T02 – Psalm 119 – A Tool for the Lenten Journey


Psalm 119:1-32

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Subject matter of this talk is the first four sections of Psalm 119, verses 1 to 32.

Click here to download a transcript of this talk.

Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the Lord.

Blessed are they that keep his testimonies, and that seek him with the whole heart.

They also do no iniquity: they walk in his ways.

Thou hast commanded us to keep thy precepts diligently.

O that my ways were directed to keep thy statutes!

Then shall I not be ashamed, when I have respect unto all thy commandments.

I will praise thee with uprightness of heart, when I shall have learned thy righteous judgments.

I will keep thy statutes: O forsake me not utterly.

Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word.

10 With my whole heart have I sought thee: O let me not wander from thy commandments.

11 Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.

12 Blessed art thou, O Lord: teach me thy statutes.

13 With my lips have I declared all the judgments of thy mouth.

14 I have rejoiced in the way of thy testimonies, as much as in all riches.

15 I will meditate in thy precepts, and have respect unto thy ways.

16 I will delight myself in thy statutes: I will not forget thy word.

17 Deal bountifully with thy servant, that I may live, and keep thy word.

18 Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law.

19 I am a stranger in the earth: hide not thy commandments from me.

20 My soul breaketh for the longing that it hath unto thy judgments at all times.

21 Thou hast rebuked the proud that are cursed, which do err from thy commandments.

22 Remove from me reproach and contempt; for I have kept thy testimonies.

23 Princes also did sit and speak against me: but thy servant did meditate in thy statutes.

24 Thy testimonies also are my delight and my counselors.

25 My soul cleaveth unto the dust: quicken thou me according to thy word.

26 I have declared my ways, and thou heardest me: teach me thy statutes.

27 Make me to understand the way of thy precepts: so shall I talk of thy wondrous works.

28 My soul melteth for heaviness: strengthen thou me according unto thy word.

29 Remove from me the way of lying: and grant me thy law graciously.

30 I have chosen the way of truth: thy judgments have I laid before me.

31 I have stuck unto thy testimonies: O Lord, put me not to shame.

32 I will run the way of thy commandments, when thou shalt enlarge my heart.



N011 – Ash Wednesday

Ash Wednesday

The Introit. Wisdom 11:22-23. (v 23-26) (Misereris omnis) Thou hast mercy upon all, O Lord, and hatest nothing that thou hast created: and winkest at the sins of men, because they should amend and sparest them: for thou art the Lord our God. Ps.57:1. (v 1) In thee, O Lord, have I put my trust; let me never be put to confusion: deliverme in thy righteI Be merciful Be merciful unto me, O God, be merciful unto me, for my soul trusteth in thee.

For the Epistle: Joel 2:12-19

Gradual: Ps. 57:1,3. Be merciful unto me, O God, be merciful unto me: for my soul trusteth in thee. He shall send from heaven, and save me from the reproof of him that would eat me up.

Tract. Ps. 103:10. O Lord, deal not with us after our sins; nor reward us according to our wickednesses. Ps. 79:8-9. Lord, remember not our old sins, but have mercy upon us and that soon: for we are come to great misery. Help us, O God of our salvation, for the glory of thy Name, O Lord: O deliver us and be merciful unto our sins, for thy Name’s sake.

Gospel. St. Matthew 6:16-21

Offertory. Ps. 119:12. Blessed art thou, O Lord: O teach me thy statutes. With my lips have I been telling of all the judgments of thy mouth.

Communion. Ps. 1:2-3. He who doth meditate on the law of the Lord day and night will bring forth his fruit in due season.   

If you wish a copy of the transcript of this podcast,  click here to download a PDF Transcript.



N010 – Quinquagesima Sunday

Quinquagesima Sunday

The 1st Sunday before Lent – 50 Days before Easter

The Collect. O Lord, who hast taught us that all our doings without charity are nothing worth; Send thy Holy Ghost, and pour into our hearts that most excellent gift of charity, the very bond of peace and of all virtues, without which whosoever liveth is counted dead before thee. Grant this for thine only Son Jesus Christ’s sake: Who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the same Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. Amen.

The Introit. Ps 31 (Esto mihi) Be thou my strong rock and house of defense that thou mayest save me: for thou art my strong rock and my castle, be thou also my guide and lead me for thy Name’s sake. Ps ibid. In thee, O Lord, have I put my trust; let me never be put to confusion: deliver me in thy righteousness and save me.

Epistle. 1st Corinthians 13:1-13 (St Paul tells of the importance of charity; he then tells us that we must grow in the faith. We must put away childish things and take on adult things. We must put on faith, hope, and charity; of these the greatest is charity.)

