farm to feed swine.  And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks the swine did eat; and no man gave unto him.  And returning to himself, he said: How many hired servants in my father' s house abound with bread, and I here perish with hunger?  I will arise, and will go to my father, and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee:  I am not worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants.  And rising up he came to his father. And when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and was moved with compassion, and running to him fell upon his neck, and kissed him. And the son said to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee, I am not now worthy to be called thy son.  And the father said to his servants: Bring forth quickly the first robe, and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet:  And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it, and let us eat and make merry:  Because this my son was dead, and is come to life again: was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry.  Now his elder son was in the field, and when he came and drew nigh to the house, he heard music and dancing: And he called one of the servants, and asked what these things meant. And he said to him: Thy brother is come, and thy father hath killed the fatted calf, because he hath received him safe. And he was angry, and would not go in. His father therefore coming out began to entreat him.  And he answering, said to his father: Behold, for so many years do I serve thee, and I have never transgressed thy commandment, and yet thou hast never given me a kid to make merry with my friends:  But as soon as this thy son is come, who hath devoured his substance with harlots, thou hast killed for him the fatted calf.  But he said to him: Son, thou art always with me, and all I have is thine.  But it was fit that we should make merry and be glad, for this thy brother was dead and is come to life again; he was lost, and is found.

Matins readings (St Ambrose)

Reading 1: Thou seest how that the heavenly goods are given to such as seek them. Neither oughtest thou to think the father to blame, because he gave to his younger son. In the kingdom of God there is no age of weakness, neither doth faith wax infirm with years. He, surely, who asked, deemed himself of sufficient age. And would that he had not left his father! then had he been ignorant of the obstacle of his age! But after that he had left his father's house, and had gone into a far country, he began to be in want. Well is he said to have wasted his substance, who hath cut himself off from the Church!

R. Father, I have sinned against heaven and before thee, and am no more worthy to be called thy son. * Make me as one of thine hired servants.
V. How many hired servants of my father's have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! I will arise and go to my father and will say unto him
R. Make me as one of thine hired servants.

Reading 2: He took his journey into a far country. No man can go farther than to abandon his own better self, to leave, not his country, but his morals, and, as it were, in an hideous fever of lust after the world, to divorce himself from the ties that bind him to holy things. Yea, he that turneth his back on Christ, banisheth himself from his Fatherland, and becometh a citizen of the world. But we are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God, since we who sometimes were afar off, are made nigh by the Blood of Christ. Let us not envy the pleasures of them who remain in the far country. We too have once been there, but, as saith Isaiah, they that dwelt in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined. And that far country is the land of the shadow of death.

R. I have seen God face to face* And my life is preserved.
V. And he said unto me thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel shall be thy name.
R. And my life is preserved.

Reading 3: But we to whom the Lord Christ is the breath of life, are alive under the shadow of Christ. And therefore it is that the Church saith I sat down under His shadow with great delight. The prodigal son by riotous living wasted all the gifts of nature. Take warning, O thou who art made in the image and likeness of God, lest thou waste the same by brutish wallowing. Thou art the work of God; say not to a stock Thou art my father, lest thou grow into the likeness of a stock, as it is written They that make them are like unto them.

R. When Jacob heard that Esau came to meet him, he divided his sons and his wives, saying If Esau smite the one company, then the other shall escape. * Deliver me, O Lord, Which saidst unto me I will multiply thy seed as the stars of heaven, and as the sand of the sea, which cannot be numbered for multitude.
V. O Lord, Which saidst unto me Return unto thy country O Lord, Which feedest me still from my youth up
R. Deliver me, O Lord.
V. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, * and to the Holy Ghost.
R. Which saidst unto me I will multiply thy seed as the stars of heaven, and as the sand of the sea, which cannot be numbered for multitude.

