Thursday, 23 March 2017

Friday in the third week of Lent

Today's Gospel is St John 4:5-42:

He cometh therefore to a city of Samaria, which is called Sichar, near the land which Jacob gave to his son Joseph. Now Jacob' s well was there. Jesus therefore being wearied with his journey, sat thus on the well. It was about the sixth hour.  There cometh a woman of Samaria, to draw water. Jesus saith to her: Give me to drink.  For his disciples were gone into the city to buy meats.  Then that Samaritan woman saith to him: How dost thou, being a Jew, ask of me to drink, who am a Samaritan woman? For the Jews do not communicate with the Samaritans.  Jesus answered, and said to her: If thou didst know the gift of God, and who he is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou perhaps wouldst have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water. The woman saith to him: Sir, thou hast nothing wherein to draw, and the well is deep; from whence then hast thou living water?  Art thou greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well, and drank thereof himself, and his children, and his cattle?  Jesus answered, and said to her: Whosoever drinketh of this water, shall thirst again; but he that shall drink of the water that I will give him, shall not thirst for ever:  But the water that I will give him, shall become in him a fountain of water, springing up into life everlasting.  The woman saith to him: Sir, give me this water, that I may not thirst, nor come hither to draw.[Jesus saith to her: Go, call thy husband, and come hither. The woman answered, and said: I have no husband. Jesus said to her: Thou hast said well, I have no husband: For thou hast had five husbands: and he whom thou now hast, is not thy husband. This thou hast said truly.  The woman saith to him: Sir, I perceive that thou art a prophet. Our fathers adored on this mountain, and you say, that at Jerusalem is the place where men must adore. Jesus saith to her: Woman, believe me, that the hour cometh, when you shall neither on this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, adore the Father.  You adore that which you know not: we adore that which we know; for salvation is of the Jews. But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true adorers shall adore the Father in spirit and in truth. For the Father also seeketh such to adore him.  God is a spirit; and they that adore him, must adore him in spirit and in truth.  The woman saith to him: I know that the Messias cometh (who is called Christ). Therefore, when he is come, he will tell us all things. Jesus saith to her: I am he, who am speaking with thee.  And immediately his disciples came; and they wondered that he talked with the woman. Yet no man said: What seekest thou? or, why talkest thou with her?  The woman therefore left her waterpot, and went her way into the city, and saith to the men there:  Come, and see a man who has told me all things whatsoever I have done. Is not he the Christ?  They went therefore out of the city, and came unto him. In the mean time the disciples prayed him, saying: Rabbi, eat.  But he said to them: I have meat to eat, which you know not. The disciples therefore said one to another: Hath any man brought him to eat?  Jesus saith to them: My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, that I may perfect his work.  Do you not say, There are yet four months, and then the harvest cometh? Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes, and see the countries; for they are white already to harvest. And he that reapeth receiveth wages, and gathereth fruit unto life everlasting: that both he that soweth, and he that reapeth, may rejoice together.  For in this is the saying true: That it is one man that soweth, and it is another that reapeth.  I have sent you to reap that in which you did not labour: others have laboured, and you have entered into their labours.  Now of that city many of the Samaritans believed in him, for the word of the woman giving testimony: He told me all things whatsoever I have done.  So when the Samaritans were come to him, they desired that he would tarry there. And he abode there two days. And many more believed in him because of his own word. And they said to the woman: We now believe, not for thy saying: for we ourselves have heard him, and know that this is indeed the Saviour of the world.

The Matins readings are from St Augustine:

Reading 1: Now begin the mysteries. For it is not without a purpose that Jesus is weary; not indeed without a purpose that the strength of God is weary; not without a purpose that He is weary, by whom the wearied are refreshed; not without a purpose is He weary, by whose absence we are wearied, by whose presence we are strengthened. Nevertheless Jesus is weary, and weary with His journey; and He sits down, and that, too, near a well; and it is at the sixth hour that, being wearied, He sits down. All these things hint something, are intended to intimate something, they make us eager, and encourage us to knock. May Himself open to us and to you; He who has deigned to exhort us, so as to say, Knock, and it shall be opened to you.

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: It was for you that Jesus was wearied with His journey. We find Jesus to be strength, and we find Jesus to be weak: we find a strong and a weak Jesus: strong, because 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. Would you see how this Son of God is strong? All things were made by Him, and without Him was nothing made: and without labor, too, were they made. Then what can be stronger than He, by whom all things were made without labor? Would you know Him weak? The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us. The strength of Christ created you, the weakness of Christ created you anew. The strength of Christ caused that to be which was not: the weakness of Christ caused that what was should not perish. He fashioned us by His strength, He sought us by His weakness.

