Regína sacratíssimi Rosárii, ora pro nobis!

Occurring Scripture for the Hour of Matins

First (full) Week of Lent
Our Lady of the Rosary
Sunday    Monday    Tuesday    Wednesday    Thursday    Friday    Saturday


Sunday

Lesson i
A reading from the second letter of St Paul the Apostle to the Corinthians
2 Corinthians 6:1-10 1

    And we helping do exhort you, that you receive not the grace of God in vain.    For he said In an acceptable time have I heard thee; and in the day of salvation have I helped thee. Behold, now is the acceptable time; behold, now is the day of salvation.  Giving no offence to any man, that our ministry be not blamed:   But in all things let us exhibit ourselves as the ministers of God, in much patience, in tribulation, in necessities, in distresses,  In stripes, in prisons, in seditions, in labors, in watching, in fasting,  In chastity, in knowledge, in longsuffering, in sweetness, in the Holy Ghost, in charity unfeigned,  In the word of truth, in the power of God; by the armor of justice on the right hand and on the left; 8 By honor and dishonor, by evil report and good report; as deceivers, and yet true; as unknown, and yet known;  As dying, and behold we live; as chastised, and not killed;  As sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as needy, yet enriching many; as having nothing, and possessing all things.

Lesson ii
2 Corinthians 6:11-16

    Our mouth is open to you, O ye Corinthians, our heart is enlarged.  You are not straitened in us, but in your own bowels you are straitened.  But having the same recompense, (I speak as to my children,) be you also enlarged.  Bear not the yoke with unbelievers. For what participation hath justice with injustice? Or what fellowship hath light with darkness?  And what concord hath Christ with Belial? Or what part hath the faithful with the unbeliever?  And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God; as God said: I will dwell in them, and walk among them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.

Lesson iii
2 Corinthians 7:4-9

    I am filled with comfort: I exceedingly abound with joy in all our tribulation.  For also when we were come into Macedonia, our flesh had no rest, but we suffered all tribulation; combats without, fears within.  But God, who comforts the humble, comforted us by the coming of Titus.  And not by his coming only, but also by the consolation, wherewith he was comforted in you, relating to us your desire, your mourning, your zeal for me, so that I rejoiced the more.  For although I made you sorrowful by my epistle, I do not repent; and if I did repent, seeing that the same epistle (although but for a time) did make you sorrowful;  Now I am glad: not because you were made sorrowful; but because you were made sorrowful unto penance.

Lesson iv
From the Sermons of Pope St Leo the Great
4th on Lent.

    Dearly beloved brethren, I am to preach to you the holiest and the greatest of Fasts——and with what words can I more fitly begin than with those words of the Apostle, in whom Christ spoke, which have just been read? "Behold, now is the acceptable time! Behold, now is the day of salvation!" It is true that there are no times which are not rich with God's gifts; His grace ever gives us an entry unto His mercy; nevertheless, more especially at this time does it behoove the minds of all men to be earnestly stirred up to make progress in things spiritual, and to be encouraged by a trust in God stronger than ever; for now the anniversary of that day on which we were redeemed is drawing near, and thereby moving us to work all godliness, to the end that we may be able to celebrate, with clean minds and bodies, that mystery which exceeds all others, the mystery of the Lord's sufferings.

Lesson v

    Mysteries so great demand sustained earnestness, and continuous worship, if we would ever abide in the sight of God, such as it is appropriate that He should find us on the Feast of the Passover. But since few have the strength to do thus, and the frailty of the body rebels against such hardness, while the diverse actions of this life distract us with their cares, it necessarily befalls that the dust of the earth fouls the hearts even of the godly. To meet this foulness therefore, and to restore the cleanness of our souls, it is provided by the healthful institution of God, that we should be purged by an exercise of forty days, wherein godly works may redeem the mis-spending of our other time, and purifying fasts rid us of the same.