Thursday, 16 March 2017

Feast of St St Patrick

In most places, March 17 is the Feast of St Patrick and a Class I feast.  Further details of the texts for Matins of the feast will be found over at my Benedictine Matins blog.

You can find the texts for the ferial day here.

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

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. Well done, thou good and faithful servant, thou hast been faithful over a few things. I will make thee ruler over many things: * Enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.
V. Lord, thou deliveredst unto me five talents; behold, I have gained beside them five talents more.
R. Enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.

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. Behold an high priest, who in his days pleased God * Therefore the Lord assured him by an oath that He would multiply his seed among His people.
V. He hath made him a blessing unto all nations, and hath established His covenant upon his head.
R. Therefore the Lord assured him by an oath that He would multiply his seed among His people

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. The Lord hath sworn and will not repent * Thou art a Priest for ever after the order of Melchisedek.
V. The Lord said unto my Lord Sit Thou at My right hand.
R.* Thou art a Priest for ever after the order of Melchisedek.

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.

R: Behold an Israelite indeed in whom there is no guile: who, when he is tried is found a great priest * After the order of Melchisedek
V: An everlasting covenant made the Lord with him, and gave him a great priesthood
R After the order of Melchisedek
V Glory be...
R After the order of Melchisedek

Nocturn II: (from the Roman Office)

Reading 5: Patrick, called the Apostle of Ireland, was born in Great Britain. The name of his father was Calphurnius, and that of his mother Conchessa. She is said to have been a relation of St Martin, Bishop of Tours. When Patrick was a lad, he was several times taken prisoner by savages, and while being in their hands he was employed as a shepherd, he already showed marks of his saintliness to come. His spirit was filled with faith, and love, and fear of God, so that he would rise before the light, in snow, and frost, and rain, to make his prayers to God, being accustomed to address God in prayer an hundred times every day, and an hundred times every night.

R. I have found David My servant, with My holy oil have I anointed him * For My hand shall help him.
V. The enemy shall prevail nothing against him, nor the son of wickedness afflict him.
R. For My hand shall help him.

Reading 6: After being rescued from his third captivity, he was placed among the clergy, and for a long time exercised himself in sacred learning. To this end he travelled with much labour, through Gaul, Italy, and the islands of the Tyrrhenian Sea, but at last being called of God to work for the salvation of the Irish, and, having received from the Blessed Pope Celestine a commission to preach the gospel, and likewise being consecrated a Bishop, he betook himself to Ireland.

R. I have laid help upon one that is mighty, and have exalted one chosen out of My people * For My hand shall help him.
V. I have found David My servant, with My holy oil have I anointed him.
R. For My hand shall help him.

Reading 7: In the discharge of his calling it is a marvel with how many evils, with how many sufferings and labours, and with how many adversaries the Apostolic Patrick had to bear. Nevertheless, by the goodness of God, that island, which had up to that time been given over to the serving of idols, was, through the preaching of Patrick, so wrought on that she soon brought forth the fruit which won her the name of the Island of Saints. Patrick caused many of her people to be born again by the washing of regeneration; he ordained many Bishops and clerks; he decreed rules for virgins and widows living in continency. By the authority of the Bishop of Rome he established the See of Armagh as the Primatial See of all Ireland, and enriched the Church with relics of the Saints brought from Rome. Patrick, moreover, was so eminently adorned with heavenly visions, with the gift of prophecy, and with great signs and wonders from God, that the fame of him spread itself abroad more and more, day by day.

R. This is he which wrought great wonders before God, and the whole earth is full of his teaching
* May he pray for all people, that their sins may be forgiven unto them
V. This is he which loved not his life in this world, and hath attained unto the kingdom of heaven.

