Regína sacratíssimi Rosárii, ora pro nobis!

Occurring Scripture for the Hour of Matins

Third Week after the Octave of Easter
Our Lady of the Rosary
Sunday    Monday    Tuesday    Wednesday    Thursday    Friday    Saturday


Sunday

Lesson i
The beginning of the Apocalypse of Blessed John the Apostle
Apocalypse 1:1-6

    The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto Him, to make known to His servants the things which must shortly come to pass: and signified, sending by His angel to His servant John, Who has given testimony to the word of God, and the testimony of Jesus Christ, whatsoever he has seen.  Blessed is he, that reads and hears the words of this prophecy; and keeps those things which are written in it; for the time is at hand.  John to the seven churches which are in Asia. Grace be unto you and peace from Him that is, and that was, and that is to come, and from the seven spirits which are before His throne,5 And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, the first begotten of the dead, and the Prince of the kings of the earth, who has loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, and has made us a kingdom, and priests to God and His Father, to Him be glory and empire for ever and ever. Amen.

Lesson ii
Apocalypse 1:7-11

    Behold, He comes with the clouds, and every eye shall see Him, and they also that pierced Him. And all the tribes of the earth shall bewail themselves because of Him. Even so. Amen. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, says the Lord God, who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.  I John, your brother and your partner in tribulation, and in the kingdom, and patience in Christ Jesus, was in the island, which is called Patmos, for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus. I was in the spirit on the Lord's day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet, saying: "What thou see, write in a book, and send to the seven churches which are in Asia, to Ephesus, and to Smyrna, and to Pergamus, and to Thyatira, and to Sardis, and to Philadelphia, and to Laodicea.

Lesson iii
Apocalypse 1:12-19

    And I turned to see the voice that spoke with me. And having turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks: And in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks, one like to the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the feet, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle. And His head and His hairs were white, as white wool, and as snow, and His eyes were as a flame of fire, and His feet like unto fine brass, as in a burning furnace. And His voice as the sound of many waters. And He had in His right hand seven stars. And from His mouth came out a sharp two edged sword: and His face was as the sun shining in His power.  And when I had seen Him, I fell at His feet as dead. And He laid His right hand upon me, saying: "Fear not. I am the First and the Last, And alive, and was dead, and behold I am living for ever and ever, and have the keys of death and of hell. Write therefore the things which thou has seen, and which are, and which must be done hereafter."

Lesson iv
A Sermon of Blessed Saint Augustine, Bishop
Sermon CIIIL on the Season

    In these holy days of the Lord's resurrection, let us treat as far as we are able, of that gift of the resurrection of the body. For this is our faith, this gift is promised us in the Body of our Lord Jesus Christ, and in Him we have the first example. He willed, not only to tell us of our future hope, but to show it to us. He came to the disciples, and they were terrified when they saw Him, and supposed that they seen a spirit, yet He gave them proof of the firmness of His body.

Lesson v

    He spoke to them, not only with His word for their ears, but also with His form for their eyes. He proved his identity, not only by appearing before them, but also offering Himself to be touched and handled, for He said, "Why are ye troubled, and why do thoughts arise in your hearts ? Behold my hands and my feet; handle me , and see, for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have" (cf. Luke 24:38-39).

Lesson vi

    It is a greater miracle that so many men are born every day, who have not already existed, than that some of them, who do already exist, should rise from the dead, and yet this is not considered a miracle at all, but it is taken for granted. Christ is risen: it is a certain fact.  He was body; He was flesh; He hung on the cross; He gave up the ghost; His flesh was laid in the sepulcher. He who lived in it, showed that flesh to be living. Why are you amazed? Why do you not believe? It is God who has done this.

Lesson vii

The continuation of the Holy Gospel according to John
John 16:16-22

    At that time Jesus said to His disciples: "A little while, and now you shall not see Me; and again a little while, and you shall see Me: because I go to the Father."  Then some of the disciples said one to another: "What is this that He says to us: 'A little while, and you shall not see Me; and again a little while, and you shall see Me,' and, 'because I go to the Father?'" They said therefore: "What is this that He says, 'A little while?' we know not what He is saying."  And Jesus knew that they had a mind to ask Him; and He said to them: "Of this do you inquire among yourselves, because I said: 'A little while, and you shall not see Me; and again a little while, and you shall see Me?'  Amen, amen I say to you, that you shall lament and weep, but the world shall rejoice; and you shall be made sorrowful, but your sorrow shall be turned into joy.  A woman, when she is in labor, has sorrow, because her hour is come; but when she has brought forth the child, she remembers no more the anguish, for joy that a man is born into the world.  So also you now indeed have sorrow; but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice; and your joy no man shall take from you. "