Gradual. Ps. 87. Thou art the God that only doeth wonders: and hast declared thy power among the people. Thou hast mightily delivered thy people, even the sons of Jacob and Joseph.

Tract. Ps 100 O be joyful in the Lord, all ye lands: serve the Lord with gladness. Come before his presence with a song: be ye sure that the Lord, he is God. It is he that hath made us and not we ourselves: we are his people and the sheep of his pasture.

Gospel. St. Luke 18:31-43 (Jesus foretells His Passion, Death, and Resurrection to the Apostles, then proceeds to Jerusalem. On the way there, near Jericho, He encountered a blind beggar and restored his sight when asked.)

Offertory. Ps 119 Blessed art thou, O Lord: O teach me thy statutes. With my lips have I been telling of all the judgments of thy mouth.

Communion Ps 78 They did eat and were well filled, for the Lord gave them their own desire: they were not disappointed of their lust.

At the Divine Office – Benedictus and Magnificat Antiphons

 At 1st  Vespers: Mighty Abraham, the father of our faith, offered a burnt offering upon the altar, instead of his son.

At Matins: Behold, we go up to Jerusalem, and all things that are written concerning the Son of man shall be accomplished: for he shall be delivered unto the Gentiles, and shall be mocked, and spitted on; and thy shall scourge him, and put him to death; and the third day he shall rise again.

At 2nd Vespers: And Jesus stood, and commanded him to be brought unto him, and asked him, saying: what wilt thou that I shall do unto thee? Lord, that I may receive my sight. And Jesus said unto him, Receive thy sight, thy faith hath saved thee. And straightway he received his sight, and followed him, glorifying God.

If you wish to have a copy of this talk click here to download a PDF file.

N009 – Sexagesima Sunday

Sexagesima Sunday

The 2nd Sunday before Lent – 60 Days before Easter

The Collect. O Lord God, who seest that we put not our trust in anything that we do: mercifully grant that by thy power, we may be defended against all adversity. Through Jesus Christ thy Son, our Lord: Who liveth and reigneth with thee…

The Introit. Ps 44 (Exsurge) Arise, O Lord, wherefore sleepest thou? awake and cast us not away for ever: wherefore hidest thou thy countenance and forgettest our trouble? our belly cleaveth unto the ground; arise, O Lord, help us and deliver us. Ps ibid. O God, we have heard with our ears: our fathers have told us.

Epistle. 2nd Corinthians 9:19-23, 12:1-9 (St Paul tells of all the sufferings which he has undergone for Christ so that we follow his example of patience.)

Gradual Ps. 83. Let the nations know that thou whose Name is Jehovah art only the Most Highest over all the earth. O my God, make them like unto a wheel, and as the stubble before the wind.

Tract Ps 60 Thou hast moved the land, O Lord, and divided it. Heal the sores thereof, for it shaketh. That they may triumph because of the truth, that  thy beloved may be delivered.

Gospel. St. Luke 8:4-15 (The parable of the sower who sowed side by the wayside, on rock, among thorns, and on good ground. That which was sown on the good ground grew and bore a hundredfold; the others did not.)

Offertory Ps 17 O hold thou up my goings in thy paths that my footsteps slip not. Incline thine ear to me and hearken unto my words. Show thy marvelous loving-kindness, O Lord, thou that art the Saviour of them that put their trust in thee.

Communion Ps 43 I will go unto the altar of God: even unto the God of my joy and gladness.

At the Divine Office – Benedictus and Magnificat Antiphons

 At 1st  Vespers: The Lord said unto Noah: The end of all flesh is come before me: make thee an ark of gopher wood, that therein the seed of all flesh may be saved.

At Matins: When much people were gathered together to Jesus, and were come to him out of every city, he spake by a parable: A sower went out to sow his seed.

At 2nd Vespers: Unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven: but to others in parables, said Jesus to his disciples.

If you wish a copy of these minor propers, click to download PDF.

If you wish to have a copy of the transcript of the podcast click to downoad PDF.

Odds & Ends

The first of eight podcasts on Psalm 119 was published yesterday. This is in the Tools of the Spiritual Life series for 2017.

Notes from the Subdeacon will continue to be published. Most of the time there has already been one set of Minor Propers published as well as a talk relating to those propers. When I republish, I plan to use the same Minor Proper (unless I find an error!!) except for those days when for some reason they were were not covered last year.

Regarding the podcasts:  I need to devote time to some other projects this year so my Notes from the Subdeacon podcasts will be based on the materials I prepared last year, but I will record them anew and will probably add additional materials or insights as God gives me the inspiration.

