The Six Prophecies
These six readings are a subset of the twelve from the Easter vigil, and they are all looking forward to the redemption of Israel, and in particular the establishment of the sacrament of baptism, which is our passport into eternal life. The collects are different, however.
Genesis 22: 1-19
In those days, God tempted Abraham, and said to him, Abraham, Abraham: and he answered, Here I am. He said to him, Take thy only-begotten son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and go into the land of vision; and there thou shalt offer him for an holocaust upon one of the mountains which I will show thee. So Abraham rising up in the night, saddled his ass, and took with him two young men, and Isaac his son; and when he had cut wood for the holocaust, he went his way to the place which God had commanded him. And on the third day, lifting up his eyes he saw the place afar off; and he said to his young men, Stay you here with the ass: I and the boy will go with speed as far as yonder, and, after we have worshipped will return to you. And he took the wood for the holocaust, and laid it upon Isaac his son: and he himself carried in his hands fire and a sword. And as they two went on together, Isaac said to his father, My father; and he answered, What wilt thou, son? Behold, saith he, fire and wood; where is the victim for the holocaust? And Abraham said, God will provide Himself a victim for a holocaust, my son. So they went on together; and they came to the place which God had showed him, where he built an altar, and laid the wood in order upon it; and when he had bound Isaac his son, he laid him on the altar upon the pile of wood; and he put forth his hand, and took the sword to sacrifice his son. And behold an angel of the Lord from heaven called to him, saying, Abraham, Abraham;and he answered, Here I am. And he said to him, Lay not thy hand upon the boy, neither do thou anything to him; now I know that thou fearest God, and hast not spared thy only-begotten son for My sake. Abraham lifted up his eyes, and saw behind his back a ram amongst the briars, sticking fast by the horns, which he took and offered for a holocaust instead of his son. And he called the name of that place, The Lord Seeth. Whereupon even to this day it is said, in the mountain the Lord will see. And the angel of the Lord called to Abraham a second time from heaven, saying, By My own self have I sworn, saith the Lord; because thou hast done this thing, and hast not spared thy only-begotten son for My sake, I will bless thee, and I will multiply thy seed as the stars of heaven, and as the sand that is by the seashore; thy seed shall possess the gates of their enemies, and in thy seed shall all nations of the earth be blessed, because thou hast obeyed My voice. Abraham returned to his young men, and they went to Bersabee together, and he dwelt there.
Deus, qui in Abrahae famuli tui opere, humano generi obedientiae exempla praebuisti: concede nobis, et nostrae voluntatis pravitatem frangere, et tuorum praeceptorum rectitudinem in omnibus adimplere.
Let us pray.
O God, who in the action of Thy servant Abraham hast given to mankind an example of obedience, grant us both to conquer the perverseness of our will and to fulfil in all things Thy righteous commands. Through our Lord.
In those days, the morning watch was come, and behold the Lord, looking upon the Egyptian army through the pillar of fire and of the cloud, slew their host, and overthrew the wheels of the chariots, and they were carried into the deep. And the Egyptians said, Let us flee from Israel, for the Lord fighteth for them against us. And the Lord said to Moses, Stretch forth thy hand over the sea, that the waters may come again upon the Egyptians, upon their chariots and horsemen. And when Moses had stretched forth his hand toward the sea, it returned, at the first break of day, to the former place; and as the Egyptians were fleeing away, the waters came upon them, and the Lord shut them up in the middle of the waves. And the waters returned, and covered the chariots and the horsemen of all the army of Pharao, who had come into the sea after them, neither did there so much as one of them remain. But the children of Israel marched through the midst of the sea upon dry land, and the waters were to them as a wall on the right hand and on the left: and the Lord delivered Israel in that day out of the hand of the Egyptians. And they saw the Egyptians dead upon the seashore, and the mighty hand that the Lord had used against them: and the people feared the Lord, and they believed the Lord, and Moses His servant. Then Moses and the children of Israel sung this canticle to the Lord and said:
Tract. Exodus 15:1-2
Let us sing to the Lord, for He is gloriously magnified: the horse and the rider He hath thrown into the sea: He is become my helper and protector unto salvation.
V. He is my God, and I will glorify Him: the God of my Father, and I will exalt Him.
V. The Lord crushing wars; the Lord is His name.
Deus, qui primis temporibus impleta miracula novi testamenti luce reserasti, ut et Mare Rubrum forma sacri fontis exsisteret, et liberata plebs ab Aegyptiaca servitute, christiani populi sacramenta praeferret: da, ut omnes gentes Israelis privilegium merito fidei consecutae, Spiritus tui participatione regenerentur.
Let us Pray.