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 3: As weak, then, He nourishes the weak, as a hen her chickens; for He likened Him self to a hen: How often, He says to Jerusalem, would I have gathered your children under my wings, as a hen her chickens; but you would not! Matthew 23:37 And you see, brethren, how a hen becomes weak with her chickens. No other bird, when it is a mother, is recognized at once to be so. We see all kinds of sparrows building their nests before our eyes; we see swallows, storks, doves, every day building their nests; but we do not know them to be parents, except when we see them on their nests. But the hen is so enfeebled over her brood, that even if the chickens are not following her, if you see not the young ones, yet you know her at once to be a mother. With her wings drooping, her feathers ruffled, her note hoarse, in all her limbs she becomes so sunken and abject, that, as I have said, even though you see not her young, yet you perceive her to be a mother.

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.
V. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, * and to the Holy Ghost.
R. For I was stolen away; and here have I done nothing, that they should put me into the dungeon.

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Thursday in the third week of Lent

Today's Gospel is St Luke 4:38-44:

And Jesus rising up out of the synagogue, went into Simon' s house. And Simon' s wife' s mother was taken with a great fever, and they besought him for her.  And standing over her, he commanded the fever, and it left her. And immediately rising, she ministered to them.  And when the sun was down, all they that had any sick with divers diseases, brought them to him. But he laying his hands on every one of them, healed them.  And devils went out from many, crying out and saying: Thou art the Son of God. And rebuking them he suffered them not to speak, for they knew that he was Christ.  And when it was day, going out he went into a desert place, and the multitudes sought him, and came unto him: and they stayed him that he should not depart from them.  To whom he said: To other cities also I must preach the kingdom of God: for therefore am I sent.  And he was preaching in the synagogues of Galilee.

The Matins readings are by St Ambrose:

Reading 1: Behold here how long-suffering is the Lord our Redeemer! Neither moved to anger against them, nor sickened at their guilt, nor outraged by their attacks, did He leave the Jews' country. Nay, forgetting their iniquity, and mindful only of His mercy, He strove to soften their hard and unbelieving hearts, sometimes by His teaching, and sometimes by freeing some of them, and sometimes by healing them. St Luke doth well to tell us first of the man who was delivered from an unclean spirit, and then of the healing of a woman. The Lord indeed came to heal both sexes, but that must be healed first which was created first, and then must not she be passed by whose first sin arose rather from fickleness of heart than from depraved will.

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: That the Lord began to heal on the Sabbath-day showeth in a figure how that the new creation beginneth where the old creation ended. It showeth, moreover, that the Son of God, Who is come not to destroy the law but to fulfil the law, is not under the law, but above the law. Neither was it by the law, but by the Word, that the world was created, as it is written "By the Word of the Lord were the heavens made." The law, then, is not destroyed, but fulfilled, in the Redemption of fallen man. Whence also the Apostle saith: "Put off, concerning the former conversation, the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts and be renewed in the spirit of your mind and put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness."

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: It was well that He began to heal on the Sabbath, that He might show Himself to be the Creator, weaving in one with another of His works, and continuing that which He had already begun, even as a workman, being to repair an house, beginneth not to take down that which is old from the foundations, but from the roof. Thus doth the Lord begin to lay to His hand again, in that place whence last He hath lifted it; then He beginneth which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness. with things lesser, that He may go on to things greater. Even men are able to deliver other men from evil spirits, albeit with the word of God to command the dead to rise again is for God's power alone. Perchance, also, this woman, the mother-in-law of Simon and Andrew, was a type of our nature, stricken down with the great fever of sin, and burning with unlawful lusts after divers objects. Nor would I say that the passion which rageth in the mind is a lesser fire than that fever which burneth the body. Covetousness, and lust, and uncleanness, and vain desires, and strivings, and anger these be our fevers.

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.
V. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, * and to the Holy Ghost.
R. And Reuben said The child is not, and I, whither shall I go?

