John of the Cross - Poet, Teacher of the Faith (1591)
Lord, you were gracious to your land;
you restored the fortunes of Jacob.
You forgave the offence of your people and covered all their sins.
You laid aside all your fury and turned from your wrathful indignation.
Restore us again, O God our Saviour, and let your anger cease from us.
Will you be displeased with us for ever?
Will you stretch out your wrath from one generation to another?
Will you not give us life again, that your people may rejoice in you?
Show us your mercy, O Lord, and grant us your salvation.
I will listen to what the Lord God will say, for he shall speak peace to his people and to the faithful,
that they turn not again to folly. Truly, his salvation is near to those who fear him, that his glory may dwell in our land.
Mercy and truth are met together, righteousness and peace have kissed each other;
truth shall spring up from the earth and righteousness look down from heaven.
The Lord will indeed give all that is good, and our land will yield its increase. Righteousness shall go before him and direct his steps in the way.
Incline your ear, O Lord, and answer me, for I am poor and in misery.
Preserve my soul, for I am faithful;
save your servant, for I put my trust in you.
Be merciful to me, O Lord, for you are my God;
I call upon you all the day long.
Gladden the soul of your servant, for to you, O Lord, I lift up my soul.
For you, Lord, are good and forgiving,
abounding in steadfast love to all who call upon you.
Give ear, O Lord, to my prayer and listen to the voice of my supplication.
In the day of my distress I will call upon you, for you will answer me.
Among the gods there is none like you, O Lord, nor any works like yours.
All nations you have made shall come and worship you, O Lord, and shall glorify your name.
For you are great and do wonderful things; you alone are God.
Teach me your way, O Lord, and I will walk in your truth;
knit my heart to you, that I may fear your name.
I will thank you, O Lord my God, with all my heart,
and glorify your name for evermore;
For great is your steadfast love towards me,
for you have delivered my soul from the depths of the grave.
O God, the proud rise up against me
and a ruthless horde seek after my life;
they have not set you before their eyes.
But you, Lord, are gracious and full of compassion,
slow to anger and full of kindness and truth.
Turn to me and have mercy upon me;
give your strength to your servant
and save the child of your handmaid.
Show me a token of your favour,
that those who hate me may see it and be ashamed;
because you, O Lord, have helped and comforted me.
Isaiah 48:12 - end
Listen to me, O Jacob,
and Israel, whom I called:
I am He;
I am the first,
and I am the last.
My hand laid the foundation of the earth,
and my right hand spread out the heavens;
when I summon them,
they stand at attention.
Assemble, all of you, and hear!
Who among them has declared these things?
The Lord loves him;
he shall perform his purpose on Babylon,
and his arm shall be against the Chaldeans.
I, even I, have spoken and called him,
I have brought him, and he will prosper in his way.
Draw near to me, hear this!
From the beginning I have not spoken in secret,
from the time it came to be I have been there.
And now the Lord God has sent me and his spirit.
Thus says the Lord,
your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel:
I am the Lord your God,
who teaches you for your own good,
who leads you in the way you should go.
O that you had paid attention to my commandments!
Then your prosperity would have been like a river,
and your success like the waves of the sea;
your offspring would have been like the sand,
and your descendants like its grains;
their name would never be cut off
or destroyed from before me.
Go out from Babylon, flee from Chaldea,
declare this with a shout of joy, proclaim it,
send it forth to the end of the earth;
say, ‘The Lord has redeemed his servant Jacob!’
They did not thirst when he led them through the deserts;
he made water flow for them from the rock;
he split open the rock and the water gushed out.
‘There is no peace’, says the Lord, ‘for the wicked.’
1 Thessalonians 4:1 - 12
Finally, brothers and sisters, we ask and urge you in the Lord Jesus that, as you learned from us how you ought to live and to please God (as, in fact, you are doing), you should do so more and more. For you know what instructions we gave you through the Lord Jesus. For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from fornication; that each one of you knows how to control your own body in holiness and honour, not with lustful passion, like the Gentiles who do not know God; that no one wrongs or exploits a brother or sister in this matter, because the Lord is an avenger in all these things, just as we have already told you beforehand and solemnly warned you. For God did not call us to impurity but in holiness. Therefore whoever rejects this rejects not human authority but God, who also gives his Holy Spirit to you.
Now concerning love of the brothers and sisters, you do not need to have anyone write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love one another; and indeed you do love all the brothers and sisters throughout Macedonia. But we urge you, beloved, to do so more and more, to aspire to live quietly, to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we directed you, so that you may behave properly towards outsiders and be dependent on no one.
O God, the judge of all,
who gave your servant John of the Cross
a warmth of nature,
a strength of purpose
and a mystical faith
that sustained him even in the darkness:
shed your light on all who love you
and grant them union of body and soul
in your Son Jesus Christ our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever. Amen.