Lesson vi

    Therefore, dearly beloved brethren, as we are now about to enter upon these mystic days, the end of whose most holy ordinance is the cleansing both of our souls and bodies, let us take heed that we be obedient unto the command of the Apostle, putting far away from us every defilement of flesh and spirit, ordering the strife which there is between the two substances of which we are compounded; that the soul, which is ordained under the rule of God, and which it is appropriate under His rule to rule the body, may enjoy the fullness of her lordship; giving no offence to any so that we may give no cause to such as revile us. For if our ways during the Fast agree not with the purity of perfect temperance, the reproaches of the unbelievers will be just, and our sins will arm the tongues of the ungodly to the harming of our religion. The sum of our Fast stands not only in abstaining from meats; neither is it profitable to deny food to the body, if the mind be not bridled from iniquity.

Lesson vii

The continuation of the Holy Gospel according to Matthew
Matthew 4:1-11

    At that time Jesus was led by the spirit into the desert, to be tempted by the devil.  And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, afterwards he was hungry.  And the tempter coming said to him: If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.  Who answered and said: It is written, Not in bread alone doth man live, but in every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.  Then the devil took him up into the holy city, and set him upon the pinnacle of the temple,  And said to him: If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down, for it is written: That he hath given his angels charge over thee, and in their hands shall they bear thee up, lest perhaps thou dash thy foot against a stone.  Jesus said to him: It is written again: Thou shall not tempt the Lord thy God.  Again the devil took him up into a very high mountain, and showed him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them,  And said to him: All these will I give thee, if falling down thou wilt adore me.  Then Jesus said to him: Be gone, Satan: for it is written, The Lord thy God shall thou adore, and him only shall thou serve.  Then the devil left him; and behold angels came and ministered to him.

A homily of Pope Saint Gregory the Great
XVI on the Gospels.

    Some persons are accustomed to question what Spirit it was of which Jesus was led up into the wilderness, on account of the words a little farther on Then the devil took Him up into the holy city and again The devil took Him up into an exceeding high mountain. But in truth, and without any searching, we may very fitly take it that we are to believe it was the Holy Ghost Who led Him up into the wilderness; His own Spirit led Him where the evil spirit found Him to tempt Him. When however it is said that He, God and man, was taken up by the devil either into an exceeding high mountain or into the holy city, the mind shrinks from believing, and the ears of man tingle to hear it. Yet these things we know not to be incredible, when we consider certain other things concerning Him.

Lesson viii

    In truth, the devil is the head of all the wicked, and every wicked man is a member of this body, of which the devil is the head. Was not Pilate a limb of Satan? Were not the Jews that persecuted, and the soldiers that crucified Christ, likewise limbs of Satan? Is it then strange that He should allow Himself to be led up into a mountain by the head, Who allowed Himself to be crucified by the members? Therefore it is not unworthy of our Redeemer, Who came to be slain, that He was willing to be tempted. It was meet that He should thus overcome our temptations by His own, even as He came to conquer our death by His own.

Lesson ix

    We ought to know that temptation works through three forms. There is, first, the suggestion; then the enjoyment; lastly, the consent. When we are tempted, it often happens that we fall into enjoyment, and even into consent, because in the sinful flesh of which we are begotten, we carry in ourselves matter to favor the attack. But God, when He took Flesh in the womb of the Virgin, and came into the world without sin, did so without having in Himself anything of this lusting of the flesh against the spirit. It was possible therefore for Him to be tempted in the first stage, namely suggestion; but there was nothing in His Mind in which enjoyment could fix its teeth. And thus all the temptation which He endured from the devil was without, and none within Him.

    Let us pray: O God, Who dost every year purge thy Church by the Fast of Forty Days, grant unto this thy family, that what things soever they strive to obtain at thy hand by abstaining from meats, they may ever turn to profit by good works. Through our Lord Jesus Christ.

 

Monday


The continuation of the Holy Gospel according to Matthew
Matthew 25:31-46

    And when the Son of man shall come in his majesty, and all the angels with him, then shall he sit upon the seat of his majesty.  And all nations shall be gathered together before him, and he shall separate them one from another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats:  And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on his left.  Then shall the king say to them that shall be on his right hand: Come, ye blessed of my Father, possess you the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.  For I was hungry, and you gave me to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave me to drink; I was a stranger, and you took me in:  Naked, and you covered me: sick, and you visited me: I was in prison, and you came to me. 