O God, who by the light of the New Testament hast made clear to us the miracles wrought in earliest times, prefiguring unto us the Red Sea as an image of the sacred font, and who in the deliverance of Thy people from the bondage of Egypt, hast foreshadowed the sacraments of the Christian dispensation; grant that all nations who have merited by faith the privilege of the children of Israel, may be born again by partaking of Thy holy Spirit.
Deuteronomy 31: 22-30
In those days, Moses wrote the canticle and taught it the children of Israel. And the Lord commanded Josue the son of Nun, and said, Take courage, and be valiant; for thou shalt bring the children of Israel into the land which I have promised, and I will be with thee. Therefore after Moses had wrote the words of this law in a volume, and finished it; he commanded the Levites, who carried the ark of the covenant of the Lord, saying, Take this book, and put it in the side of the ark of the covenant of the Lord your God, that it may be there for a testimony against thee. For I know thy obstinacy, and thy most stiff neck. While I am yet living, and going in with you, you have always been rebellious against the Lord; how much more when I shall be dead? Gather unto me all the ancients of your tribes, and your doctors, and I will speak these words in their hearing, and will call heaven and earth to witness against them. For I know that, after my death, you will do wickedly, and will quickly turn aside from the way that I have commanded you: and evils shall come upon you in the latter times, when you shall do evil in the sight of the Lord, to provoke Him by the works of your hands. Moses therefore spoke, in the hearing of the whole assembly of Israel, the words of this canticle, and finished it even to the end.
Tract. Deuteronomy 32:1-4
Hear, O Heaven, and I will speak: and let the earth give ear to the words out of my mouth.
V. Let my speech be expected like rain; and my words descend like dew.
V. As a shower upon the grass, and like snow upon hay: because I will invoke the name of the Lord.
V. Give ye magnificence to our God: God's works are true, and all His ways are judgments. V.God is faithful, in whom there is no iniquity: the Lord is just and holy.
Deus, glorificatio fidelium, et vita justorum, qui per Moysen famulum tuum nos quoque modulatione sacri carminis erudisti : universis gentibus misericordiae tuae munus operare, tribuendo beatitudinem, auferendo terrorem; ut, quod pronuntiatum est ad supplicium in remedium transferatur aeternum.
Let us Pray.
O God, the glory of the faithful and the life of the just, who by Moses Thy servant didst teach us by the singing of sacred canticles; accomplish the work of Thy mercy among all nations by granting them happiness and dispelling their fears, that the punishment with which they are threatened may become a remedy unto eternal life.
Isaias 4: 1-6
In that day, seven women shall take hold of one man, saying, We will eat our own bread, and wear our own apparel only let us be called by thy name; take away our reproach. In that day, the bud of the Lord shall be in magnificence and glory, and the fruit of the earth shall be high, and a great joy to them that shall have escaped of Israel. And it shall come to pass, that every one that shall be left in Sion, and that shall remain in Jerusalem, shall be called holy, every one that is written in life in Jerusalem. If the Lord shall wash away the filth of the daughters of Sion, and shall wash away the blood of Jerusalem out of the midst thereof, by the spirit of judgment, and by the spirit of burning. And the Lord will create upon every place of Mount Sion, and where He is called upon, a cloud by day, and a smoke and the brightness of a flaming fire in the night; for over all the glory shall be a protection. And there shall be a tabernacle for a shade in the daytime from the heat, and for a security and covert from the whirlwind and from rain.
Tract. Isaias 5:1-2
The beloved had a vineyard on a hill in a fruitful place.
V. And he surrounded it with a wall, and dug round about it, and he planted the vine of Sorec, and built a tower in the midst of it.
V. And he dug a wine-press therein: for the vineyard of the Lord of hosts is the house of Israel.
Omnipotens sempiterne Deus, qui per unicum Filium tuum, Ecclesiae tuae demonstrasti te esse cultorem, omnem palmitem, fructum in eodem Christo tuo, qui vera vitis est, afferentem, clementer excolens, ut fructus afferat ampliores: fidelibus tuis, quos velut vineam ex Aegypto per fontem baptismi transtulisti, nullae peccatorum spinae praevaleant; ut Spiritus tui sanctificatione muniti, perpetua fruge ditentur.
Let us pray.
O almighty and everlasting God, who through Thine only Son hast shown Thy care for Thy Church, by mercifully cultivating every branch bearing fruit in the same Thy Christ, who is the true vine, that it may bear fruit more abundantly ; grant that no thorns of sin may prevail against Thy faithful, whom like a vine Thou hast brought out of Egypt through the font of baptism ; so that assisted by Thy sanctifying Spirit they may ever be enriched with everlasting fruit.