Reading 8: Besides that which came upon him daily, the care of all the Churches of Ireland, he never suffered his spirit to weary in constant prayer. They say that it was his custom to repeat every day the whole Book of Psalms, together with Songs and Hymns, and two hundred Prayers; that he bent his knees to God in worship three hundred times every day, and that he made on himself the sign of the Cross an hundred times at each of the Seven Hours of the Church Service. He divided the night into three portions; during the first he repeated the first hundred Psalms, and bent his knees two hundred times; during the second he remained plunged in cold water, with heart, eyes, and hands lifted up to heaven, and in that state repeated the remaining fifty Psalms; during the third he took his short rest, lying upon a bare stone. He was a great practicer of lowliness, and, after the pattern of the Apostle, he always continued to work with his own hands. At last he fell asleep in the Lord in extreme old age, refreshed with the Divine Mysteries, worn out with unceasing care for the Churches, and glorious both in word and work. His body is buried in Down in Ulster. He passed away in the fifth century after the giving of salvation by Christ.

V The Lord guided the righteous in the right paths and showed him the kingdom of God, gave him knowledge of holy things * Made him rich in his travels
R Defended him from his enemies and kept him safe from those that lay in wait
V Made him rich in his travels
R Glory be...
V Made him rich in his travels

Nocturn III: Homily of St Gregory

Reading 9: From the Holy Gospel according to Matthew - At that time Jesus spake unto His disciples this parable A man, travelling into a far country, called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods. And so on.

Dearly beloved brethren, this Lesson from the Holy Gospel moveth us to take good heed lest we, who are seen in this world to have received more than others, should thereby bring ourselves into greater condemnation from the Maker of this world. To whom much is given, of the same is much required. Therefore, let him that receiveth much, strive to be all the more lowly, and all the more ready to do God service, for his very gifts' sake, knowing that he will be obliged to give account thereof.

R. The Lord loved him and beautified him He clothed him with a robe of glory * And crowned him at the gates of Paradise.
V. The Lord hath put on him the breast-plate of faith, and hath adorned him.
R. And crowned him at the gates of Paradise.

Reading 10: Behold, a man, travelling into a far country, calleth his own servants, and delivereth unto them talents, to the end that they may trade therewith. After a long time, the lord of those servants cometh, and reckoneth with them, and to them that have done well He rendereth a reward of their labours, but that servant which was careless of his master's work He condemneth. What other, then, is that man travelling into a far country but our Redeemer, Who is gone up from us into heaven in that Flesh Which He had taken into Himself? For the earth is the home of the Flesh, Which travelleth into a far country when our Redeemer giveth It a place in heaven.

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

Reading 11: But that man travelling into a far country delivered unto his servants his goods and so doth our Redeemer give spiritual gifts unto His faithful people. "And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one." There are five bodily senses that is, sight, hearing, taste, smell, and touch. By the five talents therefore are signified the five senses, that is, outward knowledge. By the two, wit and work. And by the figure of the one talent, understanding, which is alone.

R: This saint is rightly remembered amongst men, who has passed into the joy of the angels,for in this pilgrimage only his body was on earth, not his thoughts and desires * his conversation is in the eternal country
V: Set free from the chains of the flesh, he rendered back doubled the talents he had been entrusted with to the Lord.
V: his conversation is in the eternal country

Reading 12: What other, then, is that man travelling into a far country but our Redeemer, Who is gone up from us into heaven in that Flesh Which He had taken into Himself? For the earth is the home of the Flesh, Which travelleth into a far country when our Redeemer giveth It a place in heaven. But that man travelling into a far country delivered unto his servants his goods and so doth our Redeemer give spiritual gifts unto His faithful people. "And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one." There are five bodily senses that is, sight, hearing, taste, smell, and touch. By the five talents therefore are signified the five senses, that is, outward knowledge. By the two, wit and work. And by the figure of the one talent, understanding, which is alone.

