Regína sacratíssimi Rosárii, ora pro nobis!

Occurring Scripture for the Hour of Matins

Fourth Week of Lent
Our Lady of the Rosary
Sunday    Monday    Tuesday    Wednesday    Thursday    Friday    Saturday


Lesson i
A reading from the book of Exodus Exod 3:1-6 1

    Now Moses fed the sheep of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Madian: and he drove the flock to the inner parts of the desert, and came to the mountain of God, Horeb.  And the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush: and he saw that the bush was on fire and was not burnt.  And Moses said: "I will go and see this great sight, why the bush is not burnt."  And when the Lord saw that he went forward to see, He called to him out of the midst of the bush, and said: "Moses, Moses." And he answered: "Here I am."  And He said: "Come not nigh hither, put off the shoes from thy feet: for the place whereon thou stand is holy ground."  And He said: I am the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. Moses hid his face: for he durst not look at God.

Lesson ii
Exodus 3:7-10

    And the Lord said to him: "I have seen the affliction of my people in Egypt, and I have heard their cry because of the rigor of them that are over the works:  And knowing their sorrow, I am come down to deliver them out of the hands of the Egyptians, and to bring them out of that land into a good and spacious land, into a land that flows with milk and honey, to the places of the Chanaanite, and Hethite, and Amorrhite, and Pherezite, and Hevite, and Jebusite.  For the cry of the children of Israel is come unto me: and I have seen their affliction, wherewith they are oppressed by the Egyptians.  But come, and I will send thee to Pharao, that thou may bring forth my people, the children of Israel out of Egypt."

Lesson iii
Exodus 3:11-15

    And Moses said to God: "Who am I that I should go to Pharao, and should bring forth the children of Israel out of Egypt?"  And he said to him: "I will be with thee: and this thou shall have for a sign, that I have sent thee: When thou shalt have brought my people out of Egypt, thou shalt offer sacrifice to God upon this mountain."  Moses said to God: "Lo, I shall go to the children of Israel, and say to them: 'The God of your fathers hath sent me to you. If they should say to me: What is his name? what shall I say to them?"  God said to Moses: "I AM WHO AM." He said: "Thus shalt thou say to the children of Israel: 'HE WHO IS, hath sent me to you'".  And God said again to Moses: Thus say to the children of Israel: "'The Lord God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, hath sent me to you': This is my name for ever, and this is my memorial unto all generations."

Lesson iv
From the Sermons of Saint Basil the Great, Archbishop
1st on Fasting.

    We know that it was with and by fasting that Moses went up into the Mount, for he had not dared to go up to that smoking summit, nor to have entered that darkness, except he had been made strong by a Fast. It was with fasting that he received the Commandments, written by the finger of God upon tables of stone. Upon the mountain, that Fast made interest with Him Whose law was given unto it; but, below, gluttony was leading the people to the worship of idols and polluting them. It is written: "The people sat down to eat and to drink, and rose up to play" (Exodus xxxii: 6). That one fit of drunken frenzy, on the part of the people, made void and of none effect all the toil and patience of the forty days, during the which the servant of God had fasted and prayed unceasingly. To the Fast had been given those tables of stone written on with the finger of God; the Feast's work was to break them, by the hand of the most holy prophet, who deemed a nation of drunkards a nation unmeet to receive law from God.

Lesson v

    In a moment of time, that people, who had by great wonders been taught to worship God, were, by gluttony, dropped back into the cesspool of Egyptian idolatry. Which things if thou will consider, thou shall see that the tendency of fasting is God-ward, and that that of feasting hell-ward. What was it that degraded Esau, and made him a slave to his brother? Was it not that one dish of pottage for which he sold his birthright? Was it not prayer when joined to fasting that gave Samuel to his mother? What made the mighty Samson invincible? Was it not the fast during the which he was conceived in his mother's womb? The fast it was which made him to be conceived; the fast, which fed him; the fast, which made a man of him, even as the Angel of the Lord commanded his mother, saying She may not eat of anything that cometh of the vine, neither let her drink wine or strong drink. Fasting is the mother of prophets, the strength and stay of mighty men.

