Occurring Scripture for the
Hour of Matins
Here begins the book of Ecclesiasticus
All wisdom is from the Lord God, and
has been always with Him, and is before all time. Who has numbered the
sand of the sea, and the drops of rain, and the days of the world? Who hath
measured the height of heaven, and the breadth of the earth, and the depth
of the abyss? Who has searched out the wisdom of God that goes before
all things? Wisdom has been created before all things, and the
understanding of prudence from everlasting. The word of God on high is
the fountain of wisdom, and her ways are everlasting commandments.
To whom has the root of wisdom been
revealed, and who has known her wise counsels? To whom has the
discipline of wisdom been revealed and made manifest? and who has understood
the multiplicity of her steps? There is one most high Creator
Almighty, and a powerful king, and greatly to be feared, who sits upon His
throne, and is the God of dominion. He created her in the Holy Ghost,
and saw her, and numbered her, and measured her. And He poured her out
upon all his works, and upon all flesh according to His gift, and has given
her to them that love Him.
The fear of the Lord is honor, and
glory, and gladness, and a crown of joy. The fear of the Lord shall
delight the heart, and shall give joy, and gladness, and length of days.
It shall go well in the latter end with him that fears the Lord, and
in the day of his death he shall be blessed. The love of God is
honorable wisdom. And they to whom she shall show herself love her by
the sight, and by the knowledge of her great works. The fear of the
Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and was created with the faithful in the
womb, it walks with chosen women, and is known with the just and faithful.
From the Book of Moral Reflections on Job of Pope
Saint Gregory the Great
Book I, Chapter 10 on Job i
There are some who are careless with
their true life, greedy of the things which pass away, but as to the things
which are eternal, either they don't understand them—or,
understanding them, hold them to be of little importance. They
feel no sorrow, nor do they know how to take wise advice—in
forgetfulness of the heavenly possessions which they have lost, they deem
themselves happy in their goods. They don't lift up their eyes to the light
of truth for which they were created—no
keen desire ever makes them cast a longing look toward the everlasting
Fatherland. Ignoring the primary end for which they were made, they fix
their affections upon the exile which they are enduring, instead of upon
their home, and make merry in the blindness which they are suffering, as
though it were glorious day-light.
But, on the other hand, the
understandings of the elect, while they apprehend the things which pass
away, perceive them to be indeed nothings, and work towards grasping the
true end to which they were created—and
since nothing outside God satisfies them, their thought, wearied by the
intensity of speculation, finds rest in the hope for, and the contemplation
of, their Maker. They are eager to take their place among the citizens
above, and each one of them, although still placed in the world as concerns
his body, ascends above the world in heart and mind. They bemoan
the hardships of the exile which they are enduring, and rouse themselves by
the constant action of their love, to look to their Fatherland above.
Therefore when such a one sees with grief that by sin he has lost an
eternal inheritance, he finds this healthy counsel—to
reckon but lightly the things of time through which he is passing, and as
the wise course he has chosen matures, to ignore these perishing
things, the deeper grows his sorrow that he has not yet attained the
things which endure.
We must also realize that they who are
headlong in their courses, feel no sorrow of heart. Those who live
without thought, who leave themselves recklessly to the guidance of events,
escape the weariness of thought. He that orders his life by prudent
consideration, looks carefully around him before each thing that he does—like
a man who, before advancing on an uncertain way, tries the ground with his
foot, taking thought beforehand, lest some sudden and evil thing should
happen to him. He considers whether or not what he wants to do is forbidden
to him by caution; whether or not he is too hasty about things which
were better put off to another season, lest evil should overcome him by open
attack upon his lusts, or even good undo him by the in-bringing of vain
The remaining lessons and collect
are from the current Sunday after Pentecost
The fear of the Lord is a crown of
wisdom, filling up peace and the fruit of salvation: And it has seen,
and numbered her: but both are the gifts of God. Wisdom shall
distribute knowledge, and understanding of prudence: and exalts the glory of
them that hold her. The root of wisdom is to fear the Lord: and the
branches thereof live long. In the treasures of wisdom is
understanding, and religious perfection of knowledge: but to sinners wisdom
is an abomination.
The fear of the Lord drives out sin:
For he who is without fear, cannot be justified: for the wrath of his high
spirits is his ruin. A patient man shall bear for a time, and
afterwards joy shall be restored to him. A good understanding will
hide his words for a time, and the lips of many shall declare his wisdom.
In the treasures of wisdom is the signification of discipline: But the
worship of God is an abomination to a sinner. Son, if you desire
wisdom, keep justice, and God will give her to you.
For the fear of the Lord is wisdom and
discipline—and that which is agreeable
to Him is faith, and meekness: and he will fill up his treasures. Be
not incredulous to the fear of the Lord: and come not to Him with a double
heart. Be not a hypocrite in the sight of men, and let not your lips
be a stumbling-block to you. Watch over them, lest you fall, and bring
dishonor upon your soul, and God discover your secrets, and cast you down in
the midst of the congregation. Because you came to the Lord wickedly,
and your heart is full of guile and deceit.
