Prayer Before Reading Holy Scripture
O Master Who loves mankind, illuminate our hearts with the pure light of Your divine knowledge and open the eyes of our mind to understand the teachings of Your Gospel. Instill in us also the fear of Your blessed commandments, that we may overcome all carnal desires, entering upon a spiritual life and understanding and acting in all things according to Your holy will. For You are the enlightenment of our souls and bodies, O Christ God, and to You we give glory together with Your eternal Father and Your all-holy, gracious and life-giving Spirit, now and ever and forever. Amen.
For you yourselves know, brethren, that our coming to you was not in vain.
But even after we had suffered before and were spitefully treated at Philippi, as you know, we were bold in our God to speak to you the gospel of God in much conflict.
For our exhortation did not come from deceit or uncleanness, nor was it in guile.
But as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, even so we speak, not as pleasing men, but God who tests our hearts.
For neither at any time did we use flattering words, as you know, nor a cloak for covetousness; God is witness.
Nor did we seek glory from men, either from you or from others, when we might have made demands as apostles of Christ.
But we were gentle among you, just as a nursing mother cherishes her own children.
So, affectionately longing for you, we were well pleased to impart to you not only the gospel of God, but also our own lives, because you had become dear to us.
“But he who did not know, yet committed things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few. For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required; and to whom much has been committed, of him they will ask the more.
“I came to send fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled!
“But I have a baptism to be baptized with, and how distressed I am till it is accomplished!
“Do you suppose that I came to give peace on earth? I tell you, not at all, but rather division.
“For from now on five in one house will be divided: three against two, and two against three.
“Father will be divided against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.”
Then He also said to the multitudes, “When you see a cloud rising out of the west, immediately you say, ‘A shower is coming’; and so it is.
“And when you see the south wind blow, you say, ‘There will be hot weather’; and there is.
“Hypocrites! You can discern the face of the sky and of the earth, but how is it you do not discern this time?
“Yes, and why, even of yourselves, do you not judge what is right?
“When you go with your adversary to the magistrate, make every effort along the way to settle with him, lest he drag you to the judge, the judge deliver you to the officer, and the officer throw you into prison.
“I tell you, you shall not depart from there till you have paid the very last mite.”
Menas of Egypt; Victor and Stephanie; Martyr Vincent; Theodore the Studite