March 14, 2022
Monday of the Second week of Lent
Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, our reading from Daniel gives us one of the Great Prayers of the Old Testament (according to Walter Brueggemann’s like-named book.)
The Book of Daniel and chapter nine in particular, have been the subjects of extensive biblical exegesis. Chapter nine in considered one of the Messianic Prophecies, Old Testament markers pointing to Christ. So there is much we could study about today’s first reading.
But how might we pray with it – for our times and our lives?
Naming the sins of all the People, Daniel’s great prayer is a plea for mercy:
Lord, great and awesome God,
you who keep your merciful covenant
toward those who love you
and observe your commandments! …
… yours, O Lord, our God,
are compassion and forgiveness!
Three themes, so strikingly germane to Lent, arise from Daniel’s prayer:
Our Responsorial Psalm picks up this plea to Mercy for mercy:
Remember not against us the iniquities of the past;
may your compassion quickly come to us,
for we are brought very low.
R. Lord, do not deal with us according to our sins.
Help us, O God our savior,
because of the glory of your name;
Deliver us and pardon our sins
for your name’s sake.
The questions for each of us as we pray today —
Is there someplace in my life longing for such mercy and healing?
Where can my spirit grow from repentance, forgiveness, and transformation?
In our Gospel Jesus tells us how to open our hearts to this merciful healing.
Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.
Stop judging and you will not be judged.
Stop condemning and you will not be condemned.
Forgive and you will be forgiven.
Give and gifts will be given to you;
a good measure, packed together, shaken down, and overflowing,
will be poured into your lap.
For the measure with which you measure
will in return be measured out to you.
There it is in black and white. Whether or not the advice changes my heart is up to me!
Poetry: To Live in the Mercy of God – Denise Levertov
To lie back under the tallest
oldest trees. How far the stems
before ribs of shelter
To live in the mercy of God. The complete
sentence too adequate, has no give.
Awe, not comfort. Stone, elbows of
stony wood beneath lenient
And awe suddenly
passing beyond itself. Becomes
a form of comfort.
Becomes the steady
air you glide on, arms
stretched like the wings of flying foxes.
To hear the multiple silence
of trees, the rainy
forest depths of their listening.
To float, upheld,
as salt water
would hold you,
once you dared.
.To live in the mercy of God.
To feel vibrate the enraptured
waterfall flinging itself
unabating down and down
to clenched fists of rock.
Swiftness of plunge,
hour after year after century,
O or Ah
spray. The smoke of it.
of steelwhite foam, glissades
of fugitive jade barely perceptible. Such passion—
rage or joy?
Thus, not mild, not temperate,
God’s love for the world. Vast
flood of mercy
flung on resistance.
Music: Kyrie Eleison (Lord, have mercy) Beethoven- Missa Solemnis