Lesson vii

    It is fasting which gives wisdom to lawgivers; fasting which is the trustiest keeper of the soul, and the safest companion for the body. It is fasting which is strength and armor to mighty men; fasting which makes supple those who run and who wrestle. It is fasting which makes a man strong to strive against temptation, and which is to godliness as a fenced city; even fasting, whose fellow is soberness, and her work temperance. It is fasting which makes men to I wax valiant in fight; fasting which teaches to rest in time of peace. Fasting makes a Nazarite to be holy, and a priest perfect. Without a fast it is unlawful to touch the Sacrifice, not only in that mystic and true worship of God which now is, but also according to the law, in those sacrifices which were offered of old time as figures of the true. It was fasting which opened the eyes of Elias to look upon the visions of God, even as it is written, that when he had fasted forty days and forty nights he was on Horeb, the mount of God, and he was made able, so far as man may be made able, to see God (3 Kings xix. seq.). Even so also was Moses in that Mount forty days and forty nights, fasting, at what time he again received the Law (Exodus xxxiv:28). Unless the Ninevites had fasted, both man and beast, herd and flock, they had not escaped from the ruin that hung over them (Jonah iii: 7). In the wilderness fell some and who were they? Yea, they were such as lusted after flesh meat (Numbers xi: 33).

Lesson vii

The continuation of the Holy Gospel according to John
John 6: 1-15

    After these things Jesus went over the sea of Galilee, which is that of Tiberius.  And a great multitude followed him, because they saw the miracles which he did on them that were diseased.  Jesus therefore went up into a mountain, and there he sat with his disciples.  Now the Pasch, the festival day of the Jews, was near at hand.  When Jesus therefore had lifted up his eyes, and seen that a very great multitude cometh to him, he said to Philip: Whence shall we buy bread, that these may eat?  And this he said to try him; for he himself knew what he would do.  Philip answered him: "Two hundred denarii worth of bread is not sufficient for them, that every one may take a little."  One of his disciples, Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter, said to him:  "There is a boy here that has five barley loaves, and two fishes; but what are these among so many?"  Then Jesus said: Make the men sit down. Now there was much grass in the place. The men therefore sat down, in number about five thousand.  And Jesus took the loaves: and when he had given thanks, he distributed to them that were set down. In like manner also of the fishes, as much as they would.  And when they were filled, he said to his disciples: Gather up the fragments that remain, lest they be lost.  They gathered up therefore, and filled twelve baskets with the fragments of the five barley loaves, which remained over and above to them that had eaten.  Now those men, when they had seen what a miracle Jesus had done, said: This is of a truth the prophet, that is to come into the world.  Jesus therefore, when he knew that they would come to take him by force, and make him king, fled again into the mountain himself alone.

Homily of Saint Augstine, Bishop
Tract on John (XXIV)

    The miracles which our Lord Jesus Christ did were the very works of God, and they enlighten the mind of man by mean of things which are seen, that he may know more of God. God is Himself of such a Substance as eye cannot see, and the miracles, by the which He rules the whole world continually, and satisfies the need of everything that He hath made, are by use become so common, that scarce any will vouchsafe to see that there are wonderful and amazing works of God in every grain of seed of grass. According to His mercy He kept some works to be done in their due season, but out of the common course and order of nature, that men might see them and be astonished, not because they are greater, but because they are rarer than those which they lightly esteem, since they see them day by day.

Lesson viii

    Or it is a greater miracle to govern the whole universe, than to satisfy five thousand men with five loaves of bread; and yet no man marvels at it. At the feeding of the five thousand, men marvel, not because it is a greater miracle than the other, but because it is rarer. For Who is He Who now feeds the whole world, but He Who, from a little grain that is sown, makes the fullness of the harvest?  God works in both cases in one and the same manner. He Who of the sowing makes to come the harvest, is He Who of the five barley loaves in His Hands made bread to feed five thousand men; for Christ's are the Hands which are able to do both the one and the other. He Who multiplies the grains of corn multiplied the loaves, only not by committing them to the earth whereof He is the Maker.

Lesson ix

    This miracle, then, is brought to bear upon our bodies, that our souls may thereby be quickened; shown to our eyes, to give food to our understanding; that, through His works which we see, we may marvel at that God Whom we cannot see, and, being roused up to believe, and purified by believing, we may long to see Him, yea, may know by things which are seen Him Who is Unseen. Nor yet suffices it for us to see only this meaning in Christ's miracles. Let us ask of the miracles themselves what they have to tell us concerning Christ for, trully, they have a tongue of their own, if only we will understand it. For, because Christ is the Word of God, therefore the work of the Word is a Word for us.

