1. Mattathias' son, Judas Maccabeus, succeeded him.

2. His brothers and all who had followed his father gave him their support and they continued the war with determination.

3. Judas made the name of his people more famous. He put on his breastplate and girded himself with the armor of war like a giant; he fought many battles and protected his camp with his sword.

4. He was like a lion when he attacked, like a lion's whelp roaring over its prey.

5. He pursued the renegades in their secret places and consigned to the flames those who troubled his people.

6. All the renegades feared him, all evildoers were confounded, and liberation was accomplished through him.

7. Many kings feared him, while the people of Israel rejoiced in his deeds. His memory shall be blessed forever.

8. He went through the cities of Judah utterly destroying the impious and saved Israel in their trial.

9. His fame resounded to the ends of the earth for having gathered those about to perish.

10. Apollonius also gathered together men from the pagans and a good number of Samaritans to fight Israel.

11. When Judas learned of this, he went out to meet him in battle; he defeated and killed him. Many of the enemy fell and the rest fled.

12. They seized the plunder and Judas took the sword of Apollonius, and from then on he always used it in battle.

13. Seron, the commander of the Syrian army, learned that Judas had gathered many men and that the whole community of believers was at his side.

14. He thought: "This is now the opportunity for me to make myself famous and become an important man in the kingdom. I will go to fight Judas and his men who do not obey the king's order."

15. So he did, and a strong army of pagans went up with him to help him take vengeance on the children of Israel.

16. As Seron approached the slope of Beth-horon, Judas went out to confront him with a small company of warriors.

17. But on seeing the enemy advancing against them, Judas' men said to him, "How can we, few as we are, fight against so many? And besides, we feel weak for we have not eaten anything today."

18. But Judas declared: "A multitude shall easily fall into the hands of a few, for Heaven can win over equally well with the help of many or of few.

19. Victory does not depend on the number of those who fight, but on Heaven which gives us strength.

20. They come against us, moved by their pride and lawlessness, to seize us and take possession of our wives and children and to take everything away from us.

21. But we are fighting for our lives and our laws.

22. God will crush them before us; so do not be afraid."

23. As soon as he finished speaking, he suddenly rushed against the enemies. Seron and his army were defeated.

24. They pursued them down the slope of Beth-horon to the plain. And about eight hundred of Seron's men fell and the rest escaped to the land of the Philistines.

25. With this, fright and fear of Judas and his brothers seized the pagans who lived around them.

26. The fame of his name reached the king, and the pagan nations recounted his battles.

27. When this news reached King Antiochus, he was furious, so he ordered all the forces of his kingdom to assemble, for he had a powerful army.

28. He opened his treasury and paid the troops a year's salary, ordering them to be prepared for any eventuality.

29. But he found that the money in the treasury had run short, for the taxes of the provinces had decreased due to dissension and disaster, which he himself had caused in the land by changing the laws that were in force from the earliest days.

30. He feared that, as before, he would not have enough funds for his expenses and for the gifts he used to give more lavishly than preceding kings.

31. So great was his need that he decided to go to Persia to collect the taxes from those provinces and raise considerable funds.

32. Then he left Lysias, a nobleman from the royal family, in charge of the affairs of government, from the river Euphrates to the Egyptian frontier,

33. and with the responsibility of educating the king's son, Antiochus, until his return.

34. And he turned over to Lysias half of his troops with the elephants and gave him instructions about his policies. On matters dealing with the inhabitants of Judea and Jerusalem,

35. Lysias was to send an army to destroy and crush the defenders of Israel and all who remained in Jerusalem and to wipe out even the memory of them.

36. Then he was to have foreigners settle throughout the Jewish territory and distribute the land to them by lot.

37. The king took with him the remaining half of the army and set out from Antioch, the capital of the kingdom, in the year one hundred and forty-seven. He crossed the river Euphrates and went through the upper provinces.

38. Lysias chose from among the Friends of the King, Ptolemy the son of Dorymenes, Nicanor and Gorgias - all influential men.

39. With them, he dispatched forty thousand infantry and seven thousand cavalry to the Judean province to destroy it as the king had ordered.

40. They marched out with their troops and encamped on the plain near Emmaus.

41. The merchants of the region heard of their arrival, so they went to the camp with large amounts of silver, gold and fetters, proposing to buy the Israelites as slaves. The Syrian army and those from the province of the Philistines also joined the troops.

42. Judas and his brothers understood that the situation was becoming worse, because the enemy had encamped in their territory. So when they learned of the king's order to destroy and crush the people,

43. they said, "Let us uplift our people from their miserable situation and fight for them and for the Holy Place!"

44. The whole community assembled to prepare for war, and they prayed and asked God for mercy and compassion.

45. Like a desert, Jerusalem was left without inhabitants. None of her children went in or out. The temple was profaned, and foreigners lived in the city which had become a dwelling place for the pagans. There was no more rejoicing for Jacob, no flute or zither was heard.

46. So they gathered and went to Mizpah opposite Jerusalem because Mizpah had been a place of prayer for Israel.

47. They fasted that day, put on sackcloth, sprinkled ashes on their heads and tore their garments.

48. They opened the Book of the Law to look for an answer to their questions, just as the pagans consulted the images of their idols.

49. They brought the vestments of the priests, the first-fruits and the tithes, and they brought in the Nazirites who had completed the days of their consecration;

50. they cried aloud to Heaven and said: "What shall we do with this people, and where shall we take them?

51. For your sanctuary has been trampled on and profaned, your priests are in mourning and are humiliated.

52. And now the pagans have gathered together to destroy us. You know what they are plotting against us.

53. How can we resist them, if you do not come to help us?"

54. Then they sounded the trumpets and made a great outcry.

55. After this, Judas appointed officials to lead his people: leaders of a thousand men, leaders of a hundred, of fifty, and of ten.

56. Then he told those who were building houses, those about to marry, those who were planting vineyards, and those who were afraid, to return to their homes, as the Law allowed.

57. Next the army marched out and encamped to the south of Emmaus.

58. Judas told them: "Prepare your weapons; be valiant and be ready to fight in the morning against those foreigners who have joined forces to crush us and remove our Holy Place from this land.

59. It is better to die fighting than to live and see the misery of our nation and of the Holy Place.

60. May Heaven's will be done in everything."

“O meu passado, Senhor, à Tua misericórdia. O meu Presente, ao Teu amor. O meu futuro, à Tua Providência.” São Padre Pio de Pietrelcina