Cyril and Methodius, Missionaries to the Slavs, 869 and 885
Valentine, Martyr at Rome, c.269
In you, O Lord, have I taken refuge; let me never be put to shame; deliver me in your righteousness.
Incline your ear to me; make haste to deliver me.
Be my strong rock, a fortress to save me, for you are my rock and my stronghold; guide me, and lead me for your name’s sake.
Take me out of the net that they have laid secretly for me, for you are my strength.
Into your hands I commend my spirit, for you have redeemed me, O Lord God of truth.
I hate those who cling to worthless idols; I put my trust in the Lord.
I will be glad and rejoice in your mercy, for you have seen my affliction and known my soul in adversity.
You have not shut me up in the hand of the enemy; you have set my feet in an open place.
Have mercy on me, Lord, for I am in trouble; my eye is consumed with sorrow, my soul and my body also. For my life is wasted with grief, and my years with sighing; my strength fails me because of my affliction, and my bones are consumed. I have become a reproach to all my enemies and even to my neighbours, an object of dread to my acquaintances; when they see me in the street they flee from me. I am forgotten like one that is dead, out of mind; I have become like a broken vessel. For I have heard the whispering of the crowd; fear is on every side; they scheme together against me, and plot to take my life.
But my trust is in you, O Lord. I have said,
‘You are my God. My times are in your hand; deliver me from the hand of my enemies, and from those who persecute me. Make your face to shine upon your servant, and save me for your mercy’s sake.’
Lord, let me not be confounded for I have called upon you; but let the wicked be put to shame; let them be silent in the grave.
Let the lying lips be put to silence that speak against the righteous with arrogance, disdain and contempt.
How abundant is your goodness, O Lord, which you have laid up for those who fear you; which you have prepared in the sight of all
for those who put their trust in you. You hide them in the shelter of your presence from those who slander them; you keep them safe in your refuge from the strife of tongues. Blessed be the Lord! For he has shown me his steadfast love when I was as a city besieged. I had said in my alarm,
‘I have been cut off from the sight of your eyes.’
Nevertheless, you heard the voice of my prayer when I cried out to you.
Love the Lord, all you his servants; for the Lord protects the faithful, but repays to the full the proud.
Be strong and let your heart take courage, all you who wait in hope for the Lord
The Lord spoke to Moses on Mount Sinai, saying: Speak to the people of Israel and say to them: When you enter the land that I am giving you, the land shall observe a sabbath for the Lord. For six years you shall sow your field, and for six years you shall prune your vineyard, and gather in their yield; but in the seventh year there shall be a sabbath of complete rest for the land, a sabbath for the Lord: you shall not sow your field or prune your vineyard. You shall not reap the aftergrowth of your harvest or gather the grapes of your unpruned vine: it shall be a year of complete rest for the land. You may eat what the land yields during its sabbath—you, your male and female slaves, your hired and your bound labourers who live with you; for your livestock also, and for the wild animals in your land all its yield shall be for food.
You shall count off seven weeks of years, seven times seven years, so that the period of seven weeks of years gives forty-nine years. Then you shall have the trumpet sounded loud; on the tenth day of the seventh month—on the day of atonement—you shall have the trumpet sounded throughout all your land. And you shall hallow the fiftieth year and you shall proclaim liberty throughout the land to all its inhabitants. It shall be a jubilee for you: you shall return, every one of you, to your property and every one of you to your family. That fiftieth year shall be a jubilee for you: you shall not sow, or reap the aftergrowth, or harvest the unpruned vines. For it is a jubilee; it shall be holy to you: you shall eat only what the field itself produces.
In this year of jubilee you shall return, every one of you, to your property. When you make a sale to your neighbour or buy from your neighbour, you shall not cheat one another. When you buy from your neighbour, you shall pay only for the number of years since the jubilee; the seller shall charge you only for the remaining crop-years. If the years are more, you shall increase the price, and if the years are fewer, you shall diminish the price; for it is a certain number of harvests that are being sold to you. You shall not cheat one another, but you shall fear your God; for I am the Lord your God.
You shall observe my statutes and faithfully keep my ordinances, so that you may live on the land securely. The land will yield its fruit, and you will eat your fill and live on it securely. Should you ask, ‘What shall we eat in the seventh year, if we may not sow or gather in our crop?’ I will order my blessing for you in the sixth year, so that it will yield a crop for three years. When you sow in the eighth year, you will be eating from the old crop; until the ninth year, when its produce comes in, you shall eat the old. The land shall not be sold in perpetuity, for the land is mine; with me you are but aliens and tenants. Throughout the land that you hold, you shall provide for the redemption of the land.
1 Timothy 5.1-16
Do not speak harshly to an older man, but speak to him as to a father, to younger men as brothers, to older women as mothers, to younger women as sisters—with absolute purity.
Honour widows who are really widows. If a widow has children or grandchildren, they should first learn their religious duty to their own family and make some repayment to their parents; for this is pleasing in God’s sight. The real widow, left alone, has set her hope on God and continues in supplications and prayers night and day; but the widow who lives for pleasure is dead even while she lives. Give these commands as well, so that they may be above reproach. And whoever does not provide for relatives, and especially for family members, has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.
Let a widow be put on the list if she is not less than sixty years old and has been married only once; she must be well attested for her good works, as one who has brought up children, shown hospitality, washed the saints’ feet, helped the afflicted, and devoted herself to doing good in every way. But refuse to put younger widows on the list; for when their sensual desires alienate them from Christ, they want to marry, and so they incur condemnation for having violated their first pledge. Besides that, they learn to be idle, gadding about from house to house; and they are not merely idle, but also gossips and busybodies, saying what they should not say. So I would have younger widows marry, bear children, and manage their households, so as to give the adversary no occasion to revile us. For some have already turned away to follow Satan. If any believing woman has relatives who are really widows, let her assist them; let the church not be burdened, so that it can assist those who are real widows.
Lord of all,
who gave to your servants Cyril and Methodius the gift of tongues to proclaim the gospel to the Slavs:
make your whole Church one as you are one that all Christians may honour one another,
and east and west acknowledge one Lord, one faith, one baptism, and you, the God and Father of all;
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.