An Homily of Saint Augustine, Bishop
Tract 101 on John

    This little while is the whole duration of this present world.  In the same sense this same Evangelist says in his Epistle (cf. 1 John 2:18), It is the last time. The words, because I go to the Father, refer to the first clause of the text, namely, A little while and ye shall not see Me, and not to the latter clause, that is, and again a little while, and ye shall see Me. By His going to the Father He was about to bring it to pass that they should see Him no more. And thus it was that He said, not that He was about to die, and that after His death they should not see Him until He rose again, but that He was going to the Father, which He did when, after that He was risen again and had manifested Himself to them for forty days, He ascended up into heaven.

Lesson viii

    But now, to those who were looking at Him in the Body, He said, "A little while, and ye shall not see Me, a little while," and they who now saw Him clad in a dying nature, should see Him so no more, because He was about to go to the Father.  But He said: "And again a little while, and ye shall see Me," and these words are a promise to the Universal Church, just as are those others: "Lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world" (cf. Matthew 28:20)  Our Lord delays not His promised coming. Again a little while, and we shall see Him. We shall see Him. And when we shall see Him, then we shall beg, we shall ask no more; for no desire will be unsatisfied, and no riddle unsolved.

Lesson ix

    This little while seems a very long while to us now, while as it is still going on, but when it is over we shall feel indeed how truly it is but a little while.  Therefore, may our rejoicing never be like the rejoicing of that world whereof it is said: "The world shall rejoice."  A woman when she is in travail hath sorrow, and yet, while hitherto our gladness is still coming to the birth through throes of sorrow, let us not be altogether sorrowful, but, as the Apostle has said it: "Rejoicing in hope : patient in tribulation" (Romans 12:12).  "A woman, when she is in travail has sorrow, because her hour is come : but as soon as she is delivered of the child, she remembers no more the anguish, for joy that a man is born into the world." And so will it be with us. And with that let me end my discourse. The next passage is one of extreme difficulty; nor is it possible to treat it briefly, if, (with the will of God,) it is to be treated satisfactorily.

Let us pray:
    Almighty God, Who show to those in error the light of Thy truth, with the intent that they may return into the way of righteousness:  grant all those whot are admitted into the fellowship of the Christian Religion, that they may put aside all those things that are contrary to their profession, and pursue all such things as are agreeable to the same. Through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Commemoration of the Octave of Saint Joseph:

Antiphon: Joseph,  Son of David, * fear not to take unto thee Mary for thy wife; for That Which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.  Alleluia.
V. Thou hast given me the shield of Thy salvation, alleluia.
R. And Thy right hand has supported me. Alleluia.

Let up pray:
    God, Who in Thine unspeakable foreknowledge chose Thy blessed servant Joseph to be the husband of Thine Own most holy Mother; mercifully grant that now that he is in heaven with Thee, we who on earth do reverence him for our Defender, may worthily be aided by his prayers to Thee on our behalf;

Monday

Lesson i
A reading from the Apocalypse of Blessed John the Apostle
Apocalypse 2:1-71

    Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus write: These things says He, who holds the seven stars in his right hand, who walks in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks: "I know thy works, and thy labor, and thy patience, and how thou cannot bear them that are evil, and thou hast tried them, who say they are apostles, and are not, and have found them to be liars: And thou have patience, and have endured for my name, and have not fainted. But I have something against thee, because thou have left thy first love.  Be mindful therefore from whence thou have fallen: and do penance, and do the first works. Or else I come to thee, and will move thy candlestick out of its place, except thou do penance.  But to thy credit, thou hate the deeds of the Nicolaites, which I also hate.  He, that has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches: "To him, that overcomes I will give to eat the fruit of the tree of life, which is in the paradise of my God."

Lesson ii
Apocalypse 2:8-11

    And to the angel of the church of Smyrna write: These things says the First and the Last, who was dead, and is alive: "I know thy tribulation and thy poverty, but thou are rich: and thou are blasphemed by them who say they are Jews and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan. Fear none of those things which thou shall suffer. Behold, the devil will cast some of you into prison that you may be tried: and you shall have tribulation for ten days. Be thou faithful until death: and I will give thee the crown of life.  He, that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches: 'He that shall overcome, shall not be hurt by the second death.'"