    Then shall the just answer him, saying: Lord, when did we see thee hungry, and fed thee; thirsty, and gave thee drink?  And when did we see thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and covered thee?  Or when did we see thee sick or in prison, and came to thee?  And the king answering, shall say to them: Amen I say to you, as long as you did it to one of these my least brethren, you did it to me. 

    Then he shall say to them also that shall be on his left hand: Depart from me, you cursed, into everlasting fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels.  For I was hungry, and you gave me not to eat: I was thirsty, and you gave me not to drink.  I was a stranger, and you took me not in: naked, and you covered me not: sick and in prison, and you did not visit me.  Then they also shall answer him, saying: Lord, when did we see thee hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister to thee?  Then he shall answer them, saying: Amen I say to you, as long as you did it not to one of these least, neither did you do it to me.  And these shall go into everlasting punishment: but the just, into life everlasting.

An Homily of Saint Augustine, Bishop
On Faith and Works, xv. 4.

    If, without keeping the commandments, it be possible to attain unto life by faith only, how can it be true that the Lord will say to such as He shall have set on His left hand: "Depart from Me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels?" He rebukes them, not because they have not believed in Him, but because they have not done good works. Yea, lest any man should promise himself life eternal by faith only, which without works, is dead, the Lord says that He will gather together all nations, nations who have lived mingled together in the same countries, that we may seem to hear them which have believed indeed in Him, but have not done good works, (as though that their dead faith could, being alone, lead them into life eternal,) that we may seem to hear such crying unto Him, Lord, when saw we thee suffering such and such things, and did not minister unto thee?

Lesson ii

    If they shall go into everlasting fire who have not done works of mercy, shall not they go who have taken their neighbor's goods? Or shall not they go who have outraged the temple of God in their own selves, and so been merciless to themselves? As if works of mercy could avail anything without love, contrary to the words of the Apostle: "Though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and have not charity, it profits me nothing." And what manner of love to his neighbor has he who loves his neighbor as himself and loves not himself?  Remember that he that loves iniquity hates his own soul.

Lesson iii

    Neither dare we say here that by which some delude themselves, namely, that the fire indeed is everlasting, but that they will not burn therein everlastingly. Such men say that they whose faith is dead, will pass through that everlasting fire, and that they are they to whom it is promised that they themselves shall be saved, yet so as by fire. So that, though the fire itself be everlasting, the burning of the damned therein, that is, the work of the fire upon them, will not be everlasting. As though the Lord were answering this beforehand, the last words of His Sermon are And these shall go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into life eternal. As the fire, so shall the burning be; and the Truth bids us know that they shall burn therein, who have lacked, not faith, but good works.

    Let us pray. Turn us, O God of our salvation, and that the Fast of these Forty Days may profit us, do Thou order all our thoughts according to thy heavenly teaching. Through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Tuesday

Lesson i


The continuation of the Holy Gospel according to Matthew
Matthew 21:10-17

    And when he was come into Jerusalem, the whole city was moved, saying: Who is this? And the people said: This is Jesus the prophet, from Nazareth of Galilee.  And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the money changers, and the chairs of them that sold doves:  And he said to them: It is written, "My house shall be called the house of prayer; but you have made it a den of thieves."  And there came to him the blind and the lame in the temple; and he healed them.  And the chief priests and scribes, seeing the wonderful things that he did, and the children crying in the temple, and saying: Hosanna to the son of David; were moved with indignation.  And they said to Him: "hearest thou what these say?" And Jesus said to them: "Yea, have you never read: 'Out of the mouth of infants and of sucklings thou hast perfected praise? (Ps. 8:3 LXX)'"  And leaving them, he went out of the city into Bethany, and remained there.

An Homily of the Venerable Bede, Priest
11th for Lent, Tome vii.