Subdeacon Joseph

Miscellaneous Notes

For your information, this year during the Septuagesima & Lent season, There will be a weekly Notes from the Subdeacon and also a weekly Tools for the Spiritual Life. The later will consist of eight talks on Psalm 119.

I want to remind you that the primary content for these talks are the podcasts. While I do provide a “transcript” for each talk, this does not always include everything I cover in the actual podcast. So please be sure to actually download the podcasts!

I really would appreciate feedback on these talks. To date, I have received none from subscribers. While I would like to assume that I am so perfectly fulfilling your expectations and needs that no comment is needed, I really don’t think that’s the case! So please, if you have anything to offer, particularly if it is a complaint or criticism please either leave it as a comment on the post or email me at: subdeacon.joseph@gmail.com.

Concerning Sources: I trust that it is clear to you that I go to a good number of sources to find things which I hope will be of interest. Since I’m not writing a scholarly document (like my M.A. thesis) I generally to not provide full bibliographic references for everything I use.  Where I’m going to use something from someone beside myself, I do try to let the listener that I’m quoting or paraphrasing a source. If you are interested in my sources, please feel free to contact me and I’ll be glad to supply the information.

My overarching goal is to provide you with the best of our Western Orthodox Christian Tradition as it relates to the topic at hand. Anything good you find in the work comes from that (or from God), mistakes and errors, however, are all my own!



T01 – Psalm 119 – A Tool for the Lenten Journey


For this series, I have excerpted from the Manual of Plainsong Psalm 119 complete, along with the plainsong tones for each of the 22 parts. Download this by clicking Download File. Be patient, as it is rather long. This is the only English plainsong version I have found which has the text fully pointed for chanting. The text itself is from the Book of Common Prayer.

Also, we will occasionally talk about the letters of the Hebrew alphabet. Here is a table showing them, arranged in order left to right, top to bottom.

Through these talks, reference will be made from time to time to the four different senses or levels of Holy Scripture. Click Download File to download a short PDF file which sets out what these are.

A transcript of the talk is available here: PDF file for download

N008 – Septuagesima Sunday

Septuagesima Sunday

The Third Sunday before Lent – 70 Days before Easter

The Collect. O Lord, we beseech thee favourably to hear the prayers of thy people; that we, who are justly punished for our offences, may be mercifully delivered by thy goodness, for the glory of thy Name. Through Jesus Christ, our Lord, etc.

The Introit. Ps. 18 (Circumdederunt) The sorrows of death compassed me, the pains of hell came about me: and in my tribulation I called upon the Lord, and he heard my voice out of his holy temple. Ps. ibid. I will love thee, O Lord my strength: the Lord is my stony rock, my fortress, and my Saviour.

Epistle.  I Corinthians 9:24-27, 10:1-5 (St. Paul likens the struggle we engage in for spiritual growth to the training of an athlete. If athletes work so hard for an earthly prize, why do we not work hard for a heavenly one: life eternal with God.)

Gradual Ps. 9. A refuge in the time of trouble; they that know thy Name will put their trust in thee: for thou Lord never failest them that seek thee. For the poor shall not always be forgotten; the patient abiding of the meek shall not perish for ever: up Lord and let not man have the upper hand.

Tract. Ps. 130. Out of the deep have I called unto thee, O Lord: Lord, hear my voice. O let thine ears consider well the voice of my complaint. If thou, Lord, wilt be extreme to mark what is done amiss: O Lord, who may abide it? For there is mercy with thee: therefore shalt thou be feared.

Gospel. St. Mastthew 20:1-16 (The parable of the man who hires laborers for his vineyard very early, then 4 more times during the day and paid them all the same wage.)

Offertory. Ps.92. It is a good thing to give thanks unto the Lord, and to sing praises unto thy Name, O most Highest.

Communion. Ps. 31. Show thy servant the light of thy countenance and save me for thy mercies’ sake: let me not be confounded, O Lord, for I have called upon thee.

At the Divine Office – Benedictus and Magnificat Antiphons

 At 1st  Vespers: The Lord said unto Adam, Of the tree which is in the midst of the garden thou shalt not eat: for in the day that thou eatest thereof, you shalt surely die.

At Matins: The kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is an householder, which went out early in the morning to hire labourers into his vineyard, saith the Lord.

At 2nd Vespers: The householder saith unto the labourers, Why stand ye here all the day idle? They say unto him, Because no man hath hired us. Go ye also into the vineyard, and what soever is right, I will give you.

Click HERE to download a PDF copy of these Minor Propers.

Click HERE to download a PDF transcript of this talk