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Wednesday in the third week of Lent

The Gospel today is St Matthew 15:1-20:

Then came to him from Jerusalem scribes and Pharisees, saying: Why do thy disciples transgress the tradition of the ancients? For they wash not their hands when they eat bread. But he answering, said to them: Why do you also transgress the commandment of God for your tradition? For God said:  Honour thy father and mother: And: He that shall curse father or mother, let him die the death.  But you say: Whosoever shall say to father or mother, The gift whatsoever proceedeth from me, shall profit thee. And he shall not honour his father or his mother: and you have made void the commandment of God for your tradition.  Hypocrites, well hath Isaias prophesied of you, saying: This people honoureth me with their lips: but their heart is far from me. And in vain do they worship me, teaching doctrines and commandments of men.  And having called together the multitudes unto him, he said to them: Hear ye and understand. Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man: but what cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man.  Then came his disciples, and said to him: Dost thou know that the Pharisees, when they heard this word, were scandalized?  But he answering them, said: Every plant which my heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up.  Let them alone: they are blind, and leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both will fall into the pit.  And Peter answering, said to him: Expound to us this parable.  But he said: Are you also yet without understanding?  Do you not understand, that whatsoever entereth into the mouth, goeth into the belly, and is cast out into the privy?  But the things which proceed out of the mouth, come forth from the heart, and those things defile a man. For from the heart come forth evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false testimonies, blasphemies.  These are the things that defile a man. But to eat with unwashed hands doth not defile a man.

The Matins readings are by St Jerome:

Reading 1: The stupidity of the Pharisees and Scribes is something extraordinary. They rebuke the Son of God because He doth not observe the traditions and commandments of men for they wash not their hands when they eat bread. It behoveth us to cleanse, not the hands of the body, but the hands of the soul, namely, our works, that we may do the commandments of God. But He answered and said unto them Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition? He meeteth here their false accusation by a true. ' How,' saith He, 'do ye, who pass over the commandments of God, in order to keep to the traditions of men, hold that My disciples are to be rebuked, because they deem the tradition of the elders of little moment in comparison with the doing of what they know to be the Laws 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 2: Now God commanded, saying, Honour thy father and mother; and, He that curseth father or mother, let him die the death. But ye say Whosoever shall say to his father or his mother It is a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me; and honour not his father or his mother, he shall be free. The word honour is used in Scripture, not so much in the sense of paying salutations and services, as in that of giving alms and gifts. Honour widows, saith the Apostle, which are widows indeed.  And here honour signifieth support. So again,  Let the Priests that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine. For the Scripture saith ' Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn ' and ' The labourer is worthy of his reward.'

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 3: The Lord being mindful of the helplessness, or age, or poverty of parents, had commanded their children to honour them even by giving them the necessaries of life. The Scribes and Pharisees, scrupling not to make of none effect this most benign law, and bringing in ungodliness under the very form of godliness, taught, for the benefit of unnatural children, that if any one vowed to God, Who is our very Father in heaven, whatsoever he was bound to give to his parents, the duty of discharging his debt to his heavenly Father ought to come before that which he owed to his earthly father; or, at least, that parents in such case incurred the guilt of sacrilege by taking for themselves what they knew had been made a gift to God. And so parents were left unsuccoured, and the offerings of such children, under pretence of being given to God and His temple, became the gain of the Priests.

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.
V. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, * and to the Holy Ghost.
R. I pray the King of heaven in my distress, that He may make me to see them yet again.

Monday, 20 March 2017

Feast of the transitus of St Benedict

The readings for the feast of St Benedict are set out below.  You can find notes on where to find the other texts for Matins here.

Nocturn I (Sirach 44:1-15)

Reading 1: Let us now praise men of renown, and our fathers in their generation. The Lord hath wrought great glory through his magnificence from the beginning. Such as have borne rule in their dominions, men of great power, and endued with their wisdom, shewing forth in the prophets the dignity of prophets, And ruling over the present people, and by the strength of wisdom instructing the people in most holy words.

R: Fuit vir vitae venerabilis gratia Benedictus et nomine ab ipso pueritae suae tempore cor gerens senile * aetatem quippe moribus transiens nulli animum voluptati dedit
V: Recessit igitur scienter nescius et sapienter indoctus
R: aetatem quippe moribus transiens nulli animum voluptati dedit

V: There was a man of venerable life, blessed by grace, and blessed in name, for he was called Benedict. From his younger years, he always had the mind of an old man * for his age was inferior to his virtue.
R: In this way he departed, instructed with learned ignorance, and furnished with unlearned wisdom.
V: For his age was inferior to his virtue.