    The same thing which the Lord showed in a figure by cursing the barren fig-tree, He afterwards more plainly put before us by casting the desecrators out of the temple. The tree herself had not sinned by bearing no fruit when the Lord was hungry, for the time of figs was not yet come, but those Priests had sinned who were carrying on worldly business in the Lord's house, and who neglected to bring forth that fruit of godliness which they owed, and which the Lord was hungry to find in them. The Lord made the fig-tree to wither away under His curse, that all men who saw it, and all men who hear of it, might know that they will be condemned by the judgment of God, if they content themselves with the talk of godliness, without the solid fruit of good works, even as that barren fig tree was clothed only with a rustling garb of green leaves.

Lesson ii

    But because the buyers and sellers understood not the parable of the barren fig-tree, the Lord brought upon them the stroke of the punishment that they had deserved, and cast out the traffickers in earthly things, from that house, wherein it had been commanded that nothing should be done except the work of God, sacrifices and prayers offered up to Him, and His word read, taught, and sung. And yet it may be believed that nothing was being sold or bought in the temple save such things as were needful for the service thereof, as we read in another place, that when Jesus went into the temple He found those that sold oxen and sheep and doves, and all these things were doubtless there for no other end but to be offered to God in that His holy house, and were sold by the natives to those worshippers who came from a distance, to be so used.

Lesson iii

    If, therefore, the Lord would not have to be sold in the temple, even such things as He willed should be offered therein, (On account, that is, of the greed or dishonesty which is often the stain of such transactions,) with what anger, suppose ye, would He visit such as He might find laughing or gossiping there, or yielding to any other sin. If the Lord suffer not to be carried on in His house such worldly business as may be freely done elsewhere, how much more shall such things as ought never to be done anywhere, draw down the anger of God if they be done in His own holy house.  Lastly the Holy Ghost came down upon the Lord in the shape of a dove, and by doves therefore may be signified the gifts of that Holy Spirit. They, then, to this day sell doves in the temple of God, who take money in the Church for the laying on of their hands, [simony] whereby the Holy Ghost is given from heaven.

    Let us pray Look down, O Lord, on this thy family, and grant that our minds, which, by the chastening of the body, we seek to purify, may ever more and more shine in thy sight by strong hungering after thee. Through our Lord Jesus Christ.

 

Ember Wednesday

Lesson i


The continuation of the Holy Gospel according to Matthew
Matthew 12: 38-50

    Then some of the scribes and Pharisees answered Him, saying: Master we would see a sign from thee.  Who answering said to them: An evil and adulterous generation seeks a sign: and a sign shall not be given it, but the sign of Jonas the prophet.  For as Jonas was in the whale's belly three days and three nights: so shall the Son of man be in the heart of the earth three days and three nights.  The men of Nineveh shall rise in judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: because they did penance at the preaching of Jonas. And behold a greater than Jonas here.  The queen of the south shall rise in judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: because she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon, and behold One greater than Solomon is here.  And when an unclean spirit is gone out of a man he walks through dry places seeking rest, and finds none.  Then he says: I will return into my house from whence I came out. And coming he finds it empty, swept, and garnished.  Then he goes, and takes with him seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter in and dwell there: and the last state of that man is made worse than the first. So shall it be also to this wicked generation.  As he was yet speaking to the multitudes, behold his mother and his brethren stood without, seeking to speak to him.  And one said unto him: Behold thy mother and thy brethren stand without, seeking thee.  But he answering him that told him, said: Who is my mother, and who are my brethren?  And stretching forth his hand towards his disciples, he said: Behold my mother and my brethren.  For whosoever shall do the will of my Father, that is in heaven, he is my brother, and sister, and mother.

Homily by St Ambrose, Bishop
7th Bk. on Luke, ch. xii.

    After the condemnation of the Jewish people, the mystery of the Church is plainly declared in the figures of the repentant Ninevites, and of the Queen of the South. Like that Queen, the Church cometh from the uttermost parts of the earth, to hear the wisdom of the true Solomon, the Prince of Peace. A Queen she is, and a Queen of one indivisible realm, wrought into one body out of all nations, however diverse and distant.