    Let us pray Grant, we beseech thee, Almighty God, that we who for our evil deeds are worthily punished, may, by the comfort of thy grace, mercifully be relieved. Through our Lord Jesus Christ.


Lesson i

The continuation of the Holy Gospel according to John
John 2: 13-25

    At that time the Pasch of the Jews was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.  And he found in the temple them that sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the changers of money sitting.  And when he had made, as it were, a scourge of little cords, he drove them all out of the temple, the sheep also and the oxen, and the money of the changers he poured out, and the tables he overthrew.  And to them that sold doves he said: Take these things hence, and make not the house of my Father a house of traffic.  And his disciples remembered, that it was written: The zeal of thy house hath eaten me up.  The Jews, therefore, answered, and said to Him: "What sign dost thou show unto us, seeing thou dost these things?"  Jesus answered, and said to them: "Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up."  The Jews then said: "Six and forty years was this temple in building; and wilt thou raise it up in three days?"  But he spoke of the temple of his body.  When therefore He was risen again from the dead, his disciples remembered, that he had said this, and they believed the scripture, and the word that Jesus had said.  Now when he was at Jerusalem, at the Pasch, upon the festival day, many believed in his name, seeing his signs which he did.  But Jesus did not trust himself unto them, for that he knew all men,  And because he needed not that any should give testimony of man: for he knew what was in man.

Homily by Saint Augustine, Bishop
10th Tract on John.

    What hear we now, my brethren? Behold, that temple was still but a figure, and the Lord drove out all them that sought their own, even them that were come to deal in merchandise. And what was it that they sold there? Only such things as were needful to men for the sacrifices that then were. For your love knows that, because of that people's carnal-mindedness and the stoniness of their heart, there were commanded unto them such sacrifices as these, thereby to hold them back from idolatry and there, according, they offered up oxen, and sheep, and doves. This ye have read, and know.

Lesson ii

    It was no great sin, therefore, if they sold in the temple that which was bought to be offered in the temple and yet He drove them out. If, then, the Lord drove out of His temple them which sold such things as are lawful and right (for to buy and sell is lawful, if only it be done honestly,) and suffered not the house of prayer to be made an house of merchandise, what would He have done if He had found there men drunken?

Lesson iii

    If the house of God must not be a house of merchandise, must it be an house to drink in? And yet, when we say this, men gnash upon us with their teeth. But we find consolation in remembering that so far we are even as the Psalmist, who said: "They gnashed upon me with their teeth" (Psalm. xxxiv. 16). Yea, we have also learnt to listen to words that heal us, though, of a verity, the lashes that are made at His word are really made at Christ. "Lashes," said He, "were heaped upon Me; and they knew not what they did." He was lashed by the scourges of the Jews, and He is lashed still by the blasphemies of false Christians; they heap lashes upon the Lord their God; and know not what they do. As for us, we will do that which He has helped  us to do; But as for me, when they troubled me, my clothing was sackcloth, and I humbled my soul with fasting.

    Let us pray Grant, we beseech thee, O Almighty God, that we who year by year do prayerfully renew the holy observance of this thy great Fast, may be acceptable in thy sight, as touching both our bodies and our souls. Through our Lord Jesus Christ.


Lesson i

The continuation of the Holy Gospel according to John
John 7: 14-31

    Now about the midst of the feast, Jesus went up into the temple, and taught.  And the Jews wondered, saying: How doth this man know letters, having never learned?  Jesus answered them, and said: My doctrine is not mine, but His that sent me.  If any man do the will of Him; he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself.  He that speaks of himself, seeks his own glory: but he that seeks the glory of Him that sent Him, he is true, and there is no injustice in him.  Did Moses not give you the law, and yet none of you keeps the law?  Why seek you to kill me? The multitude answered, and said: Thou hast a devil; who seeks to kill thee?  Jesus answered, and said to them: One work I have done; and you all wonder:  Therefore, Moses gave you circumcision (not because it is of Moses, but of the fathers;) and on the Sabbath day you circumcise a man.  If a man receive circumcision on the sabbath day, that the law of Moses may not be broken; are you angry at me because I have healed the whole man on the Sabbath day?  Judge not according to the appearance, but judge just judgment.  Some therefore of Jerusalem said: "Is not this he whom they seek to kill?  And behold, He speaks openly, and they say nothing to Him. Have the rulers known for a truth, that this is the Christ?  But we know this man, whence He is: but when the Christ cometh, no man will know whence he is."  Jesus therefore cried out in the temple, teaching, and saying: "You both know me, and you know whence I am: and I am not come of myself; but He that sent me, is true, whom you know not.  I know Him, because I am from Him, and He hath sent Me.  They sought therefore to apprehend him: and no man laid hands on him, because his hour was not yet come.  But of the people many believed in him, and said: "When the Christ comes, shall He do more miracles, than these which this man does?