Reading 2: Such as by their skill sought out musical tunes, and published canticles of the scriptures.  Rich men in virtue, studying beautifulness: living at peace in their houses. All these have gained glory in their generations, and were praised in their days.

R: Sanctus Benedictus plus appetiit mala mundi  perpeti quam laudes pro Deo laboribus fatigari * Quam vitae hujus favoribus extolli
V: Divina namque praeventus gratia magis ac magis ad superna animo suspirabat
R: Quam vitae hujus favoribus extolli
R St Benedict desiring rather the miseries of the world than the praises of men: rather to be wearied with labor for God's sake * than to be exalted with transitory commendation
V: For filled greatly with divine grace, his soul aspired to even higher things
R: Than to be exalted with transitory commendation 

Reading 3: They that were born of them have left a name behind them, that their praises might be related: And there are some, of whom there is no memorial: who are perished, as if they had never been: and are become as if they had never been born, and their children with them. But these were men of mercy, whose godly deeds have not failed: Good things continue with their seed,

R: Inito consilio venenum vino miscuere quo oblato ex more ad benedicendum patri vir dei signo crucis edidit et vas pestiferi potus ita confractum est * Ac si pro signo lapidem dedisset
V: Intellexit protinus vir dei quia potum mortis habuerat quod portare non potuit signum vitae
R:  Ac si pro signo lapidem dedisset
R: Taking counsel together, they agreed to poison his wine: according to the custom, offered to the Abbot to bless, he made the sign of the cross, and straightway the glass broke in pieces * as though the sign of the cross had been a stone thrown against it
R: The man of God by and by perceived that the glass had in it the drink of death, which could not endure the sign of life.
V: As though the sign of the cross had been a stone thrown against it

Reading 4: Their posterity are a holy inheritance, and their seed hath stood in the covenants. And their children for their sakes remain for ever: their seed and their glory shall not be forsaken. Their bodies are buried in peace, and their name liveth unto generation and generation.  Let the people shew forth their wisdom, and the church declare their praise.

R: Domine non aspicias peccata mea sed fidem hujus hominis qui rogat resuscitari filium suum et redde in hoc corpusculum animam quam tulisti et completa oratione revixit  * et sanum reddidit patri suo
V: Et regrediente anima corpusculum omne contremuit et sub oculis omnium qui aderant vivus apparuit
R: Et sanum reddidit patri suo
V: Gloria Patri...
R: Et sanum reddidit patri suo
R:  Behold not, O Lord, my sins, but the faith of this man, that desires to have his son raised to life, and restore that soul to the body, which you have made.  And when the prayer was ended he revived.  * And he gave him back to his father healthy.
V: And the soul returned again, and therewith the child's body began to tremble in such sort that all which were present beheld it
R: And he gave him back to his father healthy.
V: Glory be...
R: And he gave him back to his father healthy.

Nocturn II

Reading 5: Benedict was born of a noble family at Norcia, about the year of our Lord 480, and studied letters at Rome. Desiring to give himself altogether to Christ Jesus, he betook himself to a very deep cave at the place now called Subiaco. In this place he lay hid for three years, unknown to all except the monk Romanus, by means of whom he received the necessaries of life. While he was in the cave at Subiaco, the devil one day assailed him with an extraordinary storm of impure temptation, and to get it under, he rolled himself in brambles till his whole body was lacerated, and the sting of pain drove out the sallies of lust.
  
R: O laudanda sancti Benedicti merita gloriosa qui dum pro Christo patriam mundique sprevit pompam adeptus omnium contubernium beatorum * Et particeps factus praemiorum aeternorum
V: Inter choros confessorum splendidum possidet locum ubi ipsum fontem omnium intuetur bonorum
R: Et particeps factus praemiorum aeternorum
O praise the glorious merits of St Benedict who for Christ left his fatherland and the pomp of the world, and arrived at the companionship of all the blessed * And was made a partaker of eternal rewards
 V: He holds a splendid place among the chorus of confessors, where he gazes upon the font of all good
R: And was made a partaker of eternal rewards

Reading 6: At last the fame of his holiness spread itself abroad from the desert, and some monks came to him for guidance, but the looseness of their lives was such that they could not bear his exhortations, and they plotted together to poison him in his drink. When they gave him the cup, he made the sign of the Cross over it, whereupon it immediately broke, and Benedict left that monastery, and retired to a desert place alone.  Nevertheless his disciples followed him daily, and for them he built twelve monasteries, and set holy laws to govern them.