Lesson iii
Apocalypse 2:12-17

And to the angel of the church of Pergamus write: These things, says He, that hath the sharp two edged sword: "I know where thou dwell, where the seat of Satan is: and thou hold fast My name, and hast not denied My faith. Even in those days when Antipas was My faithful witness, who was slain among you, where Satan dwells.  But I have a few things against thee: because thou hast there those who hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumbling-block before the children of Israel, to eat, and to commit fornication: Thou have also those who hold the doctrine of the Nicolaites. In like manner do penance: if not, I will come to thee quickly, and will fight against them with the sword of My mouth. He, that has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit sas to the churches: 'To him that overcomes, I will give the hidden manna, and will give him a white counter, and in the counter, a new name written, which no man knows, but he that receives it.'"

Lesson iv (In places where the Octave of Saint Joseph is observed)
An Homily of Saint Bernard, Abbot
II on "Missus est"

    Mary was espoused to Joseph, or rather, as the Evangelist Luke says : "To a man whose name was Joseph" (Luke 1:27). He is called a man, not because he was her husband, but because he was a person of manliness. And again, the same is said by the Evangelist Matthew, to wit : "Joseph the husband of Mary" (Matthew 1:16): and : "Joseph her man" (cf. Matthew 1:19): for he rightly calls Joseph by this title of manliness, for so Joseph was expected to be, that his virtuous manhood might be given in marriage to Mary. And we must conclude that he is here called what he was, a man ; and further, that he was called her man because it was necessary that he should be publicly accepted as her man. And likewise, he was found worthy to be called the father of the Savior, not that he was, but that he was publicly accepted as such, as the Evangelist himself says: "And Jesus himself began to be about thirty years of age, being (as it was supposed) the son of Joseph" (Luke 3:23).

Lesson v

    Without doubt, good and faithful was this Joseph who espoused the Mother of the Savior. I say to you, he is that faithful and wise servant whom the Lord made ruler over His household. For the Lord appointed him to be the comfort of His Mother, the keeper of His own body, and, in a word, His chief and most trusty helper on earth in the carrying out the eternal counsels. Add to this that he is said to have been of the house of David, as he truly was. For this Joseph was a true son of a race of kings, noble in descent, nobler yet in mind. A true son of David, not so much according to the flesh as in faith, holiness, and devotion.  Who, like another David, the Lord found to be a man after His own heart, to whom He therefore safely entrusted the most hold and hidden secret of his heart. To whom also, like another David, He showed the uncertain and hidden things of His wisdom, and granted that he should not be ignorant of a mystery which was known to none of the princes of this world.

Lesson vi

    Lastly, there was given to him not only to see and hear, him whom many kings desired to see yet saw not, and to hear yet heard not, but even to carry him in his arms, to kiss him with his lips, to clothe him and to guard him. We must believe that Mary too, like Joseph, was descended from the house of David. For she would not have been espoused to a man of the house of David, if she had not herself been of the house of David. Both therefore were of the house of David. But in Mary the truth, which the Lord had sworn to David, was fulfilled ; whereas to Joseph it was therefore given to know and bear witness unto the fulfillment of the promise.

Lesson vii

The continuation of the Holy Gospel according to Luke
Luke 3:21-23

    Now it came to pass, when all the people were baptized, that Jesus also being baptized and praying, heaven was opened;  And the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape, as a dove upon Him; and a voice came from heaven: "Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased."  And Jesus Himself was beginning about the age of thirty years; being (as it was supposed) the son of Joseph, who was of Heli, who was of Mathat....

An Homily of Saint Ambrose, Bishop
Exposition  on Luke, Book III

    That Matthew should trace the lineage of Christ through Solomon, and Luke through Nathan, would seem to indicate that the one desired to show the royalty of Christ's descent, and the other the priestliness thereof. We need not infer from this that one is more accurate than the other. On the contrary, each agrees with the other, with an equal good faith and veracity. For He was indeed, according to the flesh, of both a royal and a priestly family, a King sprung from kings, a Priest from priests. But the voice from heaven is speaking of divine things rather than of human. So then, as it is written : "The King shall rejoice in God" (Psalm 62-12): that is, in God's strength, from which come to him the judgments of His royal Father ; and likewise, He is that Priest of whom it is written : Thou art a Priest for ever after the order of Melchisedech" (Psalm 109:4).