Homily by Saint Augsutine, Bishop
29th Tract on John.

    He Who had gone up unto the Feast, not openly, but as it were in secret, the Same taught, and spoke openly, and no man laid hands upon Him. That He had hid Himself, was for example's sake; that He manifested Himself, was to show His power. And when He taught, the Jews marveled. As seems to my mind, they all marveled, but were not all converted. And why did they marvel? Because many of them knew where He was born, and how He had been brought up. They had never seen Him learn letters; but they heard Him dispute concerning the law, and allege the testimony of the same, as no man could do who had not read it; and no man can read unless he learn; and therefore they marveled. But their marveling was unto the Teacher an occasion for the revealing of higher truth.

Lesson ii

    For when they marveled and whispered, the Lord said a certain deep thing, yes, a thing worthy of very careful thought and discussion. And what was this thing which the Lord gave for an answer to such as marveled that He knew letters, having never learned? Jesus answered them and said "My doctrine is not Mine, but His That sent Me." Here is the first depth, for He seemed in these few words to enunciate a contradiction. He said not This doctrine is not Mine but My doctrine is not Mine. O how is it thine? If it be thine, wherefore say Thou that it is not thine? For Thou say "My doctrine is not Mine."

Lesson iii

    Let us then carefully regard what this same holy Evangelist said in the beginning of his Gospel, and we shall find there wherewith to loose the knot of this difficulty. There it is written "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God" (i:1).What is the doctrine of the Father but the Word of the Father? If Christ therefore be the Word of the Father, He is the doctrine of the Father. But a Word cannot be of no one, but must needs, if it be a Word, have some one whose word it is. Christ therefore said that His doctrine is Himself, and therefore not His, forasmuch as He is the Word of the Father. And what hast thou that is so much thine own as thy self? Or what is there that is so little thine own as thyself, if that which thou art is another's?

    Let us pray O Lord, we beseech thee that the observance of this holy fast may avail us both to the increase of godliness in our conversation, and the establishing upon us of the help of thy mercy. Through our Lord Jesus Christ


Lesson i

The continuation of the Holy Gospel according to John
John 9: 1-38

    And Jesus passing by, saw a man, who was blind from his birth: And his disciples asked him: "Rabbi, who hath sinned, this man, or his parents, that he should be born blind?"  Jesus answered: "Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents; but that the works of God should be made manifest in him.  I must work the works of Him that sent me, whilst it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work.  As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world."  When he had said these things, he spat on the ground, and made clay of the spittle, and spread the clay on his eyes,  And said to him: "Go, wash in the pool of Siloe, which is interpreted, 'Sent.'" He went therefore, and washed, and he came seeing.  The neighbors therefore, and they who had seen him before that he was a beggar, said: "Is not this he that sat and begged?" Some said: "This is he."  But others said: "No, but he is like him." But he said: "I am he."  They said therefore to him: "How were thine eyes opened?"  He answered: 'That man that is called Jesus made clay, and anointed my eyes, and said to me: 'Go to the pool of Siloe, and wash.' And I went, I washed, and I see."  And they said to him: "Where is he?" He said: "I know not."  They brought him that had been blind to the Pharisees.  Now it was the Sabbath, when Jesus made the clay, and opened his eyes.  Again therefore the Pharisees asked him, how he had received his sight. But he said to them: "He put clay upon my eyes, and I washed, and I see." Some therefore of the Pharisees said: "This man is not of God, who keeps not the Sabbath."  But others said: "How can a man that is a sinner do such miracles?"  And there was a division among them.  They say therefore to the blind man again: "What say thou of Him that opened thine eyes?" And he said: "He is a prophet."  The Jews then did not believe concerning him, that he had been blind, and had received his sight, until they called the parents of him that had received his sight,  And asked them, saying: "Is this your son, who you say was born blind? How then doth he now see?"  His parents answered them, and said: "We know that this is our son, and that he was born blind: But how he now sees, we know not; or who hath opened his eyes, we know not: ask himself: he is of age, let him speak for himself."  These things his parents said, because they feared the Jews: for the Jews had already agreed among themselves, that if any man should confess him to be Christ, he should be put out of the synagogue.  Therefore did his parents say: "He is of age, ask himself."  They therefore called the man again that had been blind, and said to him: "Give glory to God. We know that this man is a sinner."  He said therefore to them: "If he be a sinner, I know not: one thing I know, that whereas I was blind, now I see."  They said then to him: "What did He to thee? How did he open thine eyes?" [27] He answered them: "I have told you already, and you have heard: why would you hear it again? will you also become his disciples?"  They reviled him therefore, and said: "Be thou his disciple; but we are the disciples of Moses.  We know that God spoke to Moses: but as to this man, we know not from whence He is.  The man answered, and said to them: "Why, herein is a wonderful thing, that you know not from whence he is, and he hath opened my eyes. Now we know that God doth not hear sinners: but if a man be a server of God, and doth his will, him He hears.  From the beginning of the world it has not been heard, that any man has opened the eyes of one born blind.  Unless this man were of God, He could not do any thing."  They answered, and said to him: "Thou was wholly born in sins, and dost thou teach us?" And they cast him out.  Jesus heard that they had cast him out: and when he had found him, he said to him: "Dost thou believe in the Son of God?" He answered, and said: "Who is he, Lord, that I may believe in him?"  And Jesus said to him: "Thou hast both seen him; and it is he that talks with thee."  And he said: "I believe, Lord." And falling down, he adored him.