R: Dum sanctus Benedictus in cella consisteret elevatis sursum oculis vidit sororis suae animam de corpore ejus egressam * In columbae specie caeli secreta penetrare
V: Qui tantae ejus gloriae congaudens omnipotenti deo gratias retulit ejusque obitum fratribus denuntiavit
R: * In columbae specie caeli secreta penetrare
R: When St Benedict was standing in his cell, lifted his eyes he saw the soul of his sister which was departed from her body * Ascend into heaven in the likeness of a dove.
V: Rejoicing much to see her great glory, with hymns and praise he gave thanks to almighty God, and imparted the news of her death to his monks.
R: Ascend into heaven in the likeness of a dove.

Reading 7: Afterwards he went to Cassino, and brake the image of Apollo which was still worshipped there, overturned the altar, and burnt the groves. There, in the year 529, he built the Church of St Martin and the little chapel of St John; and instilled Christianity into the townspeople and inhabitants. He grew in the grace of God day by day, so that being endowed with the spirit of prophecy he foretold things to come. When Totila, King of the Goths, heard of it, and would see whether it really were so, he sent his Spatharius before him, with the kingly ensigns and attendance, and feigning himself to be Totila. But as soon as Benedict saw him he said: My son, put off that which thou wearest, for it is not thine. To Totila himself he foretold that he would go to Rome, would cross the sea, and would die after nine years.

R: Intempesta noctis hora vir dei instans vigiliis assiduae orationi velut sub uno solis radio * Omnem mundum collectum conspexit
V:  Videnti enim creatorem angusta est omnis creatura
R Omnem mundum collectum conspexit
R: The man of God, keeping vigil in the dark hours of the night with assiduous prayer, under one beam of the sun * Saw the whole world gathered together
 V: For he who sees the creator all created things seems small
R: saw the whole world gathered together

Reading 8: Some months before he departed this life, Benedict forewarned his disciples on what day he was to die; and he ordered his grave to be opened six days before he was carried to it. On the sixth day, being the 21st of March, in the year 543, he would be carried into the Church, where he received the Eucharist, and then, in the arms of his disciples, with his eyes lifted up to heaven, and wrapt in prayer, he gave up the ghost. Two monks saw his soul rising to heaven, clothed in a most precious garment, and surrounded with lights, and One of a most glorious and awful aspect standing above, Whom they heard saying This is the way whereby Benedict, the beloved of the Lord, goeth up to heaven.



R: Pater sanctus dum intentam oculorum aciem in splendore coruscae lucis habere videretur vidit Germani animam Capuani episcopi * In sphaera ignea ab angelis in caelum deferri
V: Factumque est ut reverendissimum virum Germanum episcopum is qui missus fuerat jam defunctum reperit
R: In sphaera ignea ab angelis in caelum deferri
V: Gloria Patri...
R: Pater sanctus dum intentam oculorum aciem in splendore coruscae lucis habere videretur vidit Germani animam Capuani episcopi * In sphaera ignea ab angelis in caelum deferri
V: Factumque est ut reverendissimum virum Germanum episcopum is qui missus fuerat jam defunctum reperit
R: In sphaera ignea ab angelis in caelum deferri
R: While the venerable father stood attentively beholding the brightness of that glittering light, he saw the soul of Germanus, Bishop of Capua,* In a fiery globe, carried up by Angels into heaven.
V: It was discovered that the reverent man Germanus had departed this life at that very instant
R: In a fiery globe, carried up by Angels into heaven.
V: Glory be…
R: In a fiery globe, carried up by Angels into heaven.

Nocturn III (Sermon of St Peter Damian on St Benedict)

Reading 9: 'Behold, we have forsaken all and followed thee.Solemn word, mighty undertaking, a holy work and one worthy of blessing, to leave all things and follow Christ. These are the persuasive words of voluntary poverty, which have brought forth monasteries, and filled the cloister with monks and the woods with anchorites. These are the words of which  the Church sings: 'By the word of thy lips I have kept me from the paths of the destroyer.'  We shall receive rest for our  labour, riches for our poverty, a reward for our tribulation. It  is a great thing to forsake all, but to follow Christ is a greater;  for we read of many who have left all but who have not followed Christ. This is our task, this our labour; in this lies the essence of human salvation; nor can we follow Christ unless we forsake all, for He rejoices as a strong man to run a race, and he who bears a load cannot follow.