Lesson viii

    Therefore both Evangelists keep well within the truth. For Matthew establishes descent through the kings ; whereas Luke, by tracing through the priests the lineage transmitted to Christ from God, manifested His more sacred origin. And from this we perceive the significance of the symbol used for this Evangelist ; namely, the sacrificial calf, for everywhere he brings forward the mystery of the sacrificial priesthood. Nor need it surprise us that Luke gives many more generations from Abraham to Christ than doth Matthew, since we can recognize that the line of descent is led through different persons. It may be that some lived long lives, whilst persons of the other line died young. For we are used to seeing many old men living with their grandchildren, and others dying soon after the birth of their children.

Lesson ix

    We notice also a further difference. Saint Matthew said  that Jacob, the son of Matthan, was the father of Joseph. Whereas Luke said that Joseph, to whom Mary was espoused, was the son of Heli, and that Heli was the son of Matthat. How then could Joseph have had two fathers, that is Heli and Jacob? Perchance he is called the son of two men, because one was his father according to nature, whereas the other became his father according to the Law. The particulars of the Law regarding the raising up of seed to a dead brother were not understood by the Jewish people as a promise to us that the seed of the dead should be perpetuated for ever. But in so far as they read it only according to the letter, they failed to grasp its revelation of spiritual truth. For the living brother that raised up seed unto his dead brother, is not to be considered a brother after the flesh, but only according to the purity of his motives. And on that account, perchance we read : "But no man may deliver his brother, nor make agreement unto God for him (for it cost more to redeem their souls, so that he must let that alone for ever): yea, though he live long, and see not the grave. For the man Christ Jesus was not our natural brother, but the Mediator between God and man, whereby he hath engendered in us the grace of the resurrection unto perpetual life.

Commemoration of the Octave of Saint Joseph:

Antiphon: Joseph,  Son of David, * fear not to take unto thee Mary for thy wife; for That Which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.  Alleluia.
V. Thou hast given me the shield of Thy salvation, alleluia.
R. And Thy right hand has supported me. Alleluia.

Let up pray:
    God, Who in Thine unspeakable foreknowledge chose Thy blessed servant Joseph to be the husband of Thine Own most holy Mother; mercifully grant that now that he is in heaven with Thee, we who on earth do reverence him for our Defender, may worthily be aided by his prayers to Thee on our behalf;

Tuesday

Lesson i
A reading from the Apocalypse of Blessed John the Apostle
Apocalypse 4:1-5

    After these things I looked, and behold a door was opened in heaven, and the first voice which I heard, as it were, of a trumpet speaking with me, said: Come up here, and I will show thee the things which must be done hereafter. And immediately I was in the spirit: and behold there was a throne set in heaven, and upon the throne one sitting. And he that sat, was to the sight like the jasper and the sardine stone; and there was a rainbow round about the throne, in sight like unto an emerald. And round about the throne were four and twenty seats; and upon the seats, four and twenty ancients sitting, clothed in white garments, and on their heads were crowns of gold. And from the throne proceeded lightening, and voices, and thunder; and there were seven lamps burning before the throne, which are the seven spirits of God.

Lesson ii
Apocalypse 4:6-8

    And in the sight of the throne was, as it were, a sea of glass like to crystal; and in the midst of the throne, and round about the throne, were four living creatures, full of eyes before and behind. And the first living creature was like a lion: and the second living creature like a calf: and the third living creature, having the face, as it were, of a man: and the fourth living creature was like an eagle flying. And the four living creatures had each of them six wings; and round about and within they are full of eyes. And they rested not day and night, saying: "Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, who was, and who is, and who is to come."

Lesson iii
Apocalypse 4:9-11

    And when those living creatures gave glory, and honor, and benediction to him that sits on the throne, who lives for ever and ever; the four and twenty ancients fell down before Him that sits on the throne, and adored him that lives for ever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying: "Thou art worthy, O Lord our God, to receive glory, and honor, and power: because thou have created all things; and for thy will they were, and have been created."

Lesson iv (In places where the Octave of Saint Joseph is observed)
An Homily of Saint Bernard, Abbot
II on "Missus est"

    It is written: "Joseph, her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away privately" (Matthew 1:19). Being a just man, he was rightly unwilling to expose her. For as he would not have been a just man if he had connived at known guilt, so he would have been even less just if he had condemned proven innocence. Being a just man, therefore, and not willing to make her a public example, he was minded to put her away privately. Why did he wish to put her away? On this point hear, not my opinion, but that of the Fathers. Perchance Joseph wished to put her away for the same reason of reverence that made Peter seek to put away the Lord, when he said: "Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord" (Luke 5:8): just as the centurion also sought to keep the Lord away from his house, when he said: "Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldst come under my roof" (Matthew 8:8).

