Readings for the Third day in the Octave of St Benedict


Sacro Speco, Subiaco  — The cave in which Saint Benedict lived
Subiaco, the holy cave



Continuing my little series posting the readings from what was once the Octave of St Benedict, here are the readings, taken from chapters 1&3 of Book II of St Gregory's Dialogues, for the third day of the Octave at Matins.

Reading 1: But Benedict, desiring rather the miseries of the world than the praises of men: rather to be wearied with labor for God's sake, than to be exalted with transitory commendation: fled privately from his nurse, and went into a desert place called Subiaco, distant almost forty miles from Rome: in which there was a fountain springing forth cool and clear water; the abundance whereof does first in a broad place make a lake, and afterward running forward, comes to be a river. As he was travelling to this place, a certain monk called Romanus met him, and demanded whither he went, and understanding his purpose, he both kept it close, furnished him what he might, vested him with the habit of holy conversation, and as he could, ministered and served him.

The man of God, Benedict, coming to this foresaid place, lived there in a narrow cave, where he continued three years unknown to all men, except to Romanus.  He lived not far off, under the rule of Abbot Theodacus, and very virtuously stole certain hours, and likewise sometime a loaf given for his own provision, which he carried to Benedict.

And because from Romanus' cell to that cave there was not any way, by reason of a high rock which hung over it, Romanus, from the top thereof, on a long rope, let down the loaf, on which also with a band he tied a little bell, that by the ringing of it the man of God might know when he came with his bread, and so be ready to take it. But the old enemy of mankind, envious of the charity of the one and the refection of the other, seeing a loaf on a certain day let down, threw a stone and broke the bell. Yet, for all that, Romanus did not cease to serve Benedict by all the possible means he could.

Reading 2: As God's servant daily increased in virtue and became continually more famous for miracles, many were led by him to the service of almighty God in the same place. By Christ's assistance he built there twelve Abbeys; over which he appointed governors, and in each of them placed twelve monks. A few he kept with himself; namely, those he thought would gain more profit and be better instructed by his own presence.

At that time also many noble and religious men of Rome came to him, and committed their children to be brought up under him for the service of God. Evitius delivered Maurus to him, and Tertullius, the Senator, brought Placidus. These were their sons of great hope and promise: of the two, Maurus, growing to great virtue, began to be his master's helper; but Placidus, as yet, was but a boy of tender years.

Once was...The Octave of St Benedict

Church of St Peter , Affile


I was flicking through an old breviary this morning to look something else up, and stumbled across something I'm sure I knew, but had forgotten, namely that long ago (ie before the 1911 calendar reforms), the feast of the transitus of our Holy Father St Benedict actually came with a first class  Octave.

As I'd dearly love to see more octaves revived one day, I thought I would briefly describe the rubrics for it, as set out in my 1892 breviary, and provide the readings (from the Dialogues).

The rubrics for the Octave of St Benedict (during Lent)

At Matins the invitatory verse and hymn were as for the feast (Regem confessorum Dominum and Quidquid antiqui).  I won't set them out in full (acquire one of the older breviary reprints!), but the first Nocturn had one antiphon and versicle for each day, said with the psalms of the day of the week; the second Nocturn similarly had an antiphon for each of the five days.  There were two readings of the feast, with the third from the ferial Lent day.

At Lauds and the other hours, all was said as on the feast, but with a commemoration of the Lent day.  Vespers was as for Second Vespers, except on the seventh day, when it was said as for I Vespers of the feast.

Readings for day 2 in the Octave (Dialogues chapters 1-2)

Reading 1: There was a man of venerable life, blessed by grace, and blessed in name, for he was called "Benedictus" or Benedict. From his younger years, he always had the mind of an old man; for his age was inferior to his virtue. All vain pleasure he despised, and though he was in the world, and might freely have enjoyed such commodities as it yields, yet he esteemed it and its vanities as nothing.

He was born in the province of Nursia, of honorable parentage, and brought up at Rome in the study of humanity. As much as he saw many by reason of such learning fall to dissolute and lewd life, he drew back his foot, which he had as it were now set forth into the world, lest, entering too far in acquaintance with it, he likewise might have fallen into that dangerous and godless gulf.

Therefore, giving over his book, and forsaking his father's house and wealth, with a resolute mind only to serve God, he sought for some place, where he might attain to the desire of his holy purpose. In this way he departed, instructed with learned ignorance, and furnished with unlearned wisdom.

Reading 2: Benedict having now given over the school, with a resolute mind to lead his life in the wilderness: his nurse alone, who tenderly loved him, would not by any means give him over. Coming, therefore, to a place called Enside and remaining there in the church of St. Peter, in the company of other virtuous men, which for charity lived in that place, it fell so out that his nurse borrowed of the neighbors a sieve to make clean wheat, which being left negligently on the table, by chance it was broken in two pieces, Whereupon she fell pitifully weeping, because she had borrowed it. The devout and religious youth Benedict, seeing his nurse so lamenting, moved with compassion, took away with him both the pieces of the sieve, and with tears fell to his prayers; and after he had done, rising up he found it so whole, that the place could not be seen where before it was broken.

