Regína sacratíssimi Rosárii, ora pro nobis!

Common of the Blessed Virgin Mary

FIRST NOCTURN

From the Book of Proverbs
viii: 12-17

I wisdom dwell with prudence, and find out knowledge of witty inventions. The fear of the Lord is to hate evil: pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the froward mouth, do I hate. Counsel is mine, and sound wisdom: I am understanding; I have strength. By me kings reign, and princes decree justice. By me princes rule, and nobles, even all the judges of the earth. I love them that love me; and those that seek me early shall find me.

viii: 18-25

Riches and honor are with me; yea, durable riches and righteousness. My fruit is better than gold, yea, than fine gold; and my revenue than choice silver. I lead in the way of righteousness, in the midst of the paths of judgment: that I may cause those that love me to inherit substance; and I will fill their treasures. The Lord possessed me in the beginning of his way, before his works of old. I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the earth was. When there were no depths, I was brought forth; when there were no fountains abounding with water. Before the mountains were settled, before the hills was I brought forth.

viii: 34-36; ix: 1-5

Blessed is the man that heareth me, watching daily at my gates, waiting at the posts of my doors. For whoso findeth me findeth life, and shall obtain favor of the Lord. But he that sinneth against me wrongeth his own soul: all they that hate me love death. Wisdom hath builded her house, she hath hewn out her seven pillars: she hath killed her beasts; she hath mingled her wine; she hath also furnished her table. She hath sent forth her maidens: she crieth upon the highest places of the city, Whoso is simple, let him turn in hither: as for him that wanteth understanding, she saith to him, Come, eat of my bread, and drink of the wine which I have mingled.

SECOND NOCTURN

A sermon of Saint John Chrysostom
At Metaphrastes

The Son of God chose for his Mother not a woman of wealth, not a woman of substance, but that blessed maiden whose soul was bright with grace. It was because Blessed Mary had preserved a superhuman chastity, that she conceived the Lord Jesus Christ in her womb. Let us then fly to this most holy Virgin Mother of God, that we may gain the help of her patronage. Yea, all ye that be virgins, whosoever ye be, run to the Mother of the Lord. She will keep for you by her protection your most beautiful, your most precious, and your most enduring possession.

Verily, dearly beloved brethren, the Blessed Virgin Mary was a great wonder. What thing greater or more famous than she, hath ever at any time been found, or can be found? She alone is greater than heaven and earth. What thing holier than she hath been, or can be found? Neither Prophets nor Apostles. Neither Martyrs nor Patriarchs. Neither Angels nor Thrones nor Dominions, neither Seraphim nor Cherubim. In truth, no creature, visible or invisible, can be found that is greater or more excellent than she. She is at once the Handmaid and the Parent of God, at once Virgin and Mother.

She is the Mother of him who was begotten of the Father before all ages, which same is acknowledged by Angels and men to be Lord of all. Wouldst thou know how much nobler is this Virgin than any of the heavenly Powers? They do stand before him with fear and trembling, veiling their faces with their wings. But she is the one who dared to bestow humanity on God before she brought him forth. And thus through her hath come the remission of sins. Hail, then, O Mother, who art like unto heaven! O Damsel! O Maiden! O Throne! O Adornment, and glory, and foundation of our Church! Pray for us without ceasing to thy Son and Lord Jesus Christ, that through thee we may find mercy in the day of judgment. And pray that all those good things which God hath prepared for them that love him may be granted unto us ; through the grace and goodness of our Lord Jesus Christ. To whom, with the Father, and the Holy Ghost, be ascribed all glory and honor, power and might, now, and for ever, and world without end. Amen.

THIRD NOCTURN

Luke ii: 27-28

The continuation of the Holy Gospel according to Luke:

At that time, as Jesus was speaking to the multitude, a certain woman from the crowd lifted up her voice and said to Him, "Blessed is the womb that bore Thee, and the breasts that nursed Thee." But He said, "Rather, blessed are they who hear the word of God and keep it."

 

A Homily of the Venerable Bede
Book 4, Chapter 49, on Luke 11

It is plain that this was a woman of great earnestness and faith.  The Scribes and Pharisees were at that time both tempting and blaspheming the Lord.  Whereas she alone, of all the company there present, so clearly grasped his incarnation, and so bravely confessed both the falsehoods of the dignitaries of that moment, and the faithlessness of the heretics yet to come.  For these Jews blasphemed the works of the Holy Ghost, and denied that the Lord was truly the Son of God, consubstantial with the Father, as did likewise the heretics of a later day.  Which latter denied that Mary was Ever-Virgin, and that, under the operation of the Holy Ghost, she gave of her own flesh and blood in bringing forth the human body of God.  In consequence of which they did also deny that the Only-begotten of God was the true Son of Man, consubstantial with his Mother.

Now if we shall say that the human body of the incarnate Word of God did not have its origin in the flesh of his Virgin Mother, there is no reason to bless the womb that bare him, and the paps which he hath sucked. But the Apostle says: «God sent forth his Son, made of a Woman, made under the Law.» And foolish it is to try to make this passage read : Born of a Woman, made under the Law. Rather, it is truly said : Made of a woman : for he was conceived in a virgin's womb. This cannot mean that he took his flesh from nothing, nor that he took it elsewhere than from the flesh of his Mother. Otherwise he could not with truth be called the Son of Man, since he would have had no origin from mankind. Let us therefore, in condemnation of the heresy of Eutyches, lift up our voice with the Catholic Church, whereof this woman can be taken as a figure. And let us not only lift up our voice from the midst of the company, but let us lift up our hearts as well, and with the whole company of Catholic Christendom say unto the Savior: Blessed is the womb that bare thee, and the breasts which thou hast sucked. Blessed indeed is she, of whom one hath said : Hail, O Mother most holy, who didst give birth to the Monarch reigning o'er heaven and earth, world without end.

Yea, rather, blessed are they that hear the Word of God and keep it.  How nobly doth the Saviour answer his Yea to the woman's blessing!  How graciously doth he declare that not only is his Mother blessed but others also.  His Mother, saith he, is blessed in that she was meet to give bodily birth to the Word of God.  But also all others are blessed who spiritually conceive this Word by the hearing of faith ; and who keep the same through good works ; that is, who carry it ; and as it were travail and give birth to it ; and who then carefully nurture it in their own hearts, and in the hearts of their neighbors.  Yea, the Mother of God truly was blessed in that she gave flesh to the Word of God in time.  But even more blessed was she in this, that through her love she keepeth that same Word for all eternity.

  

 


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