Lesson v

    In like manner Joseph may have held himself to be sinful and unworthy, in such wise that he thought he ought no longer to enjoy the familiar companionship of her whose marvelous dignity filled him with awe. Perchance he saw and trembled at the unmistakable signs of the divine presence; and, since he could not fathom the mystery, he was minded to put her away. Peter trembled at the greatness of the divine power. The Centurion trembled at the presence of the divine Majesty. Joseph too, being but a man, was filled with awe at the strangeness of this mystery. Do thou wonder that Joseph judged himself unworthy of the companionship of this pregnant Virgin, when thou hear that Saint Elizabeth too was filled with reverence and trembling at her presence? For she said: "Whence is this to me, that the Mother of my Lord should come to me?" (Luke 1:43).

Lesson vi

    And so Joseph was minded to put her away. But why privately, and not publicly? Lest perhaps enquiry should be made about this separation, and he should be asked for reasons. What should a just man reply to a stiff-necked people, a faithless and perverse generation? If he were to have said what he thought, and what he had proved, concerning her purity, would not all the cruel and unbelieving amongst the Jews have soon laughed him to scorn, and stoned her to death? How would they have believed in the Truth lying silent in her womb, when they afterwards despised the Truth preaching in the temple? What would they have done to Him before his appearance in the flesh, when afterwards they laid impious hands on Him in spite of his signs and wonders? The just man, therefore, was right in wishing to put her away privately, lest he should be thought to lie, or to defame an innocent woman.

Lesson vii

The continuation of the Holy Gospel according to Luke
Luke 3 21-23

    Now it came to pass, when all the people were baptized, that Jesus also being baptized and praying, heaven was opened;  And the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape, as a dove upon Him; and a voice came from heaven: "Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased."  And Jesus Himself was beginning about the age of thirty years; being (as it was supposed) the son of Joseph, who was of Heli, who was of Mathat....

An Homily of Saint John Damascene
On the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin, III

    Matthew begins his Gospel with the words: "The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham."  But he doth not stop here. In fact, he continues his genealogy down to the very Spouse of the Virgin. Luke, on the other hand, after relating the manifestation of the Savior at his baptism, makes a digression in his account, and writes thus: "And Jesus himself began to be about thirty years of age, being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph, which was the son of Heli, which was the son of Matthat:" and so on, in an ascending line, going up even to Seth: which was the son of Adam, which was the Son of God. Thus after reckoning up Joseph's genealogy in this fashion, we are shown clearly at the same time how Mary, the Virgin Mother of God, was herself also of the same lineage as Joseph. For the Mosaic Law strongly forbade marriages between the different tribes, in order that the hereditary rights of one tribe might not pass into another.

Lesson viii

    Note that there was good reason for these following things: namely, that the birth of Christ by the power of the Holy Ghost was kept secret from the people; and that Joseph stood to Jesus in the place of a father; and that on that account, as was truly fitting, he was counted the father of the Child. Otherwise, it would have seemed that the Child had no father, because he had no recorded descent from his father's side. Therefore it was of the utmost importance that the Evangelists should record Joseph's lineage. Had they not done so, but had given the Child's lineage on his mother's side, they would have done unseemly, and gone contrary to the usage of divine Scripture. It was therefore fitting that they should give the lineage of Joseph from David, for the reason which we have already given of the kinship between her and her husband. They thereby attest that the Virgin Mary was of the lineage of David.

Lesson ix

    It is indeed clear to all that Joseph was endued with righteousness, and led a life in accordance with the Law. Therefore, living by what the Law prescribed, he certainly would not marry a wife sprung from any other but his own tribe. If, then, Joseph belonged to the tribe of Judah, and came of the seed and family of David, is it not a matter of course that Mary should come from the same? Therefore it is that her husband's descent is recorded. For if, according to the Apostle's saying, the head of the woman is the man, does it not follow in consequence that when the descent of the head is registered, that of the body in included in that of the head? I think it is thus clearly shown that the Evangelists purposely chronicle Joseph's genealogy, so that, in consequence, it would be understood that the Virgin was also sprung of the family of David; thereby implying the surpassing wonder that it was the Christ, before all ages the Son of God, who was born of her.

Commemoration of the Octave of Saint Joseph:

Antiphon: Joseph,  Son of David, * fear not to take unto thee Mary for thy wife; for That Which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.  Alleluia.
V. Thou hast given me the shield of Thy salvation, alleluia.
R. And Thy right hand has supported me. Alleluia.