Coming straight to his nurse, and comforting her with good words, he delivered her the sieve safe and sound: which miracle was known to all the inhabitants thereabout, and so much admired, that the townsmen, for a perpetual memory, hanged it up at the church door, to the end that not only men then living, but also their posterity might understand, how greatly God's grace worked with him on his first renouncing of the world. The sieve continued there many years after, even to these very troubles of the Lombards, where it hung over the church door.

More anon...

Feast of St Benedict

Jan Verkade

Happy feast day!

An appropriate day, I think, to meditate on the Benedictine Office as a wonderful monument of tradition that has been passed down to us as part of the patrimony of the Benedictine Order, and the Church more broadly.

Though abandoned today by many claiming to be Benedictines, the Benedictine Office is, I believe, absolutely integral in shaping within us the spirituality that our holy Father St Benedict set out in his Rule.

And down the ages it has inspired some wonderful words and music, such as the Matins hymn in the recording below.

We should therefore, I think, pray especially today for vocations for the various traditionally oriented monasteries who are keeping alive this wonderful gift to the Church.

Benedictine Ordo for Third week of Lent (March 19-25)

This week gives not one but four days off Lent, in the form of the Sunday and feasts of SS Joseph, Benedict and the Annunciation.

For those who are interested in saying Matins on these days, please do check the notes on my Benedictine matins blog, where I will provide details of where to find the texts including the chants for responsories etc.  You can find notes for this weeks Class I days via these links:


Sunday 19 March – Third Sunday of Lent, Class I

Matins: Invitatory (Non sit vobis), hymn (Ex more), readings and responsories of the Sunday

Lauds: Antiphons, etc from MD 212* ff with psalm scheme 1 (Ps 50, 117, 62)

Prime to None: Antiphons etc, MD 215*

Vespers: Psalms and antiphons of Sunday; chapter etc as per I Vespers; versicle and Magnificat antiphon, MD 216* with a commemoration of St Joseph, MD [86]

Monday 20 March – St Joseph, Class I (transferred)

Matins: All of the feast with twelve readings and responsories

Lauds: Festal psalms with antiphons etc of the feast, MD [87] ff, with a commemoration of the feria, MD 217*

Prime: Antiphon 1 of Lauds

Terce to None: Antiphon, chapter etc of the feast

Vespers: Antiphons of Lauds; psalms from I Vespers of Apostles, MD (2); chapter etc from I Vespers of the feast, MD [84]; Magnificat antiphon, MD [91]; commemoration of St Benedict, MD  [93-4]

Tuesday 21 March – St Benedict, Class I

Matins: All of the feast with twelve readings and responsories

Lauds: Festal psalms of Sunday with antiphons and texts of the feast; MD [94] ff; commemoration of the feria, MD 217-8*

Prime: Antiphon 1 of Lauds

Terce to None: Antiphons, chapters etc of the feast

Vespers: As for I Vespers, MD [91]; Magnificat antiphon, MD [99]; commemoration of the feria, MD 218*

Wednesday 22 March - Wednesday in the third week of Lent, Class III

Matins: Ordinary of Lent; three readings

Lauds to Vespers: Ordinary of Lent, MD 190*; canticle antiphons and collects, MD 218-9*

Thursday 23 March – Thursday in the third week of Lent, Class III

Matins: Ordinary of Lent; three readings

Lauds to Vespers: Ordinary of Lent, MD 190*; canticle antiphons and collects, MD 219-20*

Friday March 24 – Friday in the third week of Lent, Class III

Matins: Ordinary of Lent; three readings

Lauds to None: Ordinary of Lent, MD 190*; canticle antiphons and collects, MD 220*

Vespers: I Vespers of the Annunciation, MD [100] ff with a commemoration of the feria, MD 220*

Saturday 25 March – Annunciation of the BVM, Class I

Matins: Invitatory, hymn, psalms and antiphons from the Common of the BVM; readings and responsories of the feast

Lauds: Festal psalms of Sunday with antiphons and rest of the feast, MD [102] ff; commemoration of the feria, MD 220-1*

Prime: Antiphon 1 of Lauds

Terce to None: Antiphons from Lauds, proper texts MD [104] ff

Vespers: As for I Vespers, MD [100], Magnificat antiphon, MD [106]; commemoration of the Sunday, MD 221*

St Benedict medals

Picture

On the subject of upcoming feasts, can I draw you to a special offer by way of fundraising activity for the Monastery of St Benedict at La Garde-Freinet in France.

Many will know of the monastery for the work of the monks there organising the Sacra Liturgia Conference and related events.

And they are currently offering a special 20% discount on St Benedict medals in the lead up to the feast of the saint next week.

So please do take advantage of the offer and obtain your medal, and help support the community at the same time!

Feast of St Patrick (March 17)


Sf. Patrick al Irlandei


March 17 marks the feast of St Patrick in many places, and for those who say (or want to say) Matins, of the feast, I have posted notes on where to find the various texts required on my Benedictine Matins blog.

For those interested, I have also set up a facebook group where you can discuss posts or ask questions (I envisage the main focus for this being Matins at the moment, but happy to have questions and discussion on broader issues relating to the trad Benedictine Office there as well).

