November 22, 2021
Memorial of St. Cecilia
Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we pray with a passage from Daniel for our Responsorial Psalm:
Blessed are you, O Lord, the God of our forebearers,Daniel 3:52
praiseworthy and exalted above all forever;
And blessed is your holy and glorious name,
praiseworthy and exalted above all for all ages
This week we continue with a series of readings from the Book of Daniel. It is the only time throughout the Liturgical Year that we get a good dose of Daniel. And it is well placed, coming in this final week before Advent.
Daniel is apocalyptic literature, a genre which conveys the author’s perception of the end times through dreams, visions and prophecies. Like many of our readings of the past weeks, Daniel focuses us on God’s Final Coming into time by interpreting current circumstances in a spiritual light.
Today’s Gospel does the same thing, but in a little different way.
Jesus tells the story of the poor widow who gave everything she had for the sake of the poor. This widow, in a sense, already lives in the “end times”, a time when our only “possessions” will be the good we have done in our lives.
Both these readings set us up to reflect on our lives and times as we approach Advent. This sacred season is the annual reenactment of Christ’s First Coming in order to prepare us for:
- Christ’s daily revelation in our lives
- Christ’s Final Coming at the end of time
All of Daniel’s complex visions and prophecies can feel a little confusing, but we can focus on this:
- God is continually revealing Godself in the ordinary circumstances of time.
- We can open ourselves to this revelation by our humble prayer and good works.
- Staying awake like this in our hearts and souls will allow us to pass seamlessly into God’s Presence when the end times come.
Poetry: Awake! awake O sleeper of the land of shadows (from Jerusalem) – William Blake
Awake! awake O sleeper of the land of shadows, wake! expand!
I am in you and you in me, mutual in love divine:
Fibres of love from man to man thro Albions pleasant land.
In all the dark Atlantic vale down from the hills of Surrey
A black water accumulates, return Albion! return!
Thy brethren call thee, and thy fathers, and thy sons,
Thy nurses and thy mothers, thy sisters and thy daughters
Weep at thy souls disease, and the Divine Vision is darkend:
Thy Emanation that was wont to play before thy face,
Beaming forth with her daughters into the Divine bosom
Where hast thou hidden thy Emanation lovely Jerusalem
From the vision and fruition of the Holy-one?
I am not a God afar off, I am a brother and friend;
Within your bosoms I reside, and you reside in me:
Lo! we are One; forgiving all Evil; Not seeking recompense!
Ye are my members O ye sleepers of Beulah, land of shades!
Music: Sleepers Awake from the beautiful album by Chris Wyton, “Music for Deep Meditation “