Baruch 3: 9-38
Hear, O Israel, the commandments of life: give ear, that thou mayest learn wisdom. How happeneth it, O Israel, that thou art in thy enemies' land? Thou art grown old in a strange country: thou art defiled with the dead; thou art counted with them that go down into hell. Thou hast forsaken the fountain of wisdom; for if thou hadst walked in the way of God thou hadst surely dwelt in peace forever. Learn where is wisdom, where is strength, where is understanding, that thou mayest know also where is length of days and life, where is the light of the eyes, and peace. Who hath found out her place? and who hath gone into her treasures? Where are the princes of the nations and they that rule over the beasts that are upon the earth? that take their pastime with the birds of the air, that hoard up silver and gold, wherein men trust; and there is no end of their getting? who work in silver and are solicitous, and their works are unsearchable? They are cut off, and are gone down to hell, and others are risen up in their place. Young men have seen the light, and dwelt upon the earth, but the way of knowledge they have not known; nor have they understood the paths thereof, neither have their children received it; it is far from their face. It hath not been heard of in the land of Chanaan, neither hath it been seen in Theman. The children of Agar also, that search after the wisdom that is of the earth, the merchants of Merrha, and of Theman, and the tellers of fables, and searchers of prudence and understanding; but the way of wisdom they have not known, neither have they remembered her paths. O Israel, how great is the house of God, and how vast is the place of His possession! It is great, and hath no end; it is high and immense. There were the giants, those renowned men that were from the beginning, of great stature, expert in war. The Lord chose not them, neither did they find the way of knowledge; therefore did they perish. And because they had not wisdom they perished through their folly. Who hath gone up into heaven, and taken her, and brought her down from the clouds? Who hath passed over the sea, and found her, and brought her preferably to chosen gold? There is none that is able to know her ways, nor that can search out her paths. But He that knoweth all things knoweth her, and hath found her out with His understanding: He that prepared the earth forevermore, and filled it with cattle and four-footed beasts: He that sendeth forth light, and it goeth, and hath called it, and it obeyeth Him with trembling. And the stars have given light in their watches, and rejoiced. They were called, and they said, Here we are; and with cheerfulness they have shined forth to Him that made them. This is our God, and there shall no other be accounted of in comparison with Him. He found out all the way of knowledge, and gave it to Israel His servant, and to Israel His beloved. Afterwards He was seen upon earth and conversed with men.
Deus, qui nobis per prophetarum ora praecepisti temporalis relinquere, atque ad aeterna festinare: da famulis tuis; ut, quae a te jussa cognovimus, implere caelesti inspiratione valeamus.
Let us Pray.
O God, who by the mouth of the prophets hast commanded us to relinquish the things of this world and to hasten after those that are eternal; grant to us Thy servants, that knowing Thy commandments, we may fulfil them by Thy heavenly inspiration.
Ezechiel 37: 1-14
In those days, the hand of the Lord was upon me, anti brought me forth in the spirit of the Lord, and set me down in the midst of a plain that was full of bones; and He led me about through them on every side: now there were very many upon the face of the plain, and they were exceeding dry. And He said to me, Son of man, dost thou think these bones shall live? And I answered, O Lord God, Thou knowest. And He said to me, Prophesy concerning these bones, and say to them, Ye dry bones, hear the word of the Lord. Thus saith the Lord God to these bones, Behold, I will send spirit into you, and you shall live, and I will lay sinews upon you, arid will cause flesh to grow over you, and will cover you with skin; and I will give you spirit, and you shall live, and you shall know that I am the Lord. And I prophesied as He had commanded me; and as I prophesied there was a noise, and behold a commotion; and the bones came together, each one to its joint. And I saw, and behold the sinews and the flesh came up upon them, and the skin was stretched out over them, but there was no spirit in them:And He said to me, Prophesy to the spirit; prophesy, O son of man, and say to the spirit, Thus saith the Lord God, Come, spirit from the four winds, and blow upon these slain, and let them live again. And I prophesied as He had commanded me; and the spirit came into them; and they lived; and they stood up upon their feet, an exceeding great army. And He said to me, Son of man, all these bones are the house of Israel. They say, Our bones are dried up, and our hope is lost, and we are cut off. Therefore prophesy, and say to them, Thus saith the Lord God, I will open your graves, and will bring you out of your sepulchres, O My people, and will bring you out into the land of Israel; and you shall know that I am the Lord, when I shall have opened your sepulchres, and shall have brought you out of your graves, O My people; and shall have put My spirit in you, and you shall live, and I shall make you rest upon your own land; saith the Lord almighty.
Domine, Deus virtutum, qui collapsa reparas, et reparata conservas: auge populos in tui nominis sanctificatione renovandos; ut omnes, qui sacro baptismate diluuntur, tua semper inspiratione dirigantur.
Let us Pray.
O Lord, God of hosts, who dost restore what is fallen and preserves! what Thou hast restored, increase the number of those to be renewed in Thy holy name; that all who are washed in holy baptism may ever be guided by Thy holy inspiration.