R: The Lord has chosen you to be his priest * to offer to him the sacrifice of praise
V: Offer to God the sacrifice of praise and render your vows to the Most High
R: To offer to him the sacrifice of praise
V Glory be...
R: To offer to him the sacrifice of praise

Gospel: St Matthew 25:14-23

For even as a man going into a far country, called his servants, and delivered to them his goods; And to one he gave five talents, and to another two, and to another one, to every one according to his proper ability: and immediately he took his journey. And he that had received the five talents, went his way, and traded with the same, and gained other five. And in like manner he that had received the two, gained other two.  But he that had received the one, going his way digged into the earth, and hid his lord’s money.  But after a long time the lord of those servants came, and reckoned with them. And he that had received the five talents coming, brought other five talents, saying: Lord, thou didst deliver to me five talents, behold I have gained other five over and above. His lord said to him: Well done, good and faithful servant, because thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will place thee over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord. And he also that had received the two talents came and said: Lord, thou deliveredst two talents to me: behold I have gained other two.  His lord said to him: Well done, good and faithful servant: because thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will place thee over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Thursday in the Second Week of Lent

Today's Gospel is St Luke 16:19-31:

 There was a certain rich man, who was clothed in purple and fine linen; and feasted sumptuously every day.  And there was a certain beggar, named Lazarus, who lay at his gate, full of sores,
 Desiring to be filled with the crumbs that fell from the rich man' s table, and no one did give him; moreover the dogs came, and licked his sores.  And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham' s bosom. And the rich man also died: and he was buried in hell.  And lifting up his eyes when he was in torments, he saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom:  And he cried, and said: Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, to cool my tongue: for I am tormented in this flame.  And Abraham said to him: Son, remember that thou didst receive good things in thy lifetime, and likewise Lazareth evil things, but now he is comforted; and thou art tormented. And besides all this, between us and you, there is fixed a great chaos: so that they who would pass from hence to you, cannot, nor from thence come hither.  And he said: Then, father, I beseech thee, that thou wouldst send him to my father' s house, for I have five brethren,  That he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torments.  And Abraham said to him: They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.  But he said: No, father Abraham: but if one went to them from the dead, they will do penance.  And he said to him: If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they believe, if one rise again from the dead.

Matins readings (Homily by Pope St Gregory the Great)

Reading 1 : Whom, dearly beloved brethren, whom are we to understand as signified by that rich man which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day, whom, I ask, are we to understand, but the Jewish people, who had all the outward life of religious ordinances, and who turned the treasure of the law they had received to show and not to use? What but the herd of the Gentiles is figured in Lazarus, full of sores? Whosoever turneth himself to God and is not ashamed to confess his sin, hath his sores on the skin, for in a sore on the skin breaketh out the corruption, which is drawn from within.

R. Take thy weapons, thy quiver and thy bow, and bring me some of thy venison, that I may eat, * and my soul may bless thee.
V. And when thou hast taken somewhat, make me thereof savoury meat, that I may eat.
R. And my soul may bless thee.

Reading 2: What is, then, the confession of our sins but the breaking out of our sores? The corrupt matter of sin is healthily opened in confession, instead of remaining in the mind to rot it. Open sores on the skin bring the poisonous matter to the surface, and when we confess our sins, what do we but open up the evil that there is lurking in us? But Lazarus desired to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man's table, and no man gave unto him; even so did that proud people scorn to admit a Gentile to the knowledge of their law.

R. See the smell of my son is as the smell of a field which the Lord hath blessed may my God multiply thee as the sand of the sea * and give thee a blessing of the dew of heaven
V. And God Almighty bless thee, and multiply thee
R. And give thee a blessing of the dew of heaven.

Reading 3: The teaching of the law moved them to pride, and not to love, as though they swelled with self-importance at the thought of their riches, and the words which some Gentiles caught of their knowledge were as crumbs falling from their sumptuous table. On the other hand, the dogs came and licked the sores of the beggar that was laid at their gate. Sometimes in Holy Writ, under the figure of dogs, preachers are understood. A dog's tongue healeth the sore which it licketh, and so do holy teachers, when we confess our sins, and they speak to us, mollify by their tongues the sores of our souls.