Let up pray:
    God, Who in Thine unspeakable foreknowledge chose Thy blessed servant Joseph to be the husband of Thine Own most holy Mother; mercifully grant that now that he is in heaven with Thee, we who on earth do reverence him for our Defender, may worthily be aided by his prayers to Thee on our behalf;

Wednesday

Lesson i
A reading from the Apocalypse of Blessed John the Apostle
Apocalypse 5:1-7

    And I saw in the right hand of Him that sat on the throne, a book written within and without, sealed with seven seals. And I saw a strong angel, proclaiming with a loud voice: 'Who is worthy to open the book, and to loose the seals thereof?" And no man was able, neither in heaven, nor on earth, nor under the earth, to open the book, nor to look on it. And I wept much, because no man was found worthy to open the book, nor to see it. And one of the ancients said to me: Weep not; behold the Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David, has prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof. And I saw: and behold in the midst of the throne and of the four living creatures, and in the midst of the ancients, a Lamb standing as it were slain, having seven horns and seven eyes: which are the seven Spirits of God, sent forth into all the earth.7 And He came and took the book out of the right hand of Him that sat on the throne.

Lesson ii
Apocalypse 5:8-10

    And when He had opened the book, the four living creatures, and the four and twenty ancients fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odors, which are the prayers of saints:  And they sung a new canticle, saying: Thou art worthy, O Lord, to take the book, and to open the seals thereof; because Thou was slain, and has redeemed us to God, in Thy blood, out of every tribe, and tongue, and people, and nation. And hast made us to our God a kingdom and priests, and we shall reign on the earth.

Lesson iii
Apocalypse 5:11-14

    And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne, and the living creatures, and the ancients; and the number of them was thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice: "The Lamb that was slain is worthy to receive power, and divinity, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and benediction." And every creature, which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them: I heard all saying: "To him that sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, benediction, and honor, and glory, and power, for ever and ever." And the four living creatures said: "Amen." And the four and twenty ancients fell down on their faces, and adored him that lives for ever and ever.

Lesson iv
(In places where the Octave of Saint Joseph is observed)
A Sermon of Saint Augustine, Bishop
Book 1 on Marriage and Concupiscence, c. 11

    The Angel did not speak falsely when he said to Joseph : Fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife. She is called wife because of the mutual confidence established between them at the time of her espousal, although he had not known her carnally, nor was he ever so to do. And the name of wife was not lost or rendered untrue because there had not been any carnal intercourse, and would not be in the future. She was, in fact, The Virgin ; and therefore she was holier and a more wonderful source of joy to her husband just because she became a mother without a man's intervention. Thus he knew her to be like unto himself in faithfulness, unlike him as regards her Offspring. On account of his faithful union, both of them merited the name of Christ's parents. And not only is she called His Mother, but he also is called His father, as being the husband of his Mother, not according to the flesh, but according to the spirit. But even though he was a father only in spirit, whilst she was Mother according to the flesh, yet they both were the parents of His humility, not of His glory ; of His infirmity, not of His divinity.

Lesson v

    For the Gospel doth not lie, when it says : "And Joseph and his Mother marveled at those things which were spoken of Him" (Luke 2:33). And in another place : "His parents went to Jerusalem every year" (Luke 2:41). And a little further on : "And his Mother said unto him ; Son, why hast thou thus dealt with us? behold thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing" (Luke 2:48). But, to show that, apart from them, He had a Father who begat him without a mother, he answered them : "How is it that ye sought Me? Know ye not that I must be about my Father's business?" And, as a set-off to this, lest anyone might think that by these words He denied his parents, the Evangelist immediately adds: "And they understood not the saying which He spoke unto them ; and He went down with them, and came to Nazareth, and was subject unto them" (Luke 2:51) To whom was He subject but to his parents? And Who was thus subject but Jesus Christ, who, "being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal to God?" ( Philippians 2:6).

Lesson vi

    Why therefore was He subject to them who were so far below the form of God, except that He humbled himself, taking upon himself the form of a servant, of which form they were the parents? But truly, neither of them would have attained unto the parenthood of this form of a servant, except they had become respectively husband and wife, albeit without any carnal intercourse. And hence, when the ancestors of Christ are recounted in direct line of succession, the genealogy was fittingly traced down to Joseph. Otherwise, it would have been a slur upon the male sex, which is wont to be accorded the greater dignity. At the same time the truth did not suffer, for both Joseph and Mary were of the seed of David, from which it was prophesied that Christ should come. Note how thus all the good things of marriage are found in these parents of Christ : offspring, fidelity, the marriage bond. The offspring we know, was the Lord Jesus himself ; their fidelity is proved because there was no adultery ; the marriage bond, because there was no divorce.

