Martin, Bishop of Tours, c.397
The heavens are telling the glory of God and the firmament proclaims his handiwork. One day pours out its song to another and one night unfolds knowledge to another. They have neither speech nor language and their voices are not heard, Yet their sound has gone out into all lands and their words to the ends of the world. In them has he set a tabernacle for the sun, that comes forth as a bridegroom out of his chamber and rejoices as a champion to run his course. It goes forth from the end of the heavens and runs to the very end again, and there is nothing hidden from its heat. The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure and gives wisdom to the simple.
The statutes of the Lord are right and rejoice the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure and gives light to the eyes. The fear of the Lord is clean and endures for ever; the judgements of the Lord are true and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, more than much fine gold, sweeter also than honey, dripping from the honeycomb.
By them also is your servant taught and in keeping them there is great reward.
Who can tell how often they offend? O cleanse me from my secret faults!
Keep your servant also from presumptuous sins lest they get dominion over me; so shall I be undefiled, and innocent of great offence. Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my strength and my redeemer.
May the Lord hear you in the day of trouble, the name of the God of Jacob defend you;
Send you help from his sanctuary and strengthen you out of Zion; Remember all your offerings and accept your burnt sacrifice; Grant you your heart’s desire and fulfil all your mind. May we rejoice in your salvation and triumph in the name of our God; may the Lord perform all your petitions. Now I know that the Lord will save his anointed; he will answer him from his holy heaven, with the mighty strength of his right hand. Some put their trust in chariots and some in horses, but we will call only on the name of the Lord our God.
They are brought down and fallen, but we are risen and stand upright. O Lord, save the king and answer us when we call upon you.
Ah, you who join house to house, who add field to field, until there is room for no one but you, and you are left to live alone in the midst of the land!
The Lord of hosts has sworn in my hearing: Surely many houses shall be desolate, large and beautiful houses, without inhabitant. For ten acres of vineyard shall yield but one bath, and a homer of seed shall yield a mere ephah.
Ah, you who rise early in the morning in pursuit of strong drink, who linger in the evening to be inflamed by wine, whose feasts consist of lyre and harp, tambourine and flute and wine,
but who do not regard the deeds of the Lord, or see the work of his hands! Therefore my people go into exile without knowledge; their nobles are dying of hunger, and their multitude is parched with thirst.
Therefore Sheol has enlarged its appetite and opened its mouth beyond measure; the nobility of Jerusalem and her multitude go down, her throng and all who exult in her. People are bowed down, everyone is brought low, and the eyes of the haughty are humbled. But the Lord of hosts is exalted by justice, and the Holy God shows himself holy by righteousness. Then the lambs shall graze as in their pasture, fatlings and kids shall feed among the ruins.
Ah, you who drag iniquity along with cords of falsehood, who drag sin along as with cart-ropes, who say, ‘Let him make haste, let him speed his work that we may see it; let the plan of the Holy One of Israel hasten to fulfilment, that we may know it!’ Ah, you who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!
Ah, you who are wise in your own eyes, and shrewd in your own sight!
Ah, you who are heroes in drinking wine and valiant at mixing drink, who acquit the guilty for a bribe, and deprive the innocent of their rights!
Therefore, as the tongue of fire devours the stubble, and as dry grass sinks down in the flame, so their root will become rotten, and their blossom go up like dust; for they have rejected the instruction of the Lord of hosts, and have despised the word of the Holy One of Israel.
Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and curing every disease and every sickness among the people. So his fame spread throughout all Syria, and they brought to him all the sick, those who were afflicted with various diseases and pains, demoniacs, epileptics, and paralytics, and he cured them. And great crowds followed him from Galilee, the Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judea, and from beyond the Jordan.
When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain; and after he sat down, his disciples came to him. Then he began to speak, and taught them, saying:
‘Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
‘Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
‘Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
‘Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
‘Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.
‘Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
‘Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
‘Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
‘Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
God all powerful,
who called Martin from the armies of this world to be a faithful soldier of Christ:
give us grace to follow him in his love and compassion for the needy,
and enable your Church to claim for all people their inheritance as children of God;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.