An Homily of Saint Augustine, Bishop
44th Tract on John.

    Dread and wondrous are all the things which our Lord Jesus Christ did, both His works and His words; the works, because He wrought them; the words, because they are deep. If, therefore, we consider the meaning of this work of His, we see that that man which was blind from his birth was a figure of mankind. This spiritual blindness was the consequence of the sin of the first man, from whom we all inherit by birth, not death only, but depravity also. For if blindness be unbelief, and faith, light, whom, when Christ came, did He find faithful? May, the Apostle who had himself been born of the race of which the Prophets came, said "We also were by nature children of wrath, even as others." And if children of wrath, then children also of vengeance, children of damnation, children of hell. And wherefore so by nature, unless it were that the sin of the first man had made all his descendants to be born in sin, in that they partook of his nature? If, then, our nature bring sin with it, all men, according to the spirit, are born blind.

Lesson ii

    The Lord came; and what did He do? He set before us a great mystery. Jesus spat on the ground, and made clay of the spittle for the Word was made flesh. And He anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay but yet that man saw not. He was anointed, indeed, but yet still he saw not. And He said unto him "Go, wash in the Pool of Siloam." Now, it was the duty of the Evangelist to impress upon us the name of this Pool, and therefore he saith Siloam, which is, by interpretation, "Sent." Ye, my brethren, know Who is signified where it is written: (The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor a law-giver from his loins, until) He that shall be Sent cometh. Yea, He it is, Who, if He had not been sent, we had never been sent loose out of the prison-house of sin. The blind man went his way therefore, and washed his eyes in that Pool, which is, by interpretation, "Sent" in other words, he was baptized in Christ. When, therefore, he had figuratively been baptized in Him Whom the Father hath Sent into the world he came seeing. When he was anointed, he was perchance made a figure of a Catechumen.

Lesson iii

    We have heard this great mystery. Ask of a man: Art thou a Christian? He answerers thee: I am not. Then, if thou ask him: Art thou a pagan then, or a Jew? And he still says unto thee No and thou say Art thou then a Catechumen, though not yet one of the faithful? and he says Yea, a Catechumen then there thou see a man anointed, but not yet washed. With what hath he been anointed? Ask of him, and he will tell thee. Ask of him in Whom he believeth, and, being a Catechumen, he will say: In Christ. But, behold, I speak before both Faithful and Catechumens. What said I touching the. Spittle and the clay? I said for 'the Word was made flesh.' This the Catechumens hear, but it is not enough for them to be anointed; they must make haste to the washing, if they would have their eyes opened.

    Let us pray. O God, Who by mean of fasting dost give unto the righteous the reward of their good works, and unto sinners pardon; have mercy upon us, we beseech thee, and grant that we, humbly confessing our guiltiness, may so be enabled to obtain thy forgiveness. Through our Lord Jesus Christ.