Lesson vii

The continuation of the Holy Gospel according to Luke
Luke 3 21-23

    Now it came to pass, when all the people were baptized, that Jesus also being baptized and praying, heaven was opened;  And the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape, as a dove upon Him; and a voice came from heaven: "Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased."  And Jesus Himself was beginning about the age of thirty years; being (as it was supposed) the son of Joseph, who was of Heli, who was of Mathat....

An Homily of Saint Augustine, Bishop
Sermon 36 for the time, on the Baptism of Christ

    The day of his baptism is, as it were, a second birthday of the Savior. For we know that He was born with signs and wonders like to those of His baptism, and that in the latter is a great mystery like to His birth. For God said: "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased" (Matthew 3:17). This second birth is indeed more glorious than the first. For then, He was born in silence, and without witnesses. Now, the Lord is baptized with a proclamation of His divinity. Then, Joseph, who was supposed to be His father, denied that he was. Now, His true Father, who was not believed to be so, proclaims Himself so to be. Then, the Mother was enduring suspicion, because no father was acknowledged. Now she that bore Him is honored because the Divinity makes Him known as His Son.

Lesson viii

    I say that the second birth was more glorious than the first. For now, the God of majesty proclaims Himself as His father. Then, the carpenter Joseph was so accounted. And although it was the Holy Ghost through whom the Lord was born and baptized, yet the Father, whose voice was heard from heaven, is greater than the father who labored on earth. Therefore Joseph the workman on earth was supposed to be the father of the Lord and Savior. But God, the true Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, is also a workman, and cannot be excluded from those who work at the carpenter's trade.

Lesson ix

    For he is the artificer who has wrought the fabric of this world with power not only wondrous but ineffable. Like a wise architect  He erected the heavens on high; He  laid the foundations of the earth; He constrained the sea within its beaches. He is the artificer who, in due measure, lowers the pinnacles of pride and brings to the surface the bedrock of humility. He is the artificer who chips off the unnecessary substance in our behavior, and preserves whatever is useful. He is the artificer whose axe, as John the Baptist warns us, is laid to the root of our tree. So every tree, which measures not up to his standard of due growth, is cut down at the roots, and used as fuel for the fire. But that which measures up rightly, according to his rule and standard, is squared and fitted by his divine workmanship.

Let us pray:
    God, Who in Thine unspeakable foreknowledge did choose thy blessed servant Joseph to be the husband of thine Own most holy Mother; mercifully grant that now that he is in heaven with Thee, we who on earth do reverence him for our defender, may worthily be helped by the intercession of his prayers to thee on our behalf; Who live and reign.

 

Thursday

Lesson i
A reading from the Apocalypse of blessed John the Apostle
Apocalypse 15:1-4

    And I saw another sign in heaven, great and wonderful: seven angels having the seven last plagues. For in them is filled up the wrath of God  And I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with fire, and them that had overcome the beast, and his image, and the number of his name, standing on the sea of glass, having the harps of God:  And singing the canticle of Moses, the servant of God, and the canticle of the Lamb, saying: "Great and wonderful are Thy works, O Lord God Almighty; just and true are Thy ways, O King of ages. Who shall not fear Thee, O Lord, and magnify thy name? For Thou only art holy: for all nations shall come, and shall adore in Thy sight, because Thy judgments are manifest."

Lesson ii
Apocalypse 15:5-8

    And after these things I looked; and behold, the temple of the tabernacle of the testimony in heaven was opened:  And the seven angels came out of the temple, having the seven plagues, clothed with clean and white linen, and girt about the breasts with golden girdles. And one of the four living creatures gave to the seven angels seven golden vials, full of the wrath of God, Who lives for ever and ever. And the temple was filled with smoke from the majesty of God, and from His power; and no man was able to enter into the temple, till the seven plagues of the seven angels were fulfilled.