R. God give thee of the dew of heaven and the fatness of the earth. Let people and nations serve thee. * Be lord over thy brethren.
V. And let thy mother's sons bow down to thee.
R. Be lord over thy brethren.
V. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, * and to the Holy Ghost.
R. Be lord over thy brethren.

Wednesday in the Second Week of Lent

The Gospel at Mass in the EF is St Matthew 20: 17-28:

And now Jesus was going up to Jerusalem, and he took his twelve disciples aside on the way, and warned them,  Now we are going up to Jerusalem; and there the Son of Man will be given up into the hands of the chief priests and scribes, who will condemn him to death.  And these will give him up into the hands of the Gentiles, to be mocked and scourged and crucified; but on the third day he will rise again. Thereupon the mother of the sons of Zebedee brought them to him, falling on her knees to make a request of him.  And when he asked her, What is thy will? she said to him, Here are my two sons; grant that in thy kingdom one may take his place on thy right and the other on thy left.  But Jesus answered, You do not know what it is you ask. Have you strength to drink of the cup I am to drink of? They said, We have.  And he told them, You shall indeed drink of my cup; but a place on my right hand or my left is not mine to give; it is for those for whom my Father has destined it.  The ten others were angry with the two brethren when they heard it; but Jesus called them to him, and said, You know that, among the Gentiles, those who bear rule lord it over them, and great men vaunt their power over them;  with you it must be otherwise; whoever would be a great man among you, must be your servant,  and whoever has a mind to be first among you, must be your slave.  So it is that the Son of Man did not come to have service done him; he came to serve others, and to give his life as a ransom for the lives of many.

Matins (Homily by St Ambrose, Bishop of Milan. Bk. v. to Gratian, on Faith)

Reading 1: Consider what it was that the mother of Zebedee's children came to Christ desiring, with, and for her sons. She was a mother, who, longing for the honour of her sons, preferred a request immoderate, and yet pardonable. She was a mother who, albeit stricken in years and comfortless, at an age when she had sore need of the strength of her offspring to help and keep her, was yet so earnest in godliness and motherly love, that she had liefer suffer the loss of her sons, that they might gain the reward of following Christ still, as we read they had already done, when, at the first call of the Lord, they left their nets and their father.

R. The Angel said unto Jacob * Let me go, for the day breaketh. And he said I will not let thee go, except thou bless me. And he blessed him there.
V. And when Jacob arose, behold there wrestled a man with him, until the breaking of the day and, when he saw that he prevailed not, he said unto him
R. Let me go, for the day breaketh. And he said I will not let thee go, except thou bless me. And he blessed him there.

Reading 2: She, then, yielding to the intensity of her motherly love, besought the Saviour, saying, Grant that these my two sons may sit, the one at thy right hand and the other at thy left hand, in thy kingdom. Although it was a mistake, it was a mistake of love. For a mother's love knoweth no moderation. Yet, although it was a greedy prayer, that was a pardonable greed, which hungered, not for riches, but for grace. Neither was that request shameless which sought, not her own good, but her children's. Remember that she was a mother. Think how that she was a mother.

R. I have seen God face to face* And my life is preserved.
V. And he said unto me thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel shall be thy name.
R. And my life is preserved.

Reading 3: Christ took into His consideration that mother's love of hers, which made her sons' reward the comfort of her own old age, and which could bear the loss of her loved ones, broken as she was by a mother's yearnings. Consider also that she was a woman, that is, of the weaker sex, to which the Lord had not yet given strength by His Passion. Consider, I say, that she was an heiress of Eve, and weakened by that transmission of the unbridled covetousness of the first woman, which the Lord had not yet disarmed by His Blood, even that craving for undue dignity, wherewith all our natures are imbued, and which Christ's Bloodshedding had not yet washed away. She erred indeed, but the mistake was an inherited weakness.