Lesson i

The continuation of the Holy Gospel according to Luke
Luke 7: 11-16

    And it came to pass that Jesus went into a city that is called Naim; and there went with him his disciples, and a great multitude.  And when he came nigh to the gate of the city, behold a dead man was carried out, the only son of his mother; and she was a widow: and a great multitude of the city was with her.  Whom when the Lord had seen, being moved with mercy towards her, He said to her: "Weep not."  And He came near and touched the bier. And they that carried it, stood still. And He said: "Young man, I say to thee, arise."  And he that was dead, sat up, and began to speak. And He gave him to his mother.  And there came a fear on them all: and they glorified God, saying: "A great prophet is risen up among us: and, God hath visited his people."

An Homily of Saint Ambrose, Bishop
Book v. Commentary on Luke chapter vii near the beginning

    The history which we here read in the Holy Gospel has for us specially two gracious lessons, the one from the literal, the other from the mystic interpretation thereof. According to the letter then, we see how quickly the compassion of God was aroused by the sorrow of this mother, who was a widow, a widow broken down by nursing her only son, or by the bitterness of her grief for his death. She was a widow also whose worshipful conversation is borne witness to by this, that, much people of the city was with her. Mystically however, this widow encompassed by the multitude was something more than a poor woman whose tears won from the Lord the resurrection of her young and only son; for she is a type of our holy Mother the Church, who calls back her young children to life from the pursuit of deathly vanities, and soul-slaying honors, by bidding them look on those tears which she sheds for such as they, and which it is unlawful for her to shed for them of whom she knows that they will rise again.

Lesson ii

    This man, then, being dead, was carried out on a bier to the grave by four bearers, even as the sinner is borne to destruction by the four elements of which he is composed. But there was hope in his latter end, from this, that that whereon he was carried was of wood, and wood, albeit it had profited us little before, is become everything to us now since Jesus touched it, being a figure of that gibbet, the Cross, which was made thereof, and from which salvation flows unto all people. When, therefore, the bearers of the corpse heard the commandment of God, they stood still, and carried no farther him who was dead through the fatal course of a material nature. And is not our case even as that of the widow's son, when we lie, as it were, lifeless, in our spiritual coffin, that is, in the last bed of our soul's death, consumed by the fever of unbridled lust, or frozen by cold-heartedness, or with our whole manliness sapped by some degrading habit of this earthly body, or starved by a spiritual lockjaw that shuts our mouth to the bright food of our soul? These, and such as these, are they which carry us out to burial.

Lesson iii

    But even at the last hour, when the hope of life hath been utterly extinguished, and the bodies of the dead are lying by the side of the grave, by the word of God those carcasses live again, yea, arise and speak. Then doth Jesus deliver the son to his mother, for Jesus called him out of the grave, and delivered him from death. O, what is the grave of the soul but a bad life? Sinner! thy grave is unbelief, and thy throat is a sepulcher! Even so is it written: "Their throat is an open sepulcher" (Psalm. v. ii), where they breathe their pestilential words. Lo! Christ makes thee free from that grave! If only thou wilt hear the word of God, thou shall yet arise from that sepulcher! Yea, though thy sin be exceeding weighty, so that the tears of thine own sorrow cannot wash it away, let thy Mother the Church weep for thee, that longing Mother who weeps for every one of her children as though he were the only son of his mother, and she was a widow. Believe me, her spiritual anguish is keen like the anguish of nature, when she sees her children dead in sin, and carried out to be buried for ever.

    Let us pray O Almighty God, grant, we beseech thee, that we who are chastened by this hallowed fast, may be gladdened by holy earnestness, and that as earthly attractions grow dimmer, things heavenly may grow clearer. Through our Lord Jesus Christ.