R: Sanctissime confessor Christi Benedicte monachorum pater et dux *  Intercede pro nostra omniumque salute
V: Devotae plebi subveni sancta intercessione ut tuis adjuta precibus regna caelestia consequatur
R: Intercede pro nostra omniumque salute
R: O Benedict, Most holy confessor of Christ, father and leader of monks, * Intercede for us and the salvation of all
V: Assist your devoted people with holy intercession so that with the help of your prayers they may reach the heavenly kingdom
R: Intercede for us and the salvation of all

Reading 10: 'Behold' he says, 'we have forsaken all' not only the riches  of this world but the desires of the soul too; for he who holds on to the self has not forsaken all. And it is useless to abandon other things if we do not abandon ourselves, since man's heaviest burden is man himself. What tyrant is more cruel to man, what power more savage, than his own will ? Under its sway you can never rest or sit at your ease, and the more it wearies you in enforcing obedience to itself, the more it goads and stings and weighs you down, being unmindful of kindness and a stranger to mercy. This is the nature of self-will: the more obedient its subject, the more cruelly is he bound in its chains.  'What shall we have therefore?' Peter has forsaken all; not only is he following, he has followed for a long time; and now for the first time he asks what he will receive. What, Peter ? Did you not promise obedience to the voice? You made no contract with the Lord. But listen to what the Lord God says, and await that hope in which, in this uncertain world, we must confide. ' 'You shall sit', says the Lord who is Truth. Splendid sitting, welcome rest, full sufficiency.

R: Ipso anno quo de hac vita erat exiturus quibusdam discipulis secum conversationtibus, quibusdam longe manentibus, * Sanctissimi sui obitus denuntiavit diem
V: Praesentibus indicens ut audita per silentium tegerent abstenibus indicans, quod vel quale eis signum fieret quando eius anima de corpore exiret
R: Sanctissimi sui obitus denuntiavit diem
R: In the year that was to be the last of his life, while some of his disciples were talking with him and some remained further away, * the most holy man foretold the day of his death
V:  He bound them to strict secrecy, some others, he only informed of the special sign they would receive at the time of his death.
R: The most holy man foretold the day of his death

Reading 11: But lest our long awaiting should mar the sweetness of His promise, He controls the restlessness of our minds with a sweeter word. Tor he knoweth our frame; He knows that  our weakness cannot brook delays; in His loving kindness He meets this problem and counteracts it, saying: 'And everyone that hath forsaken house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands for my name's sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life.' "The mouth of them that speak lies shall be stopped'; now all they who transgress without cause are ashamed.  For we have promise of the life that now is, as well as of that which is to come;  and it is clear that the promise of receiving a hundred-fold applies to this life, since the words which follow are 'and shall inherit everlasting life'.



R: Sexto namque die portari se in oratorio a discipulis fecit ibique exitum suum dominicis sacramentis munivit * Atque inter discipulorum manus expiravit
V: Cumque per singulos dies languor ingravesceret, erectis in caelum manibus stetit
R: Atque inter discipulorum manus expiravit

R: On the sixth day, he had his disciples carry him into the oratory where he received the sacraments our Lord to gain strength for his approaching end * Then, in the arms of his disciples he breathed his last
V:  While for several days sickness had wasted his remaining energy, he stood with hands outstretched to heaven
R: Then, in the arms of his disciples he breathed his last

Reading 12:Those who have not yet received the hundredfold reward must scrutinize their hearts and diligently examine all the work of their hands; they will certainly find some corner or lodging-place unknown to the Saviour.And what is our hundredfold reward but the  consolations, the visitations and the first fruits of the Spirit, sweeter than honey; the witness of our consciences; the joyous and lovely expectation of the just, the memory of God's abundant sweetness, the great multitude of His delights, of which there is no need to tell those who have known them, just as it is impossible to describe them to those who have not known them.There is no one to whom all this exposition of our text
better applies than to our father and master St. Benedict. He forsook die world and all its flowers in boyhood to run with strong strides after the running Christ; and he did not rest until he had caught up with Him.