R. When Jacob heard that Esau came to meet him, he divided his sons and his wives, saying If Esau smite the one company, then the other shall escape. * Deliver me, O Lord, Which saidst unto me I will multiply thy seed as the stars of heaven, and as the sand of the sea, which cannot be numbered for multitude.
V. O Lord, Which saidst unto me Return unto thy country O Lord, Which feedest me still from my youth up
R. Deliver me, O Lord.
V. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, * and to the Holy Ghost.
R. Which saidst unto me I will multiply thy seed as the stars of heaven, and as the sand of the sea, which cannot be numbered for multitude.

Tuesday, 14 March 2017

Matins readings for Tuesday in the second week of Lent

Today's Gospel is St Matthew 23: 1-12:

Then Jesus spoke to the multitudes and to his disciples, Saying: The scribes and the Pharisees have sitten on the chair of Moses.  All things therefore whatsoever they shall say to you, observe and do: but according to their works do ye not; for they say, and do not.  For they bind heavy and insupportable burdens, and lay them on men' s shoulders; but with a finger of their own they will not move them.  And all their works they do for to be seen of men. For they make their phylacteries broad, and enlarge their fringes.  And they love the first places at feasts, and the first chairs in the synagogues,  And salutations in the market place, and to be called by men, Rabbi.  But be not you called Rabbi. For one is your master; and all you are brethren.  And call none your father upon earth; for one is your father, who is in heaven.  Neither be ye called masters; for one is your master, Christ.  He that is the greatest among you shall be your servant. And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be humbled: and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.

Matins readings

Reading 1 (Homily by St Jerome): Was there ever man gentler and kinder than the Lord? The Pharisees tempted Him; their craft was confounded, and, in the words of the Psalmist, The arrows of babes have pierced them, and nevertheless, because of the dignity of their priesthood and name, He exhorteth the people to be subject to them, by doing according to their words, though not according to their works. By the words Moses' seat we are to understand the teaching of the law. Thus also must we mystically take, Sitteth in the seat of the scornful, and likewise, overthrew the seats of them that sold doves, to describe doctrine.

R. As Jacob went out from his own land, he saw the glory of God, and said How dreadful is this place * This is none other but the house of God and this is the gate of heaven.
V. Surely God is in this place, and I knew it not.
R. This is none other but the house of God and this is the gate of heaven.

Reading 2: How they bind heavy burdens, and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men's shoulders, but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers. This is generally directed against all teachers who command things hard, and themselves do not even things easy. But it is to be remarked that the shoulders, the fingers, and the binding of the burdens, have a spiritual interpretation. But all their works they do for to be seen of men. Whosoever therefore doth anything for to be seen of men, the same is, so far, a Scribe and a Pharisee.

R. If the Lord my God will be with me, in this way that I go, and will keep me, and will give me bread to eat, and raiment to put on, and will bring me again safely * The Lord shall be my refuge, and this stone shall be a sign.
V. So Jacob rose up early in the morning, and took the stone that he had put for his pillow, and set it up for a pillar, and poured oil upon the top of it, and said
R. The Lord shall be my refuge, and this shall be a sign.

Reading 3: They make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments. And love the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues, and greetings in the markets, and to be called of men, Rabbi. Woe to us miserable sinners who have inherited the vices of the Pharisees! When the Lord had given the commandments of the law to Moses He added afterwards Thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes. The sense of these words is My Law shall be in thine hand to order whatsoever thou doest, and ever before thine eyes that thou mayest meditate therein day and night. But the Pharisees, by a bad interpretation, were accustomed to write on pieces of parchment the Decalogue of Moses, that is, the Ten Words of the Law, and to tie these pieces of parchment, plaited in a peculiar manner, on their foreheads, so as to make a sort of crown round their heads, which projected in front of their eyes, and always moved before them.