St Patrick

St Patrick lived in the fifth century and is lauded as the apostle to Ireland.  Kidnapped by pirates at the age of 16, and forced into slavery as a shepherd, he converted to Christianity and spent long hours in prayer.  He eventually managed to escape and make his way home.  He had a vision, though,calling him to return:

You can read his own account of his story here, but here are a few key extracts:
My name is Patrick. I am a sinner, a simple country person, and the least of all believers. I am looked down upon by many. My father was Calpornius. He was a deacon; his father was Potitus, a priest, who lived at Bannavem Taburniae. His home was near there, and that is where I was taken prisoner. I was about sixteen at the time. At that time, I did not know the true God. I was taken into captivity in Ireland, along with thousands of others.... 
After I arrived in Ireland, I tended sheep every day, and I prayed frequently during the day. More and more the love of God increased, and my sense of awe before God... It was there one night in my sleep that I heard a voice saying to me: “You have fasted well. Very soon you will return to your native country.” Again after a short while, I heard a someone saying to me: “Look – your ship is ready.” It was not nearby, but a good two hundred miles away. I had never been to the place, nor did I know anyone there. So I ran away then, and left the man with whom I had been for six years. It was in the strength of God that I went – God who turned the direction of my life to good; I feared nothing while I was on the journey to that ship... 
A few years later I was again with my parents in Britain. They welcomed me as a son, and they pleaded with me that, after all the many tribulations I had undergone, I should never leave them again. It was while I was there that I saw, in a vision in the night, a man whose name was Victoricus coming as it were from Ireland with so many letters they could not be counted. He gave me one of these, and I read the beginning of the letter, the voice of the Irish people. While I was reading out the beginning of the letter, I thought I heard at that moment the voice of those who were beside the wood of Voclut, near the western sea. They called out as it were with one voice: “We beg you, holy boy, to come and walk again among us.” This touched my heart deeply, and I could not read any further; I woke up then. Thanks be to God, after many years the Lord granted them what they were calling for.

Ordo for the Second week of Lent (March 12-18)

For notes on the rubrics during Lent, check here, and for links to posts on the saints whose feasts occur during March check here.

St Gregory the Great OSB isn't celebrated in the liturgy this year, but you can read Pope Benedict XVI's General Audience on him here and here.

Friday is the Feast of St Patrick, a solemnity (Class I) in most places, so has I Vespers, and at Lauds and Vespers, commemorations of the ferial day are made.


Sunday 12 March –– Second Sunday of Lent, Class I 

(Note: nothing of the feast of St Gregory appears in the Office this year)

Matins: Invitatory (Non sit vobis), hymn (Ex more), readings and responsories of the Sunday

Lauds: Antiphons, MD 201* ff with psalm scheme 1 (Ps 50, 117, 62); chapter etc, MD 201* ff

Prime to None: Antiphons and chapter verses, MD 204-5* 

Vespers: Psalms and antiphons of Sunday; chapter etc as per I Vespers; versicle and Magnificat antiphon, MD 205*

Monday 13 March – Monday in the second week of Lent, Class III

Matins: Ordinary of Lent; three readings

Lauds: Antiphons and psalms of the psalter; chapter, responsory and hymn from the Ordinary of Lent, MD 190*; Benedictus antiphon and collect of the day, MD 206*

Prime: Antiphon for the season (Vivo ego)

Terce to None: Antiphon, chapter and versicle for the season; collect of Lauds

Vespers: Antiphons and psalms of the psalter; chapter, responsory and hymn from the Ordinary of Lent, MD 193-5*; Magnificat antiphon and collect of the day, MD 206*

Tuesday 14 March – Tuesday in the second week of Lent, Class III

Matins: Ordinary of Lent; three readings

Lauds to Vespers: Ordinary of Lent, MD 190*; canticle antiphons and collects, MD 206-7*

Wednesday 15 March – Wednesday in the second week of Lent, Class III

Matins: Ordinary of Lent; three readings

Lauds to Vespers: Ordinary of Lent, MD 190*; canticle antiphons and collects, MD 207-8*

Thursday 16 March – Thursday in the second week of Lent, Class III

Matins: Ordinary of Lent; three readings

Lauds to Vespers: Ordinary of Lent, MD 190*; canticle antiphons and collects, MD 208-9*

[in some places: I Vespers of St Patrick with a commemoration of the feria, MD 22**]

Friday 17 March - Friday in the second week of Lent, Class III [***in some places, St Patrick, Class I]

For St Patrick, see MD 22** (for Matins, common of a confessor bishop)

Matins: Ordinary of Lent; three readings

Lauds to Vespers: Ordinary of Lent, MD 190*; canticle antiphons and collects, MD 209-10*

Saturday 18 March – Saturday in the second week of Lent, Class III; St Cyril, Memorial

Matins: Ordinary of Lent; three readings

Lauds to None: Ordinary of Lent, MD 190*; canticle antiphons and collects, MD 210*; for the commemoration at Lauds, MD [83]

I Vespers of the Third Sunday of Lent, Antiphons and psalms of Saturday, rest from MD 210* ff