Lesson ii

    And thus cometh that great mystery of Christ and the Church, a mystery more excellent now in the fullness of truth, than in the ancient type. For there they had in Solomon only a type of that which Christ is now in His own Person. And the Church is of two classes, whereof the one knows not how to sin, and the other sins no more. To wash away sin is the work of repentance, to eschew it is that of wisdom.

Lesson iii

    Lastly, the sign of the Prophet Jonas, as it was a figure of the Lord's sufferings, was also a witness to the gravity of those sins which the Jews committed. At the same time, we see in these words of the Lord a declaration at once of His power, and of His love; for, by turning our eyes on the Ninevites, He shows us a way of escape, while He sets before us the horror of what will otherwise be our punishment. Even the Jews need not cease to hope for pardon, if only they would repent.

    Let us pray. O Lord, we beseech thee, mercifully to hear our prayers, and to stretch forth the right hand of thy power against all things that fight against us. Through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Thursday

Lesson i


The continuation of the Holy Gospel according to Matthew
Matthew 15: 21-28

        And Jesus went from thence, and retired into the coasts of Tyre and Sidon.  And behold a woman of Canaan who came out of those coasts, crying out, said to him: "Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou son of David: my daughter is grievously troubled by the devil."  Who answered her not a word. And his disciples came and besought him, saying: Send her away, for she cries after us:  And he answering, said: "I was not sent but to the sheep that are lost of the house of Israel."  But she came and adored him, saying: "Lord, help me."   Who answering, said: "It is not good to take the bread of the children, and to cast it to the dogs." But she said: "Yea, Lord; for the whelps also eat of the crumbs that fall from the table of their masters."  Then Jesus answering, said to her: "O woman, great is thy faith: be it done to thee as thou wilt: and her daughter was cured from that hour."

A homily of Saint Jerome, Priest
Book ii, Commentary on Matthew xv.

    Christ leaves the Scribes and Pharisees who had spoken falsely against Him, and goeth into the coasts of Tyre and Sidon, that He may heal the Tyrinians and Sidonians. But a woman of Canaan came to Him out of the land He had left, and cried to Him to restore health to her daughter.  Remark that the case of the daughter of this woman of Canaan is the fifteenth case of healing. "Have mercy on me, O Lord, Thou Son of David!" She knew that He was to be called Son of David because she was come out of His own country, and had left the errors of the Tyrinians and Sidonians when she changed her home and her faith.

Lesson ii

    "My daughter is grievously vexed with a devil." I think that the daughter of this woman of Canaan, (whom the Lord at length delivered,) was a figure of the souls of such as now believe, but were once grievously vexed by the devil, not knowing He Who made them, and bowing down to idols of stone. But He answered not a word not because He was puffed up with the pride of the Pharisees, or shared the high looks of the Scribes, but that He might fulfill His own word that He had spoken, saying "Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not." (Matthew 10:5)  He would not give an occasion to such as spoke falsely against Him, and He kept back perfect salvation from the Gentiles until such time as He should have suffered and risen again.

Lesson iii

    And His disciples came and besought Him, saying "Send her away; for she cries after us." The disciples, knowing not as yet the mysterious things of the Lord, said this, either because they were moved with compassion and so interceded for this Canaanite woman, whom another Evangelist called a Syrophoenician, or because she was crying out that the Lord was a hard, instead of a merciful physician, and they desired to be rid of her clamor. But He answered and said "I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel," not that He was not sent unto the Gentiles, but because it was to Israel in the first instance that He was sent, whom refusing the Gospel, He might justly pass away from, and go to the Gentiles.