Lesson iii
Apocalypse 16:1-6

    And I heard a great voice out of the temple, saying to the seven angels: "Go, and pour out the seven vials of the wrath of God upon the earth." And the first went, and poured out his vial upon the earth, and there fell a sore and grievous wound upon men, who had the character of the beast; and upon them that adored his image. And the second angel poured out his vial upon the sea, and there came blood as it were of a dead man; and every living soul died in the sea. And the third poured out his vial upon the rivers and the fountains of waters; and there was made blood. And I heard the angel of the waters saying: "Thou are just, O Lord, who are, and who were, the Holy One, because Thou hast judged these things: For they have shed the blood of saints and prophets, and Thou have given them blood to drink; for they are worthy.

Friday

Lesson i
A reading from the Apocalypse of Blessed John the Apostle
Apocalypse 19:1-5

    After these things I heard, as it were, the voice of many people in heaven, saying: "Alleluia. Salvation, and glory, and power is to our God.   For true and just are His judgments, Who hath judged the great harlot which corrupted the earth with her fornication, and hath revenged the blood of His servants, at her hands.  And again they said: "Alleluia. And her smoke ascends for ever and ever." And the four and twenty ancients, and the four living creatures fell down and adored God Who sits upon the throne, saying: "Amen; Alleluia."  And a voice came out from the throne, saying: "Give praise to our God, all ye his servants; and you that fear him, little and great."

Lesson ii
Apocalypse 19:6-10

    And I heard, as it were, the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of great thunders, saying, "Alleluia: for the Lord our God the Almighty has reigned.  Let us be glad and rejoice, and give glory to Him; for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and His wife has prepared herself. And it is granted to her that she should clothe herself with fine linen, glittering and white. For the fine linen are the justifications of saints." And he said to me: "Write: 'Blessed are they that are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb.'" And he said to me: "These words of God are true." And I fell down before his feet, to adore him. And he said to me: "See thou do it not: I am thy fellow servant, and of thy brethren, who have the testimony of Jesus. Adore God. For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy."

Lesson iii
Apocalypse 19:11-16

    And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and with justice does He judge and fight. And his eyes were as a flame of fire, and on His head were many diadems, and He had a name written, which no man knows but Himself. And He was clothed with a garment sprinkled with blood; and His name is called, the Word of God. And the armies that are in heaven followed him on white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. And out of His mouth proceeded a sharp two edged sword; that with it He may strike the nations. And He shall rule them with a rod of iron; and He treads the winepress of the fierceness of the wrath of God the Almighty.  And He has on His garment, and on His thigh written: "King of Kings, and Lord of Lords."

 

Saturday

Lesson i
A reading from the Apocalypse of Blessed John the Apostle
Apocalypse 22:1-7

    And he showed me a river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding from the throne of God and of the Lamb. In the midst of the street thereof, and on both sides of the river, was the tree of life, bearing twelve fruits, yielding its fruits every month, and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. And there shall be no curse any more; but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it, and His servants shall serve Him. And they shall see His face: and His name shall be on their foreheads. And night shall be no more: and they shall not need the light of the lamp, nor the light of the sun, because the Lord God shall enlighten them, and they shall reign for ever and ever. And he said to me: "These words are most faithful and true. And the Lord God of the spirits of the prophets sent his angel to show his servants the things which must be done shortly." And, "Behold I come quickly. Blessed is he that keeps the words of the prophecy of this book."

Lesson ii
Apocalypse 22:8-12

    And I, John, who have heard and seen these things. And after I had heard and seen, I fell down to adore before the feet of the angel, who showed me these things. And he said to me: "See thou do it not: for I am thy fellow servant, and of thy brethren the prophets, and of them that keep the words of the prophecy of this book. Adore God." And he said to me: "Seal not the words of the prophecy of this book: for the time is at hand. He that hurts, let him hurt still: and he that is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is just, let him be justified still: and he that is holy, let him be sanctified still. Behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to render to every man according to his works."

Lesson iii
Apocalypse 22:13-21

    "I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end. Blessed are they that wash their robes in the blood of the Lamb: that they may have a right to the tree of life, and may enter in by the gates into the city. Outside are dogs, and sorcerers, and unchaste, and murderers, and servers of idols, and every one that loves and makes a lie.  I, Jesus, have sent My angel, to testify to you these things in the churches. I am the root and stock of David, the bright and morning star." And the spirit and the bride say: "Come. And he that hears, let him say: 'Come.' And he that thirsts, let him come: and he that will, let him take the water of life, freely. For I testify to every one that hears the words of the prophecy of this book: "If any man shall add to these things, God shall add unto him the plagues written in this book. And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from these things that are written in this book. He that gives testimony of these things, says, "Surely I come quickly: Amen. Come, Lord Jesus." The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.

 


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