Son, when you come to the service of
God, stand in justice and in fear, and prepare your soul for temptation.
Humble your heart, and endure: incline your ear, and receive the words of
understanding: and make not haste in the time of clouds. Wait on God
with patience: join yourself to God, and endure, that your life may be
increased in the latter end.
Take all that shall be brought upon
you: and in your sorrow endure, and in your humiliation keep patience. For
gold and silver are tried in the fire, but acceptable men in the furnace of
humiliation. Believe God, and He will recover you: and direct
your way, and trust in Him. Keep His fear, and grow old therein.
You that fear the Lord, wait for His
mercy: and go not aside from him, lest you fall. You that fear the
Lord, believe Him: and your reward shall not be made void. You that
fear the Lord, hope in Him: and mercy shall come to you for your delight.
You that fear the Lord, love Him, and your hearts shall be enlightened.
My children behold the generations of men: and know that no one who has
hoped in the Lord has been confounded. For who hats continued in His
commandment, and has been forsaken? or who has called upon Him, and He
The sons of wisdom are the church of
the just: and their generation, obedience and love. Children, hear the
judgment of your father, so that you may be saved. For God has made
the father honorable to the children: and seeking the judgment of the
mothers, has confirmed it upon the children. He that loves God, shall
obtain pardon for his sins by prayer, and shall refrain himself from them,
and shall be heard in the prayer of days. And he that honors his
mother is as one that lays up a treasure.
He that honors his father shall have
joy in his own children, and in the day of his prayer he shall be heard.
He that honors his father shall enjoy a long life: and he that obeys the
father, shall be a comfort to his mother. He that fears the Lord,
honors his parents, and will serve them as his masters who brought him into
the world. Honor your father, in work and word, and all patience, that
a blessing may come upon you from him, and his blessing may remain in the
The father's blessing establishes the
houses of the children: but the mother's curse roots up the foundation.
Glory not in the dishonor of your father: for his shame is no glory to you.
For the glory of a man is from the honor of his father, and a father without
honor is the disgrace of the son. Son, support the old age of your
father, and grieve him not in his life; and if his understanding
fails, have patience with him, and despise him not when you are in your
strength: for relieving the father shall not be forgotten.
Seek not the things that are too high
for you, and search not into things above your ability: but the things that
God has commanded you, think on them always, and in many of his works be not
curious. For it is not necessary for you to see with your eyes those
things that are hid. In unnecessary matters be not over curious, and
in many of his works you shall not be inquisitive. For many things are
shown to you above the understanding of men. And the suspicion of them
has deceived many, and has detained their minds in vanity.
A hard heart shall fear evil at the
last: and he that loves danger shall perish in it. A heart that goes
two ways shall not have success, and the perverse of heart shall stumble
over his duplicity. A wicked heart shall be laden with sorrows, and
the sinner will add sin to sin. The congregation of the proud shall
not be healed: for the plant of wickedness shall take root in them, and it
shall not be perceived.
The heart of the wise is understood in
wisdom, and a good ear will hear wisdom with all desire. A wise heart,
which has understanding, will abstain from sins, and in the works of justice
shall have success. Water quenches a flaming fire, and alms resist
sins: And God provides for him that shows favor: He remembers him
afterwards, and in the time of his fall he shall find a sure stay.
Son, defraud not the poor of alms, and
turn not away your eyes from the poor. Despise not the hungry
soul: and provoke not the poor in his want. Afflict not the heart of
the needy, and defer not to give to him that is in distress. Reject
not the petition of the afflicted: and turn not away thy face from the
Turn not away thy eyes from the poor
for fear of anger: and leave not to them that ask of you to curse you behind
your back. For the prayer of him that curses you in the bitterness of
his soul, shall be heard, for He that made him will hear him. Make
yourself affable to the congregation of the poor, and humble your soul to
the ancient, and bow your head to a great man.
Bow down your ear cheerfully to the
poor, and pay what you owe, and answer him peaceable words with mildness.
Deliver him that suffers wrong out of the hand of the proud: and be not
fainthearted in your soul. In judging, be merciful to the fatherless
as a father, and as a husband to their mother. And you shall be
an obedient son of the most High, and he will have mercy on you more than a
the time, and fly from evil. For your soul's sake, be not ashamed to
speak the truth. For there is a shame that brings sin, and there is a
shame that brings glory and grace. Accept no discreditation of
your own person, nor a lie against your soul. Reverence not thy
neighbor in his fall from grace: and refrain not to speak in the time of
salvation. Hide not your wisdom in her beauty.
For by the tongue wisdom is discerned:
and understanding, and knowledge, and learning by the word of the wise, and
steadfastness in the works of justice. Never speak against the truth,
but be ashamed of the lie of your ignorance. Be not ashamed to confess
your sins, but do not submit yourself to every man for sin. Resist not
the mighty, and do not strive against the stream of the river. Strive for
justice for your soul, and even unto death fight for justice, and God will
overthrow your enemies for you.
Be not hasty in your tongue: and slack
and remiss in your works. Be not as a lion in your house, terrifying
them of your household, and oppressing them that are under you. Let
not your hand be stretched out to receive, and shut when you should give.