    Let us pray We beseech thee, O Lord, look with favor upon the devotion of Thy people, that they who mortify the body by abstinence, may be refreshed in mind by the fruit of good works. Through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Ember Friday

Lesson i


The continuation of the Holy Gospel according to John
John 5: 1-15

    After these things was a festival day of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.  Now there is at Jerusalem a pond, called Probatica, which in Hebrew is named Bethsaida, having five porches.  In these lay a great multitude of sick, of blind, of lame, of withered; waiting for the moving of the water.  And an angel of the Lord descended at certain times into the pond; and the water was moved. And he that went down first into the pond after the motion of the water, was made whole, of whatsoever infirmity he lay under.  And there was a certain man there, that had been eight and thirty years under his infirmity.  Him when Jesus had seen lying, and knew that he had been now a long time, he said to him: "Wilt thou be made whole?"  The infirm man answered him: "Sir, I have no man, when the water is troubled, to put me into the pond. For whilst I am coming, another goes down before me."  Jesus said to him: "Arise, take up thy bed, and walk."  And immediately the man was made whole: and he took up his bed, and walked. And it was the Sabbath that day.  The Jews therefore said to him that was healed: "It is the Sabbath; it is not lawful for thee to take up thy bed."  He answered them: "He that made me whole said to me, "Take up thy bed, and walk."  They asked him therefore: "Who is that man who said to thee, 'Take up thy bed, and walk?'" But he who was healed, knew not who it was; for Jesus went aside from the multitude standing in the place.  Afterwards, Jesus found him in the temple, and saith to him: "Behold thou art made whole: sin no more, lest some worse thing happen to thee."  The man went his way, and told the Jews, that it was Jesus who had made him whole.

An Homily of Saint Augustine, Bishop
17th Tract on John

    Now let us see what He intended to signify in the case of that one whom He Himself, keeping the mystery of unity, as I said before, deigned to heal out of so many sick folk.  He found in him a certain number of years of sickness. He had had an infirmity thirty and eight years. How this number is proper rather to weakness than to health, will now be the subject of a few careful remarks. I ask your attention; the Lord will be present, that I may speak fitly, and you may understand. The number forty is put before us as hallowed, and, in a way, perfect. This, I suppose, is well known to you, beloved. Ye well know that a Fast of this number of days is hallowed. Moses fasted forty days. Elias did the same. And our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ Himself fasted this number of days complete. Moses represents the Law, Elias the Prophets, and the Lord the Gospel. And therefore these three appeared on the Mount of the Transfiguration. There the Lord showed Himself to His disciples with His Face shining as the sun, and His raiment glistening; and He stood between Moses and Elias; as it were, the Gospel receiving testimony, on the one hand from the Law, and, on the other, from the Prophets.

Lesson ii

    Whether, therefore, it be in the Law, or in the Prophets, or in the Gospel, the number of forty is recommended to us for Fast-days. The great and general Fast is this to abstain from the iniquity of the world, and her forbidden pleasures. This is the perfect Fast, that, denying ungodliness, and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world. After such a Fast, what is the Feast that follows? Hear what the Apostle says in continuation: "Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ (Titus 2:13). We, then, make our pilgrimage in this world a Lent, by living good lives, and abstaining from her iniquities and her forbidden pleasures. But at the end of this life-long Lent there will be an Easter indeed. We look for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ.  In that hope, when the reality of the hope shall have come to pass, we shall receive our wages, a penny (denarius). For the same is the wages given to the workers laboring in the vineyard, (Matthew 20:10) as I presume you remember; for we are not to repeat everything, as if to persons wholly ignorant and inexperienced. A denarius, then, which takes its name from the number ten, is given, and this joined with the forty makes up fifty; whence it is that before Easter we keep the Quadragesima [forty days] with labor, but after Easter we keep the Quinquagesima [fifty days] with joy, as having received our wages. Now to this, as if to the wholesome labor of a good work, which belongs to the number forty, there is added the denarius of rest and happiness, that it may be made the number fifty.

Lesson iii

Remember how I remarked, that the man healed by our Lord at the pool of Bethesda had had an infirmity thirty and eight years. I wish to explain why this number of thirty-eight is proper rather to weakness than to health. Love is the fulfilling of the law; to the fulfilling of the law belongs in every work the number forty. But in love we have given us two precepts "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets" (Matthew 22:37-40). When the widow gave all she had for an offering to God she gave two mites; the inn-keeper received two pence wherewith to cure him that had fallen among thieves;  Jesus abode for two days among the Samaritans that He might establish them in love.  When, then, anything good is spoken of as two, the two great divisions of love are the chief mystic interpretation. If, then, the law is fulfilled in the number forty, and it is not fulfilled if there be lacking the two precepts of love, what wonder is it that he was infirm who lacked two of forty?