R: Via recto orientis tramite ab eius cella in caelum usque tendebatur cui venerando habitu vir desuper clarus assistens, cuius esset via, quam cernerent, inquisivit  * Illi autem se nescire professi sunt.
V: Quibus ipse ait: Haec est via qua dilictus Domini Benedictus caelos ascendit
R: Illi autem se nescire professi sunt
V: Gloria...
R: Illi autem se nescire professi sunt.
R: A straight road stretched eastwards from his cell until it reached up into heaven. And there in the brightness stood a man of majestic appearance, who asked them, Do you know who passed this way? * They declared that they did not know
V: This, he told them, is the road taken by blessed Benedict, the Lord's beloved, when he ascended to heaven
R: They declared that they did not know
R: Glory be
R: They declared that they did not know

Gospel:

The Gospel for the feast is St Matthew 19:27-29:

Tunc respondens Petrus, dixit ei: Ecce nos reliquimus omnia, et secuti sumus te: quid ergo erit nobis?  Jesus autem dixit illis: Amen dico vobis, quod vos, qui secuti estis me, in regeneratione cum sederit Filius hominis in sede majestatis suæ, sedebitis et vos super sedes duodecim, judicantes duodecim tribus Israël. Et omnis qui reliquerit domum, vel fratres, aut sorores, aut patrem, aut matrem, aut uxorem, aut filios, aut agros propter nomen meum, centuplum accipiet, et vitam æternam possidebit.
Then Peter answering, said to him: Behold we have left all things, and have followed thee: what therefore shall we have?  And Jesus said to them: Amen, I say to you, that you, who have followed me, in the regeneration, when the Son of man shall sit on the seat of his majesty, you also shall sit on twelve seats judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And every one that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands for my name’s sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall possess life everlasting.


Sunday, 19 March 2017

Feast of St Joseph

The readings for the feast at Matins in the Benedictine Office are set out below.

Nocturn I: Genesis 39: 1-3, 4-5; 41: 37-40, 41-44.

Reading 1: And Joseph was brought into Egypt, and Putiphar an eunuch of Pharao, chief captain of the army, an Egyptian, bought him of the Ismaelites, by whom he was brought. And the Lord was with him, and he was a prosperous man in all things: and he dwelt in his master's house.Who knew very well that the Lord was with him, and made all that he did to prosper in his hand.

R. The Lord was with Joseph, and gave him favour in the sight of the keeper of the prison. * And the keeper of the prison committed to Joseph's hand all the prisoners that were in the prison.
V. And whatsoever they did there, he was the doer of it because the Lord was with him, and that which he did, the Lord made it to prosper.
R. And the keeper of the prison committed to Joseph's hand all the prisoners that were in the prison.

Reading 2: And Joseph found favour in the sight of his master, and ministered to him: and being set over all by him, he governed the house committed to him, and all things that were delivered to him: And the Lord blessed the house of the Egyptian for Joseph's sake.

R. When all the land of Egypt was famished, the people cried to the king for bread. And the king said unto all the Egyptians * Go unto Joseph; and what he saith to you, do.
V. The famine was more grievous every day over all the face of the earth, and Joseph opened all the storehouses, and sold unto the Egyptians.
R. Go unto Joseph; and what he saith to you, do.

Reading 3: The counsel pleased Pharao and all his servants. And he said to them: Can we find such another man, that is full of the spirit of God? He said therefore to Joseph: Seeing God hath shewn thee all that thou hast said, can I find one wiser and one like unto thee? Thou shalt be over my house, and at the commandment of thy mouth all the people shall obey: only in the kingly throne will I be above thee.

R. The Lord hath made me as a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house fear not * For God sent me before you into Egypt, to save your lives.
V. Come unto me, and I will give you all the good things of Egypt, and ye shall eat the fat of the land.
R. For God sent me before you into Egypt, to save your lives.

Reading 4: And again Pharao said to Joseph: Behold, I have appointed thee over the whole land of Egypt. And he took his ring from his own hand, and gave it into his hand: and he put upon him a robe of silk, and put a chain of gold about his neck. And he made him go up into his second chariot, the crier proclaiming that all should bow their knee before him, and that they should know he was made governor over the whole land of Egypt.  And the king said to Joseph: I am Pharao; without thy commandment no man shall move hand or foot in all the land of Egypt.

Nocturn II (From the Sermons of St Bernard, Abbot of Clairvaux. 2nd on Luke i. 26)

Reading 5 : What and what manner of man the blessed Joseph was, we may gather from that title wherewith, albeit only as a deputy, God deemed him fit to be honoured he was both called, and supposed to be the Father of God. We may gather it from his very name, which, being interpreted, signifieth Increase. Remember likewise that great Patriarch who was sold into Egypt, and know that the Husband of Mary not only received his name, but inherited his purity, and was likened to him in innocence and in grace.