R. The Lord shall be my God, and this stone, which I have set for a pillar, shall be called God's house, and of all that Thou shalt give me * I will offer tithes and peace-offerings to thee.
V. If I come again to my father's house in peace.
R. I will offer tithes and peace-offerings unto thee.
V. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, * and to the Holy Ghost.
R. I will offer tithes and peace-offerings unto thee.

Monday, 13 March 2017

Matins readings for Monday in the second week of Lent

The Gospel at Mass for Monday in the second week of Lent is St John 8:21-29:

Again therefore Jesus said to them: I go, and you shall seek me, and you shall die in your sin. Whither I go, you cannot come. The Jews therefore said: Will he kill himself, because he said: Whither I go, you cannot come?  And he said to them: You are from beneath, I am from above. You are of this world, I am not of this world.  Therefore I said to you, that you shall die in your sins. For if you believe not that I am he, you shall die in your sin.  They said therefore to him: Who art thou? Jesus said to them: The beginning, who also speak unto you. Many things I have to speak and to judge of you. But he that sent me, is true: and the things I have heard of him, these same I speak in the world.  And they understood not, that he called God his Father.  Jesus therefore said to them: When you shall have lifted up the Son of man, then shall you know, that I am he, and that I do nothing of myself, but as the Father hath taught me, these things I speak: And he that sent me, is with me, and he hath not left me alone: for I do always the things that please him.

Matins readings (Tract 38 on John by St Augustine)

Reading 1: The Lord spake unto the Jews, saying I go My way for, to the Lord Christ, death was a departure to that place whence He had come, and whence He had never departed. I go My way, saith He, and ye shall seek Me not from love, but from hatred. Yea after He had withdrawn Himself from the sight of men, two classes sought Him, even they that loved, and they that hated Him; the one because they longed for His presence, the other because they were fain to hunt Him down. In the Psalms the Lord Himself saith by His Prophet: Refuge failed me, and no man cared for my soul.  And again He said in another Psalm Let them be confounded and put to shame that seek after my soul.

R. While as Jacob went from Beersheba, and hasted unto Haran, the Lord spake unto him, saying * The land whereon thou sleepest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed.
V. He built an altar of stones unto the Name of the Lord, and poured oil upon the top of it; and God blessed him and said,:
R. The land whereon thou sleepest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed.

Reading 2: Thus doth He blame them that seek not, and condemn such as seek. Yea, it is a good thing to seek the soul of Christ, as the disciples sought it; and an evil thing to seek it, as the Jews sought it; the first sought it to possess, the second to destroy it. What then doth He bid us know will be the reward of such as seek it evilly in a perverse heart? Ye shall seek Me, and lest ye think that ye shall do well so to seek Me, I tell you that ye shall die in your sins. To seek Christ with bad intent, is as much as to die in sin, for it is to hate Him through Whom alone we can be saved.

R. God appeared unto Jacob, and blessed him, and said I am the God of Bethel, where thou anointedst the pillar, and where thou vowedst a vow unto Me. * I will make thee fruitful, and multiply thee.
V. Surely the Lord is in this place, and I knew it not.
R. I will make thee fruitful, and multiply thee.

Reading 3: Whereas men whose hope is in God ought to return good even for evil, those men returned evil for good. The Lord therefore told them beforehand, and, because He knew it, He let them know their coming end, how that they should die in their sins. Then He said farther Whither I go, ye cannot come. This He said in another place to His disciples, but He never said to them Ye shall die in your sins. What said He? The same words as to the Jews Whither I go, ye cannot come. Yet, to the disciples, these words only deferred, they cut not away hope for they, though for a little while they could not come whither He was to go, were yet in the end to go there. Not so they to whom He foretold and said Ye shall die in your sins.

R. God give thee of the dew of heaven and the fatness of the earth. Let people and nations serve thee. * Be lord over thy brethren.
V. And let thy mother's sons bow down to thee.
R. Be lord over thy brethren.
V. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, * and to the Holy Ghost.
R. Be lord over thy brethren.