Let us pray Be gracious unto thy people, O Lord, and in thy mercy help all such as Thou hast called to be Thine. Through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Ember Saturday

Lesson i


The continuation of the Holy Gospel according to Matthew
Matthew 17:1-9

    And after six days Jesus took Peter and James, and John his brother, and brought them up onto a high mountain apart:  And He was transfigured before them. And His face did shine as the sun: and His garments became white as snow.  And behold there appeared to them Moses and Elias talking with Him. [4] And Peter said to Jesus: "Lord, it is good for us to be here: if thou wilt, let us make here three tabernacles, one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias."  And as he was yet speaking, behold a bright cloud overshadowed them. And lo, a voice out of the cloud, saying: "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased: hear ye Him."  And the disciples hearing, fell upon their face, and were very much afraid.  And Jesus came and touched them: and said to them, "Arise, and fear not."  And they lifting up their eyes saw no one but only Jesus.  And as they came down from the mountain, Jesus charged them, saying: "Tell the vision to no man, till the Son of man be risen from the dead."

An Homily of Pope Saint Leo the Great
On the Transfiguration of the Lord.

    Dearly beloved brethren, the Lesson from the Holy Gospel which, entering in by our bodily ears, has knocked at the door of our inner mind, calls us to understand a great mystery. This, by the grace of God, we shall the more readily do, if we return to consider what hath been told us just before. The Savior of mankind, Jesus Christ, laying the foundations of that faith whereby the ungodly are called to righteousness and the dead to life, instilled into the minds of His disciples, both by the voice of His teaching and the wonder of His works, that they should believe Him, the one Christ, to be both the Only-begotten Son of God and the Son of man. Had they believed Him to be one of these and not the other, it would have availed them nothing to salvation. And the danger was equally great, of holding the Lord Jesus Christ to be God without the Manhood, or Man only without the Godhead, since we are constrained to acknowledge that He is perfect God and perfect Man, and that as there is in the Godhead perfect Manhood, so there is in the Manhood perfect Godhead.

Lesson ii

    To strengthen, therefore, the saving knowledge of this faith, the Lord asked His disciples what, among the differing opinions of men, it was their own belief and judgment as to Who He was. Then did the Apostle Peter, by the revelation of That Father Who is above all, rising above fleshly things, yea, outstripping the thoughts of men, then did he fix the eyes of his mind upon the Son of the living God, and confess the glory of the Godhead, for he looked not on the substance of the flesh and blood only. And in all the exaltation of this faith so well did he please God, that he was gifted with that joyous blessing, the hallowed establishment of that impregnable rock, whereon the Church being founded, should prevail against the gates of hell and the laws of death; neither, when anything is to be bound or loosed, is any bound or loosed in heaven, otherwise than as the judgment of Peter hath bound or loosed it upon earth.

Lesson iii

    But, dearly beloved brethren, it was important that the height of this understanding, which the Lord praised, should rest upon a foundation, and that foundation, the mystery of the lower nature, lest the faith of the Apostle, carried away by the glorious acknowledgment of the Godhead in Christ, should deem it unworthy and unnatural for the impassible God to take into Himself the frailty of our nature; and should thus believe that in Christ the Manhood had been so glorified as to be no longer able to suffer pain, or be dissolved in death. And therefore it was that, when the Lord said how that He must go up unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests, and scribes, and be killed, and rise again the third day, and the blessed Peter, bright with heavenly illumination, and still glowing from the passionate acknowledgment of the Divine Sonship, by a natural, and, as seemed to him, a godly shrinking, could not bear the mention of mockery and insult and a cruel death, he was corrected by the merciful rebuke of Jesus, and moved rather to desire to be a partaker in the sufferings of his Master.

    Let us pray.  Look down mercifully, O Lord, we beseech thee, upon thy people, and graciously turn away from them the scourges of thy wrath. Through our Lord Jesus Christ.

 

 

 


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