R. Joseph went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem * Because he was of the house and lineage of David.
V. To be enrolled with Mary his espoused wife.
R. Because he was of the house and lineage of David.

Reading 6: If then, that Joseph that was sold by his brethren through envy, and was brought down to Egypt, was a type of Christ sold by a disciple, and handed over to the Gentiles, the other Joseph flying from the envy of Herod carried Christ into Egypt. That first Joseph kept loyal to his master, and would not carnally know his master's wife; that second Joseph knew that the Lady, the Mother of his Lord, was a virgin, and he himself remained faithfully virgin toward her.

R. Arise, and take the young Child and His mother, and flee into Egypt; * And be thou there until I bring thee word.
V. That it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the Prophet, saying Out of Egypt have I called My Son.
R. And be thou there until I bring thee word.

Reading 7: To that first Joseph it was given to know dark things in interpreting of dreams; to the second Joseph it was given in sleep to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven.The first Joseph laid by bread, not for himself, but for all people; the second Joseph received into his keeping that Living Bread Which came down from heaven, not for him only, but for the whole world.

R. When His parents brought the Child Jesus into the temple, to do for Him after the custom of the law, * Simeon took Him up in his arms, and blessed God.
V. And His father and mother marvelled at those things which were spoken of Him.
R. Simeon took Him up in his arms, and blessed God.

Reading 8: We cannot doubt but that that Joseph was good and faithful to whom was espoused the Mother of the Saviour. Yea, I say, he was a faithful and wise servant, whom the Lord appointed to be the comfort of His own Mother, the keeper of His own Body, and the only and trusty helper in the Eternal Counsels.

V: And when his parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him according to the custom of the law, *  Simeon took him into his arms, and blessed God.
R: And his father and mother were wondering at those things which were spoken concerning him.
V:  Simeon took him into his arms, and blessed God.
R: Glory be...
V: Simeon took him into his arms, and blessed God.

Nocturn III: (Homily by St Jerome)

Reading 9 : 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.

V: And his parents went every year to Jerusalem, at the solemn day of the pasch, and having fulfilled the days, when they returned, the child Jesus remained in Jerusalem; * and his parents knew it not.
R: And thinking that he was in the company, they came a day’s journey, and sought him among their kinsfolks and acquaintance.
V: and his parents knew it not.

Reading 10: 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. The Mother of Jesus said unto Him Son, why hast Thou thus dealt with us? * Behold, thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing.
V. And He said unto them: How is it that ye sought Me? Wist ye not that I must be about My Father's business?
R. Behold, thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing.

Reading 11: 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. Jesus went down with them, and came to Nazareth * And was subject unto them.
V. He increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.
R. And was subject unto them.

Reading 12: 'Joseph, son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife,'  Above we stated that spouses are called wives; which fact the Book against Helvidius explains more fully.  Now, by way of approval the Angel speaks to him during sleep, to sanction the appropriateness of his silence.  It is likewise to be noted that Joseph is called the son of David in order that Mary also might be shown to be of the offspring of David.

R: A faithful and wise servant, whom the Lord hath set over His household. * Amen I say to you, he shall place him over all his goods.
V He that is the keeper of his master, shall be glorified.
R Amen I say to you, he shall place him over all his goods.
V Glory be
R: Amen I say to you, he shall place him over all his goods.

Gospel

The Gospel for today's feast is St Matthew 1:18-21:

 Christi autem generatio sic erat: cum esset desponsata mater ejus Maria Joseph, antequam convenirent inventa est in utero habens de Spiritu Sancto. Joseph autem vir ejus cum esset justus, et nollet eam traducere, voluit occulte dimittere eam.  Hæc autem eo cogitante, ecce angelus Domini apparuit in somnis ei, dicens: Joseph, fili David, noli timere accipere Mariam conjugem tuam: quod enim in ea natum est, de Spiritu Sancto est.  Pariet autem filium: et vocabis nomen ejus Jesum: ipse enim salvum faciet populum suum a peccatis eorum.


Now the generation of Christ was in this wise. When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child, of the Holy Ghost. Whereupon Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing publicly to expose her, was minded to put her away privately. But while he thought on these things, behold the angel of the Lord appeared to him in his sleep, saying: Joseph, son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife, for that which is conceived in her, is of the Holy Ghost. And she shall bring forth a son: and thou shalt call his name JESUS. For he shall save his people from their sins.

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.