Lesson i

The continuation of the Holy Gospel according to John
John 11: 1-45

    At that time there was a certain man sick, named Lazarus, of Bethany, of the town of Mary and Martha her sister. (And Mary was she that anointed the Lord with ointment, and wiped His feet with her hair: whose brother Lazarus was sick.)  His sisters therefore sent to him, saying: "Lord, behold, he whom thou love is sick."  And Jesus hearing it, said to them: "This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God: that the Son of God may be glorified by it."  Now Jesus loved Martha, and her sister Mary, and Lazarus.  When he had heard therefore that he was sick, he still remained in the same place two days.  Then after that, He said to his disciples: "Let us go into Judea again."  The disciples said to Him: "Rabbi, the Jews but now sought to stone thee: and go thou there again?:  Jesus answered: "Are there not twelve hours of the day? If a man walk in the day, he stumbles not, because he sees the light of this world:  But if he walk in the night, he stumbles, because the light is not in him."  These things he said; and after that he said to them: Lazarus our friend sleeps; but I go that I may awake him out of sleep.  His disciples therefore said: Lord, if he sleep, he shall do well.  But Jesus spoke of his death; and they thought that he spoke of the repose of sleep.  Then therefore Jesus said to them plainly: "Lazarus is dead."  And I am glad, for your sakes, that I was not there, that you may believe: but let us go to him.  Thomas therefore, who is called Didymus, said to his fellow disciples: "Let us also go, that we may die with Him.  Jesus therefore came, and found that he had been four days already in the grave.  (Now Bethany was near Jerusalem, about fifteen furlongs off.)  And many of the Jews were come to Martha and Mary, to comfort them concerning their brother.  Martha therefore, as soon as she heard that Jesus had come, went to meet him: but Mary sat at home.  Martha therefore said to Jesus: "Lord, if thou had been here, my brother would not have died.  But now also I know that whatsoever thou wilt ask of God, God will give it thee."  Jesus said to her: "Thy brother shall rise again."  Martha said to Him: "I know that he shall rise again, in the resurrection at the last day."  Jesus said to her: "I am the resurrection and the life: he that believeth in me, although he be dead, shall live:  And every one that liveth, and believeth in me, shall not die for ever. Believe thou this?"  She said to Him: "Yea, Lord, I have believed that thou art Christ the Son of the living God, who art come into this world."  And when she had said these things, she went, and called her sister Mary secretly, saying: "The master is come, and calls for thee.  She, as soon as she heard this, rose quickly, and came to him.  For Jesus was not yet come into the town: but he was still in that place where Martha had met him.  The Jews therefore, who were with her in the house, and comforted her, when they saw Mary that she rose up speedily and went out, followed her, saying: She goes to the grave to weep there.  When Mary therefore was come where Jesus was, seeing him, she fell down at his feet, and said to Him: Lord, if thou had been here, my brother had not died.  Jesus, therefore, when he saw her weeping, and the Jews that were come with her, weeping, groaned in the spirit, and troubled Himself,  And said: Where have you laid him? They say to him: Lord, come and see.  And Jesus wept.  The Jews therefore said: "Behold how he loved him."  But some of them said: "Could not he that opened the eyes of the man born blind, have caused that this man should not die?"  Jesus therefore again groaning in himself, cometh to the sepulcher. Now it was a cave; and a stone was laid over it.  Jesus said: "Take away the stone. Martha, the sister of him that was dead, said to him: Lord, by this time he stinks, for he is now of four days.  Jesus said to her: Did not I say to thee, that if thou believe, thou shall see the glory of God?"  They took therefore the stone away. And Jesus lifting up his eyes said: "Father, I give thee thanks that thou hast heard me.  And I knew that thou hear me always; but because of the people who stand about have I said it, that they may believe that thou hast sent me."  When he had said these things, he cried with a loud voice: "Lazarus, come forth."  And presently he that had been dead came forth, bound feet and hands with winding bands; and his face was bound about with a napkin. Jesus said to them: "Loose him, and let him go."  Many therefore of the Jews, who were come to Mary and Martha, and had seen the things that Jesus did, believed in Him.

An Homily of Saint Augustine, Bishop
49 Tract on John.

    Ye remember that in our last reading we learnt how that the Lord escaped out of the hands of them which took up stones to stone Him, and went away again beyond Jordan, into the place where John at first baptized (John x. 31, 39, 40).  While, then, the Lord still tarried there, Lazarus was sick at Bethany, which was a town near to Jerusalem. It was that Mary which anointed the Lord with ointment, and wiped His Feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick. Therefore his sisters sent unto Him. We know already whither it was that they sent, for we know where Jesus was: He was gone away again beyond Jordan. His sisters sent unto Him, saying: "Lord, behold, he whom Thou love is sick," in order that, if He so pleased, He might come and free him from his sickness. But Jesus healed not, that He might afterward quicken.

Lesson ii

    What therefore sent his sisters to say? "Lord, behold, he whom Thou love is sick" and no more. They said not: "Come," for Jesus loved him; and to tell Him that he was sick was enough. They dared not to say: "Come, and heal him," they dared not to say: "Speak the word where Thou art, and it shall be done here." And wherefore should they not have said this if they had the faith which won the Centurion so much praise? He had said: "Lord, I am not worthy that Thou should come under my roof; but speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed" (Matthew viii: 8). But they said none of these things, only: "Lord, behold, he whom Thou love is sick. It is enough that Thou should know it. Thou art not one that loves and leaves."

Lesson iii

    But some man will say: How shall Lazarus be a type of the sinner, and yet the Lord so love him? Let such an one hear the words of the same Lord, which He said: "I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners" (Matthew ix: 13). For if God had not loved sinners, He had not come down from heaven to earth. When Jesus heard that, He said: "This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby." Such a glorification is no increase of majesty for Him, but of profit for us. He therefore meant to say: "This sickness is not unto death, but for the working of a miracle, the which being wrought, if men will thereby believe in Christ, they shall escape the real death." Note especially how the Lord doth in this place declare Himself to be God, as it were by implication, for the sake of some which say that He is not the Son of God.

    Let us pray. O God, who dost quicken the whole world anew by thine unspeakable Sacraments, grant, we beseech thee, that thy Church may both profit by whatsoever Thou hast ordained touching the things which are eternal, nor be comfortless of such help as is needful unto her touching the things which are temporal. Through our Lord Jesus Christ.


Lesson i

The continuation of the Holy Gospel according to John
John 8: 12-20

    Again therefore, Jesus spoke to them, saying: I am the light of the world: he that follows Me, walks not in darkness, but shall have the light of life.  The Pharisees therefore said to him: Thou give testimony of thyself: thy testimony is not true.  Jesus answered, and said to them: "Although I give testimony of myself, my testimony is true: for I know whence I came, and whither I go: but you know not whence I come, or whither I go. You judge according to the flesh: I judge not any man.  And if I do judge, my judgment is true: because I am not alone, but I and the Father that sent me.  And in your law it is written, that the testimony of two men is true.  I am one that give testimony of myself: and the Father that sent me gives testimony of me."  They said therefore to him: "Where is thy Father?" Jesus answered: "Neither me do you know, nor my Father: if you did know me, perhaps you would know my Father also."  These words Jesus spoke in the treasury, teaching in the temple: and no man laid hands on him, because his hour was not yet come.

An Homily of Saint Augustine, Bishop
34 Tract on John

    I take it that these words of the Lord: “I am the Light of the world” are sufficiently clear to all men who have eyes which see that Light. At the same time, such men as have no eyes except those which are in their bodies, are surprised to find our Lord Jesus Christ saying, “I am the Light of the world”. And that we might not want somebody to say, “Is our Lord Jesus Christ, then, the same sun that rises and sets every day?” There have actually been heretics who did say it. The Manicheans believed that that sun which we see with our bodily eyes, and to see which is plain and common to beasts as well as men, was the Lord Christ.

Lesson ii

    But the right faith of the Catholic Church damns such comment, and recognizes in it a doctrine of devils. And as it is her practice not only to brand errors by the difference of her own Creed, but also to remove them, if possible, by dint of argument, let us take up arms against this falsehood, which hath from the very beginning been the object of the curse of the Holy Church. God forbid that we should believe that our Lord Jesus Christ is this sun whose apparent movement is to rise every day in the East, and set every day in the West; which when we see no more, night cometh over us; and whose rays are sometimes intercepted by clouds and which hath some law of motion of its own whereby it describes an orbit. The planet is not the same thing as our Lord Jesus Christ. Our Lord Jesus Christ is not that created sun, but He by Whom that sun was created; for all things were made by Him, and without Him was not anything made that was made.

Lesson iii

    He is therefore the Light by Whom the material light was made. Him may we love, Him may we long to know, Him may we thirst after; to Him may His own beams one day lead us, and in Him may we so live that we shall never die! For He, even He, and none other, He is that Light, of Whom the Prophet that was given of old time sang in the Psalms, when he said: “For with thee is the fountain of life, and in thy Light shall we see light” (Psalm xxxv: 10). Remember ye likewise what the word of God's ancient saints said of such Light: “O Lord, Thou preserve man and beast! How excellent is thy loving-kindness, O God!”

    Let us pray. O Lord, we pray thee, that thy grace may make fruitful the toil of this our godly exercise, since it shall nothing avail us to have fasted, if our Fast be not pleasing in thy most gracious sight. Through